Cue Lyndsy Buckingham’s Holiday Road and take a trip with the League…


By Shawn Robare

This week’s assignment from the League is all about capturing the last vestiges of summer and planning a dream pop culture road trip.  Honestly, I’m sort of sick of summer and am ready for it to be Halloween, but that won’t stop me from pondering what I’d do with two weeks and the whole country to see.  For me, a road trip of this magnitude would have to hit on a few of my travel goals, so real quick, aside from the pop culture shenanigans I’d also like to cross off a couple other “to do’s”, namely visiting another country and seeing the west coast.  I’ve spent my entire life up and down the east coast from Maine to Florida, but I’ve never been further west than Austin, TX, and I was less than a year old at the time.  So with those two goals in mind, I decided that the best way to really get the most out of the experience would be to make one huge circle across the country, dipping into Canada along the way…

map

All in all, there are six stops I’d like to make along the way that I think would knock out most of the main sites I want to hit some day.  Since I was born in Texas and haven’t been back since I was a baby, my first stop would be in the lone star state to visit a very specific house that resides in Kingsland.  This is a house that haunted my dreams years before I eventually saw the film that made it famous, a house that my mother warned me about a million times as a kid, from a film that she made me swear that I wouldn’t watch until I turned 18 (the one exception to the rule of letting me watch whatever I wanted beginning at age 10.)  The homestead from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

tcm

Though the house and filming originally took place in Quick Hill (Austin), it was purchased and moved to Kingsland back in 1998.  It was a restaurant for a time, but I believe it now sits empty waiting for a buyer.  Anyway, when I finally turned 18 I had a hard time mustering up the nerve to watch the film, not because I was afraid of what I might see, but because my mother was so adamant about avoiding it.  She had the opportunity to see the flick in the theater when it was first released and it basically traumatized her.  In reverence to my mom I waited until I was in my late 20s to finally catch the film and somehow it managed to live up to my exceedingly high expectations and I really do consider it one of my all-time favorite horror films.  I’m sure while I’m there I’d swing past my old house in Austin as well, but this would be the star of the lone star stop on this trip for sure…

The next official stop on this whirlwind road trip across the country would be in a very picturesque town in one of the most visited film locations in the country, the Warner Brothers back lot in Burbank, California.  On the lot there’s an outdoor filming town called Midwest Street where so many of my favorite films were at least partially made including Gremlins, Back to the Future, The Lost Boys and The Monster Squad.  Specifically, there is a church on this street that was featured prominently in The Monster Squad and The Lost Boys that I would love to visit.  Maybe fill up a canteen of “holy” water, or at least stand outside and kick the door a few times, cursing it for being closed when I’d really like to go inside and hide while trying to blow a hole in Limbo…

church

I’m sure I’d find a bunch of awesome stuff to see on the back lot, but I think the church represents the site the most in my mind…

After yelling at myself to not kick a church (because it’s religious and stuff), I’d make my way north, up to the great costal wood of Astoria, Oregon to visit the second and final house on the trip, the Walsh family home from the Goonies

goonies

I’m sure this one, and the area as a whole, will quite possibly make a lot of these Road Trip lists, but I can’t help it.  The Goonies is probably one of the most important movies to me as a nostalgic 30-something and at some point I’d love the chance to gaze on this landmark.  I’m sure I’d also take the opportunity to break out a dirt bike and ride down to the spot where the convenience store was, as well as the jail and the beach so I could pull out my replica Spanish medallion to line up the rocks, but getting a few seconds to take a gander at the Walsh house is what would really make it feel real to me.

After misting up and wiping back some happy tears, I’d finally take the opportunity to leave this fine country and head up to Alberta, Canada, specifically Cochrane, so that I could visit another holy movie site, the high school that was used in the film Rad.

rad

This stop would be all about finding a way to break into the school gymnasium so that I could do a little bit of solo BMX bike dancing while listing to Real Life’s Send Me an Angel on my iPod.  I’ll just need a few minutes alone, mostly because I’m no freestyler on a bike, but this would be just for me…

While in Canada I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to drive across the great country, seeing the majestic sites, eating some Tim horton’s doughnuts and eventually making my way back across the continent to Toronto so that I could take a kick ass site seeing tour of all the prominent Kids in the Hall filming locations (as well as some other historical KITH sites.)

kids

The Kids in the Hall are for me what Monty Python was to the generation before, single-handedly warping my mind and opening my eyes to a whole comedic world that astounds me to this day.  Dave, Bruce, Kevin, Mark and Scott all qualify for sainthood in my book, and I’d love to belly up to Buddy’s bar, walk down the street where the “good looking slick dude” strolled, or see the famous Rivoli where they got their start.

Since I started the trip with some intense horror, I thought it would be only fitting to end it on the “other” landmark of the genre, the Monroeville Mall in Pittsburgh, PA…

dawn

Easily considered horror Mecca, this mall is of course home to the filming of the great George A. Romero film, Dawn of the Dead.  What can I really say other than I’d love the opportunity to make a couple laps through this place, pantomiming zombie pie fights and pretending that there’s a living dead Hare Krishna stumbling along behind me the whole time.  My only regret would be that I wouldn’t be able to leave by helicopter from the roof.

Well, there it is.  I’m sure there are a million other places I’d like to go, but this itinerary would go a long way to knocking stuff off the bucket list and it just makes sense to me.

If you have a second, you should check out these other League members and their pop culture road trips!

Jamie, Shezcrafti, fires up the Mirth Mobile and sets out on adventure!

Mr. R, The Man Who Stares at Toys, sticks to the coasts and looking for zombies and famous California dining establishments!

Jason, Rediscover the 80s, revs up the Family Truckster and covers most of the east coast and some of the midwest!

Brian, Cool & Collected, goes on a pop culture shopping spree across the nation!

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, keeps his trip small, but fully packed with sights!

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Don Mike – Yeah, I bet a lot of non-movie set shooting locations are almost impossible to preserve unless they’re converted into a museum or tourist attraction. Still love knowing I was physically in the same location. Like when I go to Disney World, where 2000 Maniacs was filmed. I totally need to see the graveyard too!

  • https://www.facebook.com/PuppyD Don Mike

    Having lived in Pittsburgh through most of the 90′s I’m a huge zombie fan. Sadly, Monreville Mall has been renovated to such an extent I’ve been told it’s practically unrecognizable from the beautiful cheese of Dawn of the Dead. But if you are a zombie fan I’ve been told that the cemetery in Evans City from Night of the Living Dead is having the section where Barbara watched Johnny meet his demise preserved as a cultural landmark. Or something like that. And don’t forget a stop off at Excelsior High School in Norwalk where not only did Stephanie Zenoni meet her Cool Rider in Grease 2 but the kids from Square Pegs also went to school. I’d also mention to go in daylight only because it’s not the nicest neighborhood anymore. When I went on a mecca a few years ago there was a bum peeing on the side of the school in broad daylight. Or you could always go down to Venice High School which was not only the first Rydell High but also the 90210 school. :)

  • http://mytwoyenworth.blogspot.jp/ Michael Jones

    If you’re going to do the KitH tour anyway, you might want to check out Annesley Hall (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annesley_Hall) in Toronto where Black Christmas was filmed. Scott Thompson & I have had parallel paths starting at the end of High School. His path led to fame and fortune, mine led to fandom.

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    OS80s – I think Astoria would be worth it because so much of the film was shot there that there’d be a lot of locations to visit in one place. Also, in 3 more years it’ll be the 30th anniversary and I’ll bet they’ll hold another big convention with the actors showing up and junk…

  • http://oldschool.tblog.com/ OldSchool80s

    I definitely want to make it out Astoria myself. I hope to also get there within the next couple of years. I hope it is worth the trip. As a side note, the Universal Studios back lot has the town square which you will recognize right away from Back to the Future including the clock tower that was struck by lightning.

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Christopher – I actually went back and re-read your trip journal after thinking about visiting. This is something that is going to happen in the next few years…

  • http://www.ctupa.com/ Christoper Tupa

    Great list Shawn! Nice to see a Goonies location. Having been there 2 years ago I cannot put into words how wonderful my trip there was. The whole town was great. If you ever get the chance to go, do it! Its worth it. I still get emotional when I think about the trip.

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Jaime – One of the coolest nights ever was when I got a chance to see KITH perform live on stage from four rows back. Good times…

  • http://www.shezcrafti.com/ ShezCrafti

    Kids in the Hall! YES! YEEEEEEEEESSSSSSS! (Oh, the rest of these places are awesome too.)

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Frank – Yeah it sucks when the locations change to a point where it just doesn’t feel the same. Oh and I could totally go for some zany zipline fun in that mall now that you bring up Commando!

  • http://www.archive.org/ Frank Farina

    Awesome trips suggested by the “League.” Someday, I’d like to visit every Mall featured in any ’80s classics. Especially the Sherman Oaks Galleria. Since the Northridge Quake and some remodeling, it looks different today. But, I still rewatch “Fast Times,” “Commando,” and “Chopping Mall,” to revisit it.

  • http://www.archive.org/ Frank Farina

    Excellent assignment. I’ve always wanted to visit the Warners’ Lot. Sadly, my ultimate Pop-culture destination no longer exists. At least not in its’ original form. Ever since I saw “Fast Times,” I’ve been obsessed with the Sherman Oaks Galleria. I find myself watching “Commando,” “Chopping Mall,” and even “Phantom of the Mall- Eric’s Revenge” just to revisit it. In fact, I would hit up any mall that was featured in an ’80s gem.

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Blake – Thanks man! That has to be a trip, being so close to all those movie locations like that. One day I need to get out there… “Wolfman’s got nards?!?”

  • http://blakeplissken.com/ Blake

    Hello, I haven’t read this particular article yet, but I gotta say, this is one of my favorite sites. I was born in 76, so I grew up in the 80′s thank God. I live in L.A. right now. I grabbed a Whopper at a Burger King in Burbank a while back, while my car was getting fixed. It’s the Burger King where Marty McFly grabbed the Jeep to bum a ride while on his skateboard. One of my favorite movies. And Monster Squad!?!?! “Kick him in the nards!!!!” Blake