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TV Sitcom Houses
PART FOUR
by Ben Glenn II

Paramount Studios: Nobody's Home! Paramount boasts itself as the "oldest movie studio in Hollywood". Technically, this is true, because Paramount is located in Hollywood proper, while the other studios have long relocated to the Los Angeles suburbs of Burbank, Century City, Culver City, and so forth.

However, with its in-town location, Paramount has a relatively small backlot - nothing near the sprawl Universal or Warner Bros. In fact, it has minimal residential street sets, and therefore the studio used exteriors of real homes around Los Angeles as the homes of several of its TV families. We'll locate two for you here - the Bradys' and the Cunninghams'.

Brady Bunch HouseRecognizing the limitations of the Paramount backlot, and perhaps in an effort to imbue their production with a bit more realism, Sherwood Schwartz's team sought out an actual suburban Los Angeles home for The Brady Bunch. Of course, the house would be used only for stock exterior shots, with the action filmed almost entirely on Paramount's Stage 5. The house they selected is perhaps the most famous in American television.

In spring 1969, Schwartz's team identified the now-immortal house. Located at 11222 Dilling Street in North Hollywood (also referred to as Studio City) in the San Fernando Valley, the split-level house was built in 1959 by Luther B. Carson; Carson's widow, Louise Weddington Carson, was living in the house alone when the house was selected for The Brady Bunch.

The Brady Bunch houseIn 1973, Mrs. Carson sold the house to Violet and George McAllister. Mrs. McAllister lives in the house to this day, although it looks quite different now with its landscaping and surrounding white iron fence.

As many TVparty-ers know, the window on the home's A-frame section was a prop, and has long been removed. Given the house's changed appearance, a three-sided facade replicating its 1969 look was built for the two Brady Bunch movies. Garry Marshall encountered a similar problem when his Love, American Style segment, "Love in the Happy Days", was picked up as a series by Paramount Television.

real Happy Days houseAgain, with little to choose from on the backlot, the production team went into Los Angeles in search of a traditional-style house which would likely be found in 1950s mid-America. They found it at 565 North Cahuenga Boulevard, just a few blocks from Paramount's lot on Melrose Avenue. The Cunningham house is still there - but without Fonzie's motorcycle in the driveway or the swing on the front porch.

Clampett MansionQuick hits: The Clampetts' mansion; Mary's boarding house; and the Addams Family mystery The exterior of the Clampett mansion seen on The Beverly Hillbillies was a real house. The show's producing studio, Filmways, had no backlot from which to draw upon. So, they selected a home in the grandest section of Bel-Air.

For many years, the property was hidden by a high hedge that deterred sightseers. In the 1980s, however, the mansion was torn down and another residence was built on the site.

Mary Richards' charming bachelorette pad in The Mary Tyler Moore Show (before she moved to her highrise apartment) supposedly was located on the upper floor of Phyllis Lindstrom's house. The series was filmed at CBS's Studio Center facility in Los Angeles, but the house used for exterior shots can be found at 2104 Kenwood Parkway in Minneapolis, MN.

Finally, The Addams Family house remains an industry mystery. While the house shown in the familiar opening credits was certainly a matte painting, there are several episodes which use an actual house. Did one exist? Even the most knowledgeable Addams Family fans don't know, although one authority swears that the Addams house can be seen in the movie Willard.

There you have it, TVparty-ers - a directory to many beloved sitcom houses.

So next time you're in Los Angeles (or Minneapolis!), take map in hand and set out to see these landmarks of popular culture. You may be slightly dismayed by the way a favorite old set looks today, but at least you can say that you were right there, where all the laughs started.


More About The Sitcom Houses

"Your explanation as to why they had to stop filming the exterior of a real mansion for "The Beverly Hillbillies" wasn't entirely accurate.

"The real reason is, the show became so popular that the owners asked Filmways not to give out the address, because tourists might come. But, TV Guide found out the address, & published it. The house was then besieged by hordes of tourists, some of whom would actually walk right in, without even knocking, & ask for Jed & Granny! As a result, the owners had to tell Filmways they couldn't film there anymore.

"Also, you didn't point out that the Munsters house is actually pink, & the Cleavers house on Leave It To Beaver was also used for Marcus Welby, & The Partridge Family house was also used for My Three Sons."

- a reader


LOCATION, LOCATION...
"Regarding your section on famous TV show homes and their locations, I would like to add a little tidbit on Colonial street on the Universal Backlot.

"The location of this street is not where it originally stood when the TV shows Leave it to Beaver, The Munsters & Marcus Welby M.D. were shot. Actually the Colonial street that exists today can be considered a BIZZARO version of the original street. I say this because when the street was in it's original condition and original location, the famous facades were in different locations than they are today.

"If you look back at the old Welby series you will notice that the house appeared to be at a 'bend' in the street. This was because the house was at the end of a street that continued on the right. The Munster house was located in about the same area of the street it is today except that street did not turnout to the left of it's location. The street was basically one long street with homes on both sides that came to bend at the end of it. Sort of an upside-down 'L' shape.

"The other thing was the streets location. Colonial street was originally located in the lower backlot behind 'MOCKINGBIRD SQUARE,' commonly referred to as the 'Back to The Future' Hill Valley location. The street was behind the clock tower and adjacent to the lake that used to contain the partial replica of a paddle wheel boat for the 1960's TV series Showboat.

"It was moved to it current location in the late '70s and early '80s to make room for production facilities. What you may not know is that there is a small 'neighborhood' street located directly behind Colonial street that is a collection of REAL homes. When I say REAL homes I mean a house with 4 walls, a roof, living rooms and bedrooms. Universal bought these homes from the city of Los Angeles in the late 1950's after the city had bought them from their original owners under the iminate domain law so the city and Walter O' Malley could build Dodger Stadium at Chavez Ravine. Before the Stadium was built, Chavez Ravine was a favorite place for the studios to shoot plenty of their feature films and television shows.

"Theatrical productions like the Eastside Kids/Bowery Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello and a host of others shot in and around Chavez Ravine. TV shows like Highway Patrol and others also used Chavez Ravine. Some of those old home have survived and there behind colonial street on the Universal Backlot."

- SAL GOMEZ


Hiya, came across your website while doing some research, and was really drawn in by your article about the real-life houses of sitcom families.

Apparently, no-one has been able to find the original Addams Family house from the 1960's. Well, there's a good reason... it was demolished.

The house seen in the opening credits was indeed a matte painting, but only the surrounding grounds and the third story. The first and second floors were from a real house in California. And, I seem to recall that it was actually located on Adams Blvd (only one "D").

The actual house exterior was only photographed once. The exterior shots were filmed for the pilot. However, they were re-used many times throughout the run of the series. All the other exterior shots of the hosue were done on a soundstage. Sometimes, if you look carefully, you can see the difference in the filming in the same episode, but you have to look quick!<G>

Adams Family house

classic TV show bookI am attaching a small screenshot of the real house exterior from the series. Some of this information can be verified in the book "The Addams Chronicles". Funnily enough, I believe you can actually see the original house without the added matte elements if you are lucky enough to own the Addams Family original VHS releases from the '90s. It's my understanding that the house shown on the cover is the actual house.

Another reader on your site mentioned the Piru Mansion as being used as the Addams house exterior. While I can't speak for any of the other Addams TV series or later films, I do know that it was NOT the original 60's TV house.

Finally, the sharp-eyed authority you mention in your article who says they saw the Addams house in the film Willard was absolutely right... and wrong.<G>

The house they are referring to is actually a very familar sight, and has been used in many films and TV shows, including the aformentioned ratty thriller. However, it's not the original '60's house. The house that they are referring to was used in the TV reunion special called Halloween with the New Addams Family. This was the color Halloween TV special that brought back the surviving members of the original TV cast.

- Walter Price


Sky King

ABOVE: Sky King's ranch in 1955.

Is this Sky King's house today?

Sky King's Ranch

"Being the curious sort, and living in Apple Valley, I thought I'd try and find the Sky King 'ranch house'. I did! I've attached a pic of the now modernized hacienda. It's about 1/2 mile south of Hwy 18 on Rancherias Rd in Apple Valley. Strangely, it's only about a 9-iron across the 18th tee at the AV Country Club to Roy Rogers' last home.

Sky King's ranch house"If you look carefully you can see the mtns and rocks behind the house match up and the old chimney is also recognizable. I'd have to have gotten into this guy's yard to make an exact photo match."

- Bob

Sky King's Ranch

Elizabeth Boggs writes: "I just LOVE your site! I noticed something you, somehow, didn't mention.

"On the last page of the SitCom house locator, did you notice something that I did? The old "Sky King" ranchhouse in the photo taken in the late 1950's was the one and the same house used on the "Brady Bunch" pilot when Mike married Carol.

"The "four men" were living "all together" and were "all alone" in THAT house. After Mike made Carol his misses, they made the San Fernando residence their digs, abandoning that poor, ole' white rambler for the more spacious abode made immemorial by that famous "Bunch."

"Did you notice that? I SURE did; in fact, I did an about face! Keep up the GREAT work and Happy Viewing! They sure DON'T make TV the way they used to..."


The Clampett House today

Paul Sonski writes in response the the Sitcom Houses article, specifically the state of the Clampett home from The Beverly Hillbillies: "Based on the following www.maps.google.com (Bel Air, CA) aerial photo, I believe the house is still there.

Beverly Hillbillies House 

"I used to drive by the house and gates in the '80s. They soon put up a stucco wall across the gate side of the property hiding the gates, and they may have created a new drive way behind and along the wall with access to the gate from the north."

The home was gutted and reconfigured somewhat in the 1980s.

 

SITCOM HOUSES:
PART 1
/ 2 / 3 / 4

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"In your house section you mention that no one has been able to find the actual house used for exterior shots in The Addams Family.

"Go to this site: www.pirumansion.com. It shows a remote Victorian mansion that's for sale in Piru, CA, a small town about 45 minutes from Hollywood in Ventura County.

"My friend's family has owned if for decades and has leased it out for numerous location shoots through the years. I have been told that the mansion's pool and side exterior was used for The Addam's Family's pool/exterior scenes on the show. I hope this helps."

- a reader


"Hi, Yesterday I had to go into L.A. which isn't my favorite place to be.

"While I was there, I HAD to visit the two homes I read about on your web site. The home of the Bradys, and the Happy Days home. That was fun! I attached two pictures I took yesterday."

Happy Days House
Happy Days home today

The Brady House today
Brady Home today


"I just loved your story about sitcom houses and their current condition. I have gone to California 3 times and each time I have attempted to get onto the "Ranch".

"My first trip in '86 was the Burbank tour on foot. When I asked where is the Bewitched house, our guide said "Oh we don't take you there!!"

"After finding out that day that the Ranch was down the street I went there and tried to get a look through the ivy fence. On my second trip, the guard was gone. I was determined to get there in 1996. I told the young man at the gate my life's dream to see the ranch and that this was my third trip from Florida. He let us drive in!! I was told to stay in my car.

"I passed the Boston row townhouses, there was Dennis the Menace next to the Wilson's house - Halloo Mr. Wilson. Thanks to David of the Dennis the Menace site I can visit there often. David is just as nice as can be.

"I knew the Partridge Family house was quite different but as you said, there was the famous garage. The Partridge house could be viewed in its early time by watching Dennis the Menace. I think there was a church on that corner across from the Bewitched house, but has been torn down for another home. We sat outside the Bewitched house and I really wanted to get out and knock on the door and explore the whole Ranch.

"Then we drove next door to see Hazel, it was her day off. More houses came along, a gas station as you made the left hand turn. I remember Samantha repairing Johnny's Dad's car there so he could watch Johnny race his soap box.

"Next was the fancy two story brick used in Hazel when she went to work for Mr. B's brother. This was also in Bewitched for the home of Darrin's old girlfriend, Sheila, and Mr. Crinky, news reporter on Dennis and so many more.

Bewitched house

"I have fun just making the connections on all the different homes used. It has been reported that the Bewitched house has now been enclosed by all three sides and now houses lawn mowers for the up-keep of the Ranch. This house is a favorite of the employees and they fought to repair it after Home Improvement blew it up.

"In looking at shows in the early 60's, The garage for Bewitched looks to be there without the house? I hope that the Ranch is left alone as far as tearing down facades. They would be tearing down our childhood memories of great and wonderful times gone by."

- Sincerely, Cathy M

 

 

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