Chuck E. Cheese’s from “Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead”Feb 3rd, 2014 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
I have been on the hunt for the Chuck E. Cheese’s featured in fave movie Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead for what seems like ages. Despite having an inside connection – my girl Miss Pinky Lovejoy, of the Thinking Pink blog, is married to none other than Kenny Crandell, aka Keith Coogan, himself – I had a tough time tracking the place down. All Keith could remember about the eatery was that it was located somewhere in the Valley near a large cement watershed. So, feeling inspired a couple of weeks back, I decided to look at aerial views of every San Fernando Valley-area Chuck E. Cheese’s to see if any matched the one that appeared in Don’t Tell Mom. Sure enough, the one in Sun Valley’s Canyon Plaza shopping center did. Well, sort of – but more on that later.
The Sun Valley Chuck E. Cheese’s shows up towards the beginning of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, in the scene (which was one of Keith’s favorites) in which Sue Ellen Crandell (Christina Applegate) takes her siblings – Kenny, Melissa (Danielle Harris), Zach (Christopher Pettiet) and Walter (Robert Hy Gorman) – out for dinner after landing an executive administrative assistant job at General Apparel West. Oddly enough, at some point after Don’t Tell Mom was filmed in 1991, Chuck E. Cheese’s moved from the storefront pictured below (which is currently vacant) to one a few doors north in the same center. Despite the move and some other alterations, though, the restaurant’s former site is still recognizable from its onscreen appearance.
As Sue Ellen and her siblings leave Chuck E. Cheese’s, they witness their dead babysitter’s Buick getting stolen by three drag queens dressed as Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minnelli and Dolly Parton. The theft takes place in Canyon Plaza’s large parking lot in front of what was, at the time, a Mervyn’s, but today is a Kohl’s. While the shopping center has since been remodeled a bit, it is still very recognizable from the scene. I absolutely love that the space next to Kohl’s still houses a Subway after all these years!
The Sav-On Drugs that appeared in the movie is now a CVS Pharmacy (Southern California Sav-Ons were acquired by CVS Caremark in 2006), but, thankfully, looks much the same as it did onscreen in 1991. In fact, it was due to the structure’s jutted-out façade with decorative arched cut-outs that I was finally able to identify the Chuck E. Cheese’s location.
The space where Chuck E. Cheese’s moved to appears to have housed an AutoZone at the time that Don’t Tell Mom was filmed. You can just barely make out its red neon logo in the screen capture below.
I was most excited to see that the rounded sidewalk where the Crandell kids stood in the scene and the yellow speed bump next to it were still there in real life, looking EXACTLY the same as they did onscreen. LOVE IT! I cannot express how much fun it was to stalk such an iconic location from one of my favorite movies 23 years after it was filmed, especially since so little of it has been changed.
If only the pay phone that Sue Ellen used to call Bryan (Josh Charles) was still on the premises (if it was, in fact, real and not a prop)!
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Big THANK YOU to Keith Coogan for helping me to find this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Chuck E. Cheese’s from Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead was formerly located at 8353 Laurel Canyon Boulevard in the Canyon Plaza shopping center in Sun Valley. It has since moved a few storefronts north to 8375 Laurel Canyon Boulevard.