The Palm Springs International Shortfest is fast approaching (June 20-26, 2017), which gives you the perfect excuse to take a trip to the desert. Getting away for a few days to experience the annual festival, the largest short film event in North America, is the perfect way to kick off your summer of 2017. Filmmakers and industry professionals will join the other 22,000 expected attendees to see what are sure to be impressive films.
With this event on the horizon, we have become nostalgic about Palm Spring’s role as one of Hollywood’s favorite places to capture on film. Starting a century ago, movies and television shows loved by many, like I Love Lucy and Ocean’s Eleven, have been shot throughout the Coachella Valley. Find out what other movie and TV favorites have been filmed in Palm Springs and head out to see the spots for yourself.
I Love Lucy- 1950s
On the 26th episode of the fourth I Love Lucy season, the cast, who was loved and known by many, switched up their usual Los Angeles filming location to make their way out to Palm Springs. The episode aptly titled, “In Palm Springs,” focuses on Lucy and Ethel’s adventure out to the desert to meet up with Rock Hudson. On your next trip to Coachella Valley, you can capture a photo with one of America’s TV icons, Lucille Ball. There is a bronze statue of her sitting on a park bench on the corner of Tahquitz Canyon Way and Palm Canyon Drive.
Diamonds Are Forever- 1971
In the seventh spy film of the James Bond series, Sean Connery plays the lead role and makes a rather covert appearance in the classic Palm Springs desert. After getting bombarded by a few gymnasts on his quest to sneak into a billionaire’s vacation home, he ends up in the pool outside the swanky bachelor pad with a beautiful view of the Coachella Valley. Check out the movie-worthy views for yourself that provided set designer, Ken Adam, the perfect ambience to set the scene.
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure- 1985
In this adventure comedy film directed by Tim Burton, Pee-wee Herman embarks on a nationwide search for his stolen bicycle. Tourists from all over have passed through this area to relive this movie classic. In Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, Pee-wee comes across the life-sized Cabazon Dinosaurs, which stand out among the desert dunes, now faded from years of weathering and people stopping for a short stretch break before passing through.
Rain Man- 1988
This classic American comedy-drama film follows a young Tom Cruise on his journey with his newfound brother after discovering that his estranged father has passed away. In the 1988 Oscar Best Picture winner, Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman make an appearance in Palm Springs. Keeping the desert sun in mind, the stars applied sunscreen with a view of the windmills of the San Gorgonio Pass. This is known to be the “gateway” into the Coachella Valley and are hard to miss when passing through this way.
Ocean’s Eleven- 2001
Instead of Las Vegas like many might have assumed, the 2001 Rat pack classic Ocean’s Eleven was set in Palm Springs. In the movie, stars George Clooney and Brad Pitt make their way to a fancy home owned by a former casino owner. Ocean’s Eleven producer, Jerry Weintraub, was a Palm Springs resident and helped track down the home in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood used for key plotting scenes from the film.
Beverly Hills, 90210 – 1990s
Everyone’s favorite, 90’s LA teens made their way to Palm Springs for several episodes over its 10 seasons. Most of their time was spent hanging out at the Peach Pit and around West Beverly High but once in awhile, the crew made its way on desert trips that always included plenty of drama to keep them (and TV audiences) entertained.
Palm Springs is a playground mainstay for Hollywood’s elite, both for work and pleasure. It holds a charm and nostalgia unique to the desert that has lived on throughout the decades. If you get the chance to check out the old filming areas or even catch a show or movie being shot on location, it only adds to the allure of Palm Springs and the cultural history it withholds.