Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Then And Now: See How These Old Filming Locations Look Today

Support your source for local news!
Today, put a dollar value on the trustworthy reporting you rely on all year long. The local news you read here every day is crafted for you, but right now, we need your help to keep it going. In these uncertain times, your support is even more important. We can't hold those in power accountable and uplift voices from the community without your partnership. Thank you.

There are numerous blogs about the filming locations of iconic movie and TV scenes, but Dat Scene is extra fun. And for its creator, it's sort of like a scavenger hunt to pin down precise locations using small clues.

Phil Grishayev goes to the exact location, then takes a picture of it from the same angle as when it was shot in the original. Often, he poses in the photo in the same position as the character or subject. And while some locations look relatively similar, others have changed dramatically, or were manipulated by film crews to look like they belonged in completely different places or times. Each entry also contains the year the film was shot, plus the year in which his photos were taken.

Grishayev was born in Russia, but lived in Warsaw, Poland until five years ago when he says he moved to L.A. and "immediately fell in love with the city." While growing up in Europe, he tells LAist he had a vision of American culture derived from '80s films like Beverly Hills Cop and Terminator (on VHS, of course), imagining car chases and gorgeous sunsets. "Moving to Los Angeles was literally a dream come true for a nerd like me," he says.

He now works as a graphic designer and visual effects artist, occasionally directing music videos. Still, he tries to post at least one location a week to his blog.

Support for LAist comes from

Scrolling through Dat Scene reveals scenes from Ghostbusters, Fight Club and Pulp Fiction. You can see the hallway Christopher Walken danced down in Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" video. But Grishayev has also managed to hunt down the location of album covers, as well as notable historical photos. In one entry, he can be seen sitting on the same steps that JFK posed on in 1960.

He finds the bulk of his locations using, but said others "you have to find yourself by analyzing still frames, or asking around on various film forums." For those tough spots, it can take days or weeks to figure it out.

"Once you match that wall, crack, street sign or wire fence, you're back in the game," he said. "Locating the spots is no less fun than visiting them, but once you're there, the feeling of satisfaction is overwhelming. It's all about the experience of being there. The photo is just a 'side effect' to share with others because the best part stays in your head forever."

The hardest locations to find are, of course, the interior ones. With his photos from Jackie Treehorn's house in The Big Lebowski, Grishayev knew a friend of a friend who provided him access. Some of Grishayev's favorite scenes come from Tarantino films, as he's a big fan of the director. In particular, he points out how the pawn shop from Pulp Fiction still looks exactly the same.

Other locations are lost forever, like the warehouse used for Reservoir Dogs, or have been remodeled to the point where they're unrecognizable, like some buildings from the '40s and '50s. "The Old Hollywood is long gone, but if you look hard enough, you might find traces of the Golden Era," he says.

To follow Grishayev's hunts, visit Dat Scene here.

Most Read