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Shot On Site - Beverly Hills Ghostsnatchers

 By Paul Rudoff on Jul. 16, 2012 at 12:00 PM , Categories: Ghostbusters 2, Filming Locations , Tags:

Welcome to Spook Central's special "Shot On Site Summer" event. All throughout the month of July, and possibly the rest of the Summer, I will be posting Shot On Site articles on Spook Central detailing newly-discovered Ghostbusters filming locations. Click here to view the current schedule.

This is a most unusual article. For the first time in my Shot On Site series, I'm going to start with the filming location, and try to figure out what in either Ghostbusters 1 or 2 was filmed there. It all started back in late 2004 when the following item was published in the October 28, 2004 edition of the Los Angeles Times.


This was complete news to me. Off the top of my head I couldn't think of a single scene in either Ghostbusters movie that could have been filmed there. The guys never busted any ghosts at any palatial estates. I looked to the internet for help, but it only made matters worse. Some websites said Ghostbusters and others said Ghostbusters II, so I didn't know what to believe. The book "Shot On This Site" confirmed Ghostbusters, but that didn't mean that that information was accurate. Canyon News said, "...the Greystone Mansion, which has two long tunnels underneath and where they filmed part of Ghostbusters and The Witches of Eastwick."

After all of my research, I could only think of two scenes filmed at the mansion: The deleted Fort Detmerring scene in the first film (the arch in the Los Angeles Times photo suggested this), and the subway scene in the second film (the long tunnel underneath suggested this). At the time, I forgot that the Making Ghostbusters book stated where both the Fort Detmerring interior and exteriors were filmed; and I knew that the slime tunnel was shot on a stage, but I didn't know about the train tunnel (which I'm now sure was shot on a stage as well).

I had put all of this behind me for a few years when I found this brief behind the scenes look at Ghostbusters II from a 1989 episode of Entertainment Tonight.

About 45 seconds into the video, some behind-the-scenes footage is shown from various scenes while John Tesh gives general descriptions of the places where they were filmed. At 0:59 is some behind-the-scenes footage of the Gracie Mansion scene with the filming location described as "a mansion in Beverly Hills where all four ghostbusters did their last scene together". Immediately, the light bulb went off in my head. In spite of this scene being set at Gracie Mansion, I never made the connection. Then again, I always thought that it was filmed on a soundstage.

Immediately, I started searching online for photos of Greystone Mansion that match up with what's seen in the movie. I started with the sole "Gracie Mansion" exterior shot, figuring that it would be the easiest thing to do. Easier than the interior? Yes. As easy as it should have been. Heck no. Because I'm limited to the photos that other people have taken and posted online, and most people don't take photos at the mansion of the specific areas I need, from the specific vantage points I need them taken from, I'm going to use a lot more images to do all of these comparisons than I usually do. Please bear with me, as this will probably be the most image-intensive Shot On Site article I've ever written.

The first thing we see in that single tracking shot of the "Gracie Mansion" exterior is a plaque detailing the mansion's history. I won't go into details about the errors contained on the plaque, because you can read all about them on my Greystone Mansion page. Below is a collage made by Matthew Jordan of the first part of the shot, showing the plaque and the police car pulling up. Underneath the collage is a photo of the area of Greystone Mansion where the shot was filmed. It's an entryway leading into the highly-photographed courtyard, which the police car was actually exiting from. The area in the red rectange is roughly where the "Gracie Mansion" plaque was placed, and the red arrow points to where the Ghostbusters exited the police car and entered the building.


As the camera moves over to the right, we get a glimpse of some lighted windows in the courtyard in the background. As you can see in the side-by-side comparison below, they match up perfectly.


Below is another collage assembled by Matthew Jordan that shows the area from where the ghostbusters exit the police car to where they enter the building. This collage gives you an idea as to the layout of the area.


As the ghostbusters go in between the columns on the right, we see a window in the background. It matches with the Greystone photo on the right.


The final part of the single exterior tracking shot. Four things to notice here: the column-shaped protrusions on both sides of the door, the doorbell on the right of the door, the style of door, and the railing and wood paneling inside the building.


That wraps up the exterior. Now let's take a look at the interior. After years of searching I finally found a few photos (as in THREE) of the room in which the ghostbusters had their chat with the mayor. It's known as the Drawing Room, and the photos below were taken during an interior designer showcase, so the fixtures and stuff you see in the room are not normally part of the room. That's an important thing to keep in mind, as I will be ignoring them in the comparisons; sticking strictly to the room layout and architectual design as connection points. Also, the wood-panelled walls seen in the movie were in serious need of restoration, which they've gotten sometime in the last 20+ years. That's why the walls of the room in the movie are a dull unwood-like color, while the walls in the photos are a vibrant wood-ish brown.

In the images below we see one corner of the Drawing Room. I could draw arrows and boxes all over it, but I don't think that's necessary for you to see that it's the same room in both images. Look at where the two sets of doors are located, look at the areas above those doors, look at the woodwork around the doors and all over the walls... I did draw a box around one distinct piece of workwork that adorns the sides of a large portrait in both images, which might have been overlooked had I not called attention to it.


The next set of images are from the other end of the room. You can see a doorway and a set of windows all in the same positions in both the movie shot and the photo, although both were covered with curtains in the movie. The area I boxed around the bottom of the painting is what you see in the bottom image behind Egon and Peter. You'll notice the bottom of that distinctive decoration around the painting is seen in the top right of the movie image.


The final set of images is from a side of the room you don't see very much of in the movie. In fact, there's a fireplace on that wall that you don't see at all in the movie! There's only enough information in the movie to make two connections. In the blue box is a doorway (covered with curtains in the movie) and some wood panelling that matches in both the movie shot and the photo. The black box was drawn around the area you see behind Peter in the bottom image when he delivers his "three million completely miserable assholes" line.


This wasn't Bill Murray's first time at the Greystone Mansion, nor was it Harold Ramis' either. Both were here in 1981 to film scenes for Stripes, while Bill would return (in a manner of speaking) in 2006 for Garfield: A Tale Of Two Kitties.

Oh, and super major kudos to anyone who knows the really obscure 1989 movie I'm referencing in the article title... and no, it's not an adult movie.

Porte-cochère/portico entryway into courtyard - August 6, 2008, taken by Mariano Rodgers
Courtyard windows - February 21, 2010, taken by Allison Craig
Close-up on columns with window in background - July 7, 2006, taken by Flickr user 'Pleasure Palate'
Under porte-cochère/portico, looking directly at the entrance - May 5, 2009, taken by Flickr user 'KellyLA'
The Drawing Room, Photo #1 - December 2008, taken by Coco of CocoCozy.com
The Drawing Room, Photo #2 - October 2009, taken by Veranda magazine and Veranda.com
The Drawing Room, Photo #3 - October 2009, taken by Veranda magazine and Veranda.com

For more information about Ghostbusters filming locations, be sure to check out the rest of Spook Central's Shot On Site articles, Spook Central's Filming Locations page, and Chris Stewart's Shot On Site articles. Thanks Chris for letting me use your awesome title. Title graphic drawn by Paul Kinsella.


Comment from: Alex Newborn [Visitor]

Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers?

Another great article as always, I love these.

Hey, I almost forgot… the train tunnel was shot at a New York nightclub called, fittingly enough, The Tunnel. According to the Cinefex article on Ghostbusters 2, it “features several hundred feet of abandoned subway track.”


Can’t wait to see what you can dig up on that!


Jul. 16, 2012 @ 16:36
Comment from: [Member]

Yup, that was the movie.

Beverly Hills Bodysnatchers (1989)
Starring Vic Tayback (Mel on the Alice tv series), Frank Gorshin (The Riddler on the 1960s Batman tv series), and Art Metrano (Police Academy 2 & 3).

Did you hapen to also see that really obscure movie, or did you “cheat” and look it up online?

I saw it once or twice on the ABC Late Night Movie in the early 1990s, back when they showed all these really odd obscure films. That’s where I first saw Hercules In New York, starring a then unknown (and dubbed) Arnold Schwarzenegger. I don’t even know if ABC shows late night movies anymore, but with hundreds of cable channels at my disposal, there’s always a “late night movie” on somewhere :-)

I didn’t know about The Tunnel nightclub. I’ll have to check that out.

Jul. 16, 2012 @ 17:26
Comment from: Mrmichaelt [Visitor]

Wow, I feel naive for writing it off and thinking the Gracie Mansion scenes were filmed at Gracie Mansion, ha ha! Another great article.

Jul. 17, 2012 @ 04:48
Comment from: [Member]

Yeah, this is the only Ghostbusters location (that I can think of) where it isn’t filmed at the real location where it’s supposed to be taken place at.

Jul. 17, 2012 @ 14:43
Comment from: The Stiff [Visitor]

Great article, very extensive! You are quite the internet sleuth.

Jul. 17, 2012 @ 21:53

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