Friday, December 17, 2021

Laura Branigan - Spanish Eddie (1985)

When one mentions Laura Branigan, one instinctively thinks of her songs Gloria or Self Control.  But mention Spanish Eddie and they might ask "Who?"  In their defense, it was Branigan's lowest charting song in the US, peaking at the not so caliente 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The lyrics reference life on the streets and the song is speculated to be about Eduardo Vincente, who tried to organize a peace treaty among New York City gangs in the early 70s.  In the music video, Laura takes a shine to the Spanish Eddie in her dance studio, who gets into a bit of trouble dealing to some gang members.  Fortunately, I was able to get in touch with the director, Michael Heldman, who was nice enough to clue me in on where the majority of the video was filmed.   

Location: Spanish Eddie's Apartment Building
Address: 3205 Descanso Drive, Los Angeles, CA


Location Visited: June 2021

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Die Hard 2 (1990)


It's Christmastime, there's no need to be afraid.  At Christmastime, we let in light and we banish shady army colonels and majors.  At least that's what LAPD officer John McClane does when Dulles International Airport is overtaken by Colonel William Stuart and his brigade on a snowy Christmas Eve.  They hack into air traffic control and darken the runways so planes are unable to land, including Holly McClane's!  Their goal is to rescue drug lord Ramon Esperanza, who is being extradited to the United States.  With the help of the airport's chief engineer and a janitor, John is able to take Stuart down and save the day, er, eve once again.

Die Hard 2 joins Terminator 2 (1991)Halloween II (1981) and Jaws 2 (1978) as one of few sequels that are worthy to or if not better than the original.  The action for this film is not confined to one building, with plane crashes and snowmobile chases taking it to new heights.  While I prefer Hans Gruber and his dry sense of humor, ruthless villain Colonel William Stuart holds his own and Dennis Franz is entertaining as a less threatening nemesis for McClane.  Critics mostly favored the film and audiences were ready to die harder as the sequel raked in double from what Die Hard (1988) made.  But they would have to wait five long years before the same thing to happen to the same guy three times.  

Location: Dulles Airport Terminal Interior
Address: 1 World Way, Los Angeles, CA 

A few different airports filled in for Dulles.  The Tom Bradley International Terminal makes its second appearance in the franchise during the establishing and evacuation scenes.  This time, the second floor is used...

This area is also seen in Backstreet Boys I Want It That Way (1999) music video.

Location Visited: June 2021

Related Locations:

Monday, November 22, 2021

Blossom (1991-1995)

Quirky Blossom Russo tries to cope with her father and two older brothers, one of whom is a recovering drunk and drug addict, after her mother abandons them to pursue her own dreams.  Not quite the upbeat, feel-good premise a sitcom has, but hey, it worked for Punky Brewster (1984-1988).  When a break is needed from the family, she's got her eccentric best friend Six to lean on and finds romance with Vinnie Bonitardi.

A pilot special first aired in 1990, which included both of Blossom's parents.  The actors were both dropped and Ted Wass was recast as hip musician/single dad Nick Russo.  The show took place in the same universe as it's lead-in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1990-1996), which had the occasional crossover.  What occurred on several occasions was one of the top five TV catchphrases off all time - "Whoa!" uttered by her dimwitted brother Joey.  In my opinionation, Blossom was a decent sitcom, though I was never much into the precocious kid bit on sitcoms.  Maybe I would've liked it more if I didn't get the theme song stuck in my head all the time.  

Location: The Russo House
Address: 3941 Ethel Avenue, Studio City, CA

Thanks to Lindsay at Iamnotastalker for sharing this information.  Sadly, the house next door is pretty much the only indicator as The Russo Residence has undergone major reconstruction...

Location Visited: June 2021

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters (1984)

After 60 other songs were rejected, R&B crooner Ray Parker Jr. was asked to write the theme to Ivan Reitman's Ghostbusters (1984).  With lyrics like "bustin' makes me feel good," you wonder how the song ever received radio airplay.  It became Parker's biggest hit, spending three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for Best Original Song at the 57th Academy Awards, losing to Stevie Wonder's "I Just Called To Say I Love You."

Huey Lewis was among several artists who previously declined to write the theme song, but his hit "I Want A New Drug" was used as the temp score and was to give Ray Parker Jr. a jumping off point to write his own theme song.  If the melody and bassline sound somewhat familiar, you're not alone.  Ray was a bit too inspired and Huey Lewis sued him for plagiarism.  Years later, Parker sued Huey Lewis for breach of confidentiality after Lewis spoke about the incident in an episode of VH1 Behind The Music.

For the video, Ray haunts a sexy blonde in a house full of 80s neon before taking to the streets with The Ghostbusters.  Together, they perform elaborate dance moves in the heart of Times Square interspersed with a slew of celebrity cameos.  How this didn't win Best Choreography at the MTV Video Music Awards remains a headscratcher to this day.

Location: Ray & The Ghostbusters Bust A Move
Address: Broadway & 44th Street, New York, NY

Location Visited: December 2020

Related Locations: 

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Superman (1978)

After Kal-El's spaceship arrives in Smallville, Kansas from the planet Krypton, he is raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent, who name him Clark.  After discovering his true origins and superhuman powers, he becomes a reporter at The Daily Planet in Metropolis.  He takes a shine to his co-worker Lois Lane, whose eyesight needs to be checked since she doesn't realize Clark is actually Superman, the caped wonder averting crime and helping citizens.  Criminal mastermind Lex Luthor has a plan to change the geography of the United States.  He exposes Superman to Kryptonite to weaken him while he carries out his mission but Superman is able to save the day as well as Lois Lane.

It's a Bird!  It's a Plane!  It's Richard Donner's superhero blockbuster Superman!  The most expensive movie made at the time of its release, Superman was a critical and commercial success.  It was the top-grossing film of 1978, raking in $134 million dollars.  The movie is noted for its groundbreaking special effects, which earned an Academy Award.  It also set the bar high for future superhero franchises. 

Superman was filmed in New York, NY

Location: The Daily Planet
Address: 220 E 42nd Street, New York, NY

Location: Grand Central Station
Address: 89 E 42nd Street, New York, NY

Location: The Attempted Mugging
Address: 124 E Broadway, New York, NY

Location: The Cat Burglar
Address: 9 West 57th Street, New York, NY

Location: Lois Lane's Apartment 
Address: 240 Central Park South, New York, NY

Locations Visited: December 2020