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Old 06-13-2018, 12:38 AM   #1
ZacksSoUgly
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WTRL 3 in Wilmington, NC

What's up Turtle fans?

Here's another story about me finding another 1990 Turtle movie scene location, but with a much less personal touch this time. Not that getting personal is a bad thing, but this one is just a straight up story about me finding WTRL 3 in downtown Wilmington.

So after my adventure to Currie, NC to find the O'Neil family farmhouse I posted pics and videos to my Instagram. A fellow TMNT fan by the name of Drew reached out to me shortly after notifying me that he knew where other scene locations were in various parts of NC mostly based around Wilmington. Turns out Drew owns a book called "Wilm on Film" that has various tidbits of info about where the 1990 movie filmed certain scenes. He asked if I'd like some more info to check some places out. I told him I would and we spent some time exchanging info, sending snapshots of Google Maps, and comparing pictures to the scenes from the movie (all via Instagram). We were basically playing CSI : Wilmington. I decided I was going to try and find the locations for two other scenes : Shredder's speech and April's mugging.

Shredder's speech scene had an easily identifiable location and was close by. It can be found in an abandoned cement factory in Castle Hayne, NC. Only problem is that the factory is under serious security. It was a quick failure. I drove out to the location given by my Maps app and I hit a dead end (almost) literally - a chain link fence with a gate that was chained and bolted which all came complete with barbed wire. I was tempted to take my chances, but I'm too old to be getting arrested for trespassing. The Foot's lair would stay hidden from me for now.

Finding WTRL 3 proved to be slightly more difficult, but with a much more successful result.

Spoiler:


The research Drew and I had done the night before led us to believe we were looking for a building called the Cotton Exchange. It's easy to find in downtown Wilmington. It's an old building that has been transformed into multiple small shops, bars, and restaurants. Based on some stills from the movie Drew had sent me and my novice Google Maps searching, I believed a certain side of the Cotton Exchange building was indeed the wall that April is tackled in front of before the Turtles come to her rescue. I was wrong. A young woman inside the Cotton Exchange informed me that the building I was looking for was a couple blocks down and really easy to find. I thanked her for the info and got on my way.

Did I mention it was raining? Anyways...

I made my way towards the place the woman told me about, but couldn't find it based on the info she gave me. Drew went back to the drawing boards with info I provided from the young woman, and moments later he messaged me saying he'd found the building. And he had!

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


Judith Hoag aka April O'Neil walks out of this building and goes around the corner to her van. On her way she's startled by a rat and then attacked by a group of young men. She's rescued by unknown vigilantes who operate in the shadows. Here's where all this takes place :

Spoiler:


Spoiler:


I don't have stills from the movie readily available, but if you watch this scene and compare the pics you'll see it plain as day. On the front of the building, you can still see the white of how the building was once painted. The white paint, the unique windows, and unpaved brick road in front of the building let you know you're in the right place. If you freeze the scene of April being scared by the rat, the smaller white building she stops in front of has very distinct metal work (not sure the proper term) that runs along the ridge of the roof. You can see it in my pictures.

Around the corner is a parking lot and that's where they filmed the mugging scene. The easiest thing to notice here is the two different types of bricks used on the outside of the building and the electrical pole. Watch the mugging scene, and when Raph is peeking out of the manhole you can see the electrical pole behind April and the two types of brick coming together on the wall behind everything.

I had one big takeaway from discovering this location : movie magic is crazy! When the people behind these movies do their jobs well they can make anywhere look like anywhere. I was in little downtown Wilmington in real life, but I've believed since I was a kid that they were in New York City. The angles, the lighting, the props, and editing all come together to make us believe we're somewhere that we're not. It's incredible.

Once again I have to give a big shout out to my homie Drew. He dug deep into the Turtle archives finding info I'd never even heard of to help me find some of these places. Although our discovery of the cement factory was a bust, finding WTRL was worth the hassle. You guys can find drew here on the Technodrome as "drewizzle88" or on Instagram as @tmntdrewizzle88.

If anyone wants to add stills from the film below please do! It's cool to see these places in one form and then the other. In case you somehow missed my post about the farmhouse you can find it HERE.

Thanks everyone! Take care.

- Zach
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:36 AM   #2
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Yeah man, so much for that book being accurate. Luckily nothing beats locals in this case. We made a good team this weekend, just happy we were able to locate WTRL. I was happily surprised to learn the "mugging" and the turtles "first battle" all actually happened around the corner from the building used as WTRL.

Spoiler:




Another thing I wanted to point out was the red brick building down the road on the right, is the building you can see the side of in the movie trailer.



This shot that wasn't used in the 1990 film, where the turtles pop up out of the water, thats the building on the left of this shot, with WTRL and where the mugging took place in the background.


Here is one more image from Google maps that helps give you a feel for how it all ties in.


The building that you can see the side of in the trailer is shown here, this is the front side though.











^Screen shots in the spoiler tags
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:43 AM   #3
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Great pics. I visited these locations back in March but never posted them.

If anyone wants the address to it just Google the reel Cafe and its directly accross the street from there.

It's now a bar.
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drewizzle88 View Post
Yeah man, so much for that book being accurate. Luckily nothing beats locals in this case. We made a good team this weekend, just happy we were able to locate WTRL. I was happily surprised to learn the "mugging" and the turtles "first battle" all actually happened around the corner from the building used as WTRL.
We made an awesome team, indeed! It was great trudging around in the rain and getting to see these great locations. Thanks again, Drew!
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Old 06-13-2018, 02:11 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by tmntgeoff View Post
Great pics. I visited these locations back in March but never posted them.

If anyone wants the address to it just Google the reel Cafe and its directly accross the street from there.

It's now a bar.
Thanks again, Geoff. And c'mon, man, you know if you go somewhere nowadays but don't post pictures you were never really there

And yeah, WTRL is on Dock street. Can't remember the cross street, but it's easy to find following Geoff's advice.
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Old 06-13-2018, 03:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ZacksSoUgly View Post
Thanks again, Geoff. And c'mon, man, you know if you go somewhere nowadays but don't post pictures you were never really there

And yeah, WTRL is on Dock street. Can't remember the cross street, but it's easy to find following Geoff's advice.

Ya ever since photobucket started charging for hosting I rarely post up pics. I had photos of all my movie props on here and they are all gone.

I have a friend named Ronnie who is also posting some pics of the farmhouse, and even got into the cement plant. When I went there were about 50 workers there with dump trucks. He goes by tmntohio84 he has some great comparison shots too!
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:27 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tmntgeoff View Post
Ya ever since photobucket started charging for hosting I rarely post up pics. I had photos of all my movie props on here and they are all gone.

I have a friend named Ronnie who is also posting some pics of the farmhouse, and even got into the cement plant. When I went there were about 50 workers there with dump trucks. He goes by tmntohio84 he has some great comparison shots too!
Yeah, photobucket is weak for that. I actually follow Ronnie and have been seeing all his great pics and videos. Definitely jealous he made it into the cement factory. I went by while I was there and it was locked up. No way I was getting in without doing something illegal. haha
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:35 PM   #8
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Thanks for this thread!
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Old 06-15-2018, 05:00 PM   #9
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Yep, still looks like a dump.

Great work this this location.
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Old 06-17-2018, 01:46 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by oldmanwinters View Post
Thanks for this thread!
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Originally Posted by pferreira View Post
Yep, still looks like a dump.

Great work this this location.
No worries, Old Man. Thanks for the love.

And yeah, PFerreira, it was in good shape - but not a pretty building by any means. Thanks!
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