If Goonies buffs who visited Ecola State Park in Cannon Beach during the film’s 30th anniversary celebration last weekend learned one thing, it’s this: “You can’t ride your bike out of the south end of Astoria and immediately be in Ecola State Park,” said Patrick Lines, a retired park ranger.
But, of course, one wouldn’t know that from watching “The Goonies,” which plays pretty fast and loose with its North Coast geography and gives the impression the Goonies house is just a few pedal pumps away from Haystack Rock.
Lines — who worked at the park from 1984 to 1985 and was present while the Goonies crew filmed key scenes there — confronted many such misconceptions head-on during the four-day Goonies festival.
From June 4 through 7 through Sunday, he led groups of Goonies lovers on tours of where Ecola State Park was transformed into a big-budget Hollywood film set in October and November of 1984.
Viewers of the film know it as the place where Mikey, Data, Mouth and Chunk, equipped with a treasure map and a Spanish doubloon, stumble upon the fiendish Fratelli family’s hideout (aka, the Lighthouse Lounge) while hunting for hidden treasure.
With multiple iPhones trained on him at any given time, Lines, a Seaside resident, shared behind-the-scenes scoops and enlarged copies of photos he took during the production, a time before he — or, for that matter, virtually anyone involved with the film — had any idea that “The Goonies” would become an Oregon cinematic landmark.
More subtle than the smash cuts from Astoria to Cannon Beach is the film’s deceptive use of Ecola State Park Road.
In an overhead shot at about the 25-minute mark, the Goonies are seen biking downhill over the blacktop. They stop their bikes (roughly where the park’s viewing platform was later built) to point out Cannon Beach’s sea stacks, including Haystack Rock, that appear on their map. Mikey shouts, “It’s the three rocks!”
Supposedly, the treasure seekers are biking toward the Fratellis’ ramshackle restaurant at Ecola State Park. In reality, the cast is moving away from their destination, geographically speaking, Lines said.
When the Goonies finally arrive at the park, hauling their bikes uphill, they have a view of an Ecola State Park very different from what ordinary visitors will see without a production designer like J. Michael Riva around.
The same permanent picnic tables currently standing there are present in the scene but camouflaged as piles of driftwood and beach debris, Lines said.
As the Goonies count 100 paces toward the ominous-looking restaurant, they prowl over a rutted road carved specially for the shoot.
Lines suggested to the Goonies crew that they should lay rock down to make the road easier to drive on; the crew disagreed, saying they were going for a grassy, rustic, untended look.
What the crew didn’t take into account was the Ecola State Park landslide of 1961, which damaged 125 acres and closed the park for 10 months, according to the state parks website.
Beneath the grass and thin layer of topsoil is an awful lot of clay. And with so many vehicles coming and going on so many wet days, the artificial road turned into a quagmire, and the crew needed tow trucks to extricate their cars, Lines said.
At last, the Goonies approach the restaurant, and it looks convincingly dilapidated and weather-beaten — clearly a sanctuary for miscreants and nefarious deeds.
But inside the building, it was an “empty shell,” Lines said — except for the spot on the interior wall surrounding the window that the kids peer through, which was painted and crowded with cobwebs and dusty furniture.
When the kids finally enter the Fratellis’ den and the audience sees the full interior, the actors are on a soundstage in Hollywood.
The film’s finale — when the Goonies, their parents and Sloth cheer as One-Eyed Willy’s pirate ship sails off into the sunset — was originally slated to be shot at Indian Beach, less than two miles north of Ecola State Park.
But, after the crew’s experience at Ecola — where shoots scheduled for a day turned into three days because of the hellacious coastal weather — they packed up and took their fancy equipment to Goat Rock State Beach in Sonoma County, Calif.
“The weather was so bad that they just said, ‘We’re done.’ And they headed back to Hollywood,” Lines said, adding with a grin, “They weren’t as hardy as us Northwest folks, you know what I’m saying?”
Many of the Goonies fans assembled for Lines’ presentations strolled through the park in a state of fond reverence, as if the Goonies’ lively spirits haunted the terrain. Though the Lighthouse Lounge and the road leading to it disappeared soon after filming wrapped, it is easy to picture them still taking up space in the grass.
Brothers Blain Stone, 7, and Lucian Stone, 5, of Bremerton, Wash., saw “The Goonies” for the first time three months ago, and already the film’s vivid imagery is seared into their memories. Even at their ages, and after a single viewing, they knew right where the Fratellis’ hideaway had stood 30 years prior.
“They’ve seen it once, believe it or not,” Chris Stone, their father, said, “and they remember more about it than I do.”