The Legend of Billie Jean Locations
Locations Manager(s): John Panzarella
The Legend of Billie Jean Filming Locations:
The mall chase scenes were actually filmed in Sunrise Mall, located at 5858 S Padre Dr. in Corpus Christi, TX. Although the mall has lost some of its luster from the 1980's, with many empty business spaces, it is easily recognizable from the film. The waterfall/escalator, of course,is still there and one gets a very 80's nostalgic sensation when looking at it. Even after not having seen the film in years, it is the quickest "attraction" to find. There was even a Kay-Bee toy store with, yup, walkie talkies right near the store's entrance. [Thanks to Rafael Orduna]
However, neither of the malls in Corpus have ajoining parking garages. The downtown Bank of America has this skyway that joins the parking garage to its building. When Billie Jean is running away from the cops at the mall, she turns a corner and suddenly the set looks all office-like. This is the skyway. Then she runs into the garage to join the others and they shove a dumpster against the door. There's a big "2" painted on the wall to indicate the level. This is the Bank of America's parking garage, clear on the other side of town from the mall. You can even see a bit of the sign when they drive out of the garage. Incidentally, they don't keep dumpsters in that parking garage. There's no way a garbage truck would be ablt to fit in there and empty it.
The trailer park that they stayed in was the Starfish trailer park on Hwy 35 in Fulton. In one part of the movie you can see the sign. The park is still there. This show brings back a lot of good memories. We spent a lot of time in Corpus. We were married in 84 and the wifes family a lived the. Here uncle was the police chief at that time, and later on became the mayor. We still go down several time a month. We keep our plane at the Aransas County Airport in Fulton, TX. Every time I pass the park I think about the movie. [Thanks to Bob Mutina]
Mike Ruiz kindly wrote in to say: The trailer park is actually in Aransas Pass on Wheeler Ave. It is still in use today. In fact, the mobile home that was to the right of Billie Jean and Binx's home is still there to this day!
The beach scene was actually at Bob Hall Pier (which is still there), not too far from Corpus Christi on South Padre Island. It was filmed in November 1984.
The end scene with the large likeness of Billie Jean that burns was filmed in the parking lot of Dockside Surf Shop (still there). Dockside doubled as the store in which the father was shot. The distance between the two locations is about 10-15 miles, which makes it one heck of a run. I remember that the fire scene at the end was filmed at around 1 am or so.
The miniature golf course where they hid out was created for the movie and was located on the North Beach side of the Harbor Bridge. Vickie Scott wrote in to add: I believe the miniature golf course is still standing and abandoned right off of the harbor bridge next to an abandoned go cart track but it is listed under a different name.
The scene where the kids purchase their groceries and pay for their gas was at a Diamond Shamrock on the road (freeway?) between Corpus Christi and Portland. [Thanks to Steve Holsonback]
The chase scene in which the truck overturns on the side of the freeway was at the intersection of Carrol Lane and S.P.I.D.. The funny thing about this particular scene was when Billie Jean's car takes a right on to a side street off S.P.I.D. and then immediately is on a street in downtown Corpus, which is approximately 10 miles away.
Also the Sonic in the movie is located in Flour Bluff, which is the eastern most part of Corpus near Padre Island. If you notice, back then it was on a two way road on the main street of Flour Bluff. It is now a major freeway which takes you to the Island.
The movie made Corpus appear like a small Texas town, when in fact it's population at the time of the filming was 250,000 people. It is now a city of well over 300,000. [Thanks to Trey]
The big house that the kids break into and eat is located on Ocean Drive and was still there until recently. [Thanks to April]
Sadly, the house where the kids meet Lloyd burned down recently killing a prominent doctor, his wife and son. Only their ten year old daughter escaped. The house did not have a swimming pool. That was shot at a different location [Thanks to F Cavazos]
Although George Gomez kindly wrote in to say that: The house where Billie Jean meets Lloyd is in fact still there.. It is on the corner of Ocean Drive and Doddridge... I know this for a fact because I know the people who live there now and it is exactly how it is in the movie, it even includes the pool. This is also verified by the small building on the left side of the property. Its a small hut with at really pointy roof.. you can notice it when the District Attorney's helicopter lands at the house in the front yard. [Thanks to George Gomez]
They also filmed a scene a few blocks from my house in Aransas Pass TX. It was the scene where Billy Jean rescues an abused girl from her dad. WE had a whole crowd of people walking down Lamont st in Aransas pass. Then the next scene in the film, they round a corner and get on an onramp for the crosstown expressway in corpus, 30 miles away. The abandoned miniature golf course was set in a place called "Magic Isles" which was an amusement park which had closed down a few years ago. [Thanks to Brian Mihelic] BUT Trisha H wrote in to say that there is absolutely NO WAY the mini golf course was located by Magic Isles because Magic Isles was located going out to Flour Bluff & the golf course was over by the Harbor Bridge. They're in completely different directions!
I was one of the gang members who take Binx's (Christen Slater) scooter. I am the guy who is wearing the Kami-Kazie headband driving the charger and the guy who falls into the foutain at the mall. Some factual information. The movie was actually filmed from late summer to winter. We shot the drive scene over a 3 month period with a lot of jump cuts. The scene starts out in the refinary district of Corpus as we set out after Billy Jean & Binx. The jump cuts include: The inter-coastal by-way between Padre Island and Flourbluff. Another jump cut was shot near Kingsville Texas. The lake scene where the scooter gets stolen was shot on privit property between Free Port and Corpus some where above Rockport, TX. I had my 15 mins of fame in the early to mid 80's as a character actor. Now I am a Vice President for a Communications Company. [Thanks to Rex Lee]
The scene where they are trying to fix the flat and they are walking on the pier at night and are awakened in the morning by the detective is filmed at the RedDot baitstand under the JFK bridge. My grandparents owned it and I grew up there. I have some old pictures of some of the cast and car still. I was only two at the time. The baitstand moved to the right side of the causeway on the way to the island but the concrete foundation bearing my grandparents name is still there. My mother and I lived in the double decker bus you see in one of the scenes. [Thanks to Mindy Alvarez]
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Next Section: LX Preview
LX is our radical new locations feature that we've been beavering away on.. For years!
Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.
We are pleased to be able to bring you a sneak peek at what LX locations will be available for The Legend of Billie Jean upon release:
"Ocean Park Mall"
"Breeze Haven" Trailer Court
Mr Pyatt's Surf Shop
Trying To Steal A Car
The Dollar Days store
The 'Hostage' Tape
Strawberry Shake Drive-In
Putter and Ophelia Are Captured By The Police
Chase Scene - Truck Overturns
"I had the drop on the guy"
Corpus Christie Police Dept
On The Run
Opening Scenes - Photographing Billie Jean
Opening Scenes - Passing Hubie and his gang
Please Note: The status of some entries in this preview may be wrong because they are in-progress or need updating before release.
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