Funnyman Will Ferrell's return as the fictional, yet legendary, San Diego news reporter Ron Burgundy is sure to have audiences in stitches in December 2013 when Anchorman: The Legend Continues opens in movie theaters nationwide. In the original Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the city of San Diego starred as the playground for Burgundy and his Channel 4 news crew, and Ron's hometown is happy to welcome him back in this new sequel.
Fortunately for film buffs, many San Diego locations have played important roles in film history from Anchorman to Top Gun to Some Like It Hot. The following are just a few of the film classics featuring San Diego settings where visitors can walk in the footsteps of Will Ferrell, Tom Cruise, Marilyn Monroe and the master filmmaker Orson Welles.
Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) /
Anchorman: The Legend Continues (2013)
Fans of Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy know the importance of the "Panda Watch," so visitors to San Diego who want to follow in Ron's footsteps won't want to miss the world-famous San Diego Zoo and their equally famous cast of endangered pandas. Other San Diego sites in the original Anchorman to visit include Balboa Park, which has been seen in a number of notable films, and downtown's picturesque waterfront. SeaWorld San Diego, another of the area's most popular attractions, will make a big splash in the sequel according to insider sources.
Almost Famous (2000)
San Diego's laid-back community of Ocean Beach with its 1970s hippie attitude and the San Diego Sports Arena, where some of the nation's top musical acts toured in years past, play leading roles in Almost Famous, a comedy-drama written by former San Diegan Cameron Crowe. This semi-autographical, coming-of-age story is about a teenage journalist who writes for Rolling Stone magazine while covering a fictitious rock band; Crowe himself had been a teenage writer for Rolling Stone as well as a former music critic for the San Diego Union daily newspaper.
Top Gun (1986)
Inspired by a magazine article that highlighted the TOPGUN fighter pilots at the Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego, movie producers were intrigued by the fast-paced Navy pilot lifestyle in a laid-back Southern California beach town and set up shop in San Diego to film the blockbuster hit Top Gun. Guests can visit the home where Kelly McGillis' character, Charlie, lived, located in Oceanside in San Diego's North County and known locally as the famous "Top Gun House." Kansas City Barbecue in downtown San Diego is a must-see for any Top Gun fan; it served as the backdrop for some of the movie's popular bar scenes. Chances are visitors won't spot Tom Cruise or Kelly McGillis flirting by the jukebox or belting out "That Loving Feeling" at the piano, but mementos, autographed posters and photos from the film are proudly on display.
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes! (1978)
This goofy cult classic about mutant tomatoes that eat people was filmed entirely in San Diego at locations ranging from Qualcomm Stadium, home of the San Diego Chargers, to a local high school. When a few scenes filmed on the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) campus called for the movie's scientists to wear lab coats, filmmakers "borrowed" lab coats from some of the empty UCSD offices. The majestic Star of India, the world's oldest merchant sailing vessel still in operation, also played a role in the movie; today, visitors can walk the decks of this historic ship at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, set along downtown's picturesque waterfront.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Since 1888, the landmark Hotel del Coronado, located on the "island" of Coronado just across from downtown San Diego, has attracted numerous world dignitaries, Hollywood stars and discriminating, affluent travelers with its unique red-peaked roof, stunning Victorian architecture and serene ocean vistas. Many film buffs know the iconic property as the backdrop for the wildly popular Billy Wilder comedy classic Some Like it Hot, featuring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. The hotel also was seen in a variety of other popular films like The Stunt Man (1980) starring Peter O'Toole and Barbara Hershey and My Blue Heaven (1990) with Steve Martin and Rick Moranis.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Often referred to as the "Smithsonian of the West" for its 16 museums and numerous cultural offerings, Balboa Park's beautiful gardens and striking Spanish Colonial Revival architecture have made appearances in a number of popular movies over the decades. Most notable is its part in Orson Welles' film masterpiece Citizen Kane, where the Spanish Colonial Revival buildings served as Charles Kane's magnificent mansion, "Xanadu." In Almost Famous, the beautiful California Bell Tower, located above the San Diego Museum of Man in Balboa Park, turns up in the San Diego-based film, while the park's historic Organ Pavilion was used to stage an explosion during the film Top Dog (1995) starring action star Chuck Norris.
Happiness is calling in San Diego. For more information on San Diego's offerings, including exciting vacation packages and valuable coupons for attractions, restaurants and more, visit the San Diego Tourism Authority's website at www.sandiego.org or call 619-236-1212.
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