Part of the iconic, beautiful, scenic and downright legendary Pacific Coast Highway, the Bixby Bridge has been traveled across by motorists for nearly 90 years. Since 1932, travelers have marveled at its engineering and beauty nestled among the ragged Big Sur coastline on the way between San Simeon and Monterey. The steep mountains and cliffs dipping into the ocean makes for a truly unique location in the entire country. Perhaps secondly only to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bixby Bridge is one of the most photographed bridges in the entire state, if not the country.
Tourists from across the globe love traveling up the PCH while sightseeing between Los Angeles and San Francisco. However, recent storms have made it a little more difficult to get to. On January 28, 2021, a one-hundred and fifty foot section of Highway 1 washed out at Rat Creek, almost exactly halfway along the stretch of coast. The Bixby Bridge is located a little further north of the washout, and so people wanting to see it will need to travel to Monterey and continue south towards Big Sur.
Of course, this isn't new to Highway One on the Big Sur Coastline. More than 60 times in its history, the road has been washed away or covered in mud and debris. Most recently in 2017, a landslide was so massive it took over a year to reopen and it actually added 14 acres of new California Coast into the ocean. So while there is no estimate reopening of the historic highway this time, we can all go back and fondly remember what it is like in some of our favorite movies and commercials.
Some of the more famous call outs to the Bixby Bridge is in the television show, Then Came Bronson and in films like Play Misty for Me, Escape to Witch Mountain and The Sandpiper.
I love going to family owned theaters, and I love going to the Park Cinema Theater in Paso Robles. First, if you haven't been, the park and square in Paso Robles has almost a "Hill Valley" feel with their iconic downtown "Courthouse Square." But this is real. There are many great shops and restaurants all around the square, and of course there's a movie theater where they play first run movies. It was a perfect place to spend the evening. The Park Cinema Theater is the only one in the city of Paso Robles, a city of over 32,000 people and a booming city for wine tourism. But with the onslaught of Covid-19, the days of the theater may be numbered.
The owners of the theater, the Roush Family, have put out a desperate call for help. An open plea for them to save their theater, which has been operated by the family since James Cameron's Titanic sailed on the screen. They have set up a GoFundMe account with the hopes of raising a quarter of a million dollars to help save the theater. They also have a lot of other ways you can help support the theater in these unprecedented times. Such as:
Please consider helping this business, who also greatly support local charities. Visit their website and GoFundMe pages for more information.
Actor, writer and director, Rob Reiner, son of Carl Reiner announced the death of his father, Carl Reiner via twitter. He passed away at his home at the age of 98 last night.
Carl is credited with helping create some of the most memorable comedy ever filmed. He was a part of Sid Ceaser's team to create the Dick Van Dyke Show and worked with countless others in the comedy world, including George Burns, Steve Martin and Mel Brooks. He also lent his voice to many cartoon shows including Family Guy and even as recent as Toy Story 4 in 2019. He is also know for his role in the 2001 hit, Ocean's Eleven and it's sequel.
Carl was makes an appearance in the hit classic film It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World as the Tower Controller for the Rancho Conejo Airport, located here on the Central Coast. The scene is one of the most memorable with some of the most crazy airplane stunts caught on film. The Rancho Conejo Airport was removed shortly after filming to make way for Los Robles Greens golf course and the 101 Freeway.
So it looks like we have all been spending some quality time inside for our own good lately. Lots of people are now caught up on films and television shows they’ve been wanting to see, but what do you do when you have finished your list? Why not revisit some classic films with ties to right here on the Central Coast?
So we, here at the Central Coast Film Society, have put together a Top 10 list of things to watch while sheltering at home. And every one of them has a strong Central Coast connection. Here’s what you might want to dust off and enjoy.
10) Little Giants - Arroyo Grande
In the small village of Arroyo Grande came the feel good film with Rick Moranis and Ed O’Neil. They play brothers living in Urbania, Ohio. Only, it’s actually Arroyo Grande. Watch as the misfit team lead by Moranis train to go up against the big team. A perfect small town, home-grown family comedy.
9) Spartacus - San Simeon
At 190 minutes long, Spartacus is the type of movie to watch to make an event out of it, or when you’re stuck at home all day. Which makes pausing for bathroom breaks a little easier. This classic movie, with Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and directed by Stanley Kubrick, will have you transported back to the glory days of Rome by stopping at Hearst Castle as a backdrop.
8) The Spirit of St. Louis - Santa Maria
Billy Wilder’s production staring James Stewart was filmed all over the world following the story of Charles Lindbergh and his monumental flight from New York to Paris. However, in this movie, they were flying out of Allan Hancock Air Field (now site of Allan Hancock College) in Santa Maria. The film was released in 1957 and only a couple years later the airport closed as the US-101 was rerouted to it’s current location.
7) Pete’s Dragon - Point Buchon
This classic Disney film was set in Passamaquoddy, Maine but was filmed on this coast! The lighthouse seen in the film was built near Montana De Oro State Park, on Point Buchon, with special permission by the Coast Guard. You can still hike to that location, but you won’t find a lighthouse anymore. It was quickly dismantled after production to not confuse passing ships.
6) Of Mice And Men - Santa Ynez Valley
Directed and staring Gary Sinise, this film was filmed extensively in the Santa Ynez Valley. This classic John Steinbeck novel is a heavy drama was praised by critics but didn’t do that well in the box office. The 1939 version of the story was filmed a little further north in San Luis Obispo and the Hearst Ranch.
5) Outbreak - Santa Ynez Valley
What is a pandemic without watching a movie like this? With it’s huge ensemble cast, most of the movie takes place in Northern California. But watch carefully when Dustin Hoffman and Cuba Gooding Jr. are in a helicopter trying to divert an Air Force plane (that flew out from Vandenberg AFB). You can see they’re flying over the Santa Ynez Mountain Range.
4) The Rocketeer - Santa Maria
Walt Disney got their toes wet in comic book superhero films with The Rocketeer in 1991. Much of the film’s non-Los Angeles locations were shot at the Santa Maria Airport and surrounding areas. The film was well received, but plans for sequels were scrapped after the movie only performed “modestly” at the box office. Director Joe Johnston would go on to make another comic book film: Captain America: The First Avenger.
3) Batman: The Movie - Santa Barbara
Bam! Pow! Batman’s first big screen appearance showed the caped crusader running along Stern’s Wharf in Santa Barbara looking for the villain’s secret lair. While most everyone enjoys all the various and recent versions of Gotham City, it might be time to go revisit what started all the fun with this campy and fun movie.
2) Scarface - Santa Barbara
Al Pacino’s Tony Montana is a story that Walter White could only dream of. In the carnage infused climax at Tony’s Miami mansion, you may recognize that it’s actually in Santa Barbara. The scene also seems to have inspired part of the Harold Ramis comedy, Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser that had an action-packed drug lord compound scene that was also filmed in Santa Barbara.
1) HBO’s John Adams - Santa Maria
Yes, this isn’t a movie, but this Golden Globe winning series is a masterpiece from HBO and perfect to binge at home as we head into Memorial Day and Independence Day on an election year. Earlier this year was the 250th anniversary of the Boston Massacre, which is depicted in the opening parts of this series. It follows Paul Giamatti as John Adams in a remarkable telling of the man’s life. What you may not know is a good portion of the visual effects were done in Santa Maria by CafeFX, also known for doing effects in movies like Pan’s Labyrinth or The Mist.
BUT WAIT... there's one more.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Touch of Satan - Santa Ynez Valley
Alright, this one is so special it needs it’s own category. Ever see movies that are so bad they’re funny? Well, that’s what Mystery Science Theater 3000 does all the time. You can binge bad movies until the cows come home, but if you want something with a local backdrop then watch this beauty. Filmed in 1971 Santa Ynez Valley, this horror film is worthy of the bad jokes that two robots and a trapped spaceman fire at it.
So if you've been inside for a really long time and feeling a little stir crazy, this may help fix your brain. You can actually watch Season 10, Episode 8 of the show online for free right now. Take a look below!
50 years ago today, those words were sent from a small spacecraft, 200,000 miles from the surface of the Earth. It was on its way to the moon, with plans to land on the surface and study it. Of course, that all changed after the explosion that happened, crippling the space craft. The 1995 film, Apollo 13 was an instant success and was praised for the film's faithful authenticity surrounding the incident. The film was released 25 years after the real incident, and this year the film turns 25 years old.
Instead of landing on the moon, the crew of Apollo 13 then has to endure trial after trial as they sling-shot around the moon and return home. The fate of the three men onboard captivated the world as they approached their home world. Finally, on April 17th, 1970, the crew safely landed in the South Pacific Ocean and were recovered by a nearby US Navy ship. The recreated splashdown from the 1995 film was shot near the Channel Islands, off the southern part of California's Central Coast, near Los Angeles.
Now, watch a fantastic short film that looks back on the incident. The film was created and released today by NASA and includes interviews with the crew of Apollo 13 as well as the original footage and the original delivery of "Houston, we've had a problem" by Jim Lovell. The start of a successful failure.
The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that classic leading man from The Comancheros, The Longest Day and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines has died in his home in Montecito yesterday. He was also known for his performance in the television show Cimarron Strip as well has for his performance in The Mark, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. According to to the article, "Whitman did get nominated for best actor but lost out to Judgment at Nuremberg's Maximilian Schell — whose sister, Maria, played Whitman's love interest in The Mark. "Maria told me she didn't know who to vote for that year!” he said."
Whitman began his on screen career in 1951's When Worlds Collide, appearing in numerous films and television shows all the way up until 2000. His work had a huge range of genres, from westerns to suspenseful crime to creature features. After his half of century of acting, he retired to his 30-acre Santa Barbara area ranch and worked in real estate.
Kirk Douglas passed away today, according to his son, Michael Douglas' social media, Variety reports. Michael says his father, "leaves a legacy in film that will endure for generations to come, and a history as a renowned philanthropist who worked to aid the public and bring peace to the planet."
He is best known for his role in Spartacus, which included scenes shot here on the Central Coast at the famous destination of Hearst Castle. He has also won an honorary academy award. Douglas was also a WWII veteran and former Broadway star. But beyond this career, Douglas did lots of philanthropic work.
Variety reports that "Douglas and his wife Anne donated millions for the construction of the Kirk Douglas Care Pavilion at the Motion Picture & Television Fund for residents with Alzheimer’s. Funds were also donated to the Anne Douglas Center for Women at the Los Angeles Mission; the Center Theater Group’s Kirk Douglas Theater in Culver City; Sinai Temple in Westwood; and the Kirk Douglas Scholarship fund at Douglas alma mater St. Lawrence U.
Survivors include his wife Anne; three sons: actor-producer Michael and producers Joel and Peter; and at least seven grandchildren. His youngest son, Eric, died in July 2004."
The groundbreaking new show premiered recently on CBS All Access streaming service, but they have now made the first episode of the show free for a limited time.
Now watch below the first episode, which was filmed in the heart of the Central Coast in the Santa Ynez Valley at Sunstone Winery. Take a look on YouTube only here!
As we broke the news back when the first trailer dropped, we knew we were going to see a bit of the Santa Ynez Valley in the latest Star Trek installation. Now, as the first episode is less than a week away, and streams on January 23rd. Marketing is in full swing for the show and we're starting to get more glimpses of how much the show will feature the Central Coast.
In a new feature on the show, we are treated with some additional footage that was shot at the Sunstone Winery Villa, and it appears a good portion of interiors and other part of the property were shot as well. Take a look and see for yourself.
We may still be a ways away from having decaf Earl Gray tea made instantly just by asking it, but you can still visit the tasting room located on the property and get a sense of what it's like to really be at Captain Picard's retirement plan in real life.
Watch this video below about the real Sunstone Winery and location in Santa Ynez, in the heart of the Central Coast. And watch Star Trek: Picard on the 23rd!
"Fox" will be dropped from the studios' name with near immediate effect. Variety reports that Disney will be dropping the "Fox" name of 20th Century Fox, a name in the Hollywood Industry since 1935, to simple "20th Century Studios." Fox Searchlight Pictures is also getting the fox-less rebranding of simply "Searchlight Pictures." Variety goes on to say that "those logos won’t be dramatically altered, just updated. The most notable change is that the word “Fox” has been removed from the logo marks. Otherwise, the signature elements — swirling klieg lights, monolith, triumphal fanfare — will remain the same."
No word on what, if any, changes will be made to 20th Century Fox Television and Fox 21 Television Studios names. However changes are already being made internally with e-mail addresses already switching to the new names, and new movies poster's and logos are being upgraded currently.
Variety also learned that Disney and Peter Chernin are ending Chernin Entertainment’s long-standing film production deal with 20th Century Fox.
“I have nothing but praise for Disney,” Chernin told Variety. “They were gracious, classy and paved the way for me to continue to build the company however we want.”
Chernin Entertainment’s most recent films have been financial disappointments. The Kristen Stewart thriller, and Central Coast local director, William Eubank's “Underwater,” debuted with only $7 million domestic opening weekend, and the animated comedy “Spies in Disguise” has grossed a only $116.7 million to date.
Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox in March 2019 included the 20th Century Fox film and TV studios, but not the Fox broadcast network or Fox News. Change to the name was seen as "inevitable" to help close the confusion on the name branding.
Variety also notes that "Disney chief Bob Iger saw his compensation for 2019 drop to $47.5 million, a 28% decline from his 2018 pay package."
"Disney’s leader earned $3 million in salary and a $21.8 million bonus, plus another $10 million in stock awards and $9.6 million in stock options, Disney disclosed in the company’s annual proxy filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday. The $47.5 million total includes the current market value of options and stock awards that won’t be paid out for some time and thus could lose value."