August 10, 2003
Movie tour spotlights Monterey's scenic sites
By Judy Green -- Sacramento Bee Staff Writer
Monterey, CA -- You may not expect to see movie stars in and around
Monterey, but you will if you team up with Doug Lumsden. He knows where
they hang out -- on Cannery Row, in the city's historic Spanish-style
buildings and along the trails and fields next to the 17-MILE DRIVE® --
which, he says, isn't really 17 miles long.
Of course, only some of the stars are still living, most notably Clint
Eastwood, a 40-year resident and principal owner of the Pebble Beach Co.
His suspenseful "Play Misty for Me" (1971) is among the top films on
Lumsden's new movie-themed tours of Monterey.
Lumsden has assembled an imaginative collage of 72 film clips to play on
monitors aboard a comfy bus while it passes the shooting locations. He
times the clips with the sights, adjusting for slow traffic and
passengers' questions. The three-hour excursion shows just how
much Hollywood loves the Monterey Peninsula.
"We're in Movieland," Lumsden says. "Nearly 200 movies have scenes that
have been shot in the area. The first in 1897 was simple film clips shot
by a cameraman working for Thomas Edison. It showed scenes of pounding
surf and of horse-drawn carriages arriving at the old Del Monte Hotel."
That hotel, a luxury destination built in 1880 and rebuilt twice after
fires, was commandeered by the U.S. Navy during World War II for an
aviator school. In 1947, Congress authorized its purchase for the Navy,
which uses it for the Naval Postgraduate School.
The hotel was the original starting point for the 17-MILE DRIVE®. Now,
Lumsden explains, the spectacular coastal drive's official start is five
miles away, at the Pacific Grove gate. The road is private, but tourists
can cruise for an entrance fee of $8.
Near the beginning of Lumsden's tour, we see Marilyn Monroe sorting
sardines in a Cannery Row factory in "Clash by Night" (1952), just
before our bus eases up to the corner where Monroe, in tight jeans and a
head scarf, walks across the street and has a bit of a set-to with her
co-star, Keith Andes. The sardine cannery originally on the site was
next door to the new Chart House restaurant on the bay side, but the
narrow, curvy street remains.
Just as we cruise in front of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we watch a
scene from "Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home" (1986) that still is causing
comment at the aquarium. In it, characters Spock and Capt. Kirk watch
two humpback whales cavort in an outdoor tank at the aquarium.
"People are still coming to the aquarium asking to see those whales that
were never there," Lumsden says, remarking on Hollywood's wizardry at
Amazingly, the only film that carries a regional name, "Cannery Row"
(1982), has only a few opening scenes of the beautiful coast. "Most of
it was filmed in Hollywood," Lumsden says.
Throughout the tour, we hear the music of two of the most famous films
from Monterey: "Play Misty for Me," starring Eastwood and Jessica
Walter, and "A Summer Place" (1959), with Troy Donahue and Sandra Dee.
In "Misty," the only movie filmed entirely in the area, we see Walter
trying to charm Eastwood in front of the famous Sardine Factory
restaurant -- just as our bus rounds the corner at the landmark.
Lumsden has worked more than 50 movies into his tour. He keys in on
several of his favorite lines, including the one from "Seems Like Old
Times" (1980), in which Chevy Chase tells his buddies that plans to rob
a bank in Carmel are in danger because he can't find a place to park.
Who can, even today?
Another telling line comes from "The Lady Says No" (1951). A gaggle of
women squeezed into a car with David Niven blurt out why Monterey is
better than Carmel. "Carmel is for tree surgeons, woodpeckers, the
cherry-phosphate crowd. You want to go to
The first of three get-out-of-the-bus stops on the tour is at Bird Rock
on the 17-MILE DRIVE®. Nearby is the beach location for a love scene in
"A Summer Place." A second stop gives passengers a chance to see the
260-year-old Lone Cypress tree at Cypress Point.
On the way, Lumsden shows scenes from films made at various Pebble Beach
mansions, including the castle home where "My Favorite Brunette" (1947)
was filmed with Bob Hope.
On the way to the final stop at Pebble Beach Lodge, we see scenes of
"National Velvet" with Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. Much of the
film was shot on the Pebble Beach golf course, which, in the movie,
becomes Sewells, England.
At the lodge, Lumsden urges everyone to walk through to the bay-side
deck where, if a table is available, tour guests can enjoy a glass of
wine and a panoramic view of the world-class golf course.
Lumsden peppers his movie chatter with history and updates. His asides
are often as interesting as the movies.
Lumsden says people living along the peninsula are so accustomed to
movie crews working in the area that they didn't blink last month when a
real cop chase roared down Ocean Avenue in Carmel. The police shot out
the driver's tires. "People just gathered around, thinking it was a
movie," Lumsden said.
Monterey Movie Tour
The three-hour Monterey Movie Tour costs $49 general, $45 for ages 65
and over, $35 for ages 15 and under. Binoculars are available to borrow.
Tours leave at 1 p.m. daily from the DoubleTree Hotel on Portola Plaza,
right at Del Monte Avenue and Alvarado, near Fisherman's Wharf in
Monterey Scenic Tours are available in eight languages. Tip: For the
best views, sit on the right side of the bus.
For more information: (800) 343-6437 or www.montereymovietours.com.
To find out more about movies made in Monterey, take a look at
www.filmmonterey.org. A movie map by the Monterey County Film
Commission is free if you send a stamped (74 cents), self-addressed,
legal size envelope to the Monterey County Film Commission, P.O. Box
111, Monterey, CA 93942.
available dates and buy tickets online.
To purchase tickets by
phone call Zerve at (800) 979-3370 or (212) 209-3370.
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