Sunday, July 24, 2022

The Birdcage (1996)

South Beach's hottest drag club is The Birdcage.  Owned by Armand Goldman and starring his flamboyant life partner Albert, better known as Starina to the public.  When Armand's son Val announces he's engaged and his future in-laws are super-conservative, hijinks ensue as Armand is attempted to be passed off as straight, Albert becomes Val's uncle and Albert calls on his former fling and Val's mother, Katharine, to play his wife.  Plans change when Katharine is detained and Albert shows up dressed as a woman.  The deceptions are eventually revealed, views are changed and nuptials are exchanged.

The Birdcage is a remake of the Italian film La Cage Aux Folles.  It was well-received, remaining at the top of the box office for three weeks, with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane praised for their performances.  The colorful strand that is Miami Beach's Ocean Drive was the perfect setting for the film.

The Birdcage was filmed in Miami Beach, FL

Location: The Birdcage Nightclub
Address: 1250 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL

Either the doorway to the building was a facade or the building has been remodeled...

The famous Carlyle Hotel has been seen in several movies and television shows including Scarface (1983)Miami Vice (1984-1989) and The Golden Palace (1992-1993).

Location: Playing It Straight
Address: 1244 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, FL

When Albert feels faint, he and Armand head into The Leslie Hotel, which is right next to The Carlyle.  The remaining part of the scene where Albert practices his mannerisms was filmed at The Raleigh Hotel, located at 1775 Collins Avenue.  It was under renovations at the time of my visit.

The art deco historic district is a sight to see...

Location Visited: March 2021


Monday, July 18, 2022

Charles In Charge (1984-1990)

While attending Copeland College in New Brunswick, NJ, Charles was also a live-in housekeeper for The Pembroke Family.  In exchange for room and board, he provided guidance to their three children in addition to hanging out with his best friend Buddy and pursuing blonde bombshell Gwendolyn Pierce.  The following summer Charles returns from a camping trip to find The Pembrokes had moved to Seattle and sublet their house to The Powells, who also had three children.  At first, Charles was reluctant to join the new family but soon realized his services were needed there.  He still hung out with Buddy, who appeared to lose most of his brain cells and became a buffoon.  Charles pursued several romantic interests and his mother took over local hangout Sid's Pizza before opening a 1950s-style diner.  

Charles In Charge did not fare as well as Who's The Boss? (1984-1992), the other male housekeeper sitcom of the 1984-1985 season, and was canceled by CBS.  Like many shows of the 1980s such as Webster (1983-1989)Mama's Family (1983-1990) and Punky Brewster (1984-1988), Charles in Charge continued on in first run syndication.  I am probably in the minority, but I was Team Pembroke as I didn't care as much for the The Powells.  Initially there were plans to bring The Pembrokes back.  However, with Jonathan Ward (Jason Pembroke) starring on the short-lived series Heart of the City and salary disputes with Julie Cobb (Jill Pembroke), those plans were scrapped and a new family was brought in.  Interestingly enough, Jonathan Ward was in the Who's The Boss? spin-off pilot Living Dolls.  Though when the show went to series, David Moscow from Big (1988) took over the role.      

Location: The Pembroke/Powell House
Address: Formerly at 10711 Bluffside Drive, Studio City, CA

This location stirred a lot of emotions.  I was always confused why they showed an apartment complex for the house.  Then I was saddened to learn the complex, named Universal Park, was demolished in 1996 to make way for the Universal City MTA Red Line Station parking lot.

Location Visited: June 2021

Friday, July 1, 2022

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)


A crime wave has hit New York City and reporter April O'Neil finds herself a victim shortly before being rescued by Michelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael.  Not the painters and sculptors, the ninja turtles.  The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Together they practice ninjutsu under the tutelage of their master rat Splinter, who had all mutated after a mysterious chemical entered in the sewers.  The crime wave culprits are the Foot Clan, led by the notorious Shredder.  After an attack by The Foot, the turtles and April retreat to her family's country home with vigilante Casey Jones while Splinter is held captive at The Foot's hideout.  Soon a battle royale takes place where Shredder is disposed off, The Foot are defeated and Splinter is freed.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise began as series of comics.  What really made them come out of their shell ;-) was the toyline, which debuted in 1988.  It was one of the last sets of action figures I played with as Nintendo quickly became the go-to after school activity.  1990 saw the release of the first TMNT film.  Costumes were created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop.  The movie was a huge financial success and had the biggest opening weekend of an independent film at that time.  It was followed by two more films in the early 90s before an animated film was released in 2007.  Like many franchises, it was rebooted in 2014.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was filmed in Brooklyn and New York, NY and Castle Hayne and Currie, North Carolina

Location: The Foot Hideout Exterior
Address: Southpoint Park - Roosevelt Island, New York, NY

City/Charity/Island Hospital was a historic hospital at the southern tip of Roosevelt Island.  The skyline has changed a bit, but you can see The Chrysler Building and The Empire State Building...

Interiors were filmed at the old Roanoke Cement Company located at 6411 Ideal Cement Road in Castle Hayne, NC.  I did not have time to stop on a recent trip to The Carolinas, but Paul Slattery at Then & Now Movie Locations got some great shots.

Location: Raphael's Movie Theater
Address: Central Park West & W 61st Street, New York, NY

This is also the area where The Stay Puft Marshmallow walks in Ghostbusters (1984).

Location: Chief of Police Office
Address: 60 Centre Street, New York, NY

This popular New York City filming location can be seen in Wall Street (1987)Night Court (1984-1992) and Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1983) music video.

Location: April & Raphael's Subway Station
Address: Hoyt Street & Schermerhorn Street, Brooklyn, NY

The platform Raphael is standing on was closed off at the time of my visit.  This subway station was also used in Coming To America (1988) and Michael Jackson's Bad (1987) music video.  

Location: Danny's Subway Station
Address: Bleeker Street & Lafayette Street, New York, NY

Location: Raphael Practices Fighting
Address: 270 Lafayette Street, New York, NY

Grace Adler Designs from Will & Grace (1998-2006) can be seen on the right.

Location: The Farmhouse
Address: 27770 Borough Road, Currie, North Carolina

Locations Visited: December 2020, May 2022