THE KARATE KID Apartment Filming Location – Revisited

June 22nd marked the 30th Anniversary of the release of the original Karate Kid, and if you were a kid growing up in the 80’s, there’s little doubt this film probably left an indelible mark on your childhood. The film was a gigantic hit and not only resonated with audiences in theaters but also found much life on VHS tapes that were played at countless birthday parties, sleepovers, school classrooms and generally just hanging out with friends. If you’ve ever attempted the Crane Kick, count yourself a fan of the original Karate Kid.

Last year, Beyond the Marquee’s own, LOCATION, LOCATION, Location?, made a visit to one of the most memorable locations of the film and in honor of the film’s 30th Anniversary, we thought we’d take a look at it again. Since our first visit, not much has changed and it’s still one of those rare filming locations you can see in person and easily be transported back in time to experience what it was like in the movie. So, without further ado, put on your tenugui (headband), pull out your chopsticks, open up a can of wax (or paint), click on Read More and take a trip back to 1984.

Did ‘ya Guess It?

Our tenth LOCATION, LOCATION, Location?  should have been pretty familiar to anyone growing up in the 80’s with a sharp eye and quick reflexes.

The answer is none other than the apartment complex which featured prominently in 1984’s hit movie, The Karate Kid.

 

Karate Kid Poster - BTM

 

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

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The original movie, The Karate Kid, released in June of 1984, went on to become one of the biggest box office earners of that year, closely echoing the theme and success of director John G. Avildsen’s 1976 sports hit, Rocky.  Realistically set in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California, the movie was a rarity in that the majority of filming locations were very closely tied to each other in terms of proximity, usually only varying a few towns over from one another.

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One prominent palm tree is missing from the background nowadays.

The South Seas apartment complex is a real apartment complex located in the valley and still exists today virtually unchanged except for some minor landscape alterations (ie, missing palm trees).  Despite what you may hear from the filmmakers on the DVD commentary, the apartment complex has not been torn down and is well worth a visit if you’re a Karate Kid fan.  What’s amazing is how unchanged the location has remained throughout the years since filming.  Granted, you’ll notice one of the three prominent backdrop palm trees seen in the film missing in addition to some changed front lawn landscaping and heavily barred gates over all the entrances nowadays.  However, the building in general along with the surrounding area remain the same and your ability to transport yourself back to 1984 won’t take much imagination.  It’s just recommended that you visit during the daytime as it’s not the best area to be hanging around at night.

Some things to notice while on location here are the large landscaped rocks out front which haven’t changed since 1984.  A closer look can also reveal that the gutters are all in the same place, albeit a different painted color.  Around back, you might not be able to figure out where Mr. Miyagi’s tool shed was located at first glance.  That’s because it was a product of movie magic and built into part of the parking structure under the building.  Today, the walled facade is gone, but orienting yourself with the entryway to the pool yard inside and some other defining features on the wall will easily show you where Mr. Miyagi spent his time catching flies in 1984.

 

The shed for Mr. Miyagi was constructed just for the film in the apartment's parking space.

The tool shed for Mr. Miyagi was constructed just for the film in the apartment’s parking space.

 

The pool, surprisingly, is no longer empty and you can still spot Apartment 20 on the second level inside the complex.  Just across from Mr. Miyagi’s tool shed, you’ll find yourself looking at a dumpster located in the exact same spot as the dumpster Daniel Larusso throws his bike into in 1984.  It borders a chain-link fence that surrounds a field that also featured prominently in the film just prior to Mr. Miyagi’s surprise appearance as a force to be reckoned with.  Without a doubt, this location is a great place to revisit some memorable scenes from the film.

 

A dumpster of a different color echoes the location as it looked in 1984.

A dumpster of a different color echoes the location as it looked in 1984.

 

The South Seas apartment complex is just one location out of several used through the San Fernando Valley and Southern California for The Karate Kid.  Do your research online and you’ll be surprised at how many varying Karate Kid locations you can visit in the same and neighboring towns to the South Seas.  The filmmakers really did a good job keeping the production local and the majority of those places still remain the same today.  They’re all well worth a visit, as long as you’ve finished waxing your car beforehand.   

 

'The Karate Kid' apartment complex.  Still pretty much the same today.

‘The Karate Kid’ apartment complex. Still pretty much the same today.

 

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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 highlights 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. ____________________________________________________________________________

Previous LOCATION, LOCATION, Location? entries can be found here: http://beyondthemarquee.com/category/about-us/original-featured-sections/location-location-location/ ____________________________________________________________________________

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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