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Monday September 24th 2018

Avalon | 1990

Avalon filming location: Hollins Street, Baltimore
Avalon location: Kirk and Kaye’s television store: Hollins Street, Baltimore

Barry Levinson, in glowingly nostalgic mode, charts the fortunes of an immigrant family over several generations. Filmed in his hometown of Baltimore (though the titular district of ‘Avalon’ is fictional), there are numerous cross-references to Levinson’s other films.

Avalon filming location: Cliftmont Avenue, Baltimore
Avalon location: the terraced house of the Kaye family: Cliftmont Avenue, Baltimore

The terraced house that Jules and Ann Kaye (Aidan Quinn and Elizabeth Perkins) leave for ‘the suburbs’ is 3107 Cliftmont Avenue off Erdman Avenue, west of Cliftmont Park – the same house into which Danny De Vito and Barbara Hershey move in Levinson’s Tin Men.

The house they move to is Levinson’s real-life childhood home in Forest Park, west of the city centre, also seen in Tin Men. And young Michael Kaye (Elijah Wood) sees the diner from Levinson’s film Diner being lowered onto a vacant lot (the diner itself currently stands at 400 East Saratoga Street at Holliday Street, downtown).

The Forties street scenes were filmed on Appleton Street, running south from North Avenue, south of Druid Hill Park in northwest Baltimore.

‘Kirk and Kaye’s’ television store is actually a bookstore – the 19th Century Bookshop, 1047 Hollins Street at Union Square.

The discount warehouse to which the business moves, and which subsequently burns down, is at Fells Point on the north west branch of the Patapsco River.

When the summer gets too stifling, the family sleeps out by Druid Lake in Druid Hill Park, and just south of the park, at the corner of Mason Street and Linden Avenue stands the house where the family circle meetings are held.

Avalon filming location: Senator Theatre, York Road, Baltimore
Avalon location: The rundown cinema, where Michael watches King of the Rocket Men: Senator Theatre, York Road, Baltimore

The rundown cinema, where Michael watches King of the Rocket Men, and where the streetcar ploughs into Ann’s car, is the Senator Theatre, 5904 York Road, way north of the city centre toward Anneslie at Belvedere Avenue. And the good news is – it’s no longer rundown but an 800-seat, big-screen, art deco gem, a mini-Grauman’s with signatures of local luminaries including John Waters and Ed Norton.

In fact, you can see the Senator on-screen in John WatersCecil B DeMented as well as Terry Gilliam’s 12 Monkeys.