Who: Lori & Jen
What: A lot of miles across Oregon
Where: Astoria, Cottage Grove, Brownsville, Eugene, Salem, Portland.
When:July 11-13, 2019
Why: Kindergarten Cop
Sites Visited:
Kindergarten Cop
The Goonies
Stand by Me
Animal House
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Mr. Holland's Opus


There are a lot of states I’ve been to that I’ve been super casual about visiting. Didn’t go nuts over them, could take ‘em or leave ‘em. Considered them just another state to cross of my list. 

But I NEEDED to go to Oregon. 

All the way across the country from New York City, right smack in middle of two states I’d already been, I didn’t really have any legitimate reason to go there. 

Except Kindergarten Cop was filmed there. And I needed to see where they filmed Kindergarten Cop.  

Kindergarten Cop, in case anyone is unclear, is a 1990 movie masterpiece, which I happen to love more than most people, but no more than anybody should. 

So we flew into Portland. And then for reasons which are a whole other story, drove 8 and a half hours to Montana, and then to Idaho and then to Seattle. But eventually we made it back into Oregon. 

And my little it’s-not-a-tumor-loving heart exploded in front of John Jacob Elementary school, also known as Astoria Elementary School, where Detective Richard Kimble tried to find the son of a known killer inside a kindergarten class.

First off, the surrounding area is like right out of a postcard. Right behind the school are ships and boats setting sail and along the sides are fancy houses with people who probably don’t step out onto their porches every morning and scream, OH MY GOD, ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER USED TO HANG OUT HERE!! 

But Arnold Schwarzenegger used to hang out here!!!!

In the back visible through the security gates, the playground where Arnold taught all the kids how to march. 

The mural, which I believe was painted specifically for the film, still holding steady 29 years later. 

On the side, the entrance where Arnold confronted the mom whose husband abused her son. 

Across the street, the steps and ledge visible from where the principal scolded the class for being unruly during a fire drill. 

And then the front...

The front where Arnold Schwarzenegger screamed after getting frustrated with crazy 5-year olds.

And the front where he was carried out in a stretcher after getting shot in the bathroom.

This would've been Arnold Schwarzenegger's view from the school in 1990:

And this was my view looking inside the school in 2019:

Kindergarten Cop, ya’ll!!!!!!

Would like to note that during my absolute freak out in front of a building, a family of 4 complete with their own tiny dog rolled up to the building to have their own mini freak out. In my many, many years of doing this, this would mark one of the only times I’ve encountered others at a TV-travel site. The power of kindergartners...

Next up, because one site is just never enough...

400 Industry St, Astoria, OR

The dock where Detective Kimble and Phoebe discuss police business after dinner.

Now, I’m not entirely entirely sure this is the correct dock, because my sources seemed shoddy but it sure looked like the dock, so I’m going to say it’s the dock. 

Parking is available for visitors and as long as you don’t go into the water, it seems all are welcome.

Now I know people love The Goonies and many people I know grew up watching it multiple multiple times and can quote every line and are very much all about it. I very much wish that I was one of those people. Instead I was the person with the I’m-going-to-Astoria-so-need-to-watch-this-movie-fast experience which doesn’t hold as much weight.

But this is the jail!

I was very much hoping that this museum would be a Kindergarten Cop oasis but 99% of the museum is Goonies-related, which makes a lot of sense. But while Goonies was an enjoyable film, let’s face it, it’s no Kindergarten Cop.

But if you’re a Goonies fan...


The cell where the criminal fake-hanged himself!

A Cory Feldman cutout!

The museum may be small, but its intentions are big, and I applaud Astoria for its devotion to its culture... but maybe a Kindergarten Cop magnet in the gift shop at some point??

The next day, it was time to see what more the great state of Oregon had to offer, and turns out, it was a lot. When it comes to the film industry, Oregon ain't jokin' around... 

Mosby Creek Trailhead ~ Lang Road & Mosby Creek Road

Later in the evening, I went on another Stand by Me excursion to the city of Brownsville where most of the beginning was filmed, and over 30 years later is a movie lover’s dream type of town. Outside of the SUVs passing by way more often than expected for a street where everything closed over an hour before, it is straight up out of the 50s with its antique shops and general stores. And while some cities don’t even give so much as an acknowledgement to the movies that pass by their areas, Brownsville is hog-wild about their movie and I am all about their efforts. 

Throughout the city, plaques mark the film spots, including minor trivia about the actors and scenes.

Every year, they host a Stand by Me Day complete with costume contests and pies.

And a walking tour complete with map and photos is available online for all those with interest.

And guess what, guys? I had interest.

On the tour, there are 12 film spots along Main Street and I pretty much hit every one.

Points deducted from the town for having the one store that sells Stand by Me merch be closed by 5. Rolling up at 5:15 and seeing all the things you can’t have through the window is an incredibly jarring experience, from which I may never recover.

But I thank you, Brownsville for your otherwise awesomeness. 

Once again, a staple for movie viewers everywhere, a movie everyone loves and has seen multiple times... and of course a movie I watched for the first time just days before getting on a flight (Special shoutout to Kit for the DVD!)

Mostly filmed around the University, Animal House made use of tons of educational buildings on campus and if you want a full list of those buildings, you can check those out here. I was on a time crunch however and U of O is huge, so the main one I was able to get to was good old Johnson Hall where the late great John Belushi snuck in a horse and mayhem ensued. Looking around the campus, which was way more packed than I would have expected for July, I didn’t notice any similar shenanigans. The 21st century is a much simpler time....

Ten years ago the hospital where filming took place was torn down in order to “make improvements” and give patients a “better experience,” but that didn’t bode well for my TV Travels so I had to make due at The Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health, a building once connected to the torn down hospital.

As a public service announcement, if you ever find yourself near Salem, MA and you need something to do at any point of your day, please please please go to the Museum of Mental Health. The Museum of Mental Health wants you to go to the Museum of Mental Health. They very much need you to go to the Museum of Mental Health... and if you ever do go to the Museum of Mental Health, someone on the Board of Trustees will very likely tell you that all of what I’m saying is true. To this Board of Trustee-er who first told us there wouldn’t be much time left to see the museum and then proceeded to talk to us for 10 minutes about the museum... I wish everyone could share your passion in life.

Side note: 40 minutes is more than enough time to cover every inch of this very small museum and to see, most importantly...

The TV featured in the movie!

2600 Center St NE ~ Salem, OR

And to put your face thisclose to where Jack Nicholson’s ass once sat.

Across the street, for anyone interested is the Department of Corrections where Jack Nicholson is brought in the beginning of the film. I was too scared of being arrested myself so I didn’t go up to it, but here is the shot I took from the car:

Good enough, right?

The school from Mr Holland’s Opus!

In 1995, Richard Dreyfus taught here and cried here and yelled here and I got to stand in front of a construction gate here and go woooooooo!!!

Oregon, Jerry Maguire was filmed nowhere in your area, but in two days, you provided me more than I could've ever possibly imagined, and for that, I would like to say... you complete me.  

Thanks for the mem'ries!