What connects Woodstock, Illinois and Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania? We had no idea until recently. You may recall we visited Punxsutawney last December on our way to a nose work trial? Well, we had no idea the movie Groundhog Day was not filmed there. The movie was actually filmed in Illinois because Bill Murray demanded a filming location within five hours of his Chicago home. Since we were close by last weekend for my Summit Trial, we decided to investigate.
Like Punxsutawney, the town is in the middle of nowhere. It is a tiny little place with more of a “Mayberry” type of feeling. It is very busy and everything happens around the town square. We found a parking spot right away and started to check things out. Here in the square we found the Band Stand where the romantic dance took place, and behind it to the right is their version of Gobblers Knob.
The bar scene was filmed in the bottom of the Public house. We did some research on the movie production and it brought up some points we never thought about. Filming takes weeks if not months, but Groundhog Day has to be the same every day. If you start filming in snow, you need the same snow the next day. When it rains on a filming day, you need rain the next time you work on that scene. It makes filming such a movie quite difficult and it requires a lot of planning.
On the adjacent side of the square is the Pennysylvania Hotel, taunted as a fleabag hotel in the movie. It is normally the opera house in town.
Down a side street we found the movie theater from the film. It was called the Alpine Theater at the time.
We read online that everything from the movie is marked and easy to find, but we found it to be a real struggle. The Willie groundhog they call, “Woodstock Willie” is behind the theater in an out of the way location. We stumbled onto him by accident. Evidently, he does the same thing Punxsutawney Phil does on Groundhog Day, just in Woodstock. The sun was in a bad place for a photo, but we took one anyway.
There is also a stand with some info on the movie and the filming of the movie back in 1993.
We have to say, we learned a lot about the movie by visiting and researching Woodstock, IL. Honestly, we were not really impressed with Woodstock when we checked it out in person. Punxsutawney is much more fun and they have so much more “Groundhog” stuff going on. Woodstock is cute but it lacked the pizzazz we were expecting and locating the famous spots was difficult. We didn’t find everything we had hoped to find. Nevertheless, we think Groundhog Day is a fun and funny thing that happens every year, and we enjoy learning more about the actual place as well as the famous movie.
I’m joining my friends at Living Laughing and Barking in Our Backyard for their Nature Friday blog hop.