By BETC London
It’s true. Sometimes we let creatives go on holiday. And, as a result, our very own James Briggs ended up writing holiday recommendations for The Sun. So, if you ever wondered where they filmed The Goonies, and have five minutes to spare, pull up your shirt and read on.
Walking up to a stranger’s house, lifting your t-shirt and shaking your belly into their living room would probably get you into trouble in most places around the world. But not in this one.
Summer 1985 and anyone below 5ft wanted to hop on a BMX to Astoria, Oregon and become a Goonie. When Mikey and co found that map in their folks' attic, it started a swashbuckling adventure of booby traps and bad guys which sent kids rummaging through Dad’s belongings all over the country. The coming of age classic dreamt up by Steven Spielberg and Richard Donner turns 30 this weekend, and most of its fans are getting on a bit too.
Which is why it was probably quite unnerving for the bespectacled man looking out of his window at me, a grown man, wobbling in his general direction. As he appeared on the veranda with a watering can, I feared the worst. At best, a soaking. He didn’t bat an eyelid. Instead, offering a cheery, “Morning”, before tending to his pink roses. Because here, amongst the sea air and white picket fences, the hips sway to a different rhythm. The Truffle Shuffle. This was the Goonies House. And with up to 15,000 visitors a year the owner had probably seen a lot of belly buttons.
Drifting across the hills where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean, a barking chorus rang out. A hundred or so sea lions lining the town’s docks were seemingly rating my moves - like a blubbery version of Astoria’s Got Talent. I don’t speak seal, but it sounded like a flippers up to me.
This weekend’s 30th anniversary celebrations mean the sea lions can go all Goonie with a One-Eyed-Willy treasure hunt, sail with Sloth’s stunt double and join in with the world’s biggest ever Truffle Shuffle. Like the big kids running around town, this old fishing port has grown up, too. As well as being a wishing well for bubblegum nostalgia, old canneries have been reborn as sea breeze hotels, whilst trendy cafes peddle fishy dishies such as chowder and ceviche. Tongue is no longer on the menu.
Intent on finding our own ‘rich stuff’, we’d drawn a crude treasure map - X marking the spot of shooting locations around town. We hopped on our BMX, which looked suspiciously like a hire car, and headed for trouble. Every film needs a baddie, and it was from the Clatsop County Jail where the Fratellis made their fiery dash for freedom. Upon arrival, Mama and her singing sons were nowhere to be seen. The jail is now the Oregon Film Museum and is stuffed full of character cutouts, costumes and Baby Ruth bars. We fanned the flames of nostalgia and fled. Straight into a booby trap.
A bag of french fries meant we’d attracted our own bad guys. Seagulls. The squawking scallywags trying to pilfer our potatoey gold as we sped along the waterfront. With a quick chuck of a chip to the left, we slipped right, into the town’s bowling alley. A man, channelling the 80s through his moustache, greeted us. “Hey guys, need a lane?” “Um, could we just look out the window?” I replied. The locals know the story. He pointed to the most famous pane of glass in Astoria. It was here Chunk splatted milkshake across the window whilst watching a police chase. With suspicious seagull eyes upon me, i recreated the moment, but ended up looking more Neighbourhood Watch than movie star to watch out for.
Goonies never say die. But neither do seagulls. They chased us all the way down the Pacific Coast Highway to the craggy Oregon shore. As the beaky baddies circled above, our quest looked doomed. Until we recalled Mikey’s impassioned speech, which captured our plight perfectly, “It's their time. Their time. Up there. Down here, it's our time. It's our time down here.” Yeah seagulls, it’s our time down here. And so, swerving along rocky roads we entered Ecola State Park and lost them.
1632 was the date marked on the Goonies map. But it was more like quarter past five when we walked onto the grassy knoll where One-Eyed Willy’s hideaway once stood. Peering across the chilly fog and spruce of Cannon Beach, we had the shivers and the timbers as we held up our map, just as the pint-sized adventurers had. We’d found gold. With our treasure trail at its finale, it wasn’t a pirate ship that came into view, but two sealions. It seemed only fitting to greet their entrance like a Goonie, “Hey you guys”.
GETTING THERE: Fly to Portland with Icelandair, from Heathrow, from £672 return. Visit www.icelandair.co.uk. Astoria is two hours west of Portland. Car hire from £33 per day, see www.hertz.com
STAYING THERE: The Riverwalk Inn on the site of where Spielberg and the cast stayed during filming has bay view rooms from £50 per night. Visit www.riverwalkastoria.com
OUT & ABOUT: For all things Goonie, including 30th anniversary festivites, see www.thegoondocks.org