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In appreciation and recognition of Seattle's long and illustrious film history, we are proud to partner with Scarecrow Video to bring you weekly reviews of historical Seattle films. Each week we will showcase a new movie, with special emphasis on how these films show Seattle's most filmable locations.

Harry and the Hendersons (1987)
John Lithgow stars as the patriarch of a Seattle family who ends up adopting a Sasquatch. Lithgow plays George Henderson, a hunter/outdoor enthusiast who runs a C.C. Filson type store with his father. The scenes at the Henderson and Son sporting goods store may have even been filmed at the old Filson store but I am not sure. While out on a camping/rabbit hunting trip in the North Cascades, the Hendersons accidentally sideswipe a big hairy critter running along the side of the road. Thinking they'd killed this mysterious beast they strap the body to the roof of their car and take it back to the city. Along the ride Harry, as he comes to be known, suddenly regains consciousness and ends up joining the family at their Wallingford home. At one point in the film they show the Hendersons' address with a zip code of 98121, which would be in Belltown. Jeesh, Hollywood really blew it this time! As you could predict, having an 8-foot shaggy mythological creature in your house leads to some problems. Throw in an obsessive hunter (played by David Suchet-Hercule Poirot himself!) and an AWOL Bigfoot and you've got the ingredients for a wacky chase around town with the intent of returning Harry to his home in the wooded mountains. There is a lot of beautiful Western Washington forest footage in Harry and the Hendersons and scenes were shot around Index, North Bend, Lake Kachess and Snoqualmie Pass. Seattle locations aren't overlooked either, especially once Bigfoot is on his own and running around town. Surprisingly he does not make a stop at the Pike Place Market but both the Space Needle and the Monorail are prominently seen in the background of several scenes. Adding to the authenticity are former KOMO TV news anchors Dana Middleton and Richard Foley who play themselves. The film's finale involves a car chase on I-5 that results in a traffic jam on the express lanes by the Lake City Way freeway exit but, for the film, the exit sign is changed to say Mount Rainier. If you are ever headed over the mountains on Highway 2 be sure to stop at Chalet Espresso near Index where they have one of the Harry suits exhibited. Harry and the Hendersons was a moderate box office hit that led to a TV series. Even though the sitcom was set in Seattle none of it was shot here in the City.
--Spencer Hoyt

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