A 'Waiting for Guffman' Trip to Lockhart
If you didn't pick this up from my gushing post last year, Christopher Guest's Waiting for Guffman is one of my favorite films. Upon finding out that the comedy is showing at the Paramount this summer (July 10 and 11), my friend April and I decided a visit to Lockhart was in order. We would search out the exteriors used in the 1996 comedy about Blaine, Missouri's sesquicentennial, and eat some delicious barbecue as well!
After some online location hunting, April and I headed out to Lockhart on the morning of Father's Day (my dad condoned this trip as long as we ate at Black's). Our first stop in town, once we drove by Black's and noted that there was absolutely no line, was near the silos used in the early shots of the movie. These are on North Pecos Street, by the railroad tracks.
April realized afterwards we had taken our photos (here's my shot) from the opposite direction of the shots in Waiting for Guffman, but still. You get the idea. They are far rustier now than they were in the '90s.
We landed at Black's while most folks were at church and enjoyed a fantastic brunch of smoked turkey (for me) and brisket (for April). Then we started our walk through Lockhart's town square.
I took a quick snap of the ivy on the back of this historic building which faces the town square and currently houses the clock museum, later to spot the building when I saw Where the Heart Is! The building only shows up in Waiting for Guffman as background for scenes of Blaine's town hall. And speaking of Blaine's town hall, it sits in the middle of Lockhart's town square and is better known as the Caldwell County Courthouse.
Off San Antonio and the town square, we found the exterior used for Corky St. Clair's apartment. You can't tell in the movie or my photo, but there is some nice detail on those metal stairs. April and I giggled as we took our photos from across the street.
South on Main Street from town square, we walked by Lockhart's historic public library, endowed by Dr. Eugene Clark. The building makes a quick appearance in Waiting for Guffman as a rehearsal space for Corky and Dr. Pearl. "How high a ridge, I could not tell..."
Catty-corner from the library is the sad, deteriorating structure which used to house the Dairy Queen. More recently it was a to-go Chinese food joint, but now it is just a shell. If you stand and look up under the front awning, the pastel colors from the DQ are faded, but still there.
And right next door to that is Dr. Pearl's office -- which actually serves as a dentist's office in real life.
We looked at a couple of Lockhart's area school buildings, trying to find the one used in the movie, but had no luck. We drove by the LHS Freshman campus on our way back to downtown from the silos and were fascinated by the Adams Gym building there, mainly because it bears a strong Alamo/mission-style influence in its construction. It wasn't used in the film (as far as we know).
April thought this high school building might have been the one, but as we drove by after our walk, we couldn't spot any similarities between that building and that used in the film. We were obviously disappointed that we couldn't find the school exterior or gym from Waiting for Guffman. We weren't able to figure out which storefront might have housed the Albertsons' travel agency either.
Taking a break from our location hunt, we hiked a little at Lockhart State Park and stopped afterwards at the new-ish Dairy Queen on that side of town afterwards. The blizzards we ate were not low-fat (sorry, Libby Mae).
We then visited the Caldwell County Museum, housed in the former jail. Factoid: The 1908 building was used as a jail until the mid-1980s!
While there, I told the museum guide/nice volunteer lady that we were doing a Waiting for Guffman location hunt, and she told us that the house used for Dr. Pearl's home is on Bois D'Arc and currently houses a somewhat tony nursing home. Here is what we found:
I skipped through my Waiting for Guffman DVD a couple nights ago on the lookout for any glimpse of Dr. Pearl's house, but all his home scenes -- which mostly feature Mrs. Pearl -- are interior. Was this house used for the interior scenes? Or is this just a nice house that the museum guide had heard was used for Waiting for Guffman? I don't know, but we were excited to find it anyway.
Bonus: I made a map on Google Maps of the spots we found.
[Photo credit: Top photo, silo photo, and courthouse photo used courtesy April Burcham; the rest are by the post's author]