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“Christmas with the Kranks” Studio Locations

Dec 23rd, 2016 | By | Category: Movie Locations

Since I have been on such a Christmas with the Kranks kick as of late, I thought I’d finish out this year’s Yuletide posts by blogging about the movie’s studio locations.  The 2004 comedy was unusual in that it utilized the backlots of not one, not two, but three different L.A.-area studios!

The main backlot set featured in Christmas with the Kranks was the Hemlock Street neighborhood at the now defunct Downey Studios, formerly located at 12214 Lakewood Boulevard in Downey.  The residential complex, which took 12 weeks to construct at a cost of $5 million and was comprised of 16 Midwest-style homes, was built specifically for the movie after producers came up empty-handed searching for a Chicago-area community to use in the production.  When Christmas with the Kranks wrapped, Downey Studios chose to leave the expansive set intact to be used in future productions.  It subsequently popped up in Pineapple Express, Supernatural, 24, and the Jonas Brothers’ “Paranoid” music video.  Unfortunately, Downey Studios was shuttered in 2012 and all of its sets and soundstages razed, including Hemlock Street.  Today, a retail complex known as The Promenade at Downey stands on the site.

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During the time that Downey Studios was in operation, the Hemlock Street homes were visible to passersby from nearby roads.  I stalked the place back in 2011 and seeing the façades was a thrill to say the least.  You can read a more extensive post I wrote about the former studio here.

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Because Downey Studios lacked a downtown backlot set, the production team had to venture elsewhere to film the movie’s urban scenes.  They found what they were looking for (well, in part) at Universal Studios Hollywood, located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City. It was in the studio’s New York Street area that cast and crew shot the scene involving Chip’s Market, where Luther Krank (Tim Allen) attempted to buy white chocolate and pistachios for his wife, Nora (Jamie Lee Curtis).

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The Pumpkin Seed Paperie & Press stationary store, where Nora failed to place her annual Christmas card order, was also located on New York Street.  Unfortunately, the façades used in the movie were destroyed by a fire in 2008 and no longer exist.  You can see some images of them on The Studio Tour website here, here, here, and here.

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Though not a backlot location, it bears mentioning that another spot at Universal made an appearance in Christmas with the Kranks.  One of the property’s restaurants, The Studio Grill by Wolfgang Puck, is where Nora lunched with her friends Merry (Felicity Huffman) and Candi (Caroline Rhea) at the beginning of the movie.  You can check out some photos of the eatery here.

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For whatever reason, when it came time to film the scene in which Officers Salino (Cheech Marin) and Treen (Jake Busey) drive Blair Krank (Julie Gonzalo) and her new fiancé, Enrique Decardenal (Rene Lavan), home from the airport, producers chose not to utilize the Universal backlot, but instead headed over to Warner Bros. Studio, located at 3400 West Riverside Drive in Burbank.  (Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for the photo that appears below, which he took during one of the many WB tours that we’ve embarked upon together.)

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The scene was shot on Warner Bros. Studio’s famed Hennesy Street.

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The spot where the officers arrest a burglar in the scene can be found in the southeastern portion of Hennesy Street.

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If that area looks familiar to my fellow stalkers, that’s because it should.  It has been immortalized in numerous iconic productions over the years.

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I chronicled some of its onscreen appearances for both Los Angeles magazine and Discover Los Angeles, but figured it was worthy of a re-cap.

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The same area of the backlot is most famous for being the site of the upside-down kiss in 2002’s Spider-Man.

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It also served as the rear of the Hudson St. Home for Girls in the 1982 musical Annie.

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The southeastern portion of Hennesy Street masked as the block in Okinawa, Japan where Sato’s (Danny Kamekona) dojo was located in 1986’s The Karate Kid Part II.

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It was also there that Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) introduced herself to Jean-Claude Van Damme in the Season 2 episode of Friends titled “The One After the Superbowl: Part 2.”

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Carrie Bradshaw (Sarah Jessica Parker) attempted to smoke there in the Season 3 episode of Sex and the City titled “Escape from New York.”

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And the area was also used as the exterior of Toby Cavanaugh’s (Keegan Allen) loft on Pretty Little Liars.

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I would like to wish all of my fellow stalkers a very Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone has a safe and joyous holiday!  My posts in the coming week will be light, but I promise to be back in 2017 with lots of new content!

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

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

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