Film Tourism is growing, becoming a more robust niche sector of cultural tourism every year, and remarkably Oregon has hundreds of incredible locations that have starred in films, TV series, and high-profile commercials since the silent movie days of 1904. In order to build upon this growing tourism niche, the Oregon Film Trail has been slowly rolling out Trail stops over the past two years (currently at 33) all highlighting the State’s important contribution to the film and TV industry and (seemingly unlikely) community partnerships all across Oregon. As the Trail has been quietly growing, one community at a time, so too are the partnerships and collaborations that have been finding new ways to connect through the shared history of filmmaking in Oregon. Examples of two such partnerships that both celebrate locations for the iconic film, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” are the Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health and the “World’s Smallest Harbor” Depoe Bay – now both stops on the Oregon Film Trail.
Depoe Bay Chamber Executive, Director Laura Furgurson, was enthusiastic when approached about being a stop on the Oregon Film Trail. The sign would feature at the beautiful and historic harbor of Depoe Bay and part of the draw was to link to the other two “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s nest” signs in Salem. Furguson stated, “Our locals and visitors love the Oregon Film Trail sign that commemorates the filming of this important movie and was a great experience for our community. Even before the sign was put up in the harbor, many visitors asked about the filming locations and shared fond memories of watching the movie, while recognizing local sites. Along with our rebranding and digital marketing efforts over the past 2 years, this partnership with Oregon Film has literally helped place Depoe Bay on the map among film buffs and encouraged others to wander the Depoe Bay harbor. Over a year ago on December 19, 2019, like true Oregonians, a large crowd of Depoe Bay community members braved the intense wind and sideways rain to unveil the City’s first Oregon Film Trail sign. Regional dignitaries and the Depoe Bay Chamber Director uncovered the new sign and said a few words to thank Oregon Film, the City, and the community for their support. After running inside Dock Side Charters to take cover, long-time residents enjoyed treats from local restaurants and shared stories of the filming in 1975. Jack Nicolson, his fellow actors, and the film crew regularly frequented Gracie’s Sea Hag restaurant and bar, which to this day highlights photos of the actors stopping by for their famous clam chowder, a shot of whiskey, or long-time tradition of the bar’s lively ringing of the bells (bottles and glasses). They also hung-out with locals at two harborside establishments, the old Spouting Horn Restaurant (now Depoe Bay Brewing) and Bayside Tavern (once a land-office business and now Bayview Thai Kitchen).
The filming of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest took place in the World’s Smallest Harbor, which was voted Best U.S. Harbor in 2020. The current Dockside Charters’ location was where Randle and his fellow patients chartered a fishing trip for his long-awaited journey. The commercial crabbing vessel, the Hyak was shown in the film, while the Jimco II, owned by local Fred Robison, shuttled the camera crew. In the early 80s, the Hyak sunk off the coast of Waldport Oregon, 28 miles south of Depoe Bay. The Jimco II was destroyed in 1992 during Hawaii’s Hurricane Iniki. Though both boats are gone, there are photos from the filming proudly displayed in the Dockside Charter’s harborside reception lobby. One uncredited actor in the film was a locally caught salmon that was refrozen multiple times and used day-after-day during the filming. Now, that’s a smelly, but true fish story!”
In partnership with, Oregon Film, Salem Cinema, and the Museum of Mental Health, the Depoe Bay Chamber/Discover Depoe Bay had planned to host a Cuckoo Fest in 2020, but plans were postponed due to COVID restrictions. They are aiming to hold the event in October or November 2021. To learn more check… www.discoverdepoebay.org in September 2021 or to help with the event email [email protected].
- These signs were paid for in part by funding and grants from Travel Oregon, The Oregon Coast Visitors Association, Travel Salem, Salem resident Erik Andersson, and the Depoe Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Oregon Made Creative Foundation.