Jason Priestley’s autobiography, Jason Priestley: A Memoir, recently hit shelves and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on it! Beverly Hills 90210 pretty much defined my teen years and I would be lying if I said I was not still completely obsessed with it. The series also holds a special place in my heart because it is what led to this unique hobby I have of tracking down and visiting film locations.
Although movie and television locales have always fascinated me, it was not until I came to Los Angeles with my parents on a house-hunting trip shortly before we moved from San Francisco to Southern California in 2000 that a true stalker was born. While looking at properties, my mom mentioned to our real estate agent that she and my dad were interested in residences similar to the one belonging to Lynn Bracken (Kim Basinger) in L.A. Confidential. (I come by my film location obsession naturally.) The agent told us we should start looking in the Pasadena/Altadena area and a light bulb went on in my head. I had purchased a Hollywood tour book during one of my first SoCal visits a few years prior and in it, the address of the home where the Walsh twins—Brenda (Shannen Doherty) and Priestley’s Brandon—lived on Beverly Hills 90210 was listed. I remembered that it was in Altadena and told my mom that there was NO way we were leaving town without seeing that house. The only problem was I didn’t have the tour book with me.
After frantically asking everyone I happened to come into contact with on the trip if they knew where the Walsh house was located, my mom and I popped into the Pasadena Central Library in the hopes that a copy of the tour book would be stocked. Thankfully, it was. Address finally in hand, we headed over to 1675 East Altadena Drive (zip code 91001) to finally see Casa Walsh in person. The experience was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. I felt like I had wandered right onto the set of my favorite television show and the 15-year-old girl inside of me could hardly contain her excitement. The moment looms so large in my memory that I can still recall the exact outfit I was wearing at the time. The encounter left me wanting more, though, and it was not long before I had a full-fledged hobby on my hands, which blossomed into what is now my full-time job as a film locations blogger.
My parents eventually purchased a bungalow (one that did look quite a bit like Lynn Bracken’s) located about one mile south of the Walsh house. I was really into running at the time and would jog past it on an almost daily basis. Seeing it in person never ceased to thrill me. I grew up far removed from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and never in my wildest dreams did I imagine one day living just down the road from Brandon and Brenda.
Just a few months after moving into our new home, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working as an extra on the 90210 series finale. I played a guest at the long-awaited wedding of Donna Martin and David Silver (Tori Spelling and Brian Austin Green) and it was hands down one of the best experiences of my life. Not only was I there to witness one of the most memorable moments in television history (in my opinion, at least), but thanks to a friendly crew member, I also got to meet some of the cast. Most were nice (Luke Perry and Ian Ziering, especially) and some were not (Jennie Garth actually rolled her eyes at me). Despite being wholeheartedly on Team Brenda, I had always believed the hype about Doherty and Garth’s personalities, so the experience was rather jarring. (I’ve since met Shannen and she could not have been kinder or more approachable. I’ve also been in contact with several people who have worked with her in some capacity over the years and not one had a bad thing to say about her, so go figure.)
I cannot wait to read Priestley’s stories about his castmates and catch a glimpse of the 90210 years from his perspective. I’m hoping that through the book I will be able to revisit some beloved childhood memories and maybe even discover a few new stalking locations in the process.
Photos: A screen capture from a season two episode of Beverly Hills 90210 (top) and a photograph of the Walsh House taken by Lindsay Blake in August 2009 (bottom).
Lindsay Blake is an actress, writer, celebrity admirer and Los Angeles enthusiast who contributes to CityThink each Thursday. Her true love is filming locations, and she founded the Web site IAMNOTASTALKER in 2007 to document her vast findings on the subject. For more “stalking” fun, you can follow Lindsay on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.