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bkkbuf
02-22-2014, 03:01 PM
As any Buffalonian will tell you, Hill Street Blues episodes were full of references to streets and locations in Buffalo, as Co-Producer Anthony Yerkovich and writer David Milch are Buffalo boys. Streets like Hertel, Delaware, West Utica, Richmond, North, Hodge, Elmwood, Ashland, Amherst, Bailey, Jefferson, Ferry.....Bars like Gabriel's Gate (Henry Goldblume's hangout after Rachel left him), Kubiak Lodge (where so many of the Hill's parties and weddings were held), Cole's, Mulligan's........High schools like Burgard and Emerson.....Memorial Auditorium.....Hell, in one episode, one of the cops is trying to get rid of two Sabres tickets! In another episode, Sgt. Esterhaus needs four officers for crowd control, and picks Officers "Coley, Lyle, Walsh and Tubbs".....I went to high school with those guys - they all knew Yerkovich! While the exact city location is not specified (although it's clearly in the Northeast or Midwest), Buffalo references are all over most episodes....

Skywatcher
02-22-2014, 03:08 PM
Reported for a move to the Café.

nevadaexile
02-22-2014, 04:01 PM
The show was filmed in Hollywood on sound stages and in Chicago and Downtown LA for exterior shots. The Cook County Courthouse and Jail at 26th and California was often shown as well as the Maxwell St. police station

It's creator (Steven Bochco) went to college in Pittsburgh and often hinted at that being the inspiration for the series.

Cartooniverse
02-22-2014, 05:01 PM
Indeed, it's been said for decades that the story is set in The Hill District (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hill_District).

Hal Briston
02-22-2014, 05:21 PM
MPSIMS --> CS

Hal Briston - MPSIMS Moderator

Hippy Hollow
02-22-2014, 08:21 PM
Didn't they often have the name "Decker" in the show? I seem to remember that. "Robbery on Decker..."

CaptMurdock
02-22-2014, 08:27 PM
Yes, they had "Decker" (possibly spelled "Dekker") Avenue.

I loved HSB. Probably one of the greatest, if not THE greatest show of the eighties.

Quick: who can name all the gangs on the show?

Mr Downtown
02-22-2014, 10:28 PM
I remember a newspaper interview with Bochco where he just said it was set in a city "with a Northern mindset" or something similar. It was a deliberate pastiche of place names, with Chicago establishing shots and LA alley chases and location shots. For how warmly the guys were dressed, it was suspiciously sunny every time they went outside.

But hey, let's be careful out there.

Loach
02-22-2014, 10:50 PM
Along with some of the exterior shots being of Chicago, the uniforms and police cars were the same as Chicago. The cars had Metro Police instead of Chicago but had the same look. The cops had hats with the distinctive Chicago checkerboard band. To me it always felt Chicago.

Amateur Barbarian
02-22-2014, 10:56 PM
Now if they'd just release it on DVD... (more than two seasons, that is...)

Qadgop the Mercotan
02-23-2014, 07:06 AM
Quick: who can name all the gangs on the show?
The Jets and the Smelts?

Hey, Buffalo is on Lake Erie...

bmasters1
02-23-2014, 08:01 AM
Now if they'd just release it on DVD... (more than two seasons, that is...)

You're in luck! I heard before that Shout! is coming out with a 34-disc complete release of Hill Street Blues.

http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Hill-Street-Blues-The-Complete-Series/19284

Thought you might like to know!

Icerigger
02-23-2014, 08:48 AM
Great! I have been waiting for this for a long time.

bmasters1
02-23-2014, 09:51 AM
Great! I have been waiting for this for a long time.

Glad you think so! I'm sure you'll like it.

Bryan Ekers
02-23-2014, 10:28 AM
Quick: who can name all the gangs on the show?

No wonder the Shamrocks got wiped out - their leader didn't have any sunglasses.

Clothahump
02-23-2014, 01:14 PM
You're in luck! I heard before that Shout! is coming out with a 34-disc complete release of Hill Street Blues.

http://tvshowsondvd.com/news/Hill-Street-Blues-The-Complete-Series/19284

Thought you might like to know!

200 clams! Woo, better start saving for it now.

Ibn Warraq
02-23-2014, 01:33 PM
No wonder the Shamrocks got wiped out - their leader didn't have any sunglasses.

Heh. I wonder if he was as much a pain in the ass to work with on HSB as he supposedly was on NYPD Blue.

Elendil's Heir
02-23-2014, 02:11 PM
Loved that show! I grew up near Pittsburgh, and much was made at the time of Bochco's Pittsburgh roots and the Hill District, but the show really was set in an Everycity. I do remember, though, a street scene once where you could see interstate signs on a pole; I checked a road atlas and those interstates only came near each other in Chicago.

As to the Shamrocks' leader and his later work in Miami: http://youtube.com/watch?v=qRZ781Pm5Mg

terentii
02-23-2014, 02:24 PM
Not only was it usually warm and sunny, you could often see palm trees in the background.... :rolleyes:

Sean Factotum
02-24-2014, 01:43 PM
Loved that show! I grew up near Pittsburgh, and much was made at the time of Bochco's Pittsburgh roots and the Hill District, but the show really was set in an Everycity.
Also read this at the time the show came out, but wantd to point out that not only Bochco, but quite a few of the actors in the original cast also went to Carnegie Tech (later becoming Carnegie Mellon University) around the same time: Bruce Wietz (Belker), Kiel Martin (LaRue) Barbara Bosson (played Faye Furillo and is/was married to Bochco) are the names that come immediately to mind.

Elendil's Heir
02-24-2014, 02:46 PM
Charles Haid (Ptl. Andrew Jackson Renko), as well.

Miss Mapp
02-25-2014, 07:37 AM
I was watching the pilot episode with commentary last night. Stephen Bochco distinctly says that he had Pittsburgh "in mind" for the show, but the streets in the opening credits were filmed in Chicago and other street scenes during the episode were in Los Angeles. They were deliberately vague about the city's name and location.

Loach
02-25-2014, 08:06 AM
Just about everyone in the show was perfect in their role and seemed destined for stardom. But for the most part their careers fizzled. Many continued to work but without the big success of Hill Street. Charles Haid and Betty Thomas became successful behind the camera. Probably the biggest star to emerge from the semi-regulars was Dennis Franz. Some of the other more minor characters were played by actors who got bigger after. But those that looked like they would be huge like Daniel Travanti and Veronica Hamil did not get any other huge roles. Although being able to make a decent living as an actor is an accomplishment without the stardom and they have done that.

crucible
02-25-2014, 08:12 AM
As any Buffalonian will tell you, Hill Street Blues episodes were full of references to streets and locations in Buffalo, as Co-Producer Anthony Yerkovich and writer David Milch are Buffalo boys. Streets like Hertel, Delaware, West Utica, Richmond, North, Hodge, Elmwood, Ashland, Amherst, Bailey, Jefferson, Ferry.....Bars like Gabriel's Gate (Henry Goldblume's hangout after Rachel left him), Kubiak Lodge (where so many of the Hill's parties and weddings were held), Cole's, Mulligan's........High schools like Burgard and Emerson.....Memorial Auditorium.....Hell, in one episode, one of the cops is trying to get rid of two Sabres tickets! In another episode, Sgt. Esterhaus needs four officers for crowd control, and picks Officers "Coley, Lyle, Walsh and Tubbs".....I went to high school with those guys - they all knew Yerkovich! While the exact city location is not specified (although it's clearly in the Northeast or Midwest), Buffalo references are all over most episodes....

I lived in Buffalo at the time this series was popular. People there took it for granted that the writers were from Buffalo but the show was shot somewhere else. Watercooler talk sometimes involved the most recent Buffalo references. I've lived worse places, much worse.

nevadaexile
02-25-2014, 09:38 AM
Just about everyone in the show was perfect in their role and seemed destined for stardom. But for the most part their careers fizzled. Many continued to work but without the big success of Hill Street. Charles Haid and Betty Thomas became successful behind the camera. Probably the biggest star to emerge from the semi-regulars was Dennis Franz. Some of the other more minor characters were played by actors who got bigger after. But those that looked like they would be huge like Daniel Travanti and Veronica Hamil did not get any other huge roles. Although being able to make a decent living as an actor is an accomplishment without the stardom and they have done that.

There are probably several reasons for this,IMO:


Most of the cast was "average looking" by Hollywood standards - They could become successful character actors,but not leading actors.
The most attractive actors in the cast were too "old" to become big stars when the series ended - Veronica Hamel was already in her late 40s,Kiel Martin was in his mid 40's and Michael Warren was in his early 40s. In Hollywood terms, they weren't going to be huge box office draws given their ages.
Several actors died during the series or while relatively young, thus limiting their careers - Kiel Martin,Rene Enriquez and Michael Conrad all died either during the shows Ron or shortly afterward. This precluded them from possible later success.
The show steered away from younger actors - Ed Marinaro was the youngest major cast member and he was in his mid 30s when the program was on the air. Without many younger actors, there was no one to go onto later fame.


Even Dennis Franz "lucked out." If David Caruso hadn't foolishly left NYPD blue after a single season,it's doubtful that Franz would have been more than supporting character in that series. Instead, he became for better or worse, the star of the shoe.

Elendil's Heir
02-25-2014, 11:42 AM
I always loved Travanti as Capt. Francis X. Furillo. For awhile, I seriously considered going into police work because of that character. And I still sometimes quote Lt. Hunter's "Judas Priest, Frank...." catchphrase when I'm annoyed.

bobplussarah
10-20-2015, 09:03 PM
• The posts citing Buffalo (NY) as the location for HSB - absolutely fascinating - all the street names, some of the local bars, etc.
• But here's irrefutable evidence that the video-recorded urban location for HSB was Chicago. There were at least two episodes that showed the specific numbers of the distinctive blue-and-red signage of the Interstate Highway System - specifically, entrance signs for both I-90 and I-94 on the same pole.
• There is only one place in the U.S. where I-90 and I-94 run concurrent through a large metro area: Chicago, Illinois.
• Eastbound I-94 deadends north of Detroit, so I-94 doesn't even get as far east as Buffalo.
• I-90 and I-94 do run concurrent from just south of Madison (WI) northward for about 100 miles, to Tomah (WI), but that concurrent section of interstate highway does't run through urban Madison - it whisks by the eastern edge of the Madison metro area.
• Check it out on Google Maps. Zoom in and out along I-90 and/or I-94 anywhere you want.
• BUT - having said all that - I think the HSB producers were having fun with us, their audience. In other words, they showed some urban scenes of central Chicago, then they threw in some street and bar names from Buffalo, then they wrote in mention of some neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, etc. - you can easily imagine the writers smiling as they tweaked us!!!
• Still, the actual video scenes of those Interstate signs for I-90/I-94 on the same pole - that's irrefutably Chicago, even if they were playing coy with us in other aspects of this great show.

bobplussarah
10-20-2015, 11:18 PM
I also heard early on in the history of HSB that Mike Warren (Bobby Hill) and Charles Haid (Renko) showed up at a police officer convention somewhere out west. Warren and Haid plopped themselves at a table with some of the real-life police officers and bought some beers and said, "Tell us some stories" - and then Warren and Renko took notes or recorded the stories they got! Apparently the episode in which Belker is undercover and ends up chasing a bad guy down the street with Belker in a bright yellow adult-size chicken suit was an actual occurrence in some police district somewhere in the U.S. Awesome!

bobplussarah
10-20-2015, 11:23 PM
Anyway, my wife and I have many happy memories of watching the HSB episodes in the first half-dozen years of our marriage. In the first several years, the show and the plots and the acting was so superb that when the episode came to an end, we just stared at each other in amazement at how good this show was. I especially loved how the story lines were spread out over 4-5 episodes. In retrospect, I'm surprised how most police dramas (or hospital dramas and the like) nowadays always do single-episode story lines. Sure, there are recurring elements from week to week - like Red John in The Mentalist - but that stretching out of story lines over 4-5 episodes was always so enjoyable and intriguing for me. I miss that.

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