Stock footage is used all the time in TV sitcoms since it is a cheap and easy way to transition between scenes. The editor’s goal is for you to not even notice these short clips are there at all! Typically the stock footage is of a building exterior or some other landmark that will help the audience perceive time and place. Take a look at these pictures and see if you can recognize the show just by looking at the stock footage!
1. The Seinfeld Diner
In the popular TV show, you would recognize this as Monk’s Cafe. In real life it is actually Tom’s Restaurant, located in the Morningside Heights Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City. If you walk into Tom’s, you’ll be disappointed to see that it looks nothing like the diner that the Seinfeld gang hung out in. That’s because they simply used Tom’s as piece of stock footage and actually shot the scenes in a sound stage in California.
2. The Brady Bunch House
This home was transformed from a modest ranch-style house to a national icon practically overnight. The producers found this house in the San Fernando Valley near Los Angeles and thought it was the perfect representation of middle class America and determined that this would be the place for the Brady family to grow up. They paid the owner a small fee to shoot stock footage of the exterior one day, and continued to reuse that stock footage for the next five seasons. Did you ever notice, though, that this is clearly a one story house? And how could those darling children possibly dance down the stairs in rainbow jumpsuits without a second story? Well, the producers anticipated that problem, so they created the illusion of a second story by adding a fake window to the exterior. The house is still in its original location today, but the owners have added a fence and gotten rid of the fake window!
3. Penn Paper Tower – The Office
The Office put Scranton, Pennsylvania on the map! The popular show has introduced most of us to otherwise unheard of Scranton landmarks such as The Mall at Steamtown and The Anthracite Heritage Museum, but undoubtedly the most recognizable one is the Pennsylvania Paper and Supply Company tower. There is a stock footage shot of this building in the opening of the show, making it now one of the most visited attractions in Scranton.
4. John Adams High – Boy Meets World
Oh, John Adams High. There were some years when we thought Mr. Feeney might never leave those grand doors. Well, as you could guess, this is not actually John Adams High. In real life this building is known as John Marshall High in Los Feliz, California. If you have a really good eye for stock footage you’ll know that Cory and Topanga were not the only fictional characters to walk the halls of this school. John Marshall High has also played host high school to TV shows Sister, Sister, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Growing Pains, as well as feature films such as Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Austin Powers 2, Pretty in Pink and Grease. And if that wasn’t enough fun trivia for you, Leonardo DiCaprio attended John Marshall High as a student for one semester before he landed his role in Growing Pains. Now that is one impressive school!
5. The Full House San Francisco Row Home
Perhaps one of the most famous homes of the 90s, this row home served as the Tanner family residence in the popular sitcom Full House. Producers chose this stock footage from the Broderick Street address in San Francisco because it was unique to San Francisco and still reflected a middle America lifestyle. If you walk by it, though, be prepared to be perplexed. The door is no longer red and the house is a lot smaller than it appears on the show, which will leaving you thinking, “man, that really was one full house!”
Can you think of some famous stock footage that we’re missing? Let us know!
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