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Need 70's Buildings For Movie Shoot


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OK, Forumers -- I got an e-mail from a very nice woman in England whose company plans to shoot a film in the Houston-Galveston area. She asked me to post her message here so that people could suggest shooting locations. Just add replies here and I'll send her a link to this message so she can see what you've posted.

Here's her message:

I'm a researcher for a UK based TV company, we're coming to the Houston/Galveston area to film some scenes for our documentary on the 1975 fall of Saigon and I really need some location advice. I hoped your discussion board might prove helpful - if you could post this there. We're looking for 70's architecture reminiscent of Saigon. Our locations have to pass for Vietnam home interiors and courtyards (cinderblock, tile floors, bars/gates), an old airport terminal (exterior), a gymnasium (like you might find in an old junior high, pull out bleachers), a large flat rooftop with trees around (fairly high up, but not much air con/chimney, etc.), 1970's office interiors (low end), no brick. Any unused high schools, lower end business or residential districts that might work for multiple purposes - most of our work will be shot close so a school could look like a small airport terminal if needed. Any ideas at all about fairly dingy 70's sites anywhere between Houston and Galveston. Your opinions and descriptions welcome! Thanks!

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Stupid Question. It was late last night, and after this post, I layed down to go to sleep. As I was laying there,  I thought about where I would want to shoot a similar film, given the opporunity, and then thought about the logistics. Then it hit me, she's obviously coming to Houston because the Vietnamese population here is second only to O.C. California. It makes perfect sense now, as she probably has budget constraints, and how convienent that the nation's second largest concentration of Vietnamese also happens to be in a somewhat (almost) sub-tropical setting (well, we at least have the hummidity) that doesn't have strict filming policies (like L.A.) and the cost of living is lower. She might not even have to hire union here.

Good point. I figured she was going to shoot in Houston because of some tax break from the state or something.

I had an ex-girlfriend who taught in Belize for two years. She loved it.

Anyway, I think we should concentrate on this woman's needs for Houston.

I suggested Ellington Field. And if I remember correctly, isn't the old Hobby tower and maybe the old terminal still sitting disused somewhere? Or maybe that came to me in a dream.

I bet there are lots of places in Galveston County that would fit her needs, if only I knew the county better.

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Well, if we can talk about locations in Houston, one that I immediately thought of was 6711 Bellfort. There is a picture in the AIA Houston Architectural Guide. it dates from 1966 and has a flat roof with a raised central penthouse. It would make a great US embassy! Another building that might work is the old YMCA near Gulfgate. The Sterling mansion at 515 Bay Ridge Rd. in Seabrook might be a plausible colonial governer's house imitiation. Wayne, you are correct that the old Hobby airport terminal is still there (recently renovated). For a good selection of unused schools, businesses etc., I would try the East Side, especially close in by the warehouse area. A lot of these buildings date from between the 1930s-1960s, which seems like it might generally fit the time frame.

Houston should be a great place if they are looking for a low-end 1960s-70s look. There must be hundreds of old offices from that era. A lot of them are clustered in the area along Richmond and Alabama inside the Loop.

If they want some Asian-looking exteriors there are a couple remaining in old Chinatown that are visible from 59, as well as the Taoist temple off Leeland and the Buddhist temple at 45 right outside downtown.

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There are several old schools along Telephone road that may serve her purposes! As for the houses I can think of a number of places in the fith Ward area that might just serve to do the trick as well as a few places along Navigation blvd and the surrounding area.

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Sorry to answer again, but I just thought of another.  At the south end of the Strand in Galveston there is a large white Art Deco building.  I think it may have been a train station at some point?  I could see that as a good Saigon City Hall.

Yes. It was the main Galveston train station and railroad offices (Santa Fe) and it closed down in the '60s. Now it's called Shearn Moody Plaza and it houses the Railroad Museum. Very interesting display of a part of American culture that has completely vanished. It was built originally in 1911 and then expanded in 1932 to more or less its present appearance.


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there is a totally empty office building on Broadway & Bellefort, it would have the trees from the neighborhood behind it. Maybe 4 or 5 stories. Since it is empty it would be easy to secure for the set and I am sure the owners would be thrilled to get any revenue.

The old Hobby airport terminal, and some of the old hangers around there might work. I second the office city drive office park suggestion.

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