Monday, November 26, 2012

Ben Stiller Returns to the Scene of the Crime

While writing recently about the original Secret Life of Walter Mitty on Tales for the Easily Distracted, blogger Dorian Tenore-Bartilucci wondered about the location of the gorgeous Tudor-style mansion owned in the movie by villianous Uncle Peter “The Boot” Van Hoorn. She imagined it in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, not far from Walter’s publishing office in Manhattan.

In fact, the home was—and still is!—located at 1050 Arden Street in Pasadena, California. Built in 1912, the sprawling, 11,573-square foot mansion has 13 bedrooms and eight baths on nearly two acres. It is currently owned by pharmaceutical magnate Milan Panic, who continues to rent the property out for use in films and TV shows.

Pull the property up on Google Maps to get an idea of just how huge this property is—and how much it still looks like it did during the filming of Mitty, 65 years ago.

Recent street-level view of the Panic mansion in Pasadena shows it looks very similar to when it was used as The Boot's home in the original Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).

Or, to get an even closer look, check out the movie Starsky and Hutch (2004). Just like in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the mansion served as the home of the villain. The movie’s hero? Ben Stiller, who is currently remaking... The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.


  1. Hard to believe I only just found your blog as I am a long time Danny Kaye fan! Thank you for all your tireless research and dedication this is just wonderful for adorers like us! ****What brought me here specifically is I've also been searching for the local of a house in the original Walter Mitty, the home where he and his Mother lived. I am partially confinced that the majority of the interior is done on a set in California, as you do not see a large exterior shot of the home. However, the grand stair case stands out and I've just got to know if this is somewhere I can visit! If anyone has advice for me, I've already sent emails to Samuel Goldwyn, no luck there.

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  3. Virginia, Thank you for the note! I'm glad you found the blog and hope you can also track down a copy of the book "Danny Kaye: King of Jesters"!
    I think you're right; the Mitty home may have been a set, since (unlike the Van Hoorn mansion) there are no inside-to-outside shots. The only way to know for sure is by checking the original shooting schedule, which is contained in the Goldwyn files held by the AMPAS Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, the files are viewable only with the permission of Mr. Goldwyn Jr. himself, which is difficult to obtain. And, double unfortunately, I didn't think to check for this information during the weeks I spend researching the Goldwyn files. In the event I ever get another crack at them, I'll be sure to look!

  4. Mr Koenig, thank you for the reply. It is more helpful than you know, I appreciate the information! I felt I was at a bit of a dead end, now I see the light at the end of the tunnel. (Whether I'm allowed access to said light is up for debate) :) But at least I know it is there! I will definitely be picking up a copy of your book, I've been meaning to order my sister and I both a copy from amazon. Blessings!