Orange has “appeared” in a number of movies and commercials over the years, from silent films to the present. The Plaza has been used as a location, although it’s movie identity changes with each production. It has been a Plaza in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Pasadena, and the South, as well as Orange. Storefronts and sidewalks have been altered, and leaves attached to the trees. Some of the films that used the Plaza are:
1917 - Movie to publicize Orange Day
Provided publicity for Orange’s Orange Industry (previous year’s effort moved $2.3 million worth of Valencia in a single day).
July, 1919 - Smiles
Business Men’s Clubs of Orange sponsored town promotional documentary. The Plaza was used as a backdrop.
1945 - Fallen Angel
“House at 409 N Shaffer Street.... was used as a location for the filming of a 1945 movie called Fallen Angel. Clair Trevor. Otto Preminger directed the film, and rumor has it that Preminger was traveling through Orange one summer day when he was struck by the beauty of the home,” Orange County Register, October 6, 1988. Cast included Alice Faye, John Carradine, Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews, and Hal Taliaferro.
1979 - Gumball Rally
Part of this coast-to-coast illegal auto race was through the Orange Plaza, filming involved removing a plate glass window from NW corner store and replacing it with “candy glass” for a crash.
1983 - Monster in the Closet
The Plaza was used for various scenes in this film.
1988 - The Bridesmaids
Set in a "small Minnesota town" on the Fourth of July. This was a "television movie ... also starring was the Plaza and Old Town." - Orange County Register, October 27, 1988
1991 - Samantha
Chapman University provided location for some of the scenes.
1994 - Crimson Tide
Chapman University provided location for some of the scenes. Starring Gene Hackman, Denzel Washington, Viggo Mortenson, George Dzundza, Matt Craven. Directed by Tony Scott.
1994 - America's Most Wanted (Television Series)
Filmed at Home Federal Bank, Orange Police Department, Meats Avenue and Westchester. Show led to the capture of fugitive Stephen Moreland Redd, who was wanted by Orange, La Habra, Brea, and Yorba Linda for robbery and murder.
1995 - That Thing You Do
The Orange Plaza area was used for some of the location shots. Tom Hanks produced this movie set in 1960’s Pennsylvania, and thoroughly charmed the residents during the production. Starring Tom Everett Scott, Liv Tyler, Johnathon Schaech, Steve Zahn, Ethan Embry, and Tom Hanks.
1995 - A Letter to My Killer (Television Movie)
The Plaza used for some of the scenes. This was a television movie featuring Nick Chinlund and Mare Winningham-set in Lyman, Wisconsin! Wisconsin license plates were placed on cars, extras walked around the Plaza with hunting rifles, stuffed deer were in pickup trucks and bushes were planted at the bottom of the palm trees.
1996 - Snapple Commercial
Filmed on the 100 block of South Glassell Street, Plaza area.
1997 - Vital Signs (Television series)
Filmed at 525 South Glassell Street and 339 East Palmyra. Interiors shot for production. Exteriors used with ambulance driving away.
1997 - Suburban Life (MTV Music Video - Cotton Mouth Kings)
Orange County Group platinum hits: "Dog's Life" and "Bump" (On Scream 2 soundtrack).
1997 - The George Wallace Story (Television Movie)
Filmed at Civic Center. Starred Gary Sinise as George Wallace.
1998 - Small Soldiers (Television Movie)
Filmed at the Orange Plaza, Sir Wicket, and Radio Shack. Cast includes Kiersten Dunst, Phil Hartman, Denis Leary, Jay Mohr, and Gregory Smith, with voice of Tommy Lee Jones.
1998 - Oscar Mayer
The Oscar Mayer Weinermobile, historic in its own right, in the historic Orange Plaza filming a commercial.
1999 - Rocky and Bullwinkle
Chapman University used for location. Filming was in March. Starred Robert De Niro, Jason Alexander and Rene Russo.
1999 - Loving Lulu
Melanie Griffith and Patrick Swayze in Wisconsin. Use Old Towne craftsman style house at 195 N Shaffer for 3-minute segment (3 day shoot).
2000 - Big Mama’s House
Orange stands in for a “small southern town.” The production used two houses at Maple Avenue and Shaffer Street extensively, but the opening scenes for the credits use the Plaza, complete with a statue of a Civil War general.
2000 - Frailty
Filmed at the Orange Plaza, Glassell Street and Palmyra Avenue, this feature film was Bill Paxton's Directorial Debut.
July, 2000 - The Man Who Wasn’t There
Coen brothers use Orange Plaza for location shots to be used in their black and white film noir, set in 1949 Pasadena. Extras in period clothing and 1940’s automobiles transformed the Plaza for a brief time. (At the 2001 Cannes Film Festival Joel Coen shared the best director award for this film.)
2001 - Clockstoppers
Directed by Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, this Nickelodeon film is about a teenager who discovers an old wristwatch that stops time. Portions filmed at night in the Plaza.
2003 - Surviving Christmas
Starring Ben Affleck and Christina Applegate, this film tells the story of a lonely man who rents himself a family for the holidays. Filming in the Plaza included man-made snow and people dressed for a mid-western winter.
2003 - American Wedding
The third film in the American Pie series.
2003 - First Daughter
Michael Keaton is the President and Katie Holmes is the President’s daughter. Filming included a Presidential motorcade driving through the Plaza, changing some of the storefronts along North Glassell Street and additional filming at Chapman College.