Archive for March, 2013

25
Mar
13

Psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 6

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Part 6 of the then and now comparisons takes us from Bakersfield California,  to a small Mini Cooper dealership located at 4270 Lankersham Blvd in North Hollywood, and then Back to the North side of Bakersfield.That car lot is about a mile and a half from Universal Studios. I have worked on that lot a thousand times and drove by this dealer equally as much and until I started doing this research I never would have known that this car lot was the one used 50 years earlier in Mr. Hitchcock’s Psycho. As usual before I went to the lot I put the Psycho DVD in my computer and made a series of frame grabs from the film. Once in the vicinity I parked my truck and started lining up the establishing shot from the middle of the road. I was really excited about getting inside and chatting with the owner about what a famous location they had. Everywhere I was at prior was met with great excitement that such a classic motion picture was filmed where they worked or lived. I expected the same when I went into the dealership but I was terribly mistaken. When I went in I asked to talk to someone about taking pictures here and surprisingly the lady at the counter said that there is someone on their way  who wants to talk to you. Within seconds I was met by a rather uppity lady who asked If I was the one in the street taking pictures a minute ago??   I introduced myself and told her what I was wanting to do. She roughly spouted off that mine was a completely unrealistic request and that this is a place of business and that any picture taking was not acceptable… Then she went on saying that it was also not allowed to shoot the lot from the street. HAA! I laughed and said really!!! And she said YES REALLY! I found out long ago to diffuse a bomb quickly and quietly, you don’t shake it first,,, SO I thanked her very graciously for her time and she spun on her heels and headed off in the direction she came. I looked at the lady I first was talking to and said, She must be a barrel of laughs to work with, She laughed back and said OH YEAH ALL THE TIME.. I then asked what time does Miss sugar and sweetness come to work in the morning,, The young lady said never before 10:00. I said OK, and would you like a copy of the pictures that I am going to take tomorrow morning before 10:00??  She said I sure do, so off I went and at 7:30 the next morning I was there and ready to shoot.. Just to clear my way, there was a maintenance crew there washing cars, etc. I asked the main man that I needed to grab some pix and he said shoot away, HAAA! I couldn’t believe that attitude of that gal. Anyways I shot away for about and hour, and about a month later I took a disc of the pix to the lady at the front desk. When I saw her she said guess what. I said that lady sweetness must have seen me coming, made and called and the police. She chuckled and said noooooooo,,,,,, She’s gone!! She doesn’t work here anymore. HOW COOL I said, it must be a much happier place to work now. As we were talking another lady working the floor came up and asked if I would like to see any of their cars. I thought about it for a moment then asked if I could shoot some then and now pictures of the lot—This is where they filmed some scenes from Psycho 50 years ago. SHE got all bright eyed and said OH yes I know.. People come here all the time to snap pictures of the lot because of Psycho,, Your more than welcome to.. I said thanks and explained what had happened earlier. She smiled and said have fun and be sure to bring me a set of the pictures when your done.. SO besides the drama that was associated with shooting here it was very fun to find all the right spots. The place has drastically changed, and a lot of new buildings have been added as well as many extensions and the closing in of the main covered viewing area. Thankfully there were enough key spots still in existence to line up  all the frames that I needed to match up. Now Back to the other side of Bakersfield where the second unit crew filmed traveling road scenes for later rear screen projection screen shots. The route used was the 99 Hwy between Bakersfield and Fresno CA. Sadly This set of then and now pictures will conclude all of the off Studio locations. The rest of the film was shot on the Universal back lot and sound Stages so stay tuned for the next set in the then and now pictures from PSYCHO!

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After Marion (Janet Leigh's) murder, Vera Miles and John Gavin travel back and forth between the Bates Motel and the town of Fairvale in search of the missing Marion.

After Marion (Janet Leigh’s) murder, Vera Miles and John Gavin travel back and forth between the Bates Motel and the town of Fairvale in search of the missing Marion.

 

24
Mar
13

Psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcocks 1960 masterpiece, part 5

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Part 5 of the Than and now images takes us to the California town of Bakersfield.  From Gorman where the previous blog entry of the locations were discussed, Hitchcock shot in Gorman CA. and then headed down the 99 (Now the 5 freeway) through the Grapevine to the low laying Vally below. Once on the valley floor the 5 freeway forks with the old 99 giving you a choice of Sacramento on the 5 or Bakersfield on the 99. Just before you reach Bakersfield the 99 has been rerouted more to the west of down town. there is an exit called Union that veers to the NE and this is what was the original route 99 that took you to Bakersfield in 1960. Once you travel down Union for several miles you will come to the intersection of California and Union which is where Hitchcock did a short shot  from Janet Leigh’s POV.  As she crosses over California she then makes an immediate right onto Sonoma Street. The film then cuts from Bakersfield to a car lot in North Hollywood. When looking for this location I simply followed the old route 99 into Bakersfield. With my little frame grabs at hand I thought this would be an easy one to find…. I was wrong. I drove the length of that road 3 or 4 times to no avail. I figured the next best idea to try would be to find the city planning office. It wasn’t to far away from where I was and once there I had a whole slew of folks helping me find this road. One gentleman in the back office overheard what we were talking about and he hollered out, Hey that was once Sonoma street.. It’s been moved. He then called us in his office and he popped up some old street maps from the 60’s and sure enough the street had been moved. The office confirmed the location of California and Union and helped me find exactly where Sanoma Street used to connect to Union. So My camera and I were on our way to to capture the next set of then and now’s.

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here is a quick map of the intersection today with notes helping to decipher the way the roads were 50 years ago.

here is a quick map of the intersection today with notes helping to decipher the way the roads were 50 years ago.

 

 

22
Mar
13

Pinup friday with miss gabby French

Gabby French

Gabby French

Gabby is a big superstar here on the blog and rightfully so! we did three shoots together and I have more incredible pictures to share than from most shoots combined!! This is a favorite picture from what we have done so far and couldn’t wait to post it.  Enjoy!

22
Mar
13

psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcock’s 1960 masterpiece. part 4

Hitchcock on the set

Hitchcock on the set

Today’s installment takes us from Arizona to a little California truck stop town called Gorman. If your taking the 5 freeway from LA to either San  Francisco or Bakersfield you will traverse up a long steep grade to a little summit truck stop town called Gorman.  Gorman is the stop just before you descend into the valley flats through a tretchous pass called the Grapevine. In 1960 the 5 freeway was called the 99 and it would take you directly into Bakesfield. The 5 freeway has replaced this portion of the 99 through the pass and is a massive thouroughfare compared to what it once was. In regards to Psycho I came across this area by chance  because I lived nearby. I would take this back route to work and one day I didn’t make it to the gas station in Gorman and was stuck on the side of the road waiting for AAA to come by. I was on a side street called Gorman Post Road. which Parrealled the 5 freeway. Anyways I was sitting there looking at the landscape and I was thinking that it looked so very familiar. I was in the middle of pulling the frame grabs for the Pheonix locations at this same time. Later that eveneing when I was going over the shots I got to the point in the film Where Janet Leigh has pulled over to take a nap. Her car is parked by a telephone pole in a smooth hilly country side setting. HMMMM looks  like the same place I ran out of gas today I thought.. As ironic as it sounds it was the same place I had run out of gas.. Holly smokes this is wear the road side shots were done.. I had read that Psycho was filmed in PHX, Gorman, and Bakersfield, but I had no idea that this was the spot… The Pheonix locations were the only thing I was wanteing to recreate at this time and everything else hadnt really been something I could accomplish.  I had looked at Gorman earlier on in my search but I was on the other side of the town and nothing was lining up.. It appeared that the entire area had been renovated and that most likly the old locations no longer existed so I didn’t pursue the matter any further. This little gas accident put new light on the subject so I made frame grabs of this entire section of the film. The following Saturday I was on Gorman Post road and started to line up the then and now shots. The first few were fairly easy but it was clear to see that the roads closer to Gorman were not the same. Hitchcock used about a mile and a half of roadway for this segement and today only about 3/4 of a mile of the original 1960 roads still exist.. I had to make severel trips back to make the locations line up. manytimes hanging over fences and standing in the middle of the freeway… Thankfully the hilly landscape and a majority of the fence posts are still there so I had a lot of reference to line up the shots. All and all I was able to match up a great deal of what Hitchcock had filmed although there are a few more I would have liked to have been able to do. The attempts were there but they were long grasps as far as making a worthy then and now representation. The one I wanted the most is an over the shoulder shot looking at Janet Leigh as she watches the patrolman exit the freeway in her rear window. For one reason the camera is to low to match up the hillside, and the other is that the  freeway exit has been moved by about a quarter mile so this shot sadly could not be done.  Some of the more fun images to do were the rear view mirror shots. I quickly found that both the view out the window and the view in the mirror were never in the same place and a lot of backtracking was needed to get the right spots to line up. I was able to get all but one of the mirror shots recreated and next time I am out I’ll shoot what I need to make the last. So with all that said here is about as complete of a then and now as I could put together for this area, so sit on back and enjoy Gorman CA from a Psycho’s point of view.

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21
Mar
13

8 weeks and counting, Star Trek into darkness

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Only 8 weeks to go!!! Can’t wait can’t wait!!! We never got to read the script, Only our direct supervisors did and they relay to us coded notes on what we were to draw.. so much security and mystery!!! Can’t wait to see how it all comes together.

21
Mar
13

psycho filming locations, a then and now look at Hitchcocks 1960 masterpiece. part 3

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Welcome to part 3 of the “then and now” filming locations from Mr Alfred Hitchcock’s incredible motion Picture, “PSYCHO” Growing up in Phoenix Arizona and being a huge fan of movies, I was always very excited when I would hear about a film that was made in my own home town. four favorites come to mind. Robert Zemeckis’s “Used Cars”, John Carpenter’s “Starman”, the Coen Brother’s classic “Raising Arizona” and a little movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock called “PSYCHO”.  When I got the Psycho on DVD a few years back I loved being reintroduced to this masterpiece. There was even a bonus disc filled with extras and a brilliant documentary on the making of the film. When I was watching all of this very new information about the movie I started to wonder if any of those old locations in Phoenix still existed. On my next trip home I was downtown and found the hotel and was amazed it was still standing. from there on my curiosity got the best of me and I was inspired to document what I could find of Hitchcock’s original filming locations. Today’s insert features all the street level locations, that were used as background materiel for a series of processed shots to be mixed with live action scenes shot at Universal Studios. I have made a couple of maps that will piece all of the Phoenix shots into perspective as well as some vintage imagery that helped solve a lot of mysteries.  Two of the shots were giving me a lot of difficulty in locating and I was almost ready to write them off as spots that no longer existed. While searching the internet for old downtown PHX pictures I kept coming across a series of pictures in large formats from the 30’s through the 50’s. By following the pix to their origin I came across the website of a gentleman named Brad Hall. Brad was a graphic designer for Valley national bank ( which is one of the featured landmark buildings in Hitchcock’s pan across PHX) and is also a very passionate historian in regards to everything Phoenix. I wrote Brad about some of his pictures and we became fast friends and fans of Arizona and motion picture history. When ever I would have a question I would send it over and within a few hours a cornucopia of images would be sent my way.. It was easy finding the shots looking North on central. but the shot looking out of the real estate office was making me crazy.  Brad solved this one single handily and it also helped to figure out what the second unit was up to 50 years ago. Back then movie making was much simpler and looking at the shots in the film verses where they were filmed was completely done with common sense.  basically all of the street level shots were done at the intersection of Central and Adams. For the intersection shots the camera is looking North and one shot is slightly to the NE. The street scene viewed from the Real estate office is from the SE corner of Adams looking to the East. Janet Leigh’s hotel is 2 blocks to the south also on Central Avenue, and the Orpheum lofts (the roof top Panorama shot) is one block to the West down Adams. The rear view mirrors shots start at Central and Adams, looking to the South down Central as the camera car drives North. The final shot of Janet Leigh driving out of town was probably the most difficult place to find of all. the scene is a POV shot looking out of the window of the car. There is a divided roadway and a set of train tracks to the right. From the direction from which the sun is setting in the shot, you could tell that the road was heading N.W. diagonal to the more common compass point roadways in Arizona and California. Mr. Hitchcock also filmed in Bakersfield CA and I was sure that he had filmed this shot on the 5 freeway (the 99 in 1960). The roadway is diagonal and looks exactly today as it does in the film but there are no train tracks.  I thought then that perhaps it was San Fernando road by Universal Studios. It’s diagonal with train tracks on the right but there are to many mountains all around to get the same clean shot. I was at a loss.. During one of Brad and I’s conversations, I asked if the train Tracks were on the right side of Grand AVE.  Grand Ave, is a diagonal roadway that starts a few blocks away from all of the downtown PHX locations. He said yes and I sent him over the film grab and sure as night is black we had found the roadway used for this scene. Brad knew all the history of Grand Ave, and in the 60’s this was the only way to get from California to phoenix. There was a small town called Marinette (which is now called Sun City) and this is where we thought these road shots were taken from..  I raced out to Phoenix and did some shots on Grand and the are was no longer an open road but a sprawling city scape with no open areas to be found in the old Marinette city limits. Aside from the build of of business’s, the street and tracks were in correct placement so I did a possible then and now picture correlation.  To help tie in the “then and now”  images I pictured everything in B&W and added car hoods and set exteriors from the original film to help tie in the difference from the same point of view. It was very nice to do this section with Brad and we look forward to one day meeting in person.. All of our correspondents were via email. As much as I wanted to think we had found the right road, the more I looked at the pictures the more I was realizing we were wrong… I did a bit more research and found that the second unit actually filmed the road shots on Highway 99. As I had mentioned earlier the 5 and the 99 en-route to Bakersfield looked right but did not have the train tracks. A big tip from Universal stated that the filming was done on the 99 but on the other side of Bakersfield.  More research shined a light on the fact that Hitchcock traveled this road to the cornfield used in his film “North by North West” I took a quick trip out and the roadway started  to look like the right filming location. The route used was the 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno. So in addition to the mistaken Grand Avenue shot, I have just added the route 99 shot and I hope you all enjoy the comparisons. Be sure to check out Brads page linked below and get ready for a lot of pictures.

http://www.bradhallart.com/phoenix.htm

This will conclude the Arizona portion of the then and now series of locations. Next we move on to Gorman California.

an establishing shot

an establishing shot

Marian, (Janet Leigh) catches site of her boss

Marian, (Janet Leigh) catches site of her boss

Janet Leigh is caught ditching out of work by her boss, the camera is looking slightly to the right down Adams.

Janet Leigh is caught ditching out of work by her boss, the camera is looking slightly to the right down Adams. My mom worked at the Uptons candy store shown in the upper frame when she was a teenager.

The street scene outside the office window.

The street scene outside the office window.

and the hardest location to find, Grand Ave in Sun City. from a once open road to a sprawling senior citizen community

This was the hardest location to find, In the early days of research this is what was thought to be the correct roadway used.. this is the Grand Ave in Sun City location just outside of Phoenix.. Further research proved this was the wrong road way and to view the correct location refer to the shot below. this pic is still here to view to see how easy it was to confuse the streets with what little info there was available…

the actual and correct filming location, the 99 HWY.

the actual and correct filming location, the 99 HWY.

Some of Brads mystery solving techniques!!

Some of Brads mystery solving techniques!!

More of Brads research. the little watch face can be seen directly over Hitchcock's head in the real estate office shot listed above

More of Brads research. the little watch face can be seen to the left of Hitchcock’s head in the real estate office shot listed above

Brads historical map showing the route out of town in the 60's

Brads historical map showing the route out of town in the 60’s

This 2010 map of Phoenix Arizona highlights the camera path of Hitcock's opening panoramic shot

This 2010 map of Phoenix Arizona highlights the camera path of Hitchcock’s opening panoramic shot.

This final map highlights all of the downtown camera positions and their directions of framing.

This final map highlights all of the downtown camera positions and their directions of framing.

20
Mar
13

uss enterprise -e sneak peak

Howdy and here is a sneak peak from next years ships of the line calendar, just sent off the full image to Doug (Monkey Man) Drexler a few days ago and thought I’d share a little bit of the big picture.

 

Enjoy!

bay 2

bay 2




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