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Monk Set Visit II Title

Here's What Happened
At the end of my lengthy, but very informative phone interview with Monk writer/director David Breckman this

past September, David said they'd be delighted if I dropped by the Monk set the next time I was in the L.A. area. It was a casual invitation, because apparently when you work on a television show almost every day for a few years the glitter starts to wear off. It might not occur to you that the invitee, namely me, would consider it an unparalleled pleasure.

It took me all of four milliseconds to decide that I'd take David up on the offer, casual or not, and arrange that my "next time in L.A." coincided with the Monk shooting schedule. I didn't want to drool on the phone or seem too "fangirl" and jump all over the offer there and then, so I waited a few days before dropping him an email to test the waters. He hadn't forgotten the offer.

It was at about this point that I brought fellow Bay Area chick/message board poster Kim (Fan4sure) Densberger in on the deal. I felt slightly remorseful that Kim had waited around Washington Square Park all day on a tip from me that Monk would be shooting there back in November 2005. It seems they shot "Mr. Monk and the Big Reward" everywhere in the neighborhood except the park and she saw no filming at all. It was a scary trip over the bay bridge for nothing. (On the other hand, it was a beautiful day and Kim got to meet some um... interesting people.)

Skip right to the Set Visit part

She also wasn't small enough to fit in my pocket for the first set visit in June. So I figured she was past due for some Monk magic and I was happy to provide a little. "You really are my Monk Fairy Godmother!" she declared. (Flattering, but I know I'm not qualified for the Godmother title and I'm not so sure about the fairy part either.)

After coordinating with Kim, I emailed David again and proposed the first couple of weeks in November with as much fake nonchalance as I could muster and he responded with enthusiasm:

SP Teresa
Teresa, Monk Fairy Godmother Princess

David Breckman (Dramatic Recreation)
"As it happens, I am slated to be directing a Monk episode (my first!) in only a few weeks time. MR. MONK AND THE THREE JULIES will be the last show to be filmed this year (not the last to be broadcast , mind you, but the last to be filmed), and I will be doing it the first couple weeks in November! In other words, the timing with your planned visit to Los Angeles just couldn't be better, and if you can still manage it, we'd be thrilled to have you stop by the set and hang out when you're in town."

It took us a little while, but eventually we settled on a specific date, Friday November 9th. We counted down the hours to our departure, while dithering about travel arrangements and what to wear. Kim and I PMed furiously during the last week before the visit. The messages were vaioursly entitled:

"Yes, I'm Excited!!"

"Now I'm REALLY Excited!!"

"Four More Days" (How cool to have a picture of us sitting at Natalie’s kitchen table or on Monk’s couch. I wonder if he would make us cover it with plastic first?— Kim's prophetic remark a few days before we left. )

"Three More Days"

"Are you Ready?"

"I am So Not Ready"

"So what are you going to wear?" (This was a question to which Kim eventually did find an answer: "My daughter is my wardrobe consultant and is picking out my clothes for me since I can't seem to do it. If I am dressed like a 10 year old when you see me, you'll know why.")

SP Kim
Kim, Monk Fashion Maven

And so forth... until the big day (November 9th) arrived... make that the day before the big day (November 8th). So here's the story. (Kim's comments are in blue.)


"Now remember, don't quote me on that goofy statement I made on the set or any other goofy statements I made. Actually, most of my statements were goofy that day. I was under the influence of... of... well, of the power of Monk. Almost like an out of body experience.

"Here's the long and the short of it... actually, mostly the long...."

For the record I don't remember any goofy statements on Kim's part, but that may just mean we don't have the same definition of goofy. Still, I don't know how it can get much goofier than me bringing along my Monk Bobblehead and taking pictures of him where ever we went. Goofy, but fun. That's my motto.

Bobblehead at Borders
Monk Bobblehead at Borders SF

"We left bright and early on November 8th. Actually, it wasn’t bright at all. It was dark. 5:00 a.m. dark. Teresa flew out of San Francisco and I flew out of Oakland. "We arrived in Los Angeles within 5 minutes of one another and had three full days in Hollywood."

Kim and Teresa at LAX

Thursday, November 8th 2007

I'm always nervous before a trip and I was up until after one o'clock that morning, cleaning, packing and printing out maps. I got a couple hours sleep before the 4:00am alarm and then the 5:00am airport shuttle. The airport was dark and almost deserted. Too dark to take any real Bobblehead pictures, but here's what it might have looked like:

Bobble head at the Airport 1  Bobblehead at the airport 2

Even though I wasn't certain if the plane had been disinfected, I slept all the way to LAX. For all I know Monk Bobblehead counted the clouds, spilled wine and solved a murder. And I'm pretty sure he got my peanuts.

Bobblehead with Peanuts

We picked up a rental car at the airport and made an amazing discovery: they now have Bobblehead car seats installed in all the vehicles.... I hear they can also be used as cup holders.

Bobblehead at Dollar Bobblehead car seat

We only got a little lost leaving the airport. I think I was somewhat disoriented by the lack of L.A. sunshine. It was like I'd never left San Francisco. We made it to our hotel, The Ramada Hollywood Hotel, by 10:00am. Check in time wasn't until three, but they liked us enough to let us check in early. I was expecting something just a cut above the Econolodge Spinner and I stayed at a few blocks from Paramount on our set visit in June. Except for the eggs (more on these later) the Ramada far exceeded my expectations.

Bobblehead Hotel 1
Monk Bobblehead arrives ar The Ramada
Bobblehead Hotel 2
Monk Bobblehead waits to check in.

Once we'd settled in the first thing I did was call our soon-to-be host, David Breckman. We firmed up the time for the next day: 11:00am. 24 more hours to go. We dropped in at a local diner for a bite to eat after passing up a really confusing Chinese restaurant. (I live in San Francisco's Chinatown, but this place had me flummoxed: no menus, no prices, no service.) I already had the day's adventure planned, but first we had to make a drugstore stop.

"Shortly after arriving, I noticed my eye had exploded – or at least that’s what it looked like to me. Although I didn’t take a “red eye” flight, I had one. I think the altitude from the flight may have burst a blood vessel. Oh, lovely. I looked something like Mr. Monk did in "Can’t See A Thing". But at least I could... see a thing, that is. I tried to not let it spoil my trip.

"Two bottles of Visine later, I still had a red eye. And to make matters worse, I really couldn’t wear my sunglasses because there was NO sun. LA was foggier than San Francisco. The only solution was to style my hair a bit like 'Cousin It' from The Addam’s Family, masking my eye somewhat. Sounds cute, right?"

The hair was cute. Kim did, briefly, consider an eye patch, but we hadn't brought pirate themed clothing or our pirate dictionary or any rum so that option was dropped. (Thanks, Kim. This story needed a little drama.)

Along with the Visine we picked up a map and some caffeine and headed out to beautiful Pasadena, home of the Rosebowl, the Rose Parade, hot-rodding little old ladies and Supreme Drive-In-Dairies.

SP Kim Red Eye

"Other than the set visit, we spent our time eating, shopping, and sight-seeing at the usual tourist spots . . . and some just a little off the beaten path. In other words, Monk filming locations.

One of my official jobs on the trip was “navigator.” I got off to a bumpy start when I got us lost in the heart of downtown LA.

"It’s amazing what missing one little turn-off can do! But then again, we wouldn’t have driven through the little known, often overlooked, “Historic Filipinotown" if I hadn’t messed up. Actually, I think we drove through it twice. My bad."

Kim's just being kind: I'm the one who missed the turn off. In fact I think I missed quite a few of them. I was also pretty confused by Historic Filipinotown. I've been lost in L.A. lots of time (maybe that's something I should have told Kim before the trip) and I'd never run into it. Seems that although it's "historic" it wasn't officially established until 2002.


I always say there's no better way to learn a city than by getting lost.

"Finally back on course, we visited the mini market known as “Vinton Street Market” which was featured in Buried Treasure. The proprietors surely thought we were crazy as we pulled out the Monk Bobblehead to take his picture in front of the market. We explained that a TV show was filmed there and we were fans of the show. I told them we had flown hundreds of miles just to visit the location. I hope they realized I was joking.

"We assured them we would buy something as a gesture of gratitude for accommodating us. I’m sure we were the topic of conversation during their evening meal."

Besides the actual set visit, by far the best part of the trip was the look on the faces of the store owners as they stuggled to understand the purpose of our visit... without success.

The name of the store isn't "Vinton Street Market" of course. San Francisco doesn't have a Vinton Street (no matter how many times they work it into a Monk script.) I don't think Pasadena does either. The store is actually called the Supreme Drive-In-Dairies. Not that there was any sign to indicate that fact. I had to look it up. I got the address from this blog which has some pretty nifty pictures of the scene from "Buried Treasure" in which the store was featured. If you're in Pasadena and you want to drop by, the address is 1750 E Washington Blvd. Tell them Kim and I sent you. That will really confuse them. Don't forget to bring your Bobblehead.

Buried Treasure 1
Vinton Street Market scene from "Buried Treasure"
Buried Trasure Location
Long shot of the "Vinton Street Market"
Buried Treasure 2
Another Vinton Street Market scene from "Buried Treasure"
Pasadena 1
Pasadena 2
Pasadena 3

We made our way back to our Hollywood hotel and managed not to get lost... mostly.

After resting and freshening up a bit from our first adventure we headed into the heart of Hollywood to dine at the now traditional Monk hot spot Miceli's, the restaurant featured in "Mr. Monk and the Godfather." On the way there we made a fortuitous discovery.

"While cruising down Sunset Blvd., we passed a grocery store and I excitedly exclaimed, “Hey, I think that’s the market they used in Mr. Monk Makes a Friend... Maybe.” We took pictures with the bobblehead just in case. Upon returning home, I watched the episode and I was right. That clinches it... I do watch the episodes waaaay too many times."

There's no such thing as too much Monk.

Actually it was a already a little too dark for bobblehead pictures at that point, so we went back on Saturday morning to get them. It was too dark at Miceli's as well, but we took a few pictures nonetheless.

Miceli's Sign
Bobblehead at Miceli's
Kim at Miceli's

Travelogue Small
"Our first evening, we dined at Miceli’s where the Godfather episode was filmed. It was a charming and delicious experience. Then we went for a walk down Hollywood Blvd. I have to say it was a little scary. Hollywood has some real characters, both on the silver screen and roaming the streets. I had my English Policeman’s whistle close at hand just in case. I bet you didn’t know that, did you, Teresa?"

I didn't have a clue, Kim. There were a few rowdy people on the boulevard, right in front of McDonald's mostly, but I wasn't worried. I've been walking around in big scary cities for a long time now. If there had been any trouble I could have handled it. Nobody runs and hides as well as I do. I'd advise you not to blow the whistle, Kim. It just makes you easier to find.

Kim with Whistle
SP Director David

We picked up a little gift for David Breckman on Hollywood Boulevard. I was looking for one of those cheesy little "Best Director" fake Oscar statuettes, but turns out there's some sort of rule against selling them. Instead we picked up a lovely director's megaphone. I figured since it was his first time directing he probably didn't have one yet and it filled the cheesy bill pretty well.

We made it safely back to the car and our hotel and our beds for a good night's sleep.

Friday, November 9th 2007

"Our hotel had a nice continental breakfast which was included with our stay. We both had the same reaction when we served ourselves the “square eggs” from the buffet. Mr. Monk would surely approve. We took a picture of the eggs with the bobblehead. Unfortunately, Mr. Monk would not have approved of their taste. They looked like little square sponges and tasted like them, too.
"I think we got some strange looks from the other diners as we photographed the eggs, but what the heck; we were from out of town and would never see them again."

The. Worst. Eggs. Ever. I'm not a picky eater. I've always felt when I put something on my plate, and even more so in my mouth, that I've made a clear-cut commitment. The buffet eggs were so deceptively enticing, so beautifully... square. In reality they were tasteless, spongy (not in a good way) and ice cold. I had to break that commitment. I managed to swallow the first bite, but the rest was unceremoniously dumped. Nevertheless, we brought Monk Bobblehead in for a photo session the next morning.
Bobblehead Eggs 1
Bobblehead Eggs 3
Bobblehead Eggs 2

Kim No eggs
Kim, who wisely decided against eggs on Day 2

Normally, of course, I'd feel bad about taking food I knew we weren't going to eat just so Monk Bobblehead could get his picture taken, but in this case I figured we were doing the other diners a big favor.

On a positive note the sausage was delicious.


"All of our excursions served as a nice distraction until it was time for “the main event” . . . the set visit . . . which was scheduled for November 9th at 11 a.m. That morning, we received a call from our host, David Breckman, informing us that they had worked until midnight the day before, and therefore, would not be filming until 1 p.m.

"We had to wait another 2 hours before we could go. The wait was excruciating. Among other things, we watched the weather channel to see where the sun was shining since it wasn’t shining in LA.

It seems they have this rule, and I think it's a good one, that the cast and crew must have at least a 12 hour break from one day to the next. So if they knocked off at midnight they wouldn't have to be in until noon the next day. For us, however it was a tough lesson in the "hurry up and wait" culture of Hollywood.

"Finally, it was time to head to the studio, and as if I didn’t have PLENTY of time to get ready that morning, I made us 5 minutes late! As we drove to the studio, which was only a few minutes from our hotel, I thought about how exciting it was to think our names would be on “the list” at the guard gate. The first time Teresa visited, her name was not on “the list” when she arrived, but she did eventually make it through the entrance gates.

That I did and, as thrilling as it was thinking I might be kicked out at any moment, I liked being on the list much better.

Also on our way to the studio we passed a Sears on Santa Monica. Naturally we thought of this quote from "Mr. Monk and the Astronaut": Why don't we sit here and name really tall things. I'll go first. The Sears Tower. Oh wait wait wait. Mmm no. That's too tall. Just a regular Sears maybe. A regular Sears... department store. — Monk

So we had Monk Bobblehead hop up on the dashboard for a picture. Of course we had no time to stop and confront any phobias.


"Moments before arriving at Paramount Studios, we passed Raleigh Studios which has a glistening and modern facade. Then Paramount came into view on the opposite side of the street. Paramount is a monument to the golden age of Hollywood. Its architecture is California Spanish/Mission style and has a historic and stately appearance. Merely driving up to the impressive gates was exciting. They seem to allude to the grandeur on the other side which we would be visiting. And it was grand!"

I have to confess I was just a little disappointed we didn't see any writers out front striking, even though we were warned they might be there. Maybe they were on a lunck break. I'd planned on taking a picture of Monk Bobblehead on the picket line, but no such luck.
Writer's Strike
Here are the writers at a different gate on a different day (Dec. 13th).
Bobblehead on Strike

Go Union! — Sharona, "Mr. Monk and the Captain's Wife

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Travelogue Small

"We presented the Paramount gate attendant our IDs and he handed us our passes. Our names were indeed on “the list!” We parked the car, and with map in hand, we navigated our way to Stage 7 where Monk is filmed. I insisted on doing the “navigating” because, after all, it was my job. Weaving our way through the streets and alleys, we passed lots of people. For most of them, it was just another day at work. For me, it was better than Disneyland.

"We arrived at Stage 7 to find the red light flashing next to the door. A sign said 'Do Not Enter' when the light was flashing, so we didn’t. It stopped and people came in and out. We didn’t. Teresa called David to let him know we were there. People came in and out. We didn’t. The light flashed again and then stopped. People came in and out. We didn’t."

Golf Carts
We parked by the golf carts
Stage Seven
Waiting outside stage seven

Food Cart
The Monk food cart

Travelogue Small

"A woman drove up in a golf cart with a license plate that said “cruzin4ahusband.” She had a couple wigs in her hand and went inside when the light stopped flashing. I wondered what the wigs were for. “Maybe Randy will be wearing one,” I said.

"Suddenly, the HUGE sliding door next to the “regular” door opened slightly to reveal what was on the other side. I saw the directors’ chairs with the Monk logo on the back, the production monitors, and the crew hustling about.

"I think my heart skipped a beat when I heard someone say “Traylor” and I excitedly said to Teresa, “She’s here!” Turns out she wasn’t. Teresa later pointed out they were probably saying “trailer.” Dang!

"The big sliding door closed. People continued to go in and out the “regular” door. We didn’t. We weren’t sure if David was going to come out to get us or we should just go in, so we waited.

"Suddenly I had a horrible thought . . . we would stand out there all day waiting and never see anything. Been there, done that (at least for me)! No way this time. We decided the next time the light stopped flashing, we would go in behind everyone else. And we did. We slipped in the door and stood off to the side, trying to keep out of the way. As my eyes adjusted to the low light level, I noticed a huge room-length, room-high backdrop of the San Francisco skyline. Slightly rolled up above it was a Victorian neighborhood backdrop that I assumed was used outside the windows of Natalie’s house.

"I looked around trying to see if I recognized anyone. And I did. There was Tony Shalhoub. Mr. Monk. Adrian. This time I’m positive . . . my heart DID skip a beat.

"He was facing us, talking to a couple people, when suddenly he tilted his head to peer between them and looked our way. Then he smiled and waved. I immediately thought he was waving at someone behind us, but there was no one there. He WAS waving at us! I rudely did not wave back because I suddenly forgot how to wave.

I spotted David Breckman as soon as we walked in, Tony as soon as he came off the set and quite a few other familiar faces. I was just trying to blend in, watch quietly and not trip over anything. Just like Kim I thought he was waving at someone else... anyone else. Nope, nobody else there. Of course, Tony and I spent many hours together on my last visit so it's not really a surprise that he recognized me and waved at us, but in the moment I just couldn't get my head wrapped around the concept. <sigh>. Note for next time (if there is a next time): wave back at Tony.
Tony Waving
Tony waving
Travelogue Small

"He quickly finished his conversation and came over to greet us. “OMG, he’s coming our way,” I thought. He warmly welcomed Teresa back to the set and shook her hand."

Then he looked over to me.

Okay, this is going to sound really silly, but I had thought about how I would react the moment I met him.

I have never met someone famous, let alone someone famous that I admire. How would I react? Would I be speechless? Would I say something stupid? Would I faint? Would I trip? (Even though I was standing still, I figured I’d manage to find someway to trip). Now was the moment of truth.

Tony extended his hand to me and I shook it, introducing myself and thanking him (hopefully, not TOO many times) for having us there.

Meeting Tony wasn’t at all like I expected. I anticipated extreme nervousness and clumsiness on my part. But it was almost like meeting a dear old friend after a very long separation.

He is so genuinely friendly and welcoming. Later I would tell Teresa that I didn’t want to wash the hand that he shook until I absolutely had to. Tony has very nice hands BTW.

I know Tony hates it when people say, “You look so much better in person,” BUT he really does! I attribute it to the fact that as a movie/television star, most of us have only seen him in 2-D. Tony cannot be fully appreciated until you see him in 3-D!

Tony was called back to the set to film a scene. We continued to look for familiar faces and admired the set and props. I am particularly fascinated with the sets. They were putting the final touches on another set on the opposite side of the building.

I mentioned to Teresa that the building smelled just like Home Depot with all the lumber and building supplies in the room. Then I saw a box in the corner that was labeled just that. Now I know where they shop.

We spotted the director, David Breckman, our host. He was busy preparing for the next scene. He appeared to be in complete control and very comfortable in his role as director. Teresa had previously mentioned how handsome he was. She was right.

Jason Gray-Stanford walked by and onto the set. Suddenly, “Quiet on the set” was announced very loudly, the bells rang, and, I assume, that red light outside the door flashed.

I had no idea Kim possessed a superpower before our trip, but it's true. She has a "super sniffer"! Not only could she tell by smell alone that the Monk soundstage supplies came from Home Depot, she can also tell the difference between a Home Depot and a Lowes the same way. Amazing! I'm not sure if her skills extend beyond lumber and home improvement, but it was cool that she got to use her special talent while we were there.

Yes, David's a handsome guy. So is Jason... and so is Tony. In fact there's a lot of nice scenery on the Monk set that doesn't come from Home Depot.

David Breckman
Travelogue Small

Everyone stopped what they were doing . . . even chewing. I think I stopped breathing. There was complete silence. The actors played out the scene. Then the director said “Cut” and everyone went back to doing their thing. Carpenters hammered nails, people chewed . . . oh yeah, and I started breathing again.

Exciting stuff! It never got old. With each “Quiet on the set” I held my breath and relaxed when they finally said “Cut.”

I thought how terrible it would be to sneeze or cough or have your cell phone go off. “OMG!! I did turn my cell phone off, didn’t I?!” I thought to myself. Yeah, I did.

Tony had a free moment while the crew began to rearrange the set and he came over to us again. He asked us to follow him so he could show us the inside of the set. From where we had been standing, we could only see the back side - the framing of the walls. We now could see the inside – an apartment – nice enough to live in. Tony explained what the scene was about and what the crew was about to do with the set.

You know, if things don't work out for another season and Tony doesn't have any other attractive prospects, he would make an excellent tour guide. Despite the fact that he's the busy star and producer of a hit TV show, he was delighted to show us around.

It was at just about this time that I had my most embarrassing moment (of the day, not my lifetime). In my eagarness to keep up with Tony, I stepped on a large rubber mat that a crew member was dragging away and it slipped out of his grip as a result. I mumbled an apology and he glared at me. "This way," Tony was urging. I just had to shrug and move on, but I felt bad about getting in the way.

Travelogue Small

The crew was preparing to shoot from the opposite side of the apartment. They would be putting a wall on the open side we had just peeked into and removing a wall on the opposite side. I was fascinated. Home improvement is one of my hobbies but I’ve never moved walls around . . . at least not that easily.

Tony then took us to the set on the other side of the building. He had a little trouble finding it and the entrance. He should have asked me for help, after all, I am the “navigator.”

He led us into the set which was a bedroom. The attention to detail and meticulous craftsmanship was amazing. I am really fascinated by the sets. Did I already say that?

Tony explained a little about the set itself and the episode they were filming which was "Mr. Monk and the Three Julies." The following week they would be on location at a house in which they would do some more filming. He was then called back to the first set to do another scene. We happily followed him. Along the way, we stopped at the catering cart and he told us to help ourselves to something to eat or drink. I couldn’t eat a thing since I was so excited, but now I wish I took something as a souvenir.

Teresa and I went back to our previous positions, trying to stay out of the way of the busy crew. Shortly thereafter, Tony walked past us with a soda and something else in his hand which he placed on the back wall of the set before he entered to do his scene.

Again we heard “Quiet on the set,” and instantly, it was. Then “Action” and the actors began speaking.

Unexpectedly, there was a loud vibrating sound from a cell phone and everyone looked around for the culprit. It vibrated again loudly and Doug Nabors jumped up to grab it from the wall. It was Tony’s phone.

Doug with Phone
Doug Nabors w/ Tony's Phone

David shouted “Cut” and Tony learned that it was his phone that interrupted the scene. He “scolded” himself and everyone had a little chuckle. I was just so thankful it wasn’t my phone.

Jason zipped by quickly and disappeared around the corner. He did that a lot. David checked on us to make sure we were okay.

Tony came back over and offered us each a director’s chair to get a better view of the monitors. We no sooner sat down and got all comfy, when someone came by and wanted to move the chairs and we had to get up. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

The chair I got to sit in, briefly, was producer Anthony Santa Croce's. Back in June I also got to sit in his chair. I guess that sort of makes it a tradition now. I was starting to think he just never shows up on the set, hence the empty chair, but moments later he arrived at the soundstage. I'm not quite sure what his job entails, but now that I think about it, he must have a pretty important job if they always keep a chair ready for him. I recognized Anthony because he appeared in "Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan" in the crowd at the auction scene.
Biggest Fan Screenshot
Anthony Santa Croce (far left) in
Mr. Monk and His Biggest Fan

Anton Cropper
Assistant Director

Joe Panella
Joe Panella
Director of Photography

There were quite a few other familiar faces on the set including assistant director Anton Cropper, a.k.a first AD in charge of discipline. Anton has directed a couple of Monk episodes himself: "Mr. Monk is at Your Service" and "Mr. Monk and the Wrong Man."

Director of photography Joe Panella was on hand and seemed to be offering sage advice whenever David needed it. Wardrobe lady Brigit Jones was also on the set ready to handle any fashion emergency. We saw a lot of the hair stylist who'd driven up in the "cruzin4ahusband" mobile earlier. I never did catch her name or the make-up lady's either. They always seemed very busy.

Brigit Jones
Brigit Jones
Hair Stylist
Hair Stylist
make up lady
Make-Up Lady
Del, Actress
playing the Landlady
There was one guest actress involved in the first scene we watched being filmed (and, as it turned out, the only scene we watched being filmed.) They said her first name, Del, quite often, but we never found out her last name. She plays the role of a landlady. She got to stand next to Jason most of the afternoon. When it came time for her to leave, Tony thanked her, embraced her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. The rest of the crew gave her a round of applause and bade her farewell. I thought about trying to grab her for an interview, but I didn't want to miss any of the action on the set.
playing the mailman

I think it may have been shortly thereafter that the mailman arrived. Here's how gullible I am: I thought he was actually there to deliver mail. He was that convincing. It was only after people started shaking his hand and welcoming him to the set that it dawned on me he was an actor. I should have figured it out sooner. He was much better looking than the average postal worker. I was keeping an eye on the new arrival when Kim leaned over and whispered, "Should we ask him if he always rings twice?"

Sorry, Kim. Was that one of the things you characterized as goofy? Because I thought it was pretty darned funny.

We didn't see him get to do a scene, so it's hard to say just how good a mailman he'll be.

I also want to add that it's really no wonder that they get such great guest stars: they seem to treat all the guest actors like gold, even the not so famous ones.

Travelogue Small
They filmed some more scenes on the first set. Then they were ready to move to the bedroom set Tony had shown us. David soon came over, and, regretfully, told us that we would not be able to watch the next scene play out because they really wanted it to be a complete surprise when it aired. I promise, I won’t tell anyone and I’ll act surprised, just let us stay, I thought.

The cast and crew moved to the second set. A man with two young girls and a woman came into the building. They went over to the second set to watch what was going on. Teresa and I did the same. We stood off to the side and watched a little bit as the scene was rehearsed.

Even when they are rehearsing, they want quiet on the set. Someone was even scolded for chewing. We could hear every “crunch.”

We discovered who would be wearing the wig we had previously seen (and it wasn’t Randy).

A member of the crew kicked a nail out of the way towards someone and he kicked it towards me. There it was on the floor, right in front of me. Later, I wished I had picked it up as a souvenir.

During the rehearsal, Tony stopped the scene and consulted some of the crew about a prop. We witnessed first-hand his meticulous attention to detail. Something was not “right” and he wanted to make it so. A few people scratched their heads and tried to come up with a remedy.

Speaking of attention to detail a little earlier when we were hanging around David, a prop man had come over to consult with him about a particular prop. I can't tell you what it is, because it might be a clue for all we know. It was an item on which I thought Kim might have some expertise (as a mother, not as a lumber sniffer) so I encouraged her to offer it. She did and they seemed glad to hear it. Not enough for a consultant credit Kim, but at least you did your bit.

Travelogue Small

They took a break from rehearsing the scene and Teresa and I went back to the first set. It was then that David came over to whisk us away. He emphasized that TPTB wanted the next filming session to be a secret (although we probably already saw it.) See, we can keep a secret!

We exited Stage 7 and Teresa asked him if it was possible for us to see the standing sets – Monk’s house, Natalie’s house, the precinct, etc.

David graciously and speedily took us next door to Stage 5 where the standing sets were housed. The building was fairly dark inside. We passed by the exterior of a set with vertical blinds and a stuffed duck inside. It was the captain’s office. There we met up with Stacey and David asked if she could stay with us while we looked around. David had to get back to the set.

We very hastily said our “thank yous” and “good byes” as we handed him the gifts we had brought along with us - a director’s megaphone we had purchased for him the day before and multiple copies of the updated, new and improved, bigger and better, Monk Goes to South Park collage, which was now officially a “poster” with more of Liv’s terrific characters. David appreciatively accepted them. And then he was gone.

Stacy Stuart
2nd Assistant Director

Stacey patiently led us through the various sets. Teresa pulled out the bobblehead and we asked if we could take pictures. She gave us the “okay” and we snapped away.

Many things were covered with tarps to keep them clean when the set was not in use. The lighting was poor for photography purposes but we could see the sets just fine. They were VERY cool. I am really fascinated with the sets. Oh yeah, I already said that.

We showed the bobblehead the captain’s desk, Randy’s desk, Monk’s kitchen/living room/dining room/ bedroom/bathroom, and Natalie’s living room/kitchen.

police station hall
The dark hallway of police headquarters
Captain's Desk
Teresa at the Captain's desk
Randy's Desk
Teresa at Randy's desk

Monk's front door
Kim at Monk's front door
Monk's Kitchen
Teresa in Monk's kitchen
Monk's Bedroom
Monk's Bedroom*

Monk's Living room
Monk's Livingroom
Monk's Coffee Table
Monk's Coffee Table
Monk's Shelf
Monk Bobblehead on Monk's Shelf

Monk's Desk
Monk Bobblehead on Monk's Desk
Monk's Fireplace
Monk Bobblehead on Monk's Fireplace
Me by Monk's Fireplace
Me by Monk's Fireplace

Monk's Kitchen Counter
Monk Bobblehead on Monk's Kitchen Counter
Monk's bathroom
Absolute proof Monk has a bathroom...
Monk's toilet
...and a toilet

Natalie's Place
Me and Stacy in Natalie's Place

Natalie's Kitchen
Monk Bobblehead in Natalie's Kitchen
Natalie's Table
Kim at Natalie's Kitchen Table

Natalie's Shelf 1
Natalie's Shelf
Natalie's Living Room
Natalie's Living Room
Natalie's Other Shelf
Monk Bobblehead on Natalie's Other Shelf

*This one's a mock up. The bedroom was such a mess we couldn't convince the bobblehead to go in.

Travelogue Small

We tried to not overstay our welcome since we knew Stacy did have a “regular” job, other than accompanying two crazy fans on a tour. I resisted my urge to swipe a souvenir from one of the rooms, although, we did make one prop “adjustment” – Monk’s coffee table was not crooked. We fixed it. We let Stacy get back to work and we headed to the Paramount store. I was sure I’d get a souvenir there. We had a latte and relaxed as we reminisced about our fabulous visit on the set.

And I still didn’t get a souvenir. The store was a little disappointing and had no Monk merchandise at all. I contemplated sneaking back on the set to get that nail.

It was a remarkable day. The only disappointment was that the visit was somewhat short. I could have easily stood there on Stage 7 forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but a really, really, really long time.

It was an amazing experience to observe first-hand the talent and enthusiasm of the Monk team as they worked in harmony to film segments that would later be edited together to produce a Monk episode.

Bobblehead has Coffee

End of story... almost.

At the Paramount store, which is really just a coffee shop with t-shirts, Kim demonstrated another mad skill as we enjoyed out lattes. She's a prodigous eavesdropper. I think she picked up a little scoop on the then only days old writers' strike. I'm not sure what it was, but it took me so long to write this up that it's not news now.

I wanted to show Kim the commissary where I had lunch with Tony, but it was closed. We had a golden opportunity to roam around the Paramount lot and get as many pictures as wanted, but did we? Noooooo. We just walked back to the car and left. Another "D'oh" moment. Oh well, we were losing the light anyway. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Dining Room Closed
That's okay.
We were too excited to eat anyway.
On the Lot
Kim and Teresa on the lot

The Water Tower
Me and the famous water tower.
That's me on the right.

Bobblehead leaving 1
Monk Bobblehead...
Bobblehead leaving 2
...has left...
Bobblehead leaving 3
...the Paramount lot.


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