This summer, “E.T. – The Extra-Terrestrial” turns 30 years old. One of the most iconic films in history, Steven Spielberg’s 1982 classic tells the story of a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) and an alien who’s been stranded on Earth. Eventually, he and his little sister, Gertie (played by the cherubic Drew Barrymore), befriend the creature and name him E.T., hiding him from their mother and returning him home.
While the famous flick has its fair share of iconic scenes, none is more recognizable than the moment Elliott bikes through the park with E.T., launching into the air and flying across the night sky.
While it’s (sadly) not possible to experience this type of travel, you can visit the park — Porter Ranch, located in Northridge Los Angeles — where that scene, along with several of the movie’s other famous moments, were filmed.
Location as Character: The 1982 classic owes many of its famous shots to Porter Ranch. There are several shots above the grounds — including the bike-across-the-moon moment — which show off the hillside of Palisades Park. The various bicycle chases, as well as the Halloween scenes, were filmed on many of the neighborhood’s streets (Brasília Dr., Killimore Ave. and Granada Circle). The northern end of Porter Ridge Park, was used during film’s famous ending, when E.T. returns home.
Historical Significance: The land was originally purchased in the late 19th century by Benjamin Porter. For the first couple decades, wheat fields covered the land, surviving all the way into the 1980s. Soon the park became slightly more glamourous as many movie stars had their horse ranches at Porter Ridge. Eventually, suburban homes began springing up, stretching all the way to Porter. The area was one of the last sections within the San Fernando Valley to be developed.
Fun Fact: The first time Elliott’s bike takes flight, E.T.’s sheet is not consistently open or closed. In close-ups, the sheet is open and in broader shots, it is closed.
Directions: By car from California’s Whiteman Airport (approximately 11 miles): Merge onto CA-118 W; take exit 38 toward Reseda Blvd; turn right onto Rinaldi St; take the 1st left onto Reseda Blvd; turn right onto Sesnon Blvd. Porter Ridge will be on the left.
Visitor Info: The park is open to the public; for more information, head over to Porter Ranch’s neighborhood council.
This is the first in the newly relaunched series, On the Scene, where we take a look at famous movie locations around the world.
Earlier on HuffPost: