Creature From The Black Lagoon

Ken Jones

Staff member
Watching the "Creature From The Black Lagoon" this morning on TV and notice in an early scene a pier. I thought I recognized it and sure enough I did. After some checking it proved to be the Paradise Cove Pier back in 1954.

Ken Jones

Staff member
Paradise.Cove_2010_Pier_4.X copy.jpg

This is what I earlier wrote —

Author’s Note: One of my early visits to Paradise Cove started out a little strange when, as I stopped to pay the entry fee, the attendant asked “Going to the restaurant?” “No, I want to go fishing on the pier.” “Oh, you need to check to see if it is open today, they may be filming on the pier. Go down and ask the guard, he'll know where the action is today.” Filming? Guards? What was going on? Turns out it was just another day in the life of Paradise Cove, its quintessential California beach, and this pier, a frequent setting for television shows, movies, commercials and music videos.
The cove may be best remembered as the home base for Jim Rockford (James Garner) in the The Rockford Files (originally shown in the '70s and resurrected in the '90s). Rockford’s humble trailer, given the fictional address “29 Cove Road,” was actually located in the parking lot of the Sandcastle Restaurant. A loyal legion of fans (including myself) will always remember Jim, his dad Rocky, his police contact Sgt. Becker, Jim’s girlfriend Beth, and cowardly sidekick “Angel” Martin (who was no angel).
A less known fact is that the first house to the right of the restaurant served as William Conrad's house on Jake and the Fatman. The list of appearances in television series is long: Sea Hunt, Love American Style, The Mod Squad, Baywatch, Baywatch Nights, Charlie's Angels, Happy Days, The Hardy Boys, Malibu Run and The O.C.
Movies include Creature From The Black Lagoon, Belles on Their Toes, Wonderbug, The Last Tycoon, Listen to Me, Indecent Proposal, American Pie 2, House of Sand and Fog, Lethal Weapon 4 (the pier is seen in the background), Monster in Law, Alias, Gidget, Gidget Goes to Hawaii, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini, Beach Blanket Bingo, Sponge Bob Square Pants: The Movie, and Hannah Montana: The Movie.
The pier also served as home base for one of my favorite low budget movies—Raymie. The movie, a B&W film made in 1960 concerns a kid trying to catch “Moe,” the legendary barracuda at the pier that’s been stealing fish. A mini-classic of sorts.
Commercials at the pier have included ones for Chrysler, Budweiser and many others. Hummer even did a commercial featuring a brand new Hummer heading full speed down the pier until it sailed off into the salty Pacific. I assume the saltwater must have been just a tad bit hard on the car. Then again, if you’ve got to sail off a pier in a car, what better protection than a great big, heavy Hummer?
Musical videos have also chosen the cove and pier as home. A Paris Hilton music video was filmed here (she can sing?), as was the Britney Spears video Sometimes in 1999. Doesn’t it just give you goose bumps and make you proud that Britney chose the pier as the site for her video? Of course there’s a long connection to music—Paradise Cove was on the album cover of the Beach Boys’ Surfin' Safari.

In this same vein was a contact I made in 2006 while at an Outdoor Writers Association of California (OWAC) conference in Bishop. I had the pleasure of meeting a new member, Harry Medfed, and receiving an autographed copy of a book just published. The book was a guide to places in California used in movies and how to visit them. Of course we soon were talking about piers used in movies and exchanging information. The following section is from that book.

“The Paradise Cove Pier is a rickety, wooden structure built in 1945, often used by filmmakers searching for evocative seaside flavor. In 1952, it was the site of a Nantucket barbecue in the Cheaper by the Dozen Sequel, Belles on Their Toes, with Myrna Loy, Jeanne Crain, and Debra Paget. Robert De Niro takes Ingrid Boulting here for an outing in The Last Tycoon, where they meet local salt Seymour Cassel and his pet seal. The pier figures prominently in the opening flashbacks in Indecent Proposal, where Woody Harrelson proposes to Demi Moore. They are reunited on the pier in the moody fog-enshrouded finale.

For American Pie 2, production designer Richard Toyon re-created a Lake Michigan retreat, complete with beach house, sailboats, Midwestern flora, and a lakeside lighthouse (erected on the pier’s edge) where hormonally charged hero Jason Biggs almost gets lucky with Shannon Elizabeth. And in House of Sand and Fog, the pier plays a dramatic Northern California locale where Jennifer Connerly and Ron Eldard get to know each other over lunch.”
—Harry Medfed with Bruce Akiyama, Hollywood Escapes

Author’s Note: Did you know that Bob Dylan played the role of Alfred, the chauffeur, in the 1999 movie Paradise Cove? Based upon the movie’s reviews, sounds like you shouldn’t waste your money renting the “film noir” movie it even if you are a “Bob” fan. It’s that bad. Nor should you mistake it for the equally bad 2008 horror movie Paradise Cove.


Active Member
I would say that your book is so well researched that it would rank among the top ten Doctoral dissertations in the History department at UCLA.
But it is way too fun to read to be a graduate project. You Da Man, Mr. Ken!