Movies Filmed at Excelsior...Remember?
by Rosie Rosenloft
It was no secret that when good ole' Excelsior High School closed its doors and hallways in 1981 that there were many that had the apprehension and worries concerning the future of our own Pilotland; many, and they were legion, felt that they would eventually see the "death sentence", and could almost feel the nearness of the wrecking ball . . . never to hear the tardy bell, ever again. The feelings were well founded . . . Remember?
The wholesale neglect and devastation of the buildings by the Grace Korean Church is an entire story in itself; it follows at a later date.
But in retrospect, now that we are reopened, although not as a high school, we can reflect about two events that injected some laughs, almost a paradox at the time, into the whole mess - the filming of two major motion pictures at the campus: The 1982 movie Grease 2; and High School U.S.A. shot in 1983. We laugh at these movies today. Surely not back then . . . Remember?
The films, both the same plots: Musical and comical; 1960's Midwest Americana; and a nostalgic trip down any Pilot's memory lane is the reward of viewing these two films! The first of those, Grease 2, shot in ‘82 featured Michelle Pfeiffer in her first major starring role, Adrian Zmed, and Lorna Luft. There were cameo appearances by Eve Arden (Now there is one that is really from my old day), Sid Caeser, Dody Goodman, Tab Hunter and Connie Stevens. They hang the school's name for the film, Rydell High, on the front of school. And that was used throughout.
In the film, High School U.S.A, the school was still called Excelsior High (There is a story regarding Excelsior's name-changings coming at a later date). It starred Michael J. Fox in one of his first major movies. It also had a large handful of the ‘60s' favorites, most loved, child TV stars: Nancy McKeon, Anthony Edwards, Crispin Glover, Todd Bridges, Bob Denver, Angela Cartright, Dwayne Hickman, Tony Dow and a host of others . . .Remember?Both of the films were a mix of being musical, straight skirts, chick-chasing, outrageous comedies. I even learned some new things! They even smoked in the hallways! And you all that we had to hide on the steps of the second story to the auditorium in order to smoke without getting caught! And, like most schools, including our Excelsior, they had their social structures; the "haves and have-nots"; who was "cool"; who had the best bike (ours, of course, were cars); clashes between the king of the hero-jocks, the kissies, the scholars and the ubiquitous school Nerd going head-to-head to catch the attention of the beautiful prom queen no matter the dirty tricks to accomplish that end. Just like us at Excelsior Remember?But those were extremely bad times for us past Pilots. There was nothing funny at the time - except for Grease 2 and High School U.S.A . . . Remember?
Website Administrator's suggested Internet sites for more information:
Son of Grease: A Tribute to Grease 2
And for those who want to see published reviews of the movie:
Grease 2 (1982)
TV Guide Online - Movie Database