Lights, camera, road trip! It's time to pack up the Wagon Queen Family Truckster and head out on that cross country family vacation. From legends of the silent movie era to iconic movie filming locations, these destinations will allow you to create your own director's cut of the ultimate family vacation movie.
The Music Box Steps - Los Angeles, California
Laurel and Hardy, famous for their slapstick duo comedy routines during the 1920's through the 1940's, produced many moments of laughter in the days of black and white movies. A classic moment from one of their movies was the duo trying to move a piano up a flight of stairs in the 1932 movie The Music Box. Still there today you too can recreate this comedy routine on the actual stairs that Laurel and Hardy did over 80 years ago. The stairs are located across from Laurel and Hardy Park in Los Angeles, CA. Do keep in mind you will need to bring your own piano. If you're in the area around October you may even be able to catch the city's annual Music Box Steps Day.
Tom Mix Museum - Dewey, Oklahoma
If you're ever in Dewey, OK looking for a little movie magic you should stop by the Tom Mix Museum. In case you aren't familiar with Tom Mix he was one of America's first western movie stars. Tom Mix actually stared in 291 films during his career from 1909 through 1935. All but nine of these films were silent movies and Tom Mix was instrumental in helping the Western movie genre gain popularity. In 1965 a group of business men created the Tom Mix Museum which holds personal items and movie props to celebrate his career. Even if Western movies aren't your thing, the history of Tom Mix's movie career is very fascinating and a peek into the silent movie world makes it worth the stop.
Marilyn Monroe's Subway Grate - New York, New York
Probably one of Marilyn Monroe's most iconic and memorable photos was taken at this location in New York. Yes, the famous picture of Marilyn standing on the subway grate and her white dress is being blown up from the downtown subway passing beneath her. She was there filming the movie The Seven Year Itch and apparently this scene drew quite the crowd to watch. The grate has been changed since then as well as the surrounding business. There is not even a marker or plaque commemorating the moment. I suppose it doesn't need one though for a true fan of Marilyn just standing in that spot would be a very memorable moment. You can find the location at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street.
RoboCop OCP City Hall - Dallas, Texas
Sure it's futuristic Detroit in the movie but many of the scenes in RoboCop were filmed at and inspired by locations in Dallas, TX. One such location is Omni Consumer Products (OCP) Headquarters or otherwise known as Dallas City Hall. In the movie the original building has been elaborated on by adding more to the architectural structure through the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). When you compare the movie image to the real life building there is no question that you are standing in the shadow of future cyborg development. If you happen to see ED-209 guarding the doors you may want to back up very slowly because RoboCop is probably on his way and things are going to get messy.
Timberline Lodge - Mt. Hood, Oregon
Perched 6000 ft. above sea level sits Timberline Lodge in Mt. Hood, OR. This is the hotel used for the exterior shots of The Shining. There is no hedge maze here nor was any of the filming done inside the lodge itself. Rather the exterior shots were simply to represent the The Grand Overlook Hotel featured in the book and film. The actual hotel the book was based on is called The Stanley Hotel and is located in Colorado. During the filming the Timberline Lodge requested that room 217 not be used in an effort to not scare away potential guests from wanting to stay there. In the movie a nonexistent room 237 was substituted yet it's reported this is one of the most requested rooms at the Timberline Lodge.
A Christmas Story House - Cleveland, Ohio
A Christmas Story is classic film from 1983 featuring Peter Billingsley as a nine year old boy living in Holman, IN. Ralphie, Peter Billingsley's character, is desperate to get his hands on the Red Ryder carbine-action BB rifle for Christmas. The movie is full of laughs from beginning to end. The house used in the film is located in Cleveland, OH and has been restored to its original movie condition. A Christmas Story house is open all year for tours. Located across the street from the House is a museum featuring many of the movie props and photos from the movie and behind the scenes of the film. You can even plan an overnight stay at the actual A Christmas Story house, "I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!"
The Fonz - Milwaukee, Wisconsin
"Aayyyy!", it's The Fonz. Yes, the classic Happy Days sitcom character played by Henry Winkler, Arthur Fonzarelli. Immortalized in bronze with his thumbs up, this statue was unveiled in August 2008. The Bronze Fonz was intended to promote tourism and bring in new business to the Milwaukee area. Commissioned by Visit Milwaukee, the $85,000 statue is located on the Milwaukee Riverwalk in downtown Milwaukee, WI. Be sure to wear your jeans, white tee shirt and leather jacket to get that perfect selfie with the Fonz, Really, it won't be weird. You may even get some other tourists wanting to get a picture with you!
The Cherry Street Inn - Woodstock, Illinois
6:00 a.m. on February 2, 1992 and you're waking up to I've Got You, Babe on the radio. Little do you know that tomorrow will be the same as will the next day and the day after that. Fortunately, it's just a movie and you're catching it on T.V. before you head out to The Cherry Street Inn located in Woodstock, IL. In the movie the town is Punxsutawne, PA but this is the actual home in Woodstock, IL that was used for the film Groundhog Day. Only the exterior of the home was used for the movie but that has not slowed the interest for movie fans. If you want to really experience the location, show up for the real Groundhog Day festival held each year. As well, you can actually stay at the house which in now named Cherry Tree Inn Bed and Breakfast.
Old Tucson Studios - Tucson, Arizona
If just driving in parts of Arizona doesn't fill your need for the Wild West feeling then you should stop into the Old Tucson Studios - Wild West Movie Set in Tucson, AZ. Boasting nearly 80 years of filmmaking since 1939, the Old Tucson Studios is a fun and interactive place for the entire family. Tour the museum and see clothing from Western classics like Bonanza. Visit locations where John Wayne and other Western stars filmed some of their most memorable movies. Watch a real life Western Movie reenactment and see all of the special effects that go into movie making. There is a lot to do here so plan on making a day of it. Before you saddle up do call ahead and confirm the park is open.
Movie Manor - Monte Vista, Colorado
You're tired and it's been a long road trip. You are ready to find a place to stay, crawl in bed and watch a movie. There's no better place to do that than the Best Western Movie Manor in Monte Vista, CO. Possibly the only drive-in movie theater where you can catch a movie and spend the night all from the comforts of your hotel room. Originally the Star Drive-In built in 1955, the owner George Kelloff decided to add 14 hotel rooms to the site in 1964 and renamed the theater to the Movie Manor Motor Inn. Since that time more rooms have been added but the theater still holds its original charm from the early days. Movies are shown from mid-May through mid-September.