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Retro Roadmap Connection to Super 8 Movie – Was I Fooled by Hollywood’s “Vintage” Signage?

Posted on: June 13, 2011

Retro Roadhusband and I decided to to check out the new J.J. Abrams movie Super 8 this evening and got an unexpected Retro Roadmap surprise.

There is a shot in the movie of a downtown area and I almost leaned over to RRH to say it kinda reminded me of the little town of Weirton, WV we had breakfast in on the last day of our Retro Road Trip. Suddenly there on the big screen is a shot of some characters in a used / new car lot  and I almost jumped out of my seat – because it was indeed the town we had been in, and I had snapped some photos of the very signs we were seeing in this Hollywood blockbuster!
P. Schreiber Auto SalesThe total clincher was seeing the oval signs below on the big screen in the background of one of the scenes.
Real Vintage Signs or From the Movie Super 8?Click here to see a still from Super 8 on IMDb that shows the Quality sign shown above in the background of the scene!

Now that I look at them, they do look to be in awfully good shape for a car lot that doesn’t exist anymore…so I think I’ve been had by leftover movie set dressing!

Reminds me of more local to us when they were shooting the M. Night Shyamalan movie The Happening, and used our local restaurant The G Lodge as a location. They renamed it The Filbert for the movie:

Mr Toast on the set
After the movie they actually repainted the signage for the restaurant with the G Lodge logo, and Larry’s Garage next door got a new sign as well.

So keep your eyes peeled the next time you see some vintage signs- you never know if you’re seeing something legitimately vintage or some good old Hollywood magic!

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  • I’m not much of a moviegoer, but I still remember that evening in 1997, when we pulled in at the Big 8 Motel in El Reno, OK, and I was mystified by the sign saying “Amarillo’s Finest”.

  • rick

    What’s Mr. Toast doing in the picture?

  • Mr Toast visited us a few years ago and had a great time seeing the sights of Pennsylvania and the Delaware Beaches:

    A few of my photos even made it into his book!

    We love Mr. Toast.

  • Vince M

    Some years back I was unaware they were location shooting ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ in my neighborhood – kind of surprising to find the organic grocery turned into a Piggly Wiggly and advertising bacon and Coke.

    • Funny! I remember the Piggly Wiggly in that movie – being from the north, I had no idea it was a real business!

  • Never heard of The Pig’s Prices?

  • The Albany version! Scenes in “Salt” (starring Angelina Jolie) were filmed on the highway labyrinth in downtown Albany. My favorite is the one where the rooftop U-Haul truck shows up in a shot.

  • Piggly Wiggly is indeed real, started by Clarence Saunders in Memphis in 1916 and mentioned in “Main Street to Miracle Mile” (arguably the best roadside book EVER.) The name may have come from “This little piggy went to market…” or the sight of little pigs wiggling under a fence. But when Saunders was asked why he named it Piggly Wiggly, he replied, “So people will ask just what you have asked.”

    • What a great story! – I do have Main Street to Miracle Mile but admit I haven’t cracked it open in a while. Funny to think of how much the internet has changed the way we get information!

  • Vince M

    I’ll have to keep a closer eye on what’s filming around here – apparently the ‘Three Stooges’ movie recently did some work around a nice old apartment building near the Margaret Mitchell house. The whole idea of that movie sounds just wrong to me, but I’ll have to watch it for familiar locations.

  • rick

    Saw Super 8 yesterday and really enjoyed it- an old fashion monster movie with a Speilburg twist!

  • Jen

    Wow, just stumbled across this. We were in the middle of preparing to move when you posted this, so no wonder I missed it.

    I actually lived in Weirton for several years, including during the filming of “Super 8” (though I was too 50s retro, I think, when I showed up at the casting call for extras, alas). If you’d like a few more photos of our wonderful old town during shooting, shoot an email. It was rather exciting. We lived in Marland Heights, and our pharmacy had its weathered painted sign on the side of the building repainted, and the deli was turned into a 7-Eleven. The Baptist church was turned into a school for the shoot as well. 🙂

    Weirton—at least where we lived—is a wonderful little town. I miss it dearly and feel like I was just ripped up from it and thrown into another place. We’ll make the best of where we are, but our old neighborhood was super-special. We knew probably 70% of our neighbors up & down the street and in the neighborhood itself. Marland Heights (a neighborhood there) is full of wonderful mid-century modest homes, with a few MCMs thrown in, and you can believe me when I tell you a buyer can get one for a REAL steal right now!

    • Oh wow, Jen, what a small world, huh? We thought it was a cool little place for the short time we were there – we had breakfast at Biscuit World, which wasn’t Retro Roadmap worthy but mmm do I love biscuits!

      Hopefully you’ll make the best out of where you are now – one of my mottos is “Bloom Where You’re Planted” – even if you’re planted in sand 🙂