On Location: Stand By Me
For my latest edition of “On Location,” I have decided to go back to one that I visited a while back. Trust me, this article has been a long time coming. I have let this one sit on the shelf for months now waiting on a final perfect touch to cap it all off. Now that I finally have that, I’m ready to rock! Following this article will be a special interview with one of the stars of Stand By Me, “Eyeball Chambers” Bradley Gregg! So sit back and take a tour through the Oregon countryside with me.
Stand By Me, like The Goonies that I previously covered, is one of the quintessential ’80s classics. This classic coming of age movie, originally penned by Stephen King under the title “The Body”, starred an ensemble cast of popular young stars of the ’80s–Corey Feldman, River Phoenix, Wil Wheaton, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, Bradley Gregg, and John Cusack. The plot is well known by now and has garnered a huge fan base. The tale is set in the 1950s and follows four young friends on the verge of entering Junior High, who undertake a cross country adventure to find a dead body. The film, directed by my old favorite Rob Reiner, has gone on to be widely loved by fans of all ages and stands out to this day as one of the best dramatic films of the 1980s, or perhaps of all time.
For this particular location I headed once again to the beautiful Oregon countryside, this time to the small town of Brownsville, just east of I-5 near the popular town of Eugene, Oregon.
It was a beautiful day as I headed into the small town of Brownsville. It’s one of those places that seems laid back and stuck in time. Really, it’s the perfect escape and seems miles from the hustle and bustle of the modern world. I pulled in and parked upon entering town and immediately realized that I didn’t need to go far to find locations–the whole town was a location! Literally everywhere you turned, there was another filming spot to check out. Of course, I had to show my nerditude by dressing up as my favorite character from the film, Teddy! Funny note, when I walked into a few places like this I said, “Guess what I’m here for?” One lady looked at me and said, “Oh, Jesus. Really?” Great success! I even had people honking their horns and yelling “Hey Teddy!” Yep, they know what’s up.
My first stop in Brownsville was the Linn County Historical Museum. Here they have a deep appreciation of the film. I was able to even pick up a map that marked out all of the filming locations, which proved to be a huge help. They have tons of souvenirs from the film such as shirts, movies, and more. I also got to look through a few of the notebooks they kept up front with stills and journal entries from the set and location notes. There were also a few cool stories by some of the cast and crew in there.
In the back of the museum, the curator showed me the original sign from the film for the fictional town of Castle Rock. Very cool. She also told me that they have screenings of the film from time to time in the theatre room.
After leaving the museum, it was time to check out some of the filming locations. The first one was right in front of me in the first intersection. You have to look a bit for it though as it’s a tricky one:
If you turn south from the intersection near City Hall and look towards the bridge, you will be able to see where the boys came back into town after their adventure. I was walking right where they were. The picture was taken at the corner, where the ending scene takes place as they all part ways.
From here, head North into the downtown area. This area is full of several locations from the film:
This next one is a very important place and one of my favorites. This is the bar in which Gordy and Chris run into Eyeball and Ace in front of. This is the spot where Ace holds Chris on the ground and threatens to burn his eye with a cigarette. It is now called The Brownsville Saloon. It is unclear how much of the inside was used, but I know the outside played a significant part.
Right next to the bar is the Blue Point Diner from the film. This location is memorable for the scene in which the boys are playing with the gun in the alley and it goes off. There’s a picture of me standing near the back door that the waitress comes out of. Now, there is a bench and flower pots where the kids were when the gun went off.
From the back alley of the diner, I made my way back to the City Hall. It’s amazing how little the area is and how much of the town was used in the film. I walked past it and to the bridge where the kids walk across and where the guys can be seen fishing off of at one point in the movie.
Well, that wraps up my visit to Brownsville, Oregon. There are several other locations nearby such as the boys houses, including Gordy’s with the tree fort out front. Sadly, I did not visit those on this day. I did look for Milo Pressman’s junkyard though, which is miles away in Venetia, Oregon. For more information on the locations, you can always visit the Brownsville chamber of commerce online. They have maps, shirts, and tons of other memorabilia from the film for sale. You can also find a copy of the location map for your own adventure. It’s a valuable tool on this hunt. I hope everyone enjoyed this edition of On Location. It’s not over yet, though! Be sure to read my exclusive WatchPlayRead interview with Bradley Gregg.