On June 28, 2011 a couple things happened in my life.
One was less than interesting, as it was my birthday. Which I really am indifferent to, and frankly want to ignore...especially since I woke up with a slight scratchy feeling in my throat that day, and its since progressed into some type of cold/fever... which I am currently pushing thru to get this blog done.
On the bright side. I also uncovered the official location of the Dead Like Me restaraunt "Der Waffle Haus".
Yeah I know, lots of fans had the impression it was all in studio...and for episodes 2 thru the duration of its run, it was. A soundstage that MGM ran. But for the pilot episode, it was a different place. An on location place.
When I originally realized this, several years ago (not when it first came on air... I joined in after its 2 season run was already done) I picked up on some details immediately. 1- There was a KFC across the street. 2- Trolley buses go by there...something that most of Vancouver & its outskirts DONT have. Theres probably a dozen or so trolley bus routes in Vancouver. 3- It was on a major street. Something that was at least 2 lanes across each direction.
For a couple years, I had given up finding it. I had googled all the KFCs in Vancouver and none of them seemed to stand out as a possible match. Yesterday, I was again drawn into this mystery by a simple notification from facebook telling me the Dead Like Me page on there had been updated. Like several others I was drawn in to talking about the show again in the various posts on the board.
A post about where Georgia got torpedoed by the toilet seat drew me in. I responded to tell those in the thread where that spot was...then follow up posts had people asking about the location of Der Waffle haus. As usual, the simple answer that it was a studio location was brought up, once again, I knew that was infact false for the pilot.
I was determined, like I have been several times prior....to prove the Der Waffle Haus was an On Location spot somewhere. I re-watched the pilot, especially the parts where they were in the DWH. The night scene verified my old assumptions of there being a KFC close & a trolley bus going by. It was however, when I watched the daytime scene where they had "banana bonanzas all around" I clued in.... I'VE BEEN THERE! In fact, I for awhile, was a semi-regular there. How I didnt notice a hotel in the background on the day shoot in my previous attempts I dunno. The original KFC that was tip 1 back then has long since been closed & re-opened as a Starbucks. I was 99.9% sure this was the locale....now only to prove it.
I hopped on the bus (a trolley bus funny enough) & took the 10-12 min bus ride thru East Vancouver to my destination. As soon as I got off the bus, I knew it....now, to get some photo proof. I walked inside, and sat down. My lack of immediate material to guide me made me sit 1 booth off from where I assumed If only I had the common sense to watch a clip on youtube on the blackberry I had in my pocket before sitting down.
The booths still had the blue seats you see in the pilot. Where the daytime scene is done is almost right inside the door. In the pilot it was behind a wall...which till a couple yrs ago, actually used to still be there...but has since then been taken down. There was 2 sets of booths, I picked the wrong set lol. As I perused a menu I was already familiar with, I asked the waitress if anyone had been working here over 7 yrs, she said she had. I asked her if they filmed anything in here back then, she said "we've had several things done here". My 1st hope for solid confirmation was dashed. I proceeded in photographing different angles & things, like the Starbucks, the hotel across the street, a trolley bus going by & of course, 1 of the booths...which I thought at the time was THEIR booth for the daytime scene...but as it turns out, was not, but shows a part of it to the side where Roxy & Georgia would have sat.
I walked around mostly empty restaraunt after my meal looking for where the night scene was shot...as it turns out, I wasnt even close. Like the daytime shoot, I missed the night time shoot table by 1 table. I will likely go back when I am feeling better & get shots of the proper locations....but for now, the mystery thats befuddled an entire fanbase for years, where is "Der Waffle Haus" has been found.
I welcome you to the diner "Tom & Jerry's" at the corner of Hastings St & Kaslo St in Vancouver... just 1 block west of the entrance for the PNE.
I used to eat here a fair bit when the prices were cheap. For quite awhile, its had the same name...certainly been T&Js since before DLM shot there. Its changed gimmicks several times over the years, not that long ago, it was an "everything on the menu under $10" place, and for its price...was adequate. Then, they started pushing the prices up. Now the menu has gone up anywhere from 20-70% on some items, but the quality hasnt matched the raise in price.
For nostalgia. Sure, go there just to say you have been. The staff is friendly enough. The food just isnt up to the average price of $15 that it now has. Sadly, they dont have a banana bonanza on the menu....maybe if enough people go in & order it, it will exist.
I spent a LOT of hours digging this info up over the years. Its sad that it actually was a place I have frequeneted probably 50+ times over the years since then. I used to do occasional google searches to see if someone else had a clue, and no one ever got it...yet everyone asked about it. It was my own personal birthday gift to myself....and hopefully, some of you die hard fans will enjoy it too.
Last but not least yesterday, was the return of a notable chunk of this seasons Smallville cast.
First up was Erica Durance. The day before I met her leaving & she gave off the impression of "I would rather not" when asked for autographs, but begrudgingly did them. Her return cemented my opinion that she isnt overly fan friendly. When she was first asked coming thru the doors she actually said "no" & when she finally did stop 200 ft later, she seemed aggitated by it all. But, with a couple 100 onlookers hanging around waiting for friends & family to come off of flights, she again, begrudgingly put on the appearance of "happy to do it". I have had MANY sour encounters with Smallville cast members in the past. So her reaction made me wonder if its something they pick up from the king of sour "oh my life is dreadful" attitude, Tom Welling, or have they truly managed to hire so many unpersonable people? Tom, Kristen Kreuk, Alison Mack & Erica all seem to carry this attitude where they seem to think they are that much better than everyone else. They are the single reason I refuse to watch the show....which is sad, because the concept interests me.
Luckily for the show, there is some positive energy around.
Next up was Cassidy Freeman. She came in with Justin Hartley, and the majority of people went towards him. While they did that, I went up to cassidy with 1 of the other hounds, and she was happy to stop & sign a couple of autographs each before going on her way, practically un-noticed. This was my 2nd time meting her, and both times she was pleasant...so I guess it just proves that its not something in the water in the coolers on the set that gives the others their sour personalities.
Justin Hartley got the mob treatment. Everyone, which by this point was going on close to 10 hounds & fans were around him & he obliged all requests graciously & truly seemed happy with the attention. His reaction to the glut of autograph & photo requests was a breath of fresh air. He truly still enjoys being recognized. I hope he stays that way in the future & doesnt catch any Tom-itis.
Finally, my day ended with the 1 person I was most excited to see. Callum Blue. Smallville has brought him in to play General Zod on the show...but that means little to me since I refuse to watch the show. He is still Mason from "Dead Like Me" to me. Which was evidently apparent to him by the fact I had 6 or 7 different photos of him from the show. He cracked a couple jokes about how his autograph might actually be worth something now that he is on Smallville, which I replied to "I cant stand the show...I still wish you were doing Dead Like Me", which got an excited "me too" from him. He was asked by others why he thought the show died prematurely, he answered that he didnt know, but found it odd that it seems to always be Bryan Fuller shows. He had a laugh or two at some of the DLM photos myself & my friend had of him, the last one being from a scene where hes getting a full body search by airport security because they think hes carrying drugs. He said "is that the episode where I had illegals in my bottom" & I replied "yeah" which he laughed to, and I said as he was starting to walk away, "no problems like that today?", which he responded "nope, got away with it this time". As he walked towards the rest of the hounds that were outside, he gladly signed & took pics for them as well. While he was leaving I asked him if there was any talk of a 2nd DLM movie possibly. He siad there is, and was hopefull.....and ended the conversation with "and hopefully a return of the series"...which I certainly would be thrilled to see.
Annnnd thats a wrap on comic-con returnees for me. Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Tom Welling & a couple others had later flights that I wasnt sticking around for due to my utter exhaustion. All in all, I had a productive day. 26 autographs in total.
Yesterday wasnt my first time meeting Callum. I had met him multiple times in Toronto at the Film Fest a couple years ago for his film "Young People Fucking". So I had some idea what to expect from him. He didnt disappoint.
Just like when I met him before, he was friendly, personable & exciting at any reference to "Dead Like Me" the TV show he was on for 2 years that was abruptly ended by incompetent upper management types at Showtime/MGM. When i met him two yrs ago I was getting DVDs signed by him from DLM & he was excited about it & couldnt help but gush about how they were making a DLM movie...which I replied back with just as much gushing "I know...I almost considered going to Montreal to see you guys", which brought an even bigger smile across his face.
Since then, they have re-released the series as a box set & come out with the movie he couldnt help but tell me about. So that is what I brought with me today when I went to get him at the airport as he left to go to Comic-Con to promote the shw he is now on (grumbling in dissatisfaction) Smallville. I didnt see him right away because I was busy following someone else & was unaware he had come in & was already signing for the other hounds there. When I turned around I instantly saw whow as there & he was just finishing. I immediately went into my bag & pulled out the DVD & cover.. Again, like times before, his eyes light up & he was like "oh boy, Dead Like Me" again, same excitement that he had when bragging about the movie 2 yrs earlier.
It gave me the impression he really must have loved doing this show. Most actors/actresses show little to no reaction when someone approaches them with materials from their most famous role, but he has been the exact opposite.
I wanted to ask him a couple questions & in theory it turns out I would have had time to...but he looked like he was in a rush, so I let him go to get his flight.
While he was lined up, I grabbed a couple pics of him just hanging around.