Monday, July 11, 2011

Rushmore Film Locations Part 1

Wes Anderson is one of my favorite modern directors.  Rushmore is in my opinion his best film, not only because its wonderful, but it was filmed in Houston (which is where I live).

The Rushmore school is actually St. John's school.  Wes Anderson picked this location because it was where he went to school.  Sadly, there has been major construction since 1998, and none of the buildings look the same.  Yet another reason why I should have done this 10 years ago when I first thought about it.

As you can see new buildings have been added.

Here is where Max first meets Mr. Blume.

Aside from some new windows, the chapel has not changed much.

This is from the same scene.

The courtyard area is now a parking lot.

Here is the circular drive that appears in a few scenes.

and currently

Here is the barber shop Max's Father owns.

It actually was and still is a barber shop.

After Max is expelled from Rushmore he attends Grover Cleveland High School.

Grover Cleveland is actually Lamar High School and is right across the street from St. John's.   Lamar was built in the 30's and still has that awesome art deco look.

This shot took me a while to locate.

Most of the school is surrounded by a chain link fence, so that's what I was looking for.  I parked here to take the picture of the Rushmore gate.  When I walked back to my car I realized it was the side front of the school.  The gate is long gone, or was possibly put there for the film.

Here is a great scene.

Mr. Blume stops by Grover Cleveland to run over Max's bike.  Here it is today.

Another shot from the same scene.

Almost identical today.

If you are wondering how I located the barber shop, it was this scene.  I read the sign "11th Street Cleaners"  I only knew of one 11th Street in town so that's where I went.

Here it is today, repainted and falling apart.

There are a couple more places I have found that I need to photograph.  I really want to go inside the chapel from the opening scene, we'll see if I can sneak in there one day.  Until then enjoy Part 1.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tales From The College Program: Wait, Wait, RUN!

Greeting Boils and Ghouls (See what I did there?)

A little recap for those of you just joining us.  I was in the WDW College Program in 2003, I worked on Pleasure Island at The Missing Link Sausage Company, and I had no car.

I would say that for most CP's the bus system was not too bad.  The schedule was not bad, and if you worked with other CP's you could try and catch a ride with them.  The Pleasure Island bus was not that way though.  I said before that Vista Way was across I-4 from Pleasure Island, so it was literally a 5 minute drive.  The "F" bus that I took to get to work on my first day took 45 minutes!  It stopped at the other apartment complex then at The Crossroads (which is a strip mall across from the DTD entrance).  It took less time to ride the bus to The Magic Kingdom, but that was the least of my problems.

The bus ride home is where all the trouble came from.  I would get out of work anywhere from 1:30 am to 2:30 am.  1:30 was the earliest we could get out of there and it was perfect timing for me to watch the bus drive off as I was leaving Pleasure Island and walking towards the Cast Building on the other side of the parking lot.  I did not have a bus schedule with me, so I didn't even know if another one would come.  Instead of waiting around to see if another bus would come, I started walking.

The walk was about 3 miles.  I would go down Hotel Plaza Boulevard, (where I would get rained on by water sprinklers) take a right on 535 and another right on Meadow Creek Drive.  It took me about 45 minutes, which was the same amount of time it would take for the next bus to stop at Pleasure Island.  It was kind of a catch 22 situation.  I decided there had to be a faster way to walk home.  I walked behind all the hotels hoping I would find something, but there was no other road, so I kept walking my usual route every night.

I was the only CP working at The Link, so there was no one I could ride home with.  Until one day (2 months later) the sausage gods smiled down on me and brought a fella by the name of Dan to The Link.  Dan was also without a car, (that isn't exactly true, but that's a story in itself) I explained the bus situation, and he started walking home with me.  Dan also assumed there had to be a faster way, I told him that I had already looked and that the only way to get to Vista Way in less than 45 minutes was to run across I-4, and that's exactly what we did.

We walked behind the hotels on Hotel Plaza Boulevard looking for the perfect place to jump the chain link fence that separated us from the freeway.  We found a great spot where there was a tree we could climb and jump straight over the fence.  Over the fence was a grassy hill that led to the freeway.  This was Orlando at almost 2 am, so the road was not very busy, that didn't make it any less stupid.  We waited till one side was clear and ran to the middle, from there we did the same thing and we were home free, or so we thought.

As we walked down another hill towards Vista Way we saw an even taller chain link fence, what made it worse was that it was in the middle of a ditch.  We started climbing, it was shakey.  When we got to the top we had to coordinate our jump down with the swaying of the fence.  Basically, we had to perch one leg on top of the fence and at the right second use your other leg to heave yourself over (climbing back down the other side was not an option because of the swaying).  Remember what I said before about the ditch?  This made the jump down even further by a few feet, but we made it!

The 45 minute walk was now a 15 minute climb, jump, wait, run, wait, run, climb, jump.  We did this for a few months until I went home and drove my car back.  Occasionally on the local news I hear about someone who tried to run across the freeway at night and was killed.  They usually show their shoe in the middle of the street.  I always end up thinking "Why would you ever run across the freeway at night?"  Then I remember that it was almost a daily habit of mine for a few months.