Panthers on the Eastside?

Panther (1995)

In remembrance of the passing of Geronimo Pratt this past week, I’m posting this clip of the 1995 movie Panther by Mario Van Peebles. Most of the film was shot in locations around Lincoln Heights. How many places can you name/spot?

8 thoughts on “Panthers on the Eastside?

  1. Awesome! Though I’m not done viewing the whole scene… I got up to the Lincoln Heights Jail and I got all excited to post that spot 🙂

  2. Nice post Chimatli, the East and North East areas of Los Angeles have been in lots of movies, and why not, it’s maybe the most interesting and historical part of LA.
    And here’s a bit of information that I bet most people are unaware of. One of the most important and public members of the Black Panther Party, Eldrige Cleaver lived and grew up for a number of years on the Eastside. Cleaver lived and went to school as a kid in the Rose Hills Housing Projects and writes about his experience in a short story when he and some Chicano kids from the neighborhood burn down an elementary school. I believe this period of his life is also mentioned in his great groundbreaking book “Soul On Ice”.

  3. DQ, thanks for the info on Eldridge Cleaver and for the book recommendation. 🙂
    Another Black Panther associate (who later left due to ideological differences), James Carr spent his childhood in Aliso Village and also burned down his school (Malabar)! His autobiography, Bad is among my favorite books.

  4. Well, I’m finding ironic humor reading of the common thread of the Black Panther associates who actually lived there, in shot spurts, burning schools down in my home barrios. It’s always good to see the streets of my childhood on the big screen. I don’t appreciated that there wasn’t one Xicana/o in the streets in this film. I’m not clear why they don’t film the actual the neighborhoods where the B.P. lived and gathered in mass. Odd.

  5. Must have been filming costs, Yolanda. LH is right down the street from the big studios.

  6. Ah man, that took me back. Funny story – my cousin and I were loitering around one day in 1990-something, as kids usually do after school; and while walking passed the Lincoln Heights Library (closed at the time/1990’s), we noticed a trailer parked on that same street. As we walked passed the trailer’s door we literally bumped into Mario Van Peebles and a smoking hot, tall blond woman that was with him.

    I recognized Peebles immediately from some of his action movies and was genuinely starstruck. He was polite, he smiled and shook both of our hands and excused himself by saying he needed to attend to his “friend.” We then ran home right after and told some other kids the story.

    The following day we both returned to see what other celebrity we might run into and to our surprise we walked right into the filming of the scene where a white man runs over a black child on a bicycle with his car and starts a small riot.

    Nowadays you can see the whole process of movie-making on Youtube, we had nothing of the kind back then – so to walk on to a hot set in the middle of an SFX scene and watching how the director created what later became a very disturbing scene in the movie, was almost magical for a nerdy kid like me.

    During the effects shots where the struck kid was replaced by a stuntman, and then by a very bloody (and realistic dummy), Mr. Peebles let us come up-close to see the make-believe gore from inches away durig takes.

    In the upcoming weeks after the above events, we saw LHTS streets get converted into scenes from the late 60’s and a lot more trailers hanging out in the area.

    If you do some more digging into LHTS, you’ll find that movies like Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! filmed for a week in Lincoln High School. On any given day you could see a very thin Mr. Burton walking around the halls fully covered in black goth-like clothing and a long purple trenchcoat.

    Some friends say they saw Jack Nicholson filming some scenes in a condemned classroom in the back of the school, probably true since at the time we thought that the premise of the movie was a silly one made up to throw us of the scent and stop being nosey.

    In any case, thanks for the trip down memory lane.


    An ol’ vato from the neighborhood.

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