Woman straddling bicycle dressed in a jacket, long scarf, and sneakers

Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher riding a bike. Likely taken in Fort Bragg.

The Kelley House Museum’s current exhibition, Angela Lansbury: Muse of Cabot Cove, has brought back many wonderful memories of Lansbury and her time in Mendocino. One of our docents and celebrated local historian, Katy Tahja, shares a few of her memories from Lansbury’s time filming in Mendocino:

  • I worked as a bookseller from 1990 – 2008 at Gallery Bookshop. “Murder, She Wrote” was filmed right in front of our windows at the bookshop. Angela acted like a regular human being – talked to locals, shopped in local shops, and was friendly. She was a welcome change from Julia Roberts when she was in town filming “Dying Young in the same time period. Julia walked through town with three people in front of her, a person on her right and left, and three people behind her. No locals ever got near her.
  • “Hey, it’s snowing on Albion Street!” The “Murder, She Wrote” crew would make it snow in an area of maybe 100 sq. feet for a scene.
  • Paper license plates. It’s supposed to be Maine, not California, so if Angela was walking down the Main Street sidewalk and they were filming from a pick-up truck bed, license plates showed. The movie crew would race past parked cars sticking paper Maine license plates with tape on the back covering up the California plates. I often wondered about the visiting tourists who didn’t see this happen, drove away, and later wondered how the HELL they got a paper Maine license plate.

If you would like to hear more memories of Angela Lansbury and the filming of “Murder, She Wrote,” join us for an afternoon of reminiscences on Saturday, February 25th. There will be a panel of Mendocino locals who were involved in the filming. Among our special speakers is Jill Lemos, daughter of film coordinator Toni Lemos, who helped bring the production to Mendocino; Barbara Reed, the innkeeper of Hill House Inn; and Steve Jordan. There will also be an opportunity to share your stories and memories of Lansbury.

Deadly Lady: Angela Lansbury in Cabot Cove, Mendocino will be held at the Kelley House on Saturday, February 25th, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm. Tickets will be available at the door: $5 for members and $7 for non-members.

The Kelley House Museum is open from 11AM to 3PM Thursday through Monday. If you have a question for the curator, contact her at curator@kelleyhousemuseum.org to make an appointment. Walking tours of the historic district depart from the Kelley House regularly.