Where can you go to find yourself eating like John Wayne or exploring like Indiana Jones? Stockton, California, of course!
California is prime territory for film locations. No production team is going to turn down perfect scenery surrounded by perfect weather. Where can you go to find yourself eating like John Wayne or exploring like Indiana Jones? Stockton, California, of course! So why not relive your favorite movies by visiting the places they were filmed?
1. Fly with flubber
Did you ever wonder where great innovators go to school in the movies? One answer is Stockton, California’s University of the Pacific. Take a trip to the famous campus and look around for an absentminded scientist and his flying rubber, or flubber. Yes, Disney’s 1997 film Flubber starring Robin Williams took place in and around the historic university. (Rumor has it, at Halloween residents give out green bouncy balls.) Although the film renamed the university Medfield College, the beautiful exterior shots reveal that the school’s grounds and architecture were left exactly as they were. When you’re on campus, see if any staff or alumni are there who were in the movie. They’d surely be glad to point out all the scenes where students and staff were used as extras!
2. An Indy exploration
Don’t leave University of the Pacific just yet! Head on over to the Conservatory of Music’s Faye Spanos Concert Hall. Look familiar? If not, envision a professor with a leather jacket and bullwhip. That’s what you’d find in 1980 when the action/adventure classic Raiders of the Lost Ark was filming. This time, the school served as the home of Marshall College in the late 1930s. The building, which opened in 1927, was the perfect backdrop for the historical fiction film and, again, allowed students to participate in the making of the film by being extras. The same footage was used once again, 27 years later, for the 2008 addition to the series, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
3. Cool hand, hot day
On a hot summer’s day, make your way to Dentoni Park and consider taking Davis Road to get there. When you arrive, break out the picnic blanket and have a feast of 50 hard-boiled eggs. Is there any better way to feel like Cool Hand Luke? Paul Newman’s 1967 classic was filmed in and around the park, as well as along David Road. The movie’s location manager, Larry Luttrell, was a native Stocktonian and recommended locations all throughout the town, including rural roads where a chapel was constructed next to the old Brandt Bridge. To serve as the story’s setting of Florida, Spanish moss was shipped from Louisiana and hung on the trees. When the sun goes down on those leftover eggs, head on down to the Empire Theatre, where Newman and crew used to watch dailies.
4. Duke dining
Who better to represent the West than a man named Wayne. John Wayne. The American icon visited San Joaquin County for business and for pleasure throughout the 1950s and ’60s. The 1955 action thriller Blood Alley starring Wayne and Lauren Bacall also starred Stockton’s California Delta in the role of China’s Yangtze River. Wayne fell so in love with the Delta and the exquisite boats riding along it that he purchased a riverboat in 1954, which was restored in 1998 and became Duke’s Riverboat Steakhouse. Spend a day along the Delta, then make your way down to Growers Hall and behold the building in which Wayne once punched a bartender for “making a rude remark.” Growers Hall used to house Chet’s, a popular bar that Wayne and the cast and crew of Blood Alley would frequent during their time off. When turning in for the night, the Duke stayed at Hotel Stockton, where he “signed autographs until there wasn’t any more to sign.”
California has more than just sandy beaches and snow-capped ski resorts. It has almost any location a production team could want. And whether recreating your favorite scenes on your iPad or looking for a new, exciting family adventure, visiting these classic locations will no doubt create lifelong memories. Check out our complete list of movies filmed in Stockton.
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