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The “Clueless” Guide to Occidental College

Aug 4th, 2014 | By | Category: Movie Locations

Clueless Occidental College (7 of 22)

While it is well-known among location aficionados that Occidental College masked as Bronson Alcott High School in Clueless, an in-depth guide to the exact areas of the campus that appeared in the flick has never been published.  So, with some help from Mike, from MovieShotsLA, Owen, from the When Write Is Wrong blog, and a reader named Rebecca who grew up in Eagle Rock and knows Oxy like the back of her hand, I set out to do just that.

A map of the Occidental College campus is pictured below.  I will be using the same numbering key provided on the map to identify the areas and buildings featured in Clueless.  So without further ado, I present to you the Clueless guide to Occidental College (in order of appearance)!

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1. Bronson Alcott High School Exterior – The south side of Occidental’s Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15) masqueraded as the front of Cher (Alicia Silverstone) and the gang’s Beverly Hills-area high school.

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Clueless Occidental College (6 of 22)

The building, which was designed by Myron Hunt, is shown repeatedly throughout Clueless and should also be recognizable to Beverly Hills, 90210 fans as the exterior of the Condor’s Nest at CU.

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Clueless Occidental College (6 of 23)

2. Walkway – The esplanade that Cher and her friends are often seen strolling along (and where the movie’s infamous “As if!” moment took place) is Oxy’s Central Quadrangle (#126).

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Clueless Occidental College (5 of 22)

The Quadrangle, which is situated directly south of the Johnson Student Center, served as the hangout of Bronson Alcott’s various cliques, including the TV station group, the Persian Mafia and the Crew.

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Clueless Occidental College (22 of 22)

The eastern portion of the Quad, in front of Occidental’s Johnson Hall/Alumni Auditorium (#2), is where Cher offered her father’s “sucky Italian roast” to Mr. Hall (Wallace Shawn) . . .

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Clueless filming Occidental (2 of 4)

. . . and where he later shared it with Miss Geist (Twink Caplan).

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Clueless filming Occidental (1 of 4)

3. Athletic Field – It is on Oxy’s Patterson Field (#101) that Cher convinces her P.E. teacher, Ms. Stoeger (Julie Brown – yes, that Julie Brown), to raise her grade from a C to an B.

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The field has changed a bit since filming took place, but it still very recognizable.

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4. Mr. Hall’s Pathway – The walkway leading to the south side of Occidental’s Booth Music and Speech Center (#14), which looks quite a bit different today, is where Cher observed Mr. Hall and came to the conclusion that he was in need of a “good, healthy boink fest.”

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Clueless filming Occidental (4 of 4)

5. The Teachers’ Lounge – According to an Oxy employee that Owen contacted, the faculty lounge where Cher tried to decide which teacher to set Mr. Hall up with (and coveted a Snickers bar) was one of the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15) dining rooms.  Unfortunately, the interior of the student center was largely gutted and remodeled in 1998 and then again in 2013 and the vast majority of it looks completely different today.  I am not sure if the dining room that appeared in Clueless was renovated or if it currently remains in its onscreen state.  Here’s hoping!

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6. The Main Office – This location was the saddest discovery of all.  According to Rebecca, Bronson Alcott’s main office was the former Student Activities Office at the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15), which prior to the 1998 remodel was known as the Freeman Student Union.  The space was gutted during the initial renovation and no longer exists.  You can see photographs of what the interior of the structure currently looks like here.

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7. Cafeteria Exterior – The eastern side of the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15) served as the outside of the Bronson Alcott cafeteria.

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Clueless Occidental College (10 of 22)

That portion of the building looks a bit different today than it did in Clueless due to the fact that stairs and a wheelchair ramp have since been added to the exterior, I am guessing to comply with ADA regulations.

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Clueless Occidental College (19 of 23)

The cafeteria doors look the same for the most part . . .

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Clueless Occidental College (11 of 22)

. . . aside from said staircase and ramp addition.

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Clueless Occidental College (20 of 23)

Had to do it!

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Clueless Occidental College (12 of 23)

8. Parking Lot – Mr. Hall and Miss Geist shared their first kiss in the Admission and Visitor Parking (#43), in between the Admissions Office – Collins House (#19) and Newcomb Hall (#18).  Miss Geist is parked in front of Newcomb Hall in the scene.

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And Cher and Dionne are standing in the middle of the parking lot, with the Admission Office – Collins House visible behind them.

Again, had to do it!

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9. Tennis Courts – Oxy’s McKinnon Family Tennis Center (#107) is where Dionne (Stacey Dash) refuses to participate in a P.E. lesson because her tennis instructor “would prefer if I didn’t expose myself to any training that might derail his teachings.”

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Clueless Occidental College (1 of 2)

The courts are also where Cher and Dionne first meet Tai (Brittany Murphy) and decide to befriend her despite the fact that their “stock” might “plummet.”

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Clueless Occidental College (2 of 2)

10. Cafeteria Interior – The exact location of the interior of the Bronson Alcott cafeteria, where Tai and Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer) first locked eyes, is a spot that I am unsure of.   Thanks to the carved columns, paned windows and brown doors visible in the background of the scene, I can say with certainty that it is (or was) somewhere on the Occidental campus.  My guess is that it was once located inside of the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15), but was dismantled during the 1998 remodel.

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11. The Grassy Knoll – The spot where Travis and his fellow Loadies (who “no respectable girl actually dates”) hang out is along the western side of the Samuelson Campus Pavilion/Tiger Cooler (#16).

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12. The Fountain Photo Shoot – Cher’s impromptu photo shoot with the gang took place in the courtyard of the Booth Music and Speech Center (#14).

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Clueless Occidental College (13 of 23)

Again, had to do it!

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Clueless Occidental College (14 of 23)

13. Josh’s Girlfriend’s Dorm – Occidental was not solely used to stand in for Bronson Alcott High School in Clueless – a campus building also masqueraded as the dorm where Josh’s (Paul Rudd) girlfriend, Heather (Susan Mohun), lived.  The structure featured in that scene was Oxy’s Weingart Center for the Liberal Arts (#17).

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Clueless Occidental College (22 of 23)

In reality, the building is not a dorm, but instead houses an art gallery, art studio and classrooms.

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Clueless Occidental College (14 of 22)

14. Girls’ Locker Room – The locker room where Tai laments the fact that her feelings are not reciprocated by Elton (Jeremy Sisto) can be found inside of the Rush Gymnasium (#8).  You can see a real life photograph of the locker room that was used in the movie here.

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15. Art Museum – Oxy’s Arthur G. Coons Administrative Center (#1) masked as the art museum featured in the montage scene in which Cher decides that she wants to make over her soul.  (The outfit Cher wore in that scene is one of my favorites from the entire movie.)

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Clueless Occidental College (17 of 22)

In real life, the building, which sits at the center of the Occidental campus, houses administrative offices.

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Clueless Occidental College (23 of 23)

It was the structure’s glass lobby that stood in for the museum in Clueless.  In reality, there are no sculptures on display in that area.

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Clueless Occidental College (18 of 22)

16. Cher’s Pismo Beach Disaster Relief Booth – Cher and Dionne encouraged fellow students to sign up for the Pismo Beach Disaster Relief Team on the lawn located at the southeast corner of the Johnson Student Center and Freeman College Union (#15).

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Clueless Occidental College (3 of 23)

17. Pismo Beach Food Collection Drive – Last, but not least is another location I am unsure of.  Toward the end of Clueless, Travis donated some unusual kitchenware to the Pismo Beach Food Collection Drive which took place in some sort of conference/meeting room.  Thanks to its paned windows and the foliage and architecture visible in the background, I am certain that the room is (or, again, was) located on the Occidental campus.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to pinpoint exactly where, though.  If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

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And that’s all, folks!  I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Clueless Occidental College (5 of 23)

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.

Big THANK YOU to fellow stalkers Mike, from MovieShotsLA, Owen, of the When Write Is Wrong blog, and Rebecca for helping me with this post.  Smile

Clueless Occidental College (1 of 1)

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Occidental College, aka Bronson Alcott High School from Clueless, is located at 1600 Campus Road in Eagle Rock.  You can visit the school’s official website here.

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12 comments

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  1. Eileen says:

    AMAZING!!! i’m going to have to stalk occidental!!

  2. oxystudent says:

    The field you’re looking for in #3 is right behind the tennis courts. You can see part of it from #9. It was redone with turf instead of grass and a new track, so it might have been harder to recognize.

  3. Oxy alum says:

    #8 is in front of Oxy’s Newcomb hall, and #17 looks like it’s from Chilcott hall, although it’s difficult to say

  4. Carey says:

    #17 is the downstairs part of the Interfaith chapel…… I am pretty sure.

    and I think the parking lot may be the one near booth, but I need to see the movie again to be sure.

    I went to oxy so I know that campus pretty well!

    Carey

    • Dan says:

      Pretty sure #17 is upstairs at the north end of pre-renovation Freeman Union, what used to be called the “New Union.” Herrick does not have that kind of fenestration anywhere in the building.

  5. Jeremy says:

    I was on campus while this was being filmed. For added detail, you are correct about the cafeteria exterior #7. At the time, I seem to recall that it was the exterior of where the student paper, the Occidental, was published. Like many movie exteriors, you hang a sign on the outside, and the doorway instantly leads someplace else. Similarly, we didn’t really have outside dining in the mid-90s, all the dining rooms were upstairs in Johnson and divided between the “new side,” which you saw in this movie, and the far cooler, “old side,” which appeared in a rice krispies commercial featuring monks who’d taken a vow of silence.

  6. Malinda says:

    Awesome Stalking!

  7. Ashley says:

    Lindsay, this is so amazing! This is the perfect example of why you are the Location Queen :) Thanks for putting this all together!

  8. lavonna says:

    AWESOME! Would love to walk this campus!


Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] of a Mecca for Clueless fans. Not only does it contain the aforementioned shooting locations, but COUNTLESS other scenes were filmed at the college. The only thing we were left wondering was WHY students weren’t […]

  2. […] about the filming of Clueless.  There’s even a locations quiz at the end!  You can read The Clueless Guide to Occidental College here and The Ultimate Guide to Clueless Movie Locations in Los Angeles here (Part II is here), both of […]

  3. […] evidenced by yesterday’s post, I have been on a major Clueless filming locations kick as of late.  One spot about which much […]

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