As a child of the 80s, I can’t remember a time when The Goonies wasn’t one of my favourite fillums. And frankly, I don’t want to. It has everything you could possibly need in a family movie: a great cast, comedy, suspense, a bit of fear and even a hot older brother to fancy. Despite being made in 1985, it still pops up on TV occasionally and, if you ask me, totally holds its own. Everyone loves The Goonies, it’s a universal fact, so you can imagine my excitement when I discovered that it was set in Astoria, Oregon, less than two hours from where we’re currently living. It took longer than I expected (I’m laying the blame equally between the weather and Eoin here) but we eventually made it down there this weekend with one goal: to follow the goonie trail.
After a rocky start (the kennel I had Milo booked in to cancelled at the last minute and only The Most Expensive Kennel in America would accept him at such short notice) we eventually got on the road and pointed the car towards the Oregon coast. Now, I (stupidly) hadn’t looked up the route on the map, and didn’t realise it went through the mountains, so we got a bit of a fright when said road looked like this for much of the way:
Yeah, slippy. And more than a little scary considering we didn’t even have any chains with us. If I’d been driving we’d most certainly be in one of those drifts right now but thankfully I was passenging for the weekend. Anyway, we got to Astoria safely, and even though it was a bleak and cold February weekend, it has to be noted that it’s a really pretty little town, dominated by a dramatic suspension bridge. The perfect setting for a movie.
As you can see, there was still some snow on the ground which meant wandering around outside wasn’t exactly comfortable, especially when you’re the idiot who forgot to bring socks. Luckily we were there, I’d say, 30 seconds when we spotted this place:
It turns out that loads of movies have been filmed in or around Astoria, including Free Willy, Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop and, er, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 3. The above jail was actually in one of the opening scenes of The Goonies, where Jake Fratelli pretends to hang himself and then escapes with his terrifying mama who might put your hand in a blender if you’re not careful. They have handily illustrated it inside in case you forget.
Those other movies don’t get much of a look in at the Oregon Film Museum but The Goonies is well represented in the props department (there are only one and a half departments plus a gift shop). Remember this statue belonged to Mrs Walsh, Mikey and Brandon’s mum? Chunk knocked it over and its wiener popped off. Note here the wiener is intact.
There’s also a copy of the paper that got them all obsessed with Chester Copperpot and One Eyed Willy’s treasure in the first place.
And the infamous map. Well, a copy of it cos this one is in suspiciously good nick.
And the skeleton key yoke.
They also have Data’s full costume, which I enjoyed imensley.
Entry to the museum was $4 and even though we had seen everything in under five minutes I’d call that money well spent. Directly across the street is the Flavel House Museum, a real working museum but in The Goonies it was where Mikey and Brand’s dad worked.
But the location I really wanted to see was the Walsh house where all the action kicks off. All of the scenes in the old restaurant and underground were shot in a Los Angeles studio, and the beach isn’t actually in Astoria itself, so the house was definitely the main attraction for me – and plenty of other people who visit every year. We bought a map in the museum and managed to locate it easily enough. This was our first view. Not great, as you can see. I was a bit disappointed and worried that that was it.
So I suggested that we try and get closer, which we did, thanks to Eoin’s mad navigational skillz and some cop on.
And even closer, because it turns out you’re totally allowed, if not encouraged. The house is a private residence as far as I know but the people who live in it, and their neighbours, are obviously seriously chill. I would love to know how many people they get hanging around outside annually. Lots, I bet, especially in summer.
And there it is, the real Walsh house from The Goonies as it looks today! The paint job is different, and the fence and gate are missing, but there’s no denying that’s it. I have to admit, I was embarrassingly excited to get so close. Eoin was mortified. When I was eight years old and watching the video over and over again at home I never imagined that I’d end up here. Funny where life takes you.
What an excellent way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Thank you, Astoria.