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Los Angeles Filming Locations

The Hollywood sign has been featured in countless movies and TV shows.

The Hollywood sign has been featured in countless movies and TV shows.

Sites around the greater Los Angeles area have been the backdrop for countless movies and TV shows. From the beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu, to the rolling hills of the West San Fernando and Conejo Valleys, location scouts in years past didn’t have to go far to find the ideal place for filming.

Malibu’s Paradise Cove beach was almost as  big a star as Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon in Beach Blanket Bingo and other ’60s surf movies.  Harry Medved, author of  several books on Hollywood history, says these same beaches were also used to portray Polynesian and Mexican shores.

About 20 miles inland from Malibu, over the rolling hills of Kanan Road, Medved says The Agoura Ranch in Oak Park was the site of several westerns and other films.

Pacific Park in Santa Monica is one of the few pier-based amusement parks. It's also a location of TV shows and movies.

Pacific Park in Santa Monica is one of the few pier-based amusement parks. It's also a location of TV shows and movies.

A lot of actors called the West San Fernando Valley area home, according to Medved.  The sprawling hills and blue skies were a peaceful alternative to living in the city, yet not to far away from the Hollywood studios.  As I child growing up in the Conejo Valley, it wasn’t unusual to see celebrities from time to time.  I recall my mother pointing out the actor who portrayed Marcus Welby M.D (Robert Young) reading a book on the grass at a Westlake Village strip mall.

The original Bat Cave from the Batman TV series is located in the hills near LA's Griffith Park.

The original Bat Cave from the Batman TV series is located in the hills near LA's Griffith Park.

Click here to listen as Harry Medved shares stories of location filming in the West San Fernando Valley and Oak Park area with my colleague and buddy Pete Demetriou of KNX Radio, for KNX On Your Corner.

 

For more on the history on filming in the greater Los Angeles area, check out Harry Medved’s books Location Filming in Los Angeles and Oak Park.

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Daylight Saving: After Work Getaways!

Get ready to hit the road and enjoy the extra So Cal sunshine that comes with Daylight Saving Time.

With Daylight Saving Time kicking in on Sunday, you’ll be enjoying at least an extra hour of daylight.  So, why not head out on an after-work adventure?  You don’t have to go very far to find a beautiful place to relax and take  in a Southern  California sunset.

Santa Monica and Malibu top my list of quick getaways.  From the bluffs of Palisades Park, to Montana Avenue and the Third  Street Promenade,  click here for more Santa Monica Daycations.

When you’re in the mood for a scenic coastal drive, Pacific Coast Highway through west Malibu is hard to beat. Click here for details on the Malibu Drive from Oxnard to Santa Monica. Your car will be hugging the rugged coastline and there are plenty of places to pull over and enjoy the view. If you hurry, you might even see some whales migrating along the coast, prime whale watching season continues through April.

Related: Conejo Valley Getaway – Gardens of the World

Palisades Park in Santa Monica is a lovely place to enjoy the extra hour of daylight that comes with Daylight Saving Time.

 

An easy work getaway in Orange County could include a trip to Fashion Island.  This upscale outdoor shopping mall offers fresh air, a sea breeze and several delicious restaurants including The Cheesecake Factory and California Pizza Kitchen and Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion, one of my favorite places for bar dining.

Across from Fashion Island is Balboa Island. A short drive over the bridge and you might feel as if you’re in a quaint NewEngland beach town. You can catch the ferry to Balboa Peninsula.

Pacific Coast Highway through South Orange County will take you from Newport Beach, Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente, with plenty of places to enjoy and explore along the way.

Read: So Cal Burgers

When you’re in Southern California, there’s no need to wait for the official start of summer to start your summer vacation. Enjoy!

Balboa Island, CA USA

Balboa Island, CA is a seaside getaway in Orange County. It offers a small town feel on the edge of sprawling Newport Beach.

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[img src=http://traffic411.com/wp-content/flagallery/balboa-island-ca-usa/thumbs/thumbs_balboaislandchannel.jpg]40Balboa Island in Orange County has a ferry to take drivers, bikers, skaters and pedestrians from Balboa Island to the Balboa Peninsula.
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Shuttle Endeavour’s Final Flight

The Hollywood Sign is one of several landmarks the shuttle Endeavour is expected to soar over on its final flight. (photo: Traffic411)

Southern California is known for its fabulous weather, beautiful beaches and horrible traffic. Any driver will tell you, it doesn’t have to be rush hour to find yourself stuck in gridlock. So, imagine what might happen to L.A freeways later this morning when a 747 jumbo jet with a space shuttle riding on its back soars low across the area.

In just a few hours, Space shuttle Endeavour will make its final flight, leaving Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave Desert for Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). But, before it touches down at L.A.X, Endeavor is expected to fly over some of the areas most iconic landmarks.

NASA hasn’t released the shuttle’s flight plan, CBS Los Angeles is reporting these are some of the landmarks where Endeavour will tour: Malibu, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, the Hollywood Sign, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, LAX, The USS Iowa, The Getty Museum, Universal Studios, California Science Center, The Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, and Disneyland.

CBS LA is reporting this is the possible flight path of the space shuttle Endeavor as it makes its final flight. (credit: CBS)

These landmarks are scattered across Southern California, so Endeavour could be visible in the skies for 90 minutes or more. Many excited people are pre-planning their viewing spots, but there will undoubtedly be plenty of drivers caught off guard when they witness the once in a lifetime flyover. See the CBS story here

The spectacle could cause accidents, as drivers take their eyes off the road. It will likely bring freeways to a standstill. Drivers are advised to pull to the side of the road and stop their vehicles if they want to watch the shuttle flyover today, which is expected to take place between 10 am and noon.

Endeavour will make the final landing of its career at LAX around 12:45 pm PT, where it will be stored in a hanger until next month. Then the shuttle will make its way through city streets to its final home, the California Science Center.

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Parking in Santa Monica

Read ALL the signs when parking in Santa Monica to avoid being ticketed or towed.

Santa Monica is beautiful.  But, it’s easy to wind up with a ticket or getting your car towed away if you park in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I usually have good ‘parking karma,’  but I’ve been ticketed more than once in Santa Monica and have even had my car towed (I missed the tiny ‘valet zone’ sign on the parking meter).  Don’t ruin your visit with a parking mishap.  Here are some tips for safely parking in Santa Monica:

Read ALL the signs: They will alert you to street sweeping times and whether a parking permit sticker is required.  Residential parking permit stickers are required in many neighborhoods, and the signs will list the times when a permit is required.

Related: Santa Monica Daycations

You even need to read the signs when parking in a metered spot. Pay close attention for the ‘bus zone’ and “Valet Zone” signs, these are sometimes hard to see and only in effect when a nearby restaurant is offering valet parking.

Feed the meter generously:  Parking enforcement officers seem to have a knack for finding expired meters as soon as they expire.  Spend the extra few cents to cover your car for the entire time you think you will using the spot.

Also See: Malibu Drive

If you ARE towed in Santa Monica, your vehicle supposed to be taken to a yard IN Santa Monica which is open 24 hours.  In my experience, this doesn’t always happen.  My car was taken by a rogue towing company located in a dark,  dangerous area outside of the city.  I wound up waiting 90 minutes on a dark street waiting for the driver who promised to be there ‘any minute.’


There are public parking lots near the pier around the Third Street Promenade which offer two hours of free parking.  Parking in beach lots will be more expensive, but it can be worth the extra money to pay to park in a lot to avoid headaches.   If you do wind up getting ticketed or towed, click this link for helpful tips.

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