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Tuesday December 18th 2018

E.T. – The Extraterrestrial | 1982

ET filming location: Lonzo Drive, Tujunga, San Fernando Valley
ET filming location: Elliot’s house below the San Gabriel Mountains: Lonzo Drive, Tujunga | Photograph: Erik Hollander

In its day, the biggest-grossing film ever, Steven Spielberg’s tearjerking fantasy was filmed largely on the soundstages at Culver Studios (previously Pathe, Pathe-de Mille and RKO-Pathe Studios), 9336 Washington Boulevard in Culver City, where many other movie greats, including the original King Kong and Gone With the Wind, were shot.

Interiors, apart from the high school, were filmed here, but so were some exteriors too, including the rear of Elliot’s house and the backyard where he (Henry Thomas) leaves a trail of Reese’s Pieces to tempt the alien.

The redwood forest scenes are in the Redwood National Park at Crescent City, Route 101 in far northern California near the Oregon border.

ET filming location: Culver City High School, Elenda Street, Culver City
E.T. location: Elliot's school: Culver City High School, Elenda Street, Culver City

You'll find Elliot’s frog-infested school in Los Angeles; it’s the Culver City High School, Elenda Street at Franklin Avenue. The principal was played by Harrison Ford, whose role ended up on the cutting room floor, though I suppose true fans might be able to recognise the back of his head and shoulder, which are supposedly still in the finished film.

The neighbourhood chosen for the film was Northridge – the epicentre of 1994’s disastrous quake – northwest of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley.

ET filming location: White Oak Avenue, Porter Ranch
E.T. filming location: The flying bicycles: White Oak Avenue, Granada Hills

The ‘Halloween’ and chase scenes filmed in the Porter Ranch district of the Valley, and the flying bicycle chase on the tree-lined stretch of White Oak Avenue between Tribune Street and San Fernando Mission Boulevard, Granada Hills, but Elliot’s house is about fifteen miles to the east.

ET filming location: Lonzo Drive, Tujunga, San Fernando Valley
ET filming location: the backyard of Elliot’s house: Lonzo Drive, Tujunga | Photograph: Erik Hollander

Spielberg wanted a more dramatic backdrop and headed off to the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. The actual house is 7121 Lonzo Drive, Tujunga, a suburb north of Burbank.