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Dick DeBartolo, MAD's Maddest Writer, and co-host of The Giz Wiz at GizWiz.TV, The Giz Wiz on ABC's World News Now, and on Tech Guy Labs with Leo Laporte on TWiT.tv. But wait, there's More »

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    The Giz Wiz Asks You! > Know any big time location errors in Movies, or on TV Shows?

    On the Daily Giz recently we got talking about movies & TV shows where the editors, or writers, or other production people didn't really know much about the location of the action. Once, a long, long time ago -- the late 1970s' or early 80's, on Mike Hammer (a TV show starring Stacy Keach that "takes place in New York City") -- a guy on the phone said to Mike: "Meet me down by the oil fields on the west side!" The oil fields???? On the west side of Manhattan?? (Maybe an oil slick in the Hudson River, but that's about it.) That wasn't even common sense! Couldn't the writer have guessed Manhattan had no oil fields?

    Do you have any examples of this kind of thin?.A listener (I have to find his name) emailed me to complain about the King of Queens TV show. He said the background footage was shot in Burbank, California, not Queens, NY. And it drives him crazy when they're supposed to be driving along a street in Queens and he sees restaurants down the block from his house in the background footage!

    Add yours, please!

    October 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterThe Giz Wiz


    In today’s episode of DGW (#949) you mentioned discontinuity errors in TV shows. That happens to be a pet peeve of mine. Its especially bad when I watch TV series that are filmed in Miami. All the way to Miami Vice, continuity errors, drove me crazy.

    Movies are great offenders too. One of the worst offenders is Scarface. The major of Miami at the time refused allow the producers of Scarface to film in Miami. He was afraid of the negative publicity that the film would bring to Miami. Of course that didn’t stop the film from being made. It was filmed in LA. If you have ever been in Miami, you could not fail to notice how flat it is, but in Scarface Miami has hills. Filming Scarface in LA makes as much sense as filming The Streets of San Francisco in Miami.

    The other discontinuity error which many people don’t notice has to do with the accents of the latinos in the movie. I grew up in Venezuela and most foreign language movies and TV shows when I was growing up were translated in Mexico. That meant that everybody on most TV shows sounded Mexican. Every nation and even region in Latin America has its own accent. A Mexican sounds as different from a Cuban as a New Yorker from a resident of Nashville. All the Latinos in Scarface but one were played by Mexican actors and they sounded Mexican. Funny thing is that the one Cuban actor from Miami, who played Manny Ribera, changed his name from Rocky Echevarria to Steven Bauer.

    Another frequent offender is the TV show CSI Miami, which aside from the ridiculous plots and made up science, never mind David Caruso’s “acting” skills or lack thereof, they take great liberties with the geography of Miami. Once, when I could still stand to watch the show, they had a crime scene right by my house. In the show they displayed a map of the city with a dot in a spot not even half a mile from my house. That spot is in a train depot and looks nothing like what they claimed it to be. Of course they also seem to travel though space and time without regard for the laws of physics. They often go from one end of town to the other in the blink of an eye. Better yet are their state of the art facilities and how they all drive hummers. I’ve seen what CSI Miami actually drives (http://www.flickr.com/photos/sandrino/287364250/) and it has no resemblance to a hummer.

    Alessandro Abate

    October 29, 2009 | Registered CommenterThe Giz Wiz

    CSI Miami is the worst!! I live in Florida so I am familiar with Florida yet the script writers I don't think have even spent a day in FL.
    1 The yellow filter on every outdoor scene. Fl doesn't look like that the desert looks like that. Miami is near the ocean it has a misty white glow about it.
    2 They once solved a case by reading the tag number off of the front of the car. In FL we don't have front tags only rear tags.
    3 They on one episode were tracking some paw prints from a "mountain lion"!!!!!!!!!!! In FL we have a Mt Dora but no actual mountains. According to this chart http://geology.com/state-high-points.shtml Florida's highest point is right on the border with Alabama. Furthermore we do have several wild cats native to Florida including the Florida Panther which is nearly extinct. The Florida Panther is a subspecies of Puma and so is the Mountain Lion. They are defiantly different however.
    4 The episode that someone was tied up in a building that was about to be demolished!!!!!
    a) if you call and tell the implosion company that there might be someone in the building they wont blow it up!
    b) If you come sirens blazing in your big Hummer they won't blow the building up!
    c) If you bust through the fence with your big hummer then drive it into the building They won't blow it up!
    Implosions are not on a schedule. The destruction of a building ALWAYS comes second to safety of property and LIFE. It was a really cool shot of the hummer driving out of a imploding building but there is no way in the world that it would happen.\

    October 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMattBatt

    One really old one is North By Northwest. The Cary Grant character was in Chicago and takes a bus to the country and is dropped off in the countryside of Illinois, supposedly. This is where the plane buzzes him and he takes refuge in a cornfield. The farmlands of the midwest where I grew up are rolling and green with small farms scattered about. The dead flat landscape that the movie was shot looks exactly like the dead flat Central Valley of California where I have lived for the last 40 years.

    The second one is Die Hard 2. The Bruce Willis character comes out of what is supposedly Dulles air terminal in DC and uses a payphone with "Pacific Bell" clearly printed on it.

    December 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSue McCallister

    The movie "Two Lovers" with Gwenth Paltrow that came out in 2008 was set in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. A lot of the movie took place in a small apartment building. The location was mentioned many times in the movie and the street scenes were filmed in Brighton Beach including on the boardwalk along the beach.
    There was one major scene filmed on the roof of the building. I guess they could not find a suitable roof in Brighton Beach. They filmed that scene on a rooftop in Jersey City, NJ. In the background was Newark Airport, the Pulaski Skyway (major/recognizable bridge in NJ) and the industrial landscape of that part of New Jersey. At least if they faced the other way on the roof you would have seen the Manhattan skyline, it would have from the west instead of the east but at least it would have been a realistic view from Brighton Beach.

    December 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBrooklynJim

    On one of the first shots of the very first episode of Bones they show a plane landing at National Airport Washington DC with a nice shot across the Potomac of the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building behind the plane. Text comes on the screen and Identifies it as Dulles airport which is about twenty miles out of town. No good reason to even make the change.

    January 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Duncan Yoyo

    Technically, this isn't an error.

    At the beginning of the first "Back to the Future" movie, when Marty McFly/Michael J. Fox leaves the laboratory garage of the Professor, he's riding his skateboard. He goes past a Burger King -- probably a product placement -- but I recognize it as being here in Beautiful Downtown Burbank, Calif. There was a Toys R Us next door, too.

    So from this recognizable area, he turns the corner, and is suddenly on a street leading to "Courthouse Square" in that small town, "Hill Valley."

    That Courthouse Square is a large standing set in the back lot of Universal Studios. Now being used for the Ghost Whisperer.
    It was damaged somewhat by a fire a couple of years ago, but they've repaired it.

    I found a website showing this and other Back to the Future locations:


    This isn't a location error, but It is rather humorously jarring to see a bit of your home town in a movie for a moment.

    March 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStevenErnest

    Hi to all,

    I love the show "Psych" on the USA Network. I love the cast and it's good natured humor. I especially like the fact that it takes place in Santa Barbara, CA. I grew up and spent most of my life in So Cal and visited Santa Barbara. It is a beautiful town with the channel islands visible off the coast. The show is filmed in Vancouver, BC which is also a beautiful place (that's where the Winter Olympics were just held). I'm not complaining but Vancouver scenery is not Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is surrounded by hills with brush about waist high. It's a semi-arid area. Vancouver, BC is a rain forest covered with lush vegitation. The area around it has beautiful redwoods and more trees. You can certainly see the difference.

    March 24, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBob

    There was episode of television Starsky and Hutch where the cops went into a building arrested three guys, one was handcuffed to a pole inside building, and two others escorted out afoot to police cars and cops drove away. The clip ended show leaving off the other guy inside or whatever. Only two guys went away.

    March 31, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Smith