I had a meeting in LA with a friend last Friday in Glendale. Instead of fighting the traffic on the way back home (I live a couple hours out), I decided to stick around and find a few locations I had been writing about. Adjacent to Glendale is a community called Pasadena – famous for their rose parade and being the setting of “The Big Bang Theory”. Having just written a dailies quiz on Back to the Future, I decided to see if I could find Doc Brown’s mansion. And you know what – I didn’t even need to go 88mph to do it:
The exterior of Doc Brown’s mansion was filmed at the The Gamble house (4 Westmoreland Place, Pasadena, California). Built for David B. Gamble of Proctor and Gamble fame in 1908-1909, the house now a historical landmark and museum (unfortunately I arrived after they had closed). According to Wikipedia: Today, two 5th year USC architecture students live in the house full-time; the selected students change annually. The home is commonly described as America’s Arts and Crafts masterpiece and that really isn’t an exaggeration. Unfortunately my phone’s dynamic range can’t really render the richness of the dark wood when being backlit by the setting sun, but it truly is a marvel. After seeing no one else around, I didn’t want to snoop around and look suspicious so I didn’t try to make my way to the back.
On my way out I decided to drive through the Colorado Street Bridge which is literally down the street from the Gamble House. Visible from 134 freeway the Colorado Street Bridge may be everybody’s favorite bridge location – certainly part of La La Land‘s tour of LA Landmarks.
I couldn’t find a easily accessible parking spot so I didn’t stop for a picture. Besides, there was another living LA set that I wanted to find – the Bradbury Building in downtown Los Angeles.
Located at 304 S. Broadway in Los Angeles – The Bradbury Building’s iconic interior is best known as the setting for the J. F. Sebastian’s creepy home in Blade Runner. Unfortunately, just as with the Gamble house, I arrived just after they had closed so all of the interior I could get was through the window of the door.
Across the street from the Bradbury building is the “Million Dollar Theater” which had signs advertising it’s availability as a filming location. Next door to that is Grand Central Market an indoor bazaar of little eateries offering a range of ethnic foods (featured in La La Land of course as well as other films). I was getting hungry but I couldn’t shake the notion that I would be paying tourist prices to eat here.
So I hopped back into my car and followed Broadway across the 101 and skid row to Chinatown to a familiar place, one of the few restaurants still opened and had some Shrimp Chow Fun. By the time I was finished the infamous Friday traffic had evaporated and it was smooth sailing home.