10 – National Lampoon’s Class Reunion Location: Washington Middle School (1923–Present)

A supplemental episode on the shooting location for National Lampoon’s Class Reunion.

Class Reunion was set almost entirely at Elizabeth Borden High School, a fictional school shot in the halls of The Pasadena College of Chiropractic, which is also Washington Middle School. The school has an interesting history all it’s own…

Timeline

  • February 21, 1924—Washington Middle School opens with five hundred students and twenty-five faculty members. The school was designed by the architectural firm of Allison & Allison
  • 1926—Jack Parsons and Ed Foreman, founding members of the JPL attend the school.
  • 1931—Jackie Robinson attends the school. In 1931 he played left field for the school’s 1931 Pasadena City Intermediate Championship team.
  • March 10, 1933—a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Los Angeles. Washington Middle School is closed until repairs were completed in October 1935. Classes were held in tents on the school’s physical education grounds.
  • June 27, 1963—Jay R. Jackson, Jr. v. Pasadena City School District. decision found Washington Junior High to be a “racially segregated school” and ordered the school board to take corrective steps.
  • August 28, 1968—Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education case is filed alleging that unconstitutional segregation exists in Pasadena schools.
  • January 20 1970—Federal District Court Judge Manuel Real ordered the Pasadena City School District to redraw school districts and implement mandatory busing.
  • September 1975—Washington Center for Alternative Studies is housed at Washington Middle School.
  • June 28, 1976—United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit overturns Spangler v. Pasadena City Board of Education.
  • 1979—Washington Middle School closes.
  • 1981–1989—The Pasadena College of Chiropractic operates in the Washington Middle School building. National Lampoon’s Class Reunion is filmed on location February to April 1982.
  • September 1989—Washington Middle School reopens
  • August 14, 2013—The school reopens as Washington STEAM Magnet Academy

Films and Television series shot at the school

  • The Violation of Sarah McDavid (1981)
  • National Lampoon’s Class Reunion (1982)
  • Twilight Zone: The Series “Teacher’s Aide” (1985)
  • Wildcats (1986) Unconfirmed. Possibly used for re-shoots.
  • Dangerous Minds (1995)
  • American Dreams series (2002)

Images

Original drawings for Washington Middle School by Allison & Allison Architects, 1923. Scheme “B” was the version built.

 

Original drawings for Washington Middle School by Allison & Allison Architects, 1923. Scheme “B” was the version built. (Click to enlarge.)

 

The construction of the landscaping of Washington Middle School, circa 1923. (Pasadena Public Library.)

 

Jackie Robinson and the 1931 Washington Junior High Pasadena City Intermediate Champions.

 

Jackie Robinson (far right) at Washington Middle School, February 1935. Terry Cannon/Pasadena Public Library. (Click to enlarge.)

 

Mrs. Pruitt’s Grade 3 class. Washington Middle School. February, 1963. From Can We All Get Along, Arroyo Secco Films. Note the racial disparity.

 

August 11, 1969. Pasadena Star-News

 

The Facade of Benjamin Harrison High School (Washington Middle School) in The Violation of Sarah McDavid (1981)

 

Eric Stoltz and Ally Sheedy in The Violation of Sarah McDavid (1981)

 

Twilight Zone: The Series “Teacher’s Aide,” showing the school’s octagonal tower. The demonic gargoyle was added by the art department.

Additional Reading & Watching

Credits

Theme music by Bradley Davis (Fresh Snow) with some incidental music by Chris Storrow.

With sound effects by Audible-edge, Luiiiiiiii, Timbre, Suonho, Uagadugu, and X-25 from freesound.org.

Episode sources can be found here.

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