The Majestic - Starring Jim Carrey & Ferndale, California!
Unique "Majestic" Drawing and Autographs While "The Majestic" was being filmed in Ferndale, resident artist Jack Mays (who can be seen daily on our streets creating his fabulous work) rendered a wonderful picture of the Majestic Theater, which was created and built for the filming and is no longer in existence. Upon completion of the drawing the cast and crew signed the piece, including Director Frank Darabont, stars Martin Landau, James Whitmore, Laurie Holden, David Ogden-Stiers, Catherine Dent, Gerry Black and of course, Jim Carrey. Michael Sloane the screenwriter, David Tattersol the cinema photographer, Greg Melton the art director, Larry Moss the actors coach, and many more... all signed it. The extras signed it... the make-up artists signed it... set decorators, lighting people, transportation... on and on, they all signed it. When completed, this unique work of art was sold at auction to benefit our local live theater company and now is on display in its new home, the lobby of the Victorian Inn.
We have now, in conjunction with the artist, created Giclée fine art prints of this work for those who would like them. For more information, please download the PDF file below.
Majestic Print Information
Known as California's best preserved Victorian village, Ferndale, California was the setting for the new Jim Carrey movie filmed spring 2001, "The Majestic." Construction crews showed up in January to roll back Ferndale into the year 1951. While the great Victorian architecture of Ferndale and the town's beautiful location made it ideal, the crews did make a few adjustments to town. First, they renamed the town Lawson. Then they went to work constructing new buildings on vacant lots, new buildings in front of existing buildings, and new buildings on top of and around existing buildings. All the businesses on Main Street got new signage and period window displays. Street lights and traffic markings were changed. Period cars and trucks were rounded up. No detail was overlooked to create the perfect 1951 setting.
On March 18th, the actors and film crew arrived in Ferndale. They continued shooting until April 25th. After filming, the construction crews came back in and started dismantling the sets, so now all of these buildings are just memories! But long before Hollywood and Jim Carrey discovered Ferndale, people have been coming here and falling in love with this special Victorian village in the redwoods. So book your room at the Victorian Inn now and find out why there's still a lot of The Majestic to be found in Ferndale.
The Majestic opened in theaters December 21, 2001.
Filming a night scene at the diner. The Victorian Inn can be seen in the background.
The most important piece to the movie is the building that gives the title to the movie, The Majestic. A Victorian movie house that appears to have been remodeled in the 1920s with an Art Deco marquee and Egyptian columns, The Majestic starts out at the beginning of the movie, shuttered and run down. Jim Carrey's character decides to restore the movie house so by the end of the movie it is looking good again.
The Majestic set took over the former city parking lot and was basically a facade, although there was a lobby built in the interior. It looked so good in fact that it had the locals wondering if it would be possible to keep it, and just have a driveway into the parking lot behind it. After filming was completed the lobby, marquee and facade were shipped back to Hollywood to be mated with the rest of the theatre that had been built on a sound stage.
Take a tour of The Majestic set
The Victorian Inn sits right between the other two main sets built on Main Street, Mabel's Diner and Town Hall. Mabel's Diner was a recreation of the classic diner, complete with aluminum skin (actually plywood painted silver). Since Ferndale was used in the movie Outbreak as well, this set has the distinction of being built in front of a prior set, Lino's Garage. The diner was an interior and exterior set, and the interior was so complete and realistic that tourists were known to go up to the set when it wasn't in use and were disappointed when it appeared closed. The smart folks then headed over to grab a bite to eat at VI Restaurant, just across the street.
Lawson Town Hall
Catty corner from Mabel's Diner was the Town Hall set, constructed around and on top of the US Bank building. This is the second time this building has gone incognito; during the filming of Outbreak, the bank was turned into the town hospital. The town hall set included the sheriff office, the fire department, and a park complete with a gazebo. The design cleverly disguised the bank's drive through as the fire department doors. When filming wasn't being done, the doors were left open so customers could still use the drive through and peek at the building from the inside. Conifers were brought in to hide the modern hotel that sits next to the bank, and the parking lot was given the full landscaping treatment.
Up the hill from the Victorian Inn is another location that features prominently in the movie, Ferndale Cemetery. Here, the crews built a veterans plot where the town's World War II victims were buried.
To make the lawn of the set match that in other parts of the cemetery, crews tore up two lawns from Ferndale residents and gave them new lawns in exchange.
Main Street Shops
Up and down Main Street, the shop windows were changed to reflect the year 1951, and the towns fictional name, Lawson. Some shops stayed true to their real purpose, such as the hardware store, where the windows displayed period paints and other supplies. Other shops were transformed into something completely different, such as the shop that now appears to be a barber shop. In actuality, the place to get a hair cut in Ferndale is upstairs, but again the fake barbershop was so realistic that it lured in unsuspecting tourists looking for a trim.
Out at the fairgrounds, the crews built some indoor sets. Jim Carrey's character lives in an apartment above The Majestic, but since there was no above at The Majestic, that set was built in one of the exhibit halls at the fairgrounds. They also built the basement of town hall under the grandstand bleachers at the race track. The Masonic Hall building that is behind the Victorian Inn was used for the interior of town hall.