LOCATION, LOCATION, Location #14 – Revealed ~ Wayne’s World

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Did ‘ya Guess It?

Our fourteenth Location, Location, Location? sent us back to a previous location we’ve visited before (on the south side of Chicago) – Sh’yeah, right!!

The answer to this week’s Location, Location, Location? comes from the 1992 comedy film, Wayne’s World  – the streets of “Aurora, Illinois”.  Since this is the second time we’re visiting the world of Wayne, we’ve added 73% new content!

Wayne’s World (1992)

 

Let’s take a look at the NOW and THEN pictures and a bit of information about the location …

(A click on each picture will expand them into a new window for a better look)

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‘Wayne’s World’ Aurora, Illinois –  Actually located in Covina, California

 

Wayne’s World became one of the most successful comedies of all time derived from a “Saturday Night Live” original sketch created by Mike Myers. It went on to spawn a sequel and forever changed the American vernacular with regard to expressions of partying and sarcastic response – “Excellent!”

One key aspect of the world of Wayne is that he and his best friend Garth live in Aurora, Illinois, “which is a suburb of Chicago,” home to their Public Access TV Show, “Wayne’s World”. So, did producers actually film the movie in Aurora, Illinois? Well, sort of.

Principal photography for Wayne’s World primarily took place in and around several Los Angeles suburbs, also utilizing the Paramount Pictures studio lot. Second Unit photography did occur in Aurora and Chicago, but due to clever movie magic, Wayne and Garth (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey) never actually filmed in the Midwest. “Wow! What a totally amazing, excellent discovery!”

So what about the streets of Aurora, Illinois most notably seen in the opening of the film when Wayne and Garth are cruising the town? Remember when Wayne, Garth, Alan, Terry (and Phil) famously sing along to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody? If filming with the actors didn’t take place in Aurora, where did the filmmakers go to film this memorable scene? Try Covina, California, which is a suburb of Los Angeles.

“Ex-squeeze me? Baking powder?” Yep, Aurora, Illinois, for the most part, was filmed in the “Old Town” district of Covina, California.  And would you believe this totally amazing fact … the head-banging scene in addition to almost all of the nighttime cruising shots with Wayne and Garth in the opening of the film were accomplished on a stretch of road (Citrus Ave.) less than two blocks long?

No way!”  

Way!  It’s true.

We think that we’re in Aurora. Only that’s not Aurora. Isn’t that weird?

"You're partied out, man."

“You’re partied out, man.”

Produced on a shoestring budget and done so with much economy by director Penelope Spheeris, Wayne’s World was shot in less than one month’s time. The use of a single block of road to film Wayne and Garth’s nighttime adventures in the Mirthmobile only made sense for a production on the move. In addition to the Bohemian Rhapsody rock-out, other segments were filmed utilizing both sides of the street in Covina … all within a guitar pick’s throw of one another around one intersection on College and Citrus Avenues. Take a look at the first Now and Then picture above and you’ll see an intersection that utilized three out of its four corners for scenes in the film.

Remember when Wayne picked up the partied-out Phil in front of Powell’s Camera Shop? That location was on one corner of Old Town Covina. Today, it’s a bar and the front of the building has changed quite a bit, but you can still see familiar identifiers such as a lamp post, hospital sign and even the same tree (now grown) – minus one Aurora bench. On a side note, the actor who played Phil (Sean Sullivan) was one of Griff Tannen’s gang members in 1885 in Back to the Future Part III (1990).

"Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?"

“Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”

Heading kitty-corner across the street from Powell’s Camera Shop, you’ll find a row of businesses that lead up to a corner. This was the intersection where Wayne pulled up to a gleaming white Rolls-Royce and asked the backseat passenger if he had any Grey Poupon. The businesses and facades have changed a bit over the years, the trees are grown up, but the hobby shop (Covina Hobby) is still there. In the movie it was called “Active Hobby”. What you realize when visiting the location in person is that the street, made to look like a four-lane road in the movie, is actually just a two-lane. To film the Grey Poupon scene, the Rolls-Royce is actually stopped over a couple business parking spots. Hmm. Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out that the white Rolls-Royce used in Wayne’s World was the same white Rolls-Royce that Marty avoided hitting in Back to the Future Part III.  They sure look the same!

We then see the Mirthmobile and the Rolls pull across the intersection past the “Aurora Bank & Trust” which is a Citibank today. That bank can be seen in the opening shot of the movie during Penelope Spheeris’ director credit. If you’re keeping track, the bank is right across the street from Powell’s Camera Shop where Garth got his “no-honk guarantee” from Wayne about transporting Phil. The other corner where they didn’t film? Today there’s a Starbucks Coffee Shop. Sorry, Stan Mikita’s Donuts location is quite a drive away from Covina.

Aurora Bank & Trust - located in Covina, CA

Aurora Bank & Trust – located in Covina, CA

And what about Wayne’s music store mecca seen during their nighttime cruise where he stopped and lusted after Excalibur – his dream guitar? Well, if you drive about 40 miles northwest of Covina, you’ll end up in the town of San Fernando where the real Cassell’s Music Store is still in existence. Take a visit during business hours and you might even find some Wayne’s World memorabilia left over. The store was dressed up a bit for the movie with a neon sign and some facade work and for the most part, hasn’t changed much since filming in 1992.

The film went on to make $121,697,350 in the US Box Office and still holds up to this day as an extremely entertaining comedy. What’s great for fans is that almost all the locations used (including many from the second-unit shots in Chicago) still exist today in one form or another. Interestingly, these few locations mentioned on LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? so far only constitute a small portion of a list of several locations around Southern California used to make Wayne’s World and Wayne’s World 2. We may have to revisit Wayne’s world again. “Fished In!”

Cassell's Music - San Fernando, CA

Cassell’s Music – San Fernando, CA

If you’re interested in reading about Wayne and Garth’s house, check out the 4th LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? entry here: http://beyondthemarquee.com/9230/ 

Well, that’s all the time I have for this article. I hope you found it entertaining, whimsical and yet relevant, with an underlying revisionist conceit that bullied the article’s emotional attachments to the subject matter … actually, I just hope you didn’t think it sucked!

Keep tuning in to Beyond the Marquee for the next Location, Location Location? Challenge!

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There are three things that matter in filmmaking and television:

Location, Location, Location.

Exclusive to Beyond the Marquee, LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? is a popular recurring feature that chooses random filming locations from some famous (and not so famous) film and television productions throughout the years. The locations are posted for BTM viewers to take a guess as to what movie or TV show the location was used.

The location as it looks NOW is posted on a Monday. On Wednesday, the answer and THEN picture identifying the location as it was seen on the large or small screen is identified, usually with a brief history lesson to go with it. Some entries may be very easy to guess, others may be difficult and sometimes a clue will be given to help point people toward the right answer.

The goal is not to point out exact address information for these locations, but to encourage viewers to put on their own marquee’ologist hats and experience the thrill of the hunt to discover and visit these real world settings themselves.

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Previous LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? Entries can be found here:

http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/original-featured-sections/location-location-location/

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Kevin Stern is a co-producer and contributing writer for Beyond the Marquee. His articles can be found on BTM via this link: http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/articles-by-author/kevin-stern/

Kevin can be reached via e-mail at: kevin@beyondthemarquee.com

 

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