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Curious Moments Oregon Coast Showed Up in TV, Sort Of

Published 07/27/21 at 4:55 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Curious Moments Oregon Coast Showed Up in TV, Sort Of

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(Oregon Coast) – Periodically, Oregon coast beach towns get used as actual locales for filming. Sometimes, however, the coast pops up as being mentioned or a town featured in TV or movies – but it's not actually a real town on these shores. Oregon's coastline appears in some unexpected and rather amusing ways, more often in sci-fi or horror. (Above: a dark and stormy Arch Cape)

The X-Files was especially known for naming Oregon towns in episodes that were not actual towns, just fictional ones. Then, all the action that took place in that town was in reality filmed in British Columbia, so it didn't look far off. Supernatural was another show that often featured a fictional Beaver State burgh, but sometimes named real ones, like Portland or Grants Pass, for example.

Taking a look at the examples of how the coastline sort of appeared is a fun and sometimes funny ride through Hollywood's imagination.

The X-Files started things off in an Oregon forest, which could've been more inland – or it could've been on the coastline. Either way, the setting for the pilot episode of X-Files was the fictional Collum National Forest. Being filmed in British Columbia, it easily looked like a coast range forest in the Beaver state.

Stargate SG1 ran for ten glorious years, and Oregon's coastline was written into it about one and a half times.

Foremost this happened in season six, episode five: “Dreamwalkers” takes place in the fictional Steveston, Oregon – clearly a coastal town. This is one of those in the Stargate arcs where the character of Dr. Daniel Jackson was briefly replaced by a man named Jonas - from another planet.

Charleston, courtesy Oregon's Adventure Coast

It's all filmed in British, Columbia, of course, so it does manage to look a bit like an Oregon bay. The town used for location looks a tad like Florence or maybe Winchester Bay or Charleston. The boat docks give it a south coast vibe, but the buildings have a spryly-painted look that evokes Florence.

That epside was the only one with full usage of Oregon as a perceived location, but another tacit nod to the state is more like a half mention. In season two, the SG1 heroes arrive on a planet populated by the Salish people – or rather, descendants of the Salish first people who lived around the Pacific Northwest and Montana. This coastline gets slightly referred to when Jackson explains they lived along the "coastline of the Pacific Northwest."

The indigenous Salish made quite a mark on the Oregon coast and in Washington state. The Salishan Spit in Lincoln City is named after the people.


Above Manzanita - in, gulp, fog

The Fog. In 2005, the Oregon coast was mentioned as the location of the story in that year's remake of the classic horror film The Fog. Somewhere in the film (or at least in the descriptions about the film), it's said the island where all the action happens is just off the north Oregon coast.

No shots of Neahkahnie Mountain or Manzanita were in the movie, as it was filmed entirely in Vancouver, British Columbia. Still, there's a kind of nod to Manzanita and that is ironic, considering the rumors here of buried treasure and legendary shipwrecks (which is center to The Fog).

At the time, some Manzanita locals joked about certain scenes in the movie, saying some characters were actually reminiscent of residents they knew. The bar scene in The Fog also drew considerable laughter that year, as it had a similarly woody interior to Manzanita's San Dune Pub.

LOST. Oregon's coast is actually never mentioned in LOST, but Portland shows up twice in some key ways, and this in turn gives reason to look to the beaches.

The wildly engaging and enigmatic show was filmed entirely in Hawaii. But Portland pops up late in the series as near where Benjamin Linus was born – the shifty character who led the “others.” He is born by the side of the road in an emergency situation, sheltered by bushes, and his mother dies immediately after birth. Subtitles in that scene indicate it's “near Portland, Oregon,” and it does look a bit like the I-5 corridor.

More importantly, LOST shows the back story of “other” doctor Juliet as she's recruited by the mysterious Richard Alpert and asked to meet in a sleek office in Portland, Oregon, in an even more mysterious firm that never really gets named. It's from there she's spirited away by submarine to the island.


Cape Sebastian, courtesy Oregon State Parks

Which begs the question: where did the submarine depart from? Maybe Newport's Yaquina Bay? Astoria? Unfortunately, we'll never know. But considering the island was a kind of moving time-space bubble in the end, it's at least a little fun to imagine it's drifting around the west coast, and maybe not far from Oregon at times.

Interestingly enough, the top of Cape Sebastian on the south coast does somewhat resemble the scenery in LOST.

Surface. The short-lived sci-fi series on NBC dropped the location of Seaside late in its only season. The January 2, 2006 episode of Surface had a subtitle at the bottom of the screen proclaiming the location of one scene to be Seaside, Oregon.

The scene involved two of the main characters getting rescued off the Oregon coast and being hospitalized in Seaside. It was rather amusing to pay attention to the details, such as the phone booth used to call for help, which was across the street from a gas station. It did indeed slightly resemble the southern part of Seaside on Highway 101 with the two gas stations across the street from each other.

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