The "Punky Brewster" Opening Credits LocationsAug 13th, 2013 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
After tracking down the apartment building where Punky Brewster (Soleil Moon Frye) and her adoptive father, Henry Warnimont (George Gaynes), lived in the 1984 television series Punky Brewster (which I blogged about here), I became completely obsessed with finding the locations that appeared in the opening credits of the show’s pilot episode, which was titled “Punky Finds a Home, Part I.” (Subsequent episodes featured a shortened version of the pilot’s opening, with only a few locations featured.) Thankfully, John, from the Silent Locations blog, was up to the task of helping me with this query and wound up tracking down almost all of the sites in one single day. Yay! So I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk them this past Saturday afternoon. (For those who have asked, the skirt I am wearing in the picture above is Humble Chic’s Carrie Skirt – LOVE the name!!! – which I paired with a shell from Zara.)
Come to find out, the opening credits of Punky Brewster were shot almost in their entirety on the 600 block of Shatto Place, just west of MacArthur Park, near downtown Los Angeles, but it took a while before we realized that fact. John first figured out that the brick building that Henry walked by towards the beginning of the opening credits was the Pierre Crest Apartments at 673 Shatto Place, which he had recognized from their appearance in the 1926 silent film For Heaven’s Sake.
The Pierre Crest Apartments, which were once quite attractive, look a bit different – and a bit more run-down – today than they did in 1984 when the Punky Brewster opening credits were filmed.
After Henry walks by the Pierre Crest, he is shown crossing the street and then passing by an alleyway where a man is asleep on the sidewalk. On a hunch, I used Google Street View to see if that alleyway was actually located across the street from the Pierre Crest and, sure enough, it was – just north of the York Apartments at 688 Shatto Place.
Sadly, a fence has since been installed in front of the alley that partially blocks the view of it from the street and the building that was once located just north of it has also since been torn down. Otherwise though, the spot still looks pretty much exactly the same as it did in 1984. Even the cement curb that appeared in the Punky Brewster opening credits is still intact! Love it!
Had to do it! (For some odd reason, I thought that Henry had his hands behind his back in the scene.)
John next figured out that the red and white brick building that Punky was shown skipping in front of with her dog, Brandon, in the opening credits was actually the Modena Apartments at 661 Shatto Place.
That building, too, looks quite a bit different today. Such a shame that the gorgeous red brick was painted over!
Again, had to do it! (Notice in the screen capture and photograph pictured below that the sidewalk grate next to the tree still looks exactly as it did in 1984! Love it!)
I am pretty sure that the doorway/stairwell that Punky stopped in front of in the opening credits was the entrance to the Modena Apartments. As you can see below, the stair railing seems to match up, as does the brick outline of the entryway.
In a heartbreaking twist, Warnimont Studio, Henry’s photography studio – the locale that I most wanted to find – is no longer standing. The site was once located at 651 Shatto Place, on the corner of Wilshire Boulevard, but was torn down sometime in the early 2000s. Boo!
The credit for this find goes to John. While watching the Punky Brewster opening credits, I had spotted an address number of “651” painted on the door behind Henry. I emailed that information over to John, along with a screen capture, and he wrote back almost immediately with an address.
Because all of the other sites from the Punky Brewster opening credits were located on Shatto Place, John was fairly certain that Henry’s photo lab had to be there, as well. When he looked at a Google map of 651 Shatto Place, though, all that was visible was a vacant lot. Then, on a hunch, he searched through a Los Angeles phone directory from 1987 and saw that an actual photography studio named Haines Studio & Lab was listed as being located at 651 Shatto Place at the time. That listing is highlighted in pink below.
He also noticed that the phone number for the studio was listed as 383-1473. As you can see below, that very same number is visible – behind a fake phone number of 555-3709 that was installed for the filming – in the window of Henry’s store.
Further proving that Warnimont Studio was once located at 651 Shatto Place is the fact that listed next door to Haines Studio & Lab in the 1987 phone directory is Glenda’s Beauty Salon at 653 Shatto Place.
In Punky Brewster, a salon named Consuelo’s was shown to be located right next to Henry’s Studio. And listed next door to Glenda’s at 655 Shatto Place is Mini Market Deli, which seems to match the name on the awning of the store that appears next to Consuelo’s in the screen capture below.
A full view of the building that once housed Henry’s studio is pictured below, via the USC Digital Library. As you can see, it was quite a beautiful structure and I cannot for the life of me figure out why it would have been torn down.
Today, the site is a construction zone where I believe a condominium complex is being built.
Thanks to Robby Cress of the Dear Old Hollywood blog, we learned that the Warnimont Studio building was also featured in the 1978 comedy The Big Fix as the campaign headquarters of California gubernatorial candidate Miles Hawthorne (John Cunningham). In one scene, Henry’s studio site is clearly visible in the background behind private detective Moses Wine (Richard Dreyfuss) and his girlfriend, Lila Shay (Susan Anspach).
As you can see below, the arched doorway between storefronts also matches what appeared in Punky Brewster.
A fuller view of the building from The Big Fix is pictured below.
As is a view looking in the opposite direction, towards Wilshire Boulevard.
You can watch the opening credits from Punky Brewster’s pilot episode by clicking below.
In an odd twist, I just discovered today that one brief scene from the opening credits was, in fact, filmed in Chicago, where Punky Brewster was said to have taken place. As you can see below, in the scene in which Punky and Henry are shown entering (what I thought was a fake) Wrigley Field, a brick building is visible behind them. That same building (which houses a Starbucks!) is actually located across the street from the real Wrigley Field on West Addison Street in the Windy City.
John and I have yet to track down the grocery store that appeared in the opening credits and I am now wondering if it, too, is located in Chicago.
For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.
Big THANK YOU to John, from the Silent Locations blog, for tracking down the majority of these locations. You can read his blog post on the Punky Brewster locales here.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The opening credits from the pilot episode of Punky Brewster were filmed almost entirely on the 600 block of Shatto Place in Los Angeles. The brick building that Henry first walked by was the Pierre Crest Apartments at 673 Shatto Place; the alleyway where Henry stepped over the sleeping homeless man is just north of 688 Shatto Place; the building that Punky skipped by was the Modena Apartments at 661 Shatto Place; and the site of Henry’s photography studio, which has since been torn down, can be found at 651 Shatto Place.