June 7th, 2010 marked the 25th Anniversary of the 80s cult classic film, “The Goonies,” and fans of the film descended upon Astoria, Oregon in droves this past weekend to celebrate. Director Richard Donner and many of the stars from the film also showed up to commemorate the event and to share the experiences they had making the film. Cast members in attendance included Sean Astin (“Mikey”), Jeff Cohen (“Chunk”), Corey Feldman (“Mouth”), Joe Pantoliano (Francis Fratelli), and Curt Hanson (Mr. Perkins).
Astoria’s Mayor, Willis Van Dusen, kicked off the event Friday evening with an official proclamation that, “From here forward, June 7th will officially be know as ‘Goonies Day’ in Astoria.” Van Dusen, a native Astorian, was an extra in the film back in 1985 and has experienced first hand the impact that the film has had (and continues to have) on the local economy. “The Goonies” is not just a film to him, but a “part of Astoria’s culture.”
But you don’t have to take his word for it. You can ask any one of the countless fans who came from as far away as Scotland, Japan, and Germany to see their favorite locations from the film first hand. They’ll be happy to tell you why the film is special to them and how their love for the film naturally translates to a love for Astoria.
Many of the current owners of locations used in the film opened up their doors for fans to tour over the course of the weekend. The most popular of these locations was “Mikey’s house.” Fans could be seen throughout the weekend baring their bellies and doing the ceremonious “Truffle Shuffle” before heading up the stairs to the porch and entering the doorway that Data crashed through on his zip-line in the film. Homeowner Sandi Preston graciously led the seemingly endless line of fans on a tour of her home throughout the weekend. She’s a fan of the film as well, and she gets it. The film is not just about a bunch of kids on treasure hunt. It’s about what it truly means to be a Goonie. It’s not only about adventure, but friendship and loyalty; sticking together when times are tough. These are the timeless qualities that are shown beautifully through the children in the film, and are the essence of what still resonates with fans 25 years later.
Other “Goonies” locations conducting tours over the weekend included “Mouth’s house,” “Chunk’s bowling alley, ” and (open to fans for the first time) the former Clatsop County Jail – which has been converted into the Oregon Film Museum. The Museum had its grand opening ceremony on Saturday morning with a dedication by Mayor Van Dusen followed by a re-enactment of the Fratelli’s jailbreak scene from the film. The scene included fire, a police chase, and featured Joe Pantoliano (or “Joey Pants” as he is affectionately know by his fans) reprising his role as Francis Fratelli. The Oregon Film Museum currently has a special “Goonies” centric exhibit which will soon be expanded to include additional props and memorabilia from many of the 300 other movies filmed in Oregon. If you’re in Astoria and have any interest in films, the Oregon Film Museum is definitely worth checking out.
On Sunday afternoon, there was a special meet & greet event with the cast and “Goonies” director Richard Donner. It was a chance for the cast to share their experiences making the film and for fans to get some of their questions answered. The biggest question, “Will there be a Goonies 2?” “I’d love to see it happen,” states Donner, “We just haven’t been able to find the right script yet.” Apparently Warner Brothers is onboard, as well as most of the original cast, but without the right script, it won’t become a reality. And that is probably for the best.
We also learned that Jeff Cohen (who played “Chunk”) has retired from acting (and from doing the Truffle Shuffle) and is now a partner in an entertainment law firm in Beverly Hills. He sports a sleek shaved head and is much more fit than chunky these days. “I never really lost any weight,” laughs Cohen, “I just got taller.” Corey Feldman (who played “Mouth”) is focusing most of his time on his Pink Floyd inspired band, “Truth Movement,” who performed later that night at the “Goonies Concert” event. Sean Astin (who played “Mikey”) has been the most successful in his post “Goonies” acting career. It was touching to hear him talk about the how real everything seemed to him as a child during the filming of the movie, and the very real friendships that he made with the other actors. Jeff Cohen expands on that sentiment, explaining that his dad left when he was very young and how Richard Donner became like a father to him – looking out for him and even getting him his first job out of college as an entertainment lawyer. “He’s pretty much my favorite person in the whole world,” said Cohen. And it was evident through his smile as he sat next to Donner on the stage.
The event ended with an opportunity for fans to get an autograph or a photo, and to say a personal, “thank you” to some of the people who worked together to make this movie a reality. “It’s a unique opportunity,” said Jason Reger, a fan who drove from Billings, Montana to be at the event, “to be able to actually meet these guys that I feel like I’ve know since I was a kid… and to be able to just say thanks.”
“The Goonies” has been an important part of Astoria since 1985, and Regina Willkie with the Astoria & Warrenton Chamber of Commerce and her team put in a ton of planning and work to make sure that this 25th Anniversary event was successful. Judging by the crowds of people in the streets wearing “Goonies” t-shirts or dressed as characters from the movie, the sold out bus tours that departed every half hour, the busy local restaurants and cafes with their special “Goonies” themed foods and micro-brews, and the fact that there were no available hotel rooms anywhere in the area; I’d say it was successful. So thank you, Regina. Thank you to the countless volunteers who manned the “Goon Docks” event headquarters, the bus tours, the meet & greet events, and everything else that went on behind the scenes. You are the true Goonies. You understand the importance of working together to accomplish your goals. You are the heart of what makes Astoria, and Oregon, such a great place. And Mr. Donner, if you ever find that perfect script for Goonies 2, round up the cast and give us a call. We’ll provide the scenery.
Nathan Cherrington – IT/Creative Manager
Oregon Governor’s Office of Film & Television