Wayne's World | 1992
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Famously set in ‘Aurora, Illinois’, but originally written as ‘Scarborough, Ontario’ (Mike Myers’ hometown), most of the movie was filmed around Los Angeles.
Even so, the locations are scattered far and wide, so if you want to plan a Wayne’s World location tour, don’t expect to cover everything in an afternoon.
Illinois is seen only in a few establishing shots, captured by a Second Unit.
The neighbourhood of Wayne and Garth (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey) is Van Nuys, in the heart the San Fernando Valley more usually associated with Paul T Anderson.
In fact, Wayne’s home, where the pair broadcast Wayne’s World from the basement, is 7105 Texahoma Avenue, south of Sherman Way, just a few blocks east of the ‘Traxx’ disco and the ‘Miss Donuts’ store from Boogie Nights.
Wayne and Garth play street hockey on Texahoma, and Garth himself lived just across the road at 7102 Texahoma Avenue. This being Los Angeles, though, the house has already been demolished to be replaced by a new home.
As Bohemian Rhapsody plays in the car, we’re off to the Chicago suburbs for those establishing shots, which in reality are miles apart.
The car is first driving (back and forth) on North Milwaukee Avenue at the junction with North Kimball Avenue and West Diversey Avenue, in the Logan Square district, northwest of the city
Ray Krey’s Wheels Automart stood at 3939 Western Avenue, in St Ben’s northwest of Chicago. It’s long gone, replaced by a new housing development.
Amazingly, still standing is the Native American figure atop the roof of Midwest Eye Clinic, 6254 South Pulaski Road at West 63rd Street, which is way southwest toward Chicago Midway Airport.
Still flourishing, too, is Scatchell’s Beef Stand, 4700 West Cermak Road in Cicero, a suburb a few miles east of Chicago. It’s still advertising Vienna Beef, a staple of the Chicago-style hot dog.
Also thriving is Chicago Joe’s, 2256 West Irving Park Road at North Oakley Avenue, St Ben’s, a couple of blocks east of the Wheels Automart location. It’s a family operated restaurant and bar, decorated with Chicago memorabilia, such as seats from the original Comiskey Park, stained glass and classic snapshots of the city.
Not everything has survived. That amazing stack of eight cars impaled on a spike was a 1989 sculpture called Spindle, which stood on Cermak Plaza at Harlem Avenue in Berwyn, west of Cicero.
Despite becoming a landmark and tourist attraction, the locals never accepted it and killjoys actually voted to have it removed. In 2008, it was unbelievably dismantled.
You’ll have noticed none of the cast appear in these Illinois shots.
When they stop to pick up “partied out” Phil from the bus stop by ‘Hot Rock Records’, it’s in front of 3 Vino’s, a Cuban bar / restaurant, 201 North Citrus Avenue, at College Street in Covina, about 25 miles east of LA.
Cassell’s Music, where Wayne covets the ’64 Fender Stratocaster in Classic White with triple single-coil pick-ups and a whammy bar, is a real music store, and still in business at 901 North Maclay Street, north of Glenoaks Boulevard in San Fernando itself, way up in the very north of the Valley.
Their destination is ‘Stan Mikita’s Donut Shop’, managed by seriously weird Glen (Ed O'Neill). This was 1220 North La Brea Avenue at East Fairview Boulevard, Inglewood, and the hockey player on the roof was no more than set dressing. It’s now Puerto Nuevo Mexican and American restaurant and, apart from the distinctive shape, barely recognizable.
Onto ‘Gasworks’, the heavy metal bar where Crucial Taunt are playing. This is a leftover from the script’s original setting – Gasworks was a famous Toronto rock venue.
For the movie, the exterior is one of those familiar Downtown LA warehouses, this one being 1800 Industrial Street at Mill Street. It stands alongside the ‘14th Precinct’ cop station from David Fincher’s Se7en.
The club’s spacious, galleried interior, where Cassandra (Tia Carrere) fronts the band and Garth zaps the bully, was gay club Arena, the largest dance club in Hollywood, which stood at 6655 Santa Monica Boulevard at North Las Palmas Avenue. The premises also housed legendary Latinx / Afro American gay dance club Circus.
After many years of providing an alternative to the scene, both venues finally closed, and the building was demolished in 2016 to make way for – more condos.
Two real Chicago exteriors briefly seen are the office of ‘Oliver Communications’, where the cunning Benjamin (Rob Lowe) works, and Benjamin’s luxury home.
The office is the Leo Burnett Building, 35 West Wacker Drive, towering over the Chicago River at North Dearborn Street in the Loop, central Chicago.
The apartment block is the misleadingly-named New York Private Residences, 3660 North Lake Shore Drive, though the entrance seen in the film on the south side of West Waveland Avenue, Boystown, on Lake Michigan north of Chicago.
Cassandra’s loft is the top floor of what was the historic 1921 California Walnut Growers Building, 1745 East 7th Street, in the one-time industrial area east of Downtown Los Angeles. This provides the building's exterior too.
Well done if you spotted it crop up again as Leonardo DiCaprio’s ‘Paris’ workshop in Christopher Nolan’s Inception (look for the distinctive angled skylights).
We’re unlikely to see it onscreen again, however. It’s been repurposed as Mill Street Lofts, luxury apartments.
When Wayne and Garth scoot off to ‘Milwaukee’ with tickets to see Alice Cooper and we get a pastiche of the opening credits to TV’s Laverne and Shirley, the street is simply the Paramount lot, 555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
Meanwhile, the cunning Benjamin is filming a video with Cassandra and he band in an exotic jungle setting. This is at the Meyberg Waterfall in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia, east of Pasadena, a 127-acre botanical garden which must be one of the most filmed locations in the world.
The Arboretum opened in 1956 but the waterfall is relatively modern, dating from 1969, and named after horticulturist Manfred Meyberg.