On Location With

On Location With Morty

Monday, July 15, 2024
Visit our Sponsor:

A Guide To 
TV Exterior Locations

Many of the TV locations I've written about are in Los Angeles,  and impersonate other locales.  Some TV shows actually shoot "establishing" shots in the cities and towns that the show is supposed to take place in.  "The Mary Tyler Show " is one. In 1970 the producers of MTM found a house that would become known as Mary's for decades to come.  The house belongs to a college professor that  signed away his privacy thinking that the footage of his house was to be used for educational TV related to architecture.

When the fans found out where Mary's house was located they flocked (and continue to flock) to his front yard to have their picture taken in front of Mary Richard's apartment.  Fans have gone so far as to ring his bell and ask if Mary or Phyllis are home.  Each season Mary and the crew would fly to Minneapolis to film new establishing shots.  In 1975 the professor's contract was up,  and not surprisingly he refused to sign again.  Without being able to shoot new footage,  it was decided Mary would move to a new apartment.  Most of us will always consider Mary's only address the big white building with the arched windows from the first 122 episodes.

Other TV historians stop here and let you figure the address out for yourself,  not Morty.  The next time you find yourself with a free afternoon in Minneapolis,  stop by  2104 Kenwood Parkway on the corner of  W. 21st Street.  The house is no longer white, it has been painted a brownish-gold color.

Mary Richards lived in a nice area,  dotted with lakes,  the one she walks by in the opening credits is Lake of the Isles,  it's about two blocks west of the house.  It's an interesting lake,  as it has one real island in the middle of it.  A second island is really a peninsula connected by a thin strip of land.   The lake and house are located between Route 394 and Route 34 (Lyndale Avenue).  I'm surprised Mary could sleep at night,  the Burlington-Northern Railroad is about a block away,  and the mighty Mississippi is about 2 miles from Mary's house.  Remember:  If you go,  Rhoda and Mary are gone,  Phyllis isn't the landlady,  and the real owner doesn't like tourists.

Want to visit "Fantasy Island?"  It's not out of this world,  it's not even out of the country.  Unlike Mary's house,  the owners of the "Fantasy Island" property would be pleased to have you stop by.  Fantasy Island and over one hundred other movies and TV shows have been filmed at the 127 acre Los Angeles State and County Arboretum, 301 N. Baldwin Avenue Los Angeles, CA.  The Queen Anne cottage used in the opening sequences is located beside the lagoon in the historical area of the park.  The seaplane,  which brought guests to the island was moved to the arboretum lagoon by a truck and lowered into the water by a crane.  Other Shows to use this locale include:  Hart to Hart,  Dynasty, Love Boat, Knots Landing and Dallas.


Want to visit the farms shown in the opening credits of "Green Acres?"  Tough luck,  you can't.  The opening sequence was filmed from a car and a plane in the Thousand Oaks area of California,  and they're all gone.  The location is now populated by condominiums, strip malls,  apartments and business warehouses. So much for "land spreadin' out so far and wide."

"Growing Pains" was set in the suburbs of Long Island New York.  Mike (Kirk Cameron) and Carol (Tracey Gold) attended Thomas E. Dewey High School.  It must have been a hell of a bus ride, the school is really located in the Los Feliz area of Los Angeles.  The exterior shots were filmed at John Marshall High School at 3101 Griffith Park Blvd.   John Marshall High was also the location for a prom scene in Highway to Heaven, produced, directed, written and starring the late Michael Landon.  This popular filming location has also been used in L.A. Law, and Uncle Buck.  The school overlooks the Walt Disney studios on Tracy Street, West of the Golden State Freeway.

Where can you get the best medical care with the most drama?  General Hospital.  It didn't take much imagination to name the hospital in the long running daytime soap.  The real name of the hospital was General Hospital.  When the series began in 1963, establishing shots and the opening sequence was filmed at the entrance that faces State Street at 1200 North.  Since then the name of the hospital was changed to "Los Angeles County / University of Southern California Medical Center" (is this progress, or what. . .) And exterior shots are filmed at the entrance on Zonal Avenue and State Street.   Stop in and ask for Dr. Tony Jones.

Here's a piece of trivia I'm surprised Nick at Nite hasn't picked up on: In a famous 1952 "I Love Lucy" episode, Lucy (Lucille Ball) and Ethel (Vivian Vance) take a bus tour of the stars homes while staying in Hollywood.  When the bus stops at Richard Widmark's home,  Lucy's favorite movie star, she asks the bus driver to let her off the bus to pick a grapefruit.  In trying to get the grapefruit Lucy falls over the wall and gets trapped on Widmark's property.  So here's the trivia: The house the bus pulls up to is really the home of Lucy and Desi Arnaz.  You get to see a few good shots of Lucy's former home at 1000 N. Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hill before the action switches an indoor set with a duplicate of the real wall.

If you watch "I Dream of Jeannie,"  you probably know that Dr. Bellows' house is the same house from "Bewitched", but did you know that Major Nelson's house is the same house Mr. Wilson lived in on "Dennis the Menace."   While we're on the subject of houses, The house to the left to the "Bewitched" house was also home to  the Baxters on "Hazel," and the Lawrence family on "Gidget."   The houses were part of the ranch at it was originally  Columbia's (and official home of Screen Gems) and is today the Warner Brother Lot.

If you'd like to know more about it, visit  This is a terrific site reviewed on my links page.

  Remember the lake Opie and Andy went fishing at in the opening credits of "The Andy Griffith Show?"  If you would like to skip stones on Myer's Lake, don't head for North Carolina.  The fishin' hole is really located in the Franklin Canyon area of Los Angeles, just north of Beverly Hills. Head south on Franklin Canyon Drive at Mulholland Drive). A sign leading to the lake says that the road ends in 800 feet, but it doesn't. Just follow the road to a secluded park/nature area. The area has become a little grown over, but it's still recognizable.

Want to visit the M*A*S*H 4077th?   "M*A*S*H" was shot on the Fox backlot in the Santa Monica Mountains.   Just before the last season,  Fox donated the land to the State of California.  They made it a state park,   Malibu Creek State Park.   MCSP is in Calabasas, north of Los Angeles. Take the Ventura Freeway north to Las Virgenes Road/Malibu Canyon Road.   This is about 15 miles from the intersection of the Ventura Freeway with the San Diego Freeway.   Exit and turn left.  Go about six miles past the stop light at Mullholland Highway. About a quarter of a mile further is the entrance to the park (on the right).

At the site, all you should expect to find are a burned out ambulance and jeep and a post marking the location. If you know the show, you should be able to figure out where the chopper pad was.  It's about a 2 or 3 mile hike in from the parking lot.  You can also get there by taking the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu Canyon Road (which is where Pepperdine University is located). Turn inland and go about 5 miles. The entrance will be on your left. If you come to the stoplight at Mulholland, you've gone too far.  Remember that summer is fire season, and if it gets very dry, the rangers may close the park to visitors because of the danger of fires.  The fire in the last episode of "M*A*S*H*" was real;  they had to add it to the storyline.  The fire forced them to wrap up shooting a little sooner than they had planned.  You can check with the rangers by phone at (818) 880-0367 before you make the trek.

If you'd like to pay a call on Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) and Cousin Larry Appletoen (Mark Linn-Baker)?  In the first two seasons of "Perfect Strangers,"   Larry & Balki worked at the Ritz Discount Store (the store with a monthly going out of business sale) and lived in an apartment above.  Even though they changed jobs,  the duo remained tenants of the third floor Chicago apartment,  except it was really located on the Southern fringe of downtown Los Angeles.  The Ritz Discount Store was really Goldstone's Imports and their apartment is really the Hotel Santa Rita (above Goldstones),  The four story, brick building is located east of the Harbor Freeway (110) and North of the Santa Monica Freeway (10) at 1100 South Main Street.

More Kewl Stuff:

Survivor: The Official Soundtrack to the Hit CBS TV Series [SOUNDTRACK] 


 Copyright © 2021 MKH Industries - Mount Laurel, NJ USA.  All rights reserved.