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Citizens Bank Building from “The Sting”

Dec 16th, 2013 | By | Category: Movie Locations

The Sting Bank (6 of 11)

Upon landing my new gig writing for Los Angeles magazine’s CityThink blog, I comprised a list of iconic SoCal locales to spotlight in my weekly column, one of which was the Santa Monica Pier Carousel from 1973’s The Sting.  The only problem was that I had never actually seen The Sting.  Neither had the Grim Cheaper.  So I set out to remedy the situation and immediately ordered the DVD from Amazon.  We watched it shortly after it arrived and I was shocked at how good it was – forty years later!  Not to mention the fact that the locations absolutely blew my mind.  While The Sting takes place in 1936 Chicago, the vast majority of it was lensed in Los Angeles in 1973, with a significant portion of the filming taking place in my former hometown of Pasadena.  Shockingly, I did not recognize any of the Rose City locales that were featured and when I started doing research on the flick, I just about fell out of my chair.  One spot used prominently towards the end of the movie was the J. Crew store in Old Town, a place I used to shop at on a weekly basis!  So while I was in L.A. last week, I spent one particularly cold morning (the GC said my outfit above resembled Nanook of the North) stalking the flick’s Pasadena locations, one of which was the historic Citizens Bank Building.

The Citizens Bank Building was constructed in quite an unusual manner.  The bottom floor of the structure was built in 1906 to house Citizens Bank.  The site was designed by architects John Parkinson [who also gave us the Bullocks Wilshire department store from Christmas Vacation (which I blogged about here) and Union Station (which I blogged about here)] and George Edwin Bergstrom.

The Sting Bank (9 of 11)

In 1914, when Citizens Bank was ready to expand, Parkinson and Bergstrom added the top six levels to the structure, creating the seven-story building that stands today.

The Sting Bank (2 of 11)

The square cast metal clock featured on the corner of the edifice was added in 1926 and is still currently in working condition.

The Sting Bank (1 of 11)

The Sting Bank (3 of 11)

Citizens Bank occupied the site until September 2004, at which point it was sold to a developer, who immediately began a large renovation.  The first-level former bank area was gutted entirely and now serves as offices for the Dilbeck real estate company.

The Sting Bank (5 of 11)

I found this spot thanks to The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations and just about fell over when I did, due to the fact that the GC had an office in the Citizens Bank Building for years.  His office was reached via a side door, though, and neither of us had ever seen the interior of the bottom floor bank space during his tenure there.

The Sting Bank (4 of 11)

The bank popped up in the beginning of The Sting, in the montage scene in which grifter Henry Gondorff (Paul Newman) is shown getting together a team of people to help exact revenge on Doyle Lonnegan (Robert Shaw).



The space is only featured for a brief moment in the scene and only a very small portion of the interior is shown.



The interior of the former bank area, post-remodel, is pictured below.  While researching this location, a few things gave me pause as to whether it was the bank that was used in The Sting.  For instance, the shape and spacing of the windows that appeared onscreen don’t seem to match up to the building’s actual windows.  And in a very frustrating twist, I could not find any interior photographs of the space prior to its renovation to verify that it was the location used.  I even contacted the current property manager and sent her screen captures from the movie, but she was uncertain as well.  Boo!  If anyone out there has any photographs of the site pre-remodel, please let me know as I’d love to verify this locale.

The Sting Bank (7 of 11)

 The Sting Bank (8 of 11)

For more stalking fun, be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Los Angeles magazine online.  And you can check out my other blog, The Well-Heeled Diabetic, here.

The Sting Bank (11 of 11)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: The Citizens Bank Building from The Sting is located at 255 East Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.



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  1. Her mom says:

    So glad you are watching the CLASSIC movies from my time! That building is beautiful, I remember going to GCs office and feeling as if I stepped back to the era of marble and dark wood decor – again another CLASSIC.

    • Owen says:

      I’ll preface this comment by stating I’ve never seen “The Sting” and I have nothing against Paul Newman, who was a gifted actor and, more important, a humanitarian who happened to live in the next town over from me (Westport, Connecticut). Having said that…

      Oh, Lindsay, don’t be swayed by motherly proclamations! “The Sting” may have been born the same year as I, but you need to fast-forward about a decade to watch the classics from my time, including “Back to the Future,” “The Breakfast Club,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Die Hard” and “E.T.” — to name a few. Long live the films of the ‘80s! I’m sorry, Mom, if my words, like today’s IAMNOTASTALKER topic, sting. 😉

      In all seriousness, I offer kudos on another enjoyable post. Keep up the good work, and keep sharing stories about filming locations from classics … whatever one’s definition of “classic” may be.

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