Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

On Location #25 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 2

All right Chuck Norris fans, it's time to delve into episode #2 of Walker, Texas Ranger!  Most cop show cops seem to have a lady A.D.A. friend/occasional love interest and Walker is no different.  This episode's story involves a guy getting out of jail and stalking Alex, Walker's  A.D.A. friend/occasional love interest, because she help prosecute him and blah, blah've seen the plot before.

(He's played by prolific character actor Leon Rippy who you might recognize from Deadwood or as one of the unfrozen guys they woke up in that first season episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or as the guy that shoveled horse manure on Doc and Chavez in Young Guns II.)

He takes a job driving a funky retro cab (which I still see driving around Deep Ellum from time to time) and the cops trail him:

He switches places with his buddy who then pulls out onto Pearl St. headed toward San Jacinto (maybe he was headed to Woodall Rogers to get to either Hwy 75 of I-35):

Now is a good time to mention that Walker's main base of operations seems to be the Tarrant County Courthouse:

It shows up in most episodes but rather than show it over and over in every blog entry I'll just mention it in this one.  For you history buffs, here's the building's Texas Historical Marker:

So later in the episode the bad guy, with the help of some flash grenades and tear gas, kidnaps Alex in broad daylight while dressed as a cop:

And this is done at the Tarrant County Courthouse:

Walker's partner Trivette does what he does best and opens fire into a crowded street:

Looks like he had made it across the street to the bank but the bad guy still gets away.

Don't worry though, they get him at his nondescript cabin in the woods whose location I am not about to try and track down.

And roll credits...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Geology Kitchen #2 - Identifying Minerals

Episode 2 expands on the mineral concept by discussing the characteristics of minerals used in mineral identification. Minerals are categorized by the use of descriptive criteria; 

1) Color
2) Hardness
3) Luster
4) Shape/Cleavage
5) Density 

Fruit are again used to describe these elementary criteria and relate to the discussion on how minerals are categorized.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Location #24 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 1, Part 3

Part 1 - - Part 2

I had hoped to finish up the first episode of Walker, Texas Ranger with a bang (ha! Get it?  Because there's an explos...oh never mind) but found myself stymied but the ever changing nature of downtown Fort Worth.  For example, in the climax of the first episode, the bank robbery scene took place at what was the offices of the Fort Worth Star Telegram which they made up to look like this:

Yesterday, when I was taking pictures, it looked like this:

The newspaper moved their offices a block over and we are left with a location that just doesn't match up with a screen grab from a 20 year old TV show episode.  There's just no justice in the real world.

However, in TV world there's plenty of justice delivered from the gun barrel and boot heel of Mr. Chuck Norris.  In the episode he starts of across the street from the "bank."  That side of the road is also completely unrecognizable from the episode but if you look behind Chuck there's a definitive "marker" that can still be seen today:

The Texas Historical Marker commemorates the Neil P. Anderson Building which has an interesting history, the highlights of which include being a cotton exchange and being featured in the background of an episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.

My problems with documenting the shooting locations of this episode continued with the attempt to capture the parking garage behind the exploding truck:

This was the best I could do but I'm assuming this building has been through some changes as well since the windows don't seem to quite match up with the shot from the episode:

So the bad guys then try to make their getaway along Taylor St. but I'm confident the Rangers got 'em.

You can see that there has been some cosmetic changes to the buildings in the background but the same basic architecture is still in place:

And that's the end of episode #1!  Coming soon: more Fort Worth locations in episode #2!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Geology Kitchen #1 - What is a Mineral?

Episode 1 of Geology Kitchen introduces the concept of a mineral. Minerals are defined by five criteria;

1) They must be solid substances
2) they must be naturally-occurring
3) they must have a definable chemical composition
4) they must have an orderly crystalline structure
5) they must be inorganic by nature. 

The video introduces mineral properties using common fruit and vegetables as analogies for these five descriptive criteria. The video also demonstrates the orderly crystalline structure of halite (NaCl) using a model made of food (marshmallows and grapes). Comparisons between common substances such as ice and glass versus the mineral definition are made to illustrate the specific nature of the mineral definition. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Location #23 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 1, Part 2

Let's continue on with the first episode of Walker, Texas Ranger.  Who's in the mood for an old school car chase?
It all starts in a way that all scenes should start...with a specific mention of the filming location:

We begin at the intersection of N. Griffin St. and Corbin St. in downtown Dallas.  If you go there now you'll see a giant aquarium.  But the Dallas World Aquarium didn't exist (or at least, it didn't exist as it does in its current form) when this episode was filmed so it didn't get in the way of their cameras.
Walker and his partner Trivette were parked separately and were both apparently waiting for something to happen as they regaled each other with tales of past hijinks.  I guess they were putting the vibe out somehow because when the mustachioed bad guys (or MBGs as they will be referred to from here on) drove by in their evil white van they could sense something and they freaked out and the chase began.
Trivette took off in his lame car and Walker head out in his awesome truck:

Getting out of a Dallas parking lot in downtown is a lot hard than it looks.  Walker found this out the hard way as  he tried to pursue the MBGs and found several pesky citizens and their cars in his way.  But not to worry, Trivette was right on their tails.

They headed northeast on San Jacinto St.  (Note the KDFW antenna/transmitter in the background...sorry it's kind of washed out in my pic):

They then took a sharp right onto Akard St. which caused enough of a fender bender to put Trivette's car out of commission.  Then I'm guessing they headed south (the wrong way) on Ervay or went a block over to Paul St.  But Walker was close behind and Trivette jumped into the back of his truck and they continued the chase...

Both vehicles somehow then found themselves heading southwest-ish (don't you just love the funky layout of downtown Dallas?) on Bryan St. toward Thanks-Giving Square.  You can see Trivette in the back of Walker's truck firing his gun wildly in the general direction of the MBGs (which, of course, is a perfectly reasonable thing to do):

One of those pesky box trucks picked that exact time to pull out into the street and get in the way of Walker's truck.  So Trivette jumps out and runs across Thanks-Giving Square (which is really more of a triangle) to Pacific Ave.

Which was a great idea because the MBGs continued down Bryan St. and made had the horrible idea to make the very sharp (and probably illegal) turn onto Pacific which means that they were essentially driving back towards the cops.

But this wasn't anywhere near the end of the episode so, of course, after some more gun play the MBGs got away.  Walker finally shows up to Trivette's location, delivers the act break joke and then the commercials started.

Here's my rough approximation of how the chase happened:

 Don't worry, there's plenty more action ahead.  Next time: another bank heist, a shootout and at least one big, honkin' explosion in downtown Fort Worth!  To be continued...

(In the interest of full disclosure: only one of the bad guys had a mustache.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

On Location #22 - Walker, Texas Ranger Episode 1, Part 1

Big day today! We're starting a new "Ongoing Feature Within an Ongoing Feature"! 
We got a hold of every singly episode of "Walker, Texas Ranger" and we're going to track down the filming locations for each episode as a part of our ongoing feature "On Location."  Let's start with episode #1.  It involves a team of serial bank robbers and here is one of the first banks they robbed:
This is actually not a bank at all but the Jolliff Parking Garage at 512 S. Jackson Street on the southwest end of downtown Dallas (note the WFAA tower/antenna in the background):

After killing an unfortunate Ranger who tried to stop them, the robbers escaped in their sweet station wagon and took a right onto Wood Street which would take them into straight into the circular Reunion Blvd. 

Not the best escape.  They were probably trying to get to I-35.

But somehow they did escape and the poor Ranger lay dead on the street... front of the George L. Allen Sr Courts Building (note the concrete steps):
But that's only the beginning of this episode's story!  Coming up next:  a high speed car chase in downtown Dallas!

And for more info on the Texas Rangers, check out this video we shot awhile back at the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: