Photography, Stories Told

The time I accidentally wandered onto the set of Forrest Gump

There’s a scene at the Lincoln Memorial in the movie Forrest Gump. It’s the one where Forrest and Jenny run through the reflecting pool to embrace. Here’s a still:

forrestgump12B

Unbelievably, on my 1993 trip to DC I came upon what remained of the shoot. I didn’t know what movie it was for at the time, of course. But I did photograph enough of the scene to prove now that it was Forrest Gump. Check the TV truck in the lower right of the photo above. It’s in my photo below, lower left.

Lincoln Memorial, 1993

It sports a logo of WTOP-TV, an actual Washington, DC, television station (that has since changed call letters to WUSA). It’s a period-correct logo. Here is a video of an ID and the opening minutes of a newscast from this period:

On the ground that summer day in 1993, I wondered why a television station would use such an old truck. And then I noticed the construction debris, and wondered if I’d wandered onto a set being struck.

Lincoln Memorial, 1993

It was exciting to see Forrest Gump in the theater and realize I’d missed this scene’s filming by probably only a couple of days.

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8 thoughts on “The time I accidentally wandered onto the set of Forrest Gump

  1. Hmm…I never paid much attention to the WTOP truck in the movie. Given my interest in old television cameras, I was keenly aware of the the old CBS Color truck. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

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    • Memory is a strange, complicated thing. I can’t remember whether the CBS Color truck was present for part of the time I was at the Memorial, or whether seeing it in the movie filled in a gap in my memory. Only one thing is sure: I was present with the WTOP truck, as I have photographic evidence.

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  2. Very cool! It reminds me of a visit to the financial district of NYC. My sister and I saw a police car with flashing lights screech to a halt outside a bank, two plain clothes men running inside with pistols drawn and then noticed some cameras. We went over to see if we could see some more. Will Ferrel and Mark Wahlberg we’re redoing the scene so we stayed to watch for a while. It was a movie called The Other Guys. Very forgettable film but fun to see the scene we’d witnessed on the big screen.

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