Friday, July 17, 2020

Boyz II Men - Motownphilly (1991)

Four guys from Philly started singing and they said it sounded smooth.  So they started a group and here they are kicking it just for us.  Inspired by 80s boy group New Edition, Unique Attraction was formed at the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts.  Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and MIchael McCrary auditioned for New Edition member Michael Bivens, who was impressed enough to become their manager.  The boyz also renamed their group after New Edition's song Boys to Men.

Their 1991 debut album Cooleyhighharmony was a hit with listeners and critics but it was their 1992 single End Of The Road from the Boomerang soundtrack that catapulted them to R&B superstars, remaining at #1 for 13 weeks.  However, it was a short-lived record until Whitney Houston spent 14 weeks at #1 with I Will Always Love You from The Bodyguard (1992).  Boyz II Men's sophomore album II was an even bigger success and the boyz tied Whitney for the longest running #1 song with their cheesy I'll Make Love To You single only to be outdone by themselves two years later with their One Sweet Day duet with Mariah Carey.    

Taking a cue from Hi-Five, the quartet filmed the video for their debut single around their hometown in The City of Brotherly Love, cruising, dancing and consuming all the Philly steaks you can eat.

Motownphilly was filmed in Philadelphia, PA

Location: Dancing On The Promenade
Address: Penn's Landing, Philadelphia, PA

Location: Dickens Inn Restaurant
Address: 421 S 2nd Street, Philadelphia, PA

Location: Geno's Steaks
Address: 1219 S 19th Street, Philadelphia, PA

Location: Frank Palumbo Elementary School
Address: 1100 Catharine Street, Philadelphia, PA

Locations Visited: December 2019

Friday, July 10, 2020

Office Space (1999)

Ever have a job you hate or a boss you loathe?  Peter Gibbons sure does, working a mindless job as a programmer at Initech while being micromanaged by VP Bill Lumbergh.  After a severe case of The Mondays, he rebels against corporate policy and is rewarded for it by receiving a promotion (sound familiar?).  After a computer virus scheme to siphon off pennies from accounting goes awry, Peter prepares to turn himself in, only to find Initech engulfed in flames after another disgruntled employee was pushed too far.

Mike Judge's look into the doldrums of 9 to 5 is witty and frieghteningly accurate, particularly the dreaded PC Load Letter message and that Friday at 4:59 moment when your boss tells they're gonna need you to come in tomorrow.  Gary Cole almost tops his portrayal of Mike Brady as the passive-aggressive, weekend plan-killing Bill Lumbergh.  And Jennifer Aniston temporarily breaks her curse of appearing in shitty movies.  Office Space had little productivity ;-) at the box office but became a cult classic following its release.  If only I had invested in Swingline sooner.

Office Space was filmed in Austin, TX

Location: Initech
Address: 4120 Freidrich Lane, Austin, TX

Location: Dr. Swanson's Office
Address: 1010 West Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Austin, TX

Location: Chotchkie's Exterior
Address: 9739 Great Hills Trail, Austin, TX

Location: Chotchkie's Interior
Address: 3003 S Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX  Baker St. Pub & Grill

Flair is fun.  So it's no surprise Chotchkie's was heavily based on the TGI Fridays restaurant chain, where the wait staff were weighed down by the numerous buttons on their uniform.  Due to the endless references to Office Space, Fridays eventually eliminated the flair and waitstaff across the nation rejoiced...

Location: Morningside Apartment Complex Entrance
Address: 11511 Metric Boulevard, Austin, TX  Trails of Walnut Creek

Location: Peter & Lawrence's Apartments
Address: 10610 Morado Circle, Austin, TX  Great Hills Apartments 

Locations Visited: October 2019

Friday, July 3, 2020

The Conners (2018-)

After the Roseanne (1988-2018) revival was canceled in May 2018 due to a controversial tweet from Roseanne Barr, ABC decided to spin-off the show minus The Conner family matriarch.  They ban together to deal with her death and continue to struggle with money, health and relationships.  I had lukewarm feelings about the revival and felt it should've ended with the cancellation since there was no reason to continue on without Roseanne Conner.            

Location: The Conner House
Address: 619 S Runnymeade Avenue, Evansville, IN

Location Visited: July 2020

Related Locations:

Roseanne (1988-2018)

Roseanne (1988-2018)

The 1980s were flooded with family sitcoms.  The Keatons, The Huxtables and The Seavers were all middle/upper middle class families.  It wasn't until viewers were introduced to The Conner family on Roseanne, did we see the plight of the working-class family.  Roseanne punched plastic at the factory and Dan was a drywall contractor in Lanford, Illinois.  Together, they struggled to pay bills and support their three children and endured frequent visits from Roseanne's neurotic sister, Jackie.  

Over the years, Roseanne had as many different jobs as she had hairstyles.  She and Dan eventually became business owners at a diner and bike shop, the latter which went out of business.  The family grew as Becky's husband and Darlene's boyfriend moved into the house.  In addition to dealing with the struggles of a blue-collar family, the show tackled provocative issues such as domestic abuse, abortion, homosexuality, pot smoking and masturbation.  

Roseanne was one of my favorite sitcoms.  It was a nice breather from the more syrupy family shows at the time.  The writing was sharp and witty and the cast had great chemistry.  My favorite era is when Dan opened Lanford Custom Cycle up until Roseanne had baby Jerry.  It quickly jumped the shark, especially when The Conners won the lottery.  By that point, the show was shadow of what the original premise was.  

While I've been hesitant of revivals and reboots of my childhood shows, I was excited when it was announced Roseanne would return to television in 2018.  I ended up not being a huge fan of the revival, which was short-lived after a tweet from the Queen of Controversy Roseanne Barr.  The show was quickly cancelled but The Conners sans its matriarch live on in a spinoff aptly named The Conners.

Creator Matt Williams, who Roseanne battled daily during the first season, hailed from Evansville, Indiana, where many of the establishing photos from the earlier seasons were taken.  Initially just The Conner House and The Lobo Lounge were known.  After binging the show, I was able to find a few previously unknown locations in the area, though several remain a mystery.  Around season 4, the show began using locations around Los Angeles.

Location: The Conner House
Address: 619 S Runnymeade Avenue, Evansville, IN

Location: The Lobo Lounge
Address: 1200 Edgar Street, Evansville, IN

Lanford's favorite watering hole was known as Talk of the Town Pizza until 2019, when it embraced its Roseanne heritage and officially changed its name to The Lobo Lounge...

Location: Lanford Street
Address: Delaware Street & Third Street, Evansville, IN

The famous street signs, which have now been reversed...

Location: The Church
Address: 704 N First Avenue, Evansville, IN  All Saints Parish

As seen in the above establishing shot...

Location: Wellman Plastics Factory
Address: 1528 Fulton Avenue, Evansville, IN

Kent Plastics stood in for Roseanne, Jackie and Crystal's place of employment during the first season.  The plant closed in 1992, the same year Wellman closed on the show.  Today it is a vacant lot...

Location: Jackie's Apartment 
Address: 515 Main Street, New Harmony, IN 

This building was torn down and rebuilt a while back.  Thanks to Paul H for helping track down this location...

Across the street is the building seen during Marla Hooch's tryout in A League Of Their Own (1992).

Location: The Lanford Lunch Box
Address: 13687 Van Nuys Boulevard, Pacoima, CA

Roseanne had a multitude of jobs during the series.  The one we saw the most the diner she opened with Jackie, Nancy and Bev, which got it's name from DJ.  Thanks to Cameron Chambers for finding this location.

Season 1, Episode 19: "Workin' Overtime"

Location: Tip Top Diner
Address: 1213 W Maryland Street, Evansville, IN  Big Top Diner

Season 2, Episode 10: "Brain-Dead Poets Society"

Location: Darlene's Middle School #1
Address: 1300 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN  Benjamin Bosse High School

Season 3, Episode 9: "Bird Is The Word"

Location: Becky's High School 
Address: 1300 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN  Benjamin Bosse High School

Previously seen as Darlene's Middle School...

Season 3, Episode 16: "Home-Ec" 

Location: Darlene's Middle School #2
Address: 1801 Washington Avenue, Evansville, IN  Washington Middle School

Season 4, Episode 1: "A Bitter Pill To Swallow"

Location: Becky's Gynecologist's Office
Address: 2701 W Alameda Avenue, Burbank, CA

Having been a resident of Burbank for six years, this one was an easy find, as I passed it daily during my commute...

Season 5, Episode 8: "Ladies' Choice"

Location: Bev's Retirement Community 
Address: 3600 Barham Boulevard, Burbank, CA  The Oakwood Apartments

Another location I instantly recognized was one of my old residences.  Back in 1999, I spent two semesters in LA and stayed at the plush Oakwood Apartments. (Building U Represent!)  Some of my college friends were seething with jealousy that I was lounging in a hot tub in January while they were digging out their cars back in Ithaca, New York.  The massive complex is in close proximity to several of the studios and is known for its temporary housing for cast and crew, especially during pilot season.  I remember hundreds of wanna be kid actors running amok and completely understood that old actors' motto - never work with kids or pets. 

Season 5, Episode 14: "War & Peace"

Location: Dan's Police Station
Address: 6045 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Location: Jackie & Fisher's Apartment
Address: 6141 York Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA

Thanks to Amanda Gonzales for finding this location...

Season 6, Episode 1: "Two Down, One To Go"

Location: Darlene's College Apartment
Address: 5200 Monte Vista Street, Los Angeles, CA

Thanks to Amanda Gonzales for finding this location...

Season 6, Episode 20: "Past Imperfect"

Location: Crystal & Ed's House
Address: 525 Bethany Road, Burbank, CA

For whatever reason, they flipped the image for the establishing shot.  In actuality, the garage is on the left.  Unfortunately, a large tree is in front of the house, which made getting an exact matching shot a but difficult...

Locations Visited: January 1999, October 2018, July 2020, June 2021

Still Need To Locate:

Mark's Apartment Building
The Healy House
The Harris House
The Hair Salon
The Lanford Lodge
Lanford Custom Cycle
Jackie & Fred's House

Related Location:

The Conners (2018-)