Scene It Before: Janey’s Apartment from Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Koreatown stood in for the Windy City in the teen comedy turning 30 this month

I’m a movie buff, so there are many films that I consider “my favorite.” Girls Just Want to Have Fun is one I’ve loved ever since I was a teen. The 1985 comedy centers around high schooler Janey Glenn (a very young Sarah Jessica Parker) and her quest to become a regular on Dance TV. It also stars Helen Hunt, Shannen Doherty and Jonathan Silverman. It is almost unfathomable to me that this month marks the flick’s 30th anniversary.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun was set in Chicago but lensed entirely in Los Angeles, a fact I learned while touring John Marshall High School in Los Feliz in 2008. To say I was shocked to find out the school doubles on screen as Holy Grace High School would be an understatement. I popped in my Girls Just Want To Have Fun DVD later that evening and scoured it for locations. I’ve tracked down quite a few, including the house where Janey and her BFF, Lynne Stone (Hunt), babysit (it’s at 217 S. Plymouth Boulevard in Windsor Square). The location that eluded me for what felt like eons, though, was the brick apartment building where Janey and her family live. The place became my holy grail of film locations and it was not until August 2009 that a fellow filming enthusiast tracked it down.


A screen capture from "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"

Janey’s apartment building can be found at 511-517 S. Mariposa Avenue in Koreatown. Amazingly, little of the place’s façade has been changed in the three decades since Girls Just Want to Have Fun premiered. Producers cheated a bit with the building’s onscreen appearance by framing it at an angle that makes it appear to be a large, U-shaped structure situated around a courtyard. In reality, the complex consists of two separate L-shaped buildings. The two structures are separated by a large space not visible onscreen, which explains why it took so long for me to find the location.

The location photographed in July 2009
The location photographed in July 2009

Photograph by Lindsay Blake

Wine and cheese get better with age. The same holds true for certain movies. Girls Just Want to Have Fun may be hitting 30, but it is as mesmerizing to me today as it was the first time I watched it.

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.