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The Valley as Seen in The Karate Kid — Then and Now 

Not only was this scene at Leo Carrillo Beach William Zabka’s first appearance in The Karate Kid (he played Daniel's nemesis, Johnny) but it also was the first scene he shot for the film, and was the first time he appeared on screen in either a movie or TV show.
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The Karate Kid shot for 45 days in the fall of 1983 in Los Angeles, primarily on location in the San Fernando Valley. It was the perfect setting for a suburban-based film dealing with the class divide. The 1980s Valley receives a rich and detailed portrayal in the film, and it successfully conveys a strong sense of place. Referring to the locations, William Zabka, who played villain Johnny Lawrence in the film, says, "When you get on a set, all that you did in rehearsal, and all that you do to prep, takes on a new life because that location is almost a character itself and it adds to the energy of the scene, and you feed off that."

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of The Karate Kid, we visited the original L.A. filming locations to see how they look in 2014.

Special thanks to The Karate Kid's executive producer, R.J. Louis, and location manager Richard Davis Jr., as well as Chas Demster of ItsFilmedThere.com and Nick Alaway of Fast-Rewind.com, for providing information and addresses for The Karate Kid filming locations.

All original photos by Jared Cowan.

See the full story: How a Movie Shot in the San Fernando Valley Made Us All The Karate Kid
Published on June 16, 2014

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