A Great Technology Notion
Published: April 24, 2012
Author: Todd Mintz
“Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Henry Fonda, Lee Remick, and the entire cast and crew of ‘Sometimes A Great Notion,’ the movie made from author Ken Kesey’s novel, became friends of Mo’s while filming in Newport. Mo, herself, was in a scene which took place in the Bay Haven Inn, renamed The Snag in the film.” – from the Mo’s Chowder Website
In the middle of the night prior to my first sick day as a PPC Associates employee, I watched the film “Sometimes A Great Notion.” Now, for those who don’t know, the novel from which the film was based was written by Ken Kesey, the quintessential Oregon writer (who also wrote One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest), and like “Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Notion” was also filmed entirely in Oregon. While “Cuckoo’s Nest” mainly was filmed indoors (apart from a scene that clearly showed Newport’s famous bridge), “Notion” had a lot of outdoor shots, and since I hadn’t seen the movie in 20-25 years, I was curious to know whether I’d immediately recognize any spots where the movie was filmed.
Sure enough, a little more than an hour into the movie, I recognized a brief glimpse of Mo’s Clam Chowder Restaurant. Mo’s has several restaurants up and down the Oregon Coast, and my family has eaten frequently at the Lincoln City location. However, that little glimpse of the restaurant that I captured above didn’t seem that familiar to me (even allowing for the fact that the picture above was taken in 1970), so I doubted it was the Lincoln City restaurant. Fortunately, I had Google Street View to rely upon, and in the midst of my illness, I went in search of which Mo’s restaurant appeared in the shot.
This is Mo’s in Lincoln City. It’s definitely not the same restaurant that’s in the movie because it’s isolated and not surrounded by other businesses. So, I went to check out Mo’s Newport location (which I’d driven by but never had eaten at).
Clearly Mo’s Newport was the location where Paul Newman was driving his truck. The awning is still the same, and the shape of the adjoining building is also the same.
I assume that most people use Google’s Street View either for getting directions, getting a flavor for a neighborhood, or getting “background” on a person or business. However, the ethnographic utility for Google’s Street View is pretty mind-blowing. Plenty of movies & newsreels contain recognizable, traceable outdoor footage, and any savvy film viewer can easily compare and contrast film footage with the Street View pictures to see how an area has changed over time. The area where Mo’s is located is considered the “Historic Bayfront District” in Newport…however, back when Paul Newman and Lee Remick were filming their movie, Bay Blvd. was probably Newport’s main commercial/entertainment strip for travelers wanting to get off Hwy 101 and for locals to hang out.
And of course, it also helps to have corroborating evidence :.)
– Todd Mintz, Senior SEM Manager