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The British Consulate from “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”

Jul 15th, 2016 | By | Category: Movie Locations

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Much of my free time as of late has been spent tracking down missing locations from Jumpin’ Jack Flash.  Ever since writing my post on the apartment where Terry Dolittle (Whoopi Goldberg) lived in the 1986 comedy, I have been just a wee bit consumed with finding other spots featured in the flick.  So much so that I even purchased director Penny Marshall’s 2012 autobiography in the hopes that it might shed some light on the subject.  One locale that I did not need to put any effort into tracking down was Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, aka the building that portrayed the New York British Consulate in the movie, which fellow stalker Mick managed to pinpoint in February 2014.  He had been searching for the place for a while and, on a whim, emailed screen captures to a friend in the hopes that he might recognize it.  It turned out to be a fortuitous move because the friend wrote right back saying, “Hey, that’s on my street!”  I was floored when Mick relayed the news and ran right out to stalk the site while in Manhattan in April.

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum originally served as the private residence of wealthy industrialist/philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who purchased the land on which the structure now stands in 1889.  At the time, the area was rather rural, which gave Carnegie ample space to built a large estate flanked by a sprawling garden.  He hired the Babb, Cook & Willard architecture firm to design the dwelling, asking them to create “the most modest, plainest, and most roomy house in New York.”  If what’s pictured below is modest and plain, I can’t imagine what Carnegie considered grandiose and ornate!

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The 64-room, 4-story (that does not include the three-level basement!) estate was quite innovative for its day, boasting an Otis passenger elevator, a steel frame, and a central heating and cooling system, among many other luxurious amenities.

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I am in love with the mansion’s gilded glass and copper canopy, which always catches my eye during viewings of Jumpin’ Jack Flash and was no less striking in person.

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Today, the property, which has been dubbed the “Carnegie Mansion” or the “Carnegie Hill Mansion,” houses a massive collection of design artifacts including textiles, furnishings, clothing, lighting fixtures, and jewelry that once belonged to sisters Amy, Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt.  The collection was originally displayed at the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, which was established in 1897 at Cooper Union college located at 7 East 7th Street.  The museum was shuttered in 1963 and the Hewitt sisters’ assemblage was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution in 1967.  It was then moved to the Carnegie Mansion in 1970, at which time the property underwent a renovation before being opened to the public as Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 1976.

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In 2011, the site was shuttered for an extensive three-year, $91-million renovation and expansion.  It re-opened in 2014 as Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, one of the most cutting-edge and technologically-advanced institutions of its kind.  You can read about a few of the property’s most unique innovations here.

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The Carnegie Mansion popped up as the Manhattan British Consulate numerous times in Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

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Most notably, it was the site of the Queen’s Anniversary Ball that Terry crashed in rather conspicuous fashion (i.e. dressed up as Diana Ross while lip-synching “You Can’t Hurry Love”).

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Only the exterior of the Carnegie Mansion was shown in the movie.  Scenes involving the interior of the British Consulate were filmed at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.

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Jumpin’ Jack Flash is hardly the first production to make use of the Carnegie Mansion.  Way back in 1955, it appeared in Daddy Long Legs as the Pendleton House art gallery.

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The property was the site of the car crash at the beginning of the 1976 thriller Marathon Man.

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The estate played the home of Martha Bach (Geraldine Fitzgerald), Arthur Bach’s (Dudley Moore) grandmother, in the 1981 comedy Arthur.

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In the 1988 film Working Girl, the Carnegie Mansion masked as the Union Club, where Jack Trainer (Harrison Ford) and Tess McGill (Melanie Griffith) crashed a wedding.

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The Carnegie Mansion was also shown briefly in the 1993 comedy For Love or Money.

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And in the Season 1 episode of Gossip Girl titled “Much ‘I Do’ About Nothing,” the Carnegie Mansion was where Lily van der Woodsen (Kelly Rutherford) and Bart Bass (Robert John Burke) got married.

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The ceremony scene was shot in The Arthur Ross Terrace and Garden, the museum’s enclosed rear garden which is open to the public daily, free of charge.  Bart and Lily’s reception did not place at the Carnegie Mansion, but at the Madison Room of the Lotte New York Palace hotel.

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The Carnegie Mansion is also said to have made appearances in 1973’s Godspell and 1976’s The Next Man, but I was unable to find copies of those movies with which to make screen captures for this post.

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On a Jumpin’ Jack Flash side-note – I was floored to discover while scanning through the movie to make screen captures for this post that the police station featured in the flick is none other than the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off police station!  How it took me this to recognize it is beyond me, but better late than never.

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For more stalking fun, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles.

Big THANK YOU to Mick for finding this location!  Smile

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Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Stalk It: Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, aka the British Consulate from Jumpin’ Jack Flash, is located at 2 East 91st Street on New York’s Upper East Side.  You can visit the museum’s official website here.

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2 comments

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  1. Nat says:

    I remember watching that movie with you non-stop on one trip to Kona.

  2. Richard Y says:

    WOW, another Hills Bros. movie location to add to my list.


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