“Too Close for Comfort” Final Season Filming LocationsSep 29th, 2016 | By Lindsay | Category: Michael's Guest Posts, TV Locations
It’s Day 4 of my friend Michael’s fabulous guest post week here at IAMNOTASTALKER! (You check out his other columns from this week here, here and here, and his previous guest articles here, here, here and here.). Today’s locale is a longtime unknown site from a show I loved as a kid! Enjoy!
Although I’m a Ted Knight fan, I never watched much of his final television show, Too Close for Comfort. I remember reruns of the show airing in the 90s, but I could never get into it for one very superficial reason—I hated the set design. Specifically, I didn’t like the daughters’ apartment with its rusty maroon walls and and zigzag rainbow zipping around the room. It felt like every color clashed with the next and the color timing that resulted from the show being shot on tape rather than film didn’t help make the decor any more palatable for me.
The first five seasons of the show were set in San Francisco, where a house at 171-173 Buena Vista Avenue East was shown in establishing shots. But in 1986, for the sixth and final season, the program was renamed The Ted Knight Show, and the plot moved the characters across the bay to Mill Valley where Henry (Ted Knight) had purchased a minority share in a local newspaper, the Marin Bugler. In real life, Ted Knight passed away at the end of the season, concluding the series. Subsequently, the sixth season was renamed “Too Close for Comfort,” and is included along with the rest of the series in syndication packages.
With the fictional move to Mill Valley came new establishing shots and an updated opening title. The real-life location of the primary characters’ main residence—a grand Victorian, complete with a turret and perched on a hill—seemed to go unidentified for years. While planning a trip to California this summer, I made a point to see if I could finally track it down.
A Mill Valley newspaper wrote a piece three years ago contemplating the home’s true location. According to the article, Mill Valley Library’s history exports didn’t recognize the house and suspected it was located elsewhere in the county. With this in mind, I started looking at nearby towns where the production crew could have filmed the establishing shots. I first ruled out Sausalito, thinking that since it’s such a popular destination, if the house were there, it surely would have been discovered and linked to the show by now. Instead, I concentrated on the towns of Almonte, Tiburon, Larkspur and Greenbrae. After a lot of dead ends, I decided to circle back and see if it had been hiding in plain site all this time. I started searching for houses with turrets in Sausalito aerial maps and remarkably, it was the second house I zeroed-in on.
Last month while I was in San Francisco, I hoped on the Sausalito ferry and went to see the house for myself.
Thanks to poor cell phone data reception, it took me awhile to find the house on foot without my trusty Google Maps. But, once you know where it is, it’s actually very easy to get to (How’s that for a truism?). If you’re in downtown Sausalito, you’ll notice a staircase at the corner of Bridgeway and El Monte Lane (next to Casa Madrona Hotel & Spa). Take that staircase up 100-or-so steps, and while possibly out of breath (I was), you’ll be right in front of the Victorian on Bulkley Avenue.
Although plant growth conceals more of the structure than in the 1980s, I’m happy to report that the house looks like it’s been taken very good care of.
I had slightly bad timing with my visit. The sun had started to set behind the house (never a good situation for photography) and a neighbor’s gardener had just cut down a tree and was blowing the detritus off the street. He didn’t seem too concerned with my presence as he, with great velocity, blanketed me with sawdust.
In addition to the house, producers filmed an assortment of establishing shots in downtown Sausalito.
Footage filmed on Bridgeway near Bay and Anchor Streets and next to Vina Del Mar Park were often used to establish scenes set at the newspaper.
An elevated view of Sausalito closed out the opening titles. You can see a similar vista today on Ebbtide Avenue and Stanford Way.
Although the Victorian was located in Sausalito, Mill Valley wasn’t completely left out of Too Close for Comfort. The town, six miles north of Sausalito, with a population hovering around 14,0000, was seen via establishing shot in nearly each episode of the sixth season. A shot of The Depot (currently a bookstore and cafe, and previously a train station) was frequently shown before scenes set at home.
And in the opening titles, the camera pans across the intersection of Throckmorton Avenue and Bernard Street (panning north starting at The Depot). The town looks just as quaint today.
I’m also happy to report that Mill Valley is a charming town. I’d never been before and had a wonderful time visiting for the afternoon. Delicious lunch, nice shops, friendly people, plus I’ve never seen so many well-groomed dogs in one place.
Editor’s Note – Thank you, once again, Michael for another entertaining and illuminating post! Being that I grew up just outside of San Francisco and watched Too Close for Comfort regularly, this one was particularly close to my heart.
Stalk Them: The Too Close for Comfort “Mill Valley” house is located at 141 Bulkley Avenue in Sausalito. The Too Close for Comfort Sausalito aerial view was shot near Ebbtide Avenue & Stanford Way in Sausalito. The Too Close for Comfort Sausalito Establishing Shot Number 1 was taken at Bridgeway between Bay and Anchor Streets in Sausalito. The Too Close for Comfort Sausalito Establishing Shot Number 2 was taken at Bridgeway near Vina Del Mar Park in Sausalito. The Too Close for Comfort Mill Valley Establishing Shots were taken at 87 Throckmorton Avenue in Mill Valley.