Valli Tropics from “Wicked City”Dec 4th, 2015 | By Lindsay | Category: TV Locations
Locations, locations, locations! Aside from Ed Westwick, locations were easily the best aspect of the now cancelled ABC series Wicked City. The show took place in Los Angeles circa 1982 and the location manager did a fabulous job of securing spots evocative of that era. None was more spectacularly retro than the apartment building where Betty Beaumontaine (Erika Christensen) lived. I became obsessed with the place, and all of its pink-accented glory, while watching Wicked City’s pilot episode, but, unfortunately, had a heck of a time tracking it down.
In the pilot, a sign with the name “Valli Tropics” was prominently shown posted outside of Betty’s apartment. Because the complex had somewhat of a tropical aesthetic, I figured the name might be legitimate and did a Google search for “Valli Tropics” and “Los Angeles.” It yielded nada, though, so I abandoned my hunch that the name was real and began searching for images of tropical-style apartments in L.A. I poured through countless photographs, but none was of the right spot. I then looked through all of my local architectural guidebooks to see if the complex was pictured, but came up empty-handed. So I abandoned the hunt for a bit.
When the third episode, titled “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” aired and Betty’s apartment was featured prominently, I decided to start the pursuit up again. I revisited my original hunch that the name might be legit and this time did a search for “Valli Tropics Apartments” and “Los Angeles,” which led me to a yelp review written by the manager of a Valli Tropics in Studio City. From there, the complex was a snap to find. I honestly cannot believe that I spent so many fruitless hours searching for the place, when the name of it was right in front of me the entire time! The blonde factor was strong with this one.
In person, Valli Tropics did not disappoint!
Every square inch of the place was just begging to be photographed.
And the vintage signing was to die for!
I was floored to see that the retro-ish sign that had been so prominently featured in Wicked City was a real life element of the building.
Surprisingly, other than the fact that it was built in 1956, I could find virtually no information online about Valli Tropics.
The complex is actually situated in an odd way, with the front entrance running diagonal to the street. One could easily drive right past it without noticing its architectural splendor.
Valli Tropics was featured repeatedly throughout the three episodes of Wicked City that made it to the airwaves. Besides the front exterior, the courtyard was also utilized on the show.
I am fairly certain that the interior of a real life Valli Tropics unit was used for the filming of the pilot . . .
. . . and that a set re-creation appeared in the other two episodes.
Oddly, while a brief shot of the exterior of Valli Tropics was shown in Wicked City’s second episode, which was titled “Running with the Devil” . . .
. . . a scene that was supposed to take place there was actually shot about five miles away, on the corner of Kittridge Street and Wilkinson Avenue in Valley Glen.
Thanks to the Litany of Schist blog, I learned that the Valli Tropics masked as the apartment of murder victim Jason Devereaux (Ben Feldman) in the Season 10 episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation titled “Working Stiffs.”
In the episode, Jason was said to live at 1120 Marapasa Parkway in Las Vegas, the numbering of which meshes with Valli Tropic’s real life address of 11120 Acama Street. The crew failed to remove the extra “1” from the building’s address placard, as well as from the Valli Tropics sign for the shoot, though, so the scripted address didn’t end up gibing with what appeared onscreen. Whoops!
Valli Tropic’s courtyard was also used in the filming of CSI.
As was the interior of one of the apartment units.
In the Season 11 episode of Criminal Minds titled “A Badge and a Gun,” the Behavioral Analysis Unit investigates a murder at the Valli Tropics, which is said to be in Atwater Village.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Valli Tropics, aka Betty’s apartment from Wicked City, is located at 11120 Acama Street in Studio City.