The “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” ParkJun 2nd, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
Today’s post was a true labor of love – one that required stalking a location three separate times and a massive amount of help from a fellow stalker named Michael. While most of the locales from the 1985 movie Girls Just Want to Have Fun (one of my all-time faves) have been tracked down and detailed on this blog, one that I have long wondered about is the park where portions of the dance practice montage sequence took place. As luck would have it, I happened to meet the flick’s leading man, Lee Montgomery who played hunky Jeff Malene, at the Hollywood Show back in April and got the information straight from the horse’s mouth.
When I heard that Lee would be making an appearance at the Hollywood Show, I just about flipped my lid from excitement and informed the Grim Cheaper that I would be attending come hell or high water. And I am so glad that I did. Lee truly could NOT have been nicer! He spent quite a bit of time chatting with me and filled me in on several behind-the-scenes tidbits, including the fact that he and Sarah Jessica Parker, who played Janey Glenn, underwent extensive dance training for weeks before filming began and that much of the onscreen dancing, including the lifts, was actually performed by them. At one point, I mentioned that there was a missing GJWHF locale that I was interested in tracking down. Now, in no way, shape or form did I expect Lee to remember a location from over 30 years ago, but I decided to broach the subject anyway and was shocked when he recalled it immediately! When I asked him where the dance montage in the park had taken place, without skipping a beat, he replied, “Oh, the row of trees? That was in Griffith Park, near the merry-go-round.” Um, THANK YOU, Lee!
For those not familiar with the Girls Just Want to Have Fun dance practice montage (and if that’s the case, then for shame!), you can watch it by clicking below.
The three spots that I was interested in tracking down were the row of trees that Janey and Jeff danced between . . .
. . . the tree that Jeff flipped off of while his sister, Maggie Malene (my girl Shannen Doherty), sat nearby . . .
. . . and the hill that Janey and Jeff flipped down.
As soon as I got home from the Hollywood Show, I popped in my Girls Just Want to Have Fun DVD and was SHOCKED to discover that the area of Griffith Park featured in the dance practice montage was Park Center, the very same area that was utilized in the Full House Season 1-3 opening credits. I had detailed that exact spot in a September 2014 blog post, but until that moment had failed to recognize its appearance in GJWTHF. I figured out the location thanks to a very unusual tree that I remembered from the Full House credits.
The tree has an extremely unique shape. From the trunk it immediately bends to the side and runs almost parallel to the ground and then turns back upward, forming an almost 90-degree angle with its lower portion. Its white, speckled bark is also quiet unusual.
As it turns out, that is the very same tree that Jeff flipped off of in Girls Just Want to Have Fun. As you can see below, the curve of the tree, the speckled bark and the chopped off branch on the left-hand side match perfectly to what appeared onscreen.
Now I should mention here that the first time the GC and I stalked Park Center, we made the unfortunate decision to head out there on a Sunday and not only was the place jam-packed with picnickers, but there was a piñata tied to Jeff’s tree! Humph! So these photos were taken during our second stalk of the park. On that particular visit, I, of course, had to re-created the montage moment . . .
. . . but I did not attempt Jeff’s flip. That tree is a LOT higher off the ground than it looks! I did jump off the tree, however, but was not nearly as graceful as Jeff.
I have never been very good at pinpointing outdoor locations, so to track down the other two Girls Just Want to Have Fun montage spots I enlisted the help of a fellow stalker who I knew had an aptitude for park-like settings – Michael. He is the one who had originally made the discovery of Park Center’s appearance in the Full House opening credits. Michael was only too happy to help and was an immeasurable source of guidance with this particular hunt. He immediately noticed that the hill that Jeff and Janey flipped down was the same hill that was featured in Full House, just shot from a slightly different angle. Griffith Park’s Park Services Building, which is visible in the background of both productions, is denoted with pink arrows below.
While it was hard to pinpoint the exact angle from which the hill scene was shot (as I said, outdoor places are not my forte), I believe my photograph below was taken from pretty much the right spot. I believe the pine tree to the right of the frame is now gone, but the split-branched tree in the middle of my photograph appears to match was was pictured onscreen, as does the shaping of the hill itself.
The one spot that Michael was unsure about was the row of trees that Janey and Jeff danced between. So during our first trek out to the park (on picnic day!), the GC and I walked around all of Park Center to see if we could find the right place and he fairly quickly zeroed in on the trees pictured below. In my recollection of the scene, Janey and Jeff had danced between two parallel rows of trees, while the trees that the GC had found were situated in one row, with a lone tree situated parallel to it. I was certain it was the wrong spot.
When I got home and compared my photographs to the montage scene, though, I saw that he was spot on! Nicely done, GC!
As fate would have it, during our second venture out to Griffith Park, a man happened to be sleeping next to the row of trees, in the exact spot where we wanted to take photographs. I did end up posing for a pic, but because of Sleeping Beauty, we could not match the angle of the photo to the angle shown in the movie – which meant (you guessed it!) another trip out there. I swear, if the GC never sees Griffith Park again it’ll be too soon.
During our third trip to the park, we managed to take photographs from the right spot. Well, almost.
We should have moved one tree farther back. As you can see below, the tree that is in the foreground of our photograph is the second tree visible in Girls Just Want to Have Fun. That is as good as it is going to get, though, because there is no way the GC is ever setting foot in Park Center again.
And I am pretty sure that if I ever ventured out there on my own and asked a stranger to take my photograph posing like I am below, they’d probably try to have me committed.
Big THANK YOU to fellow stalker Michael for all of his help in finding these locations!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Girls Just Want to Have Fun dance montage was shot in the Park Center area of Griffith Park, which is located at 4730 Crystal Springs Drive in Los Feliz. A detailed aerial view denoting where the montage’s three park segments were filmed in relation to the merry-go-round is pictured below.