It's been 30 years since The Sandlot filmed in Salt Lake's Glendale Neighborhood | Urban Living
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It's been 30 years since The Sandlot filmed in Salt Lake's Glendale Neighborhood

Urban Living



This year marks the 30th anniversary of a little film shot behind several homes in Glendale, just west of downtown Salt Lake City. The story about kids who play baseball on a dirt lot in the summer of 1962 has become, over the years, a sweet cult film.

The simple premise of The Sandlot is that Scotty Smalls, a new kid in town, is encouraged by his mom to make friends. He ends up joining a ragtag bunch who play ball at a neighborhood lot. After one of the kids smashes the cover off their only baseball, Scotty gets his stepdad's ball without permission, and it gets hit over a fence where a scary dog guards a house.

Scotty didn't realize he'd lost his father's most valuable possession—a ball signed by the one and only Babe Ruth ("You're killin' me, Smalls!"). And, of course, he has to get it back before his dad finds out it's gone—and therein lies the plot.

Leigh von der Esch was the Utah Film Commissioner when the movie was being made and remembers hiring a helicopter to find the perfect place for a sandlot. Von der Esch then had to find a tree to hold the treehouse in the film. She found a live tree on Beck Street that was dug up and moved to the site of the film.

The director loved Vincent Drug in Midvale because it had a real soda fountain needed in the film. Some considered Vincent's long counter to be one of the best and most well-preserved soda fountains in the state.

The drugstore opened originally in 1911 as a saloon, but with Prohibition, Willis Vincent—the owner—was forced to convert the bar into a drugstore, which became known for serving up ironport and sweet or tart cherry phosphates. The place was still open during filming in 1993, and the film's young actors could line up for shots as they ate ice cream in the store.

Vincent Drug was also used in Utah-based movies and series such as Halloween 4, Halloween 5, The Stand and Touched by an Angel. Von der Esch also remembers that the film was going to be shot in Kansas, but they needed mountains in the background. San Diego was also under consideration, but lucky for Utah, we won out.

The cast is still alive, as is the director, and they hold regular reunions here. The dirt lot is on private property behind houses on Glenrose Drive. Film fans often try to get access for photos, and tons of folks would love to see the site preserved for future generations. The Hook & Ladder diner in Glendale has its own replica of the sandlot behind its business.