If you’re a musical fan, no doubt you’ve seen the movie, Grease.  And you have to admit, this movie is iconic! This 1978 musical romantic comedy, has captivated audiences for over four decades with its memorable songs, witty dialogue, and timeless story. So where was Grease filmed? In this article, we’ll explore the locations where the movie was shot and how they contributed to the film’s overall aesthetic and charm.

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What Was Grease All About?

Grease is a romantic comedy film that tells the story of a group of teenagers in the 1950s, particularly the love story between the greaser Danny Zuko and the sweet, innocent Sandy Olsson. 

The film takes place at Rydell High School and follows the lives of the students as they navigate the social pressures and expectations of high school life in the 1950s. Along the way, they sing and dance to catchy tunes that have become classics of the era, such as Summer Nights, Greased Lightnin’, and You’re the One That I Want. Grease explores themes of teenage romance, peer pressure, identity, and fitting in, and has become an enduring cultural touchstone since its release.

Who Was In The Cast of Grease?

The cast of Grease featured a talented ensemble of actors, singers, and dancers who brought the characters and music of the film to life. Here are the main cast members of Grease:

  • John Travolta as Danny Zuko
  • Olivia Newton-John as Sandy Olsson
  • Stockard Channing as Betty Rizzo
  • Jeff Conaway as Kenickie
  • Barry Pearl as Doody
  • Michael Tucci as Sonny
  • Kelly Ward as Putzie
  • Didi Conn as Frenchy
  • Jamie Donnelly as Jan
  • Dinah Manoff as Marty

Grease also featured a number of memorable supporting actors and cameos, including Eve Arden as Principal McGee, Dody Goodman as Blanche, Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun, Frankie Avalon as Teen Angel, and Sha-Na-Na as Johnny Casino and the Gamblers. The talented cast helped to make Grease a beloved classic of the musical film genre.

Where Was Grease Filmed? The ending scene

Who Directed Grease? 

Grease was directed by Randal Kleiser. The American film director, Kleiser, is known for his work on a number of popular movies, including The Blue Lagoon (1980), Flight of the Navigator (1986), and Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992). However, it was Grease that launched his career as a successful director, and the film has remained one of his most well-known and beloved works. Kleiser’s direction helped to bring the energy, humor, and romance of Grease to life, making it a timeless classic that continues to captivate audiences to this day.

Where Was Grease Filmed?

Grease was primarily filmed in various locations in Southern California. Specifically, the film’s producers chose a number of outdoor and indoor locations in and around Los Angeles to serve as the settings for the movie’s iconic scenes. Some of the key filming locations used in Grease include:

  • Venice High School in Venice, California, which served as the exterior of Rydell High School
  • Huntington Park High School in Huntington Park, California, which served as the interior of Rydell High School
  • The Frosty Palace diner, which was actually a set built on the grounds of Venice High School
  • The Los Angeles River, where the drag race scene was filmed
  • The former Richfield Oil Company gas station at the corner of Beverly Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard, which served as the site of the musical number “Greased Lightnin'”
  • The Santa Monica Pier, where the scenes for “Summer Nights” and “You’re the One That I Want” were filmed

Overall, the filming locations chosen for Grease helped to create a nostalgic and romanticized vision of 1950s California that has become part of the film’s enduring appeal.

Did Grease Receive Any Awards? 

Grease was nominated for several awards and won a few. At the 51st Academy Awards in 1979, the film received a nomination for Best Original Song for Hopelessly Devoted to You, which was written by John Farrar and performed by Olivia Newton-John. The song became a hit and remains a fan favorite to this day.

In addition to the Academy Award nomination, Grease also won several awards at the 1st People’s Choice Awards, including Favorite Motion Picture, Favorite Motion Picture Actress for Olivia Newton-John, and Favorite Motion Picture Supporting Actress for Stockard Channing. The film also won a Grammy Award for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Special.

Beyond these formal awards, Grease has also received numerous honors and accolades over the years, including being named one of the greatest musicals ever made by the American Film Institute and earning a spot on the National Film Registry in 2021, which recognizes films that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

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Technical Information

Keep in mind that this movie was filmed in 1978 so there were no digital cameras at that time. Still, the movie ran for almost two hours at one hour and 50 minutes (110 minutes). It was filmed in Metrocolor with two aspect ratios–2.20:1 and 2.39:1. 

The cameras used were the Panavision PSR R-200 and the Panavision Panaflex with Panavision C-Series lenses.

Fun Facts About Grease

  • Grease was the highest grossing movie of 1978.
  • The song, Greased Lightning, was supposed to be sung by Jeff Conaway’s character, Kenickie. John Travolta wanted to sing it but had to get Jeff to agree. At first, he refused, but eventually he gave in.
  • Olivia Newton-John had to be sewn into the black pants she wore in the last dance sequence due to a zipper disaster.
  • Olivia Newton-John’s character was originally named Sandy Dumbrowski from the U.S. It was changed to Sandy Olsson from Australia to accommodate her accent.
  • Elvis Presley was offered the role of the Guardian Angel in the scene, Beauty School Drop-Out but turned it down.
  • Henry Winkler was also considered for the role of Danny Zuko but turned it down for fear of being typecast. 

Can You Visit the Set of Grease?

While you can’t visit the original sets, some of the filming locations are still accessible to the public.

For example, the Frosty Palace diner set was built on the grounds of Venice High School and has since been removed, but you can still visit Venice High School and take a look at the exterior of the building that was used as the façade of Rydell High School in the movie. The interior of Rydell High School was filmed at Huntington Park High School, which is also open to the public.

Other filming locations used in Grease that can still be visited include the Santa Monica Pier, where the famous carnival scenes and the final number You’re the One That I Want were filmed, and the former Richfield Oil Company gas station on Beverly Boulevard in Los Angeles, which served as the location for the Greased Lightnin’ number.

What is Los Angeles Famous For?

Los Angeles is also known as ‘tinsel town’ and is famous for a number of things, including:

  • Hollywood: As the center of the American entertainment industry, Los Angeles is home to the iconic Hollywood sign, as well as numerous studios, movie theaters, and celebrity homes.
  • Beaches: Los Angeles is situated on the coast of the Pacific Ocean and is known for its beautiful beaches, including Santa Monica, Venice Beach, and Malibu.
  • Museums and Art Galleries: The city is home to several world-renowned museums and art galleries, such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Getty Center, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
  • Sports Teams: Los Angeles is home to several major sports teams, including the Lakers and Clippers (basketball), Dodgers (baseball), and Rams and Chargers (football).
  • Landmarks: The city is home to many iconic landmarks, including the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Observatory, the Walt Disney Concert Hall, and the Staples Center.
  • Diversity: Los Angeles is a diverse and multicultural city, with a vibrant mix of ethnic neighborhoods, languages, and traditions.

Overall, Los Angeles is known for its glamour, entertainment industry, beautiful beaches, world-class museums, sports teams, iconic landmarks, and cultural diversity.

You’ll definitely need to rent a car when you visit. Public transportation is limited and you’ll have more freedom with your own transportation.

Unique Places To Visit in Los Angeles 

There are many unique places to visit in Los Angeles, here are a few suggestions:

  • The Getty Center: A museum and research center located in the Santa Monica Mountains, featuring a stunning collection of European paintings, drawings, sculptures, and decorative arts.
  • Griffith Observatory: A public observatory located on the southern slope of Mount Hollywood, featuring exhibits on astronomy, space science, and the history of the observatory.
  • The Broad: A contemporary art museum located in downtown Los Angeles, featuring works by artists such as Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein.
  • The Last Bookstore: A large independent bookstore located in downtown Los Angeles, featuring a mix of new and used books, records, and vintage magazines.
  • Venice Beach: A lively and eclectic beach community featuring colorful street performers, a famous boardwalk, and a bustling market.
  • The Bradbury Building: An iconic building located in downtown Los Angeles, known for its unique architecture and appearances in several movies, including Blade Runner and 500 Days of Summer.
  • Watts Towers: A set of 17 interconnected structures located in the Watts neighborhood, created by Italian-American artist Simon Rodia over the course of 33 years.
  • Universal Studios Hollywood: A theme park and film studio located in Universal City, featuring rides, shows, and attractions based on popular movies and TV shows.
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame: 2,700 5-pointed stars embedded along the sidewalks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. 

These are just a few examples of the unique places to visit in Los Angeles. The city has a wealth of attractions, landmarks, and hidden gems to discover, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles 

Los Angeles is a vibrant city with a lot of fun things to do. Here are some suggestions:

  • Stroll along the Venice Beach Boardwalk: This is a popular spot for people watching and street performers, with vendors selling all kinds of items, and it’s a great place to catch a sunset.
  • Take a Studio Tour: Many Hollywood studios offer behind-the-scenes tours, such as Warner Bros., Universal Studios, and Paramount Pictures.
  • Hike in Runyon Canyon Park: This park offers scenic hiking trails with views of the Hollywood Hills and the Los Angeles skyline.
  • Visit the California Science Center: This museum offers interactive exhibits, IMAX movies, and a chance to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour up close.
  • Check out the street art: Los Angeles is home to some incredible street art, with murals and installations found throughout the city, particularly in areas such as the Arts District, Venice Beach, and Melrose Avenue.
  • Visit the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA): This museum features an extensive collection of art from around the world, including contemporary, modern, and ancient works.

These are just a few examples of fun things to do in Los Angeles, but the city has a wealth of activities and attractions to suit any taste or interest especially if you’re a movie buff.

Final Thoughts

Grease is probably pretty cheesy to most people nowadays. After all, it’s set in the 1950’s. No cell phones or computers back then. But Los Angeles has a lot to offer if you’re into movies, movie sets, and movie memorabilia. To get the feel for a real movie set be sure to check out some of the tours at places like Universal Studios. And if you are traveling with a family, Disneyland in Anaheim isn’t too far away.

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