I went to high school in Fremont California, which back then was a really boring suburb in the San Francisco East Bay. By all accounts it’s still boring as hell, but it is now home to the largest group of immigrants from Afghanistan in the United States. So much so that it has the nickname of ‘Little Kabul’. This is a huge change to the area, because thirty years ago is was almost all white and quite racist. That is what made MC Hammer’s move to the area in 1991 really strange and fascinating at the same time.
Why would a rap star from Oakland want to live in a mansion in Fremont to begin with? Fremont was boring and totally devoid of culture. There were no large or even medium sized venues for live music. The most exciting thing to happen every weekend there was the Rocky Horror Picture Show that was screened at an old school type theatre on the main drag. I honestly don’t remember the name of the place and I only went a handful of times before I got really bored of it. To this day I cannot watch that film without flinching.
I guess maybe MC Hammer still wanted to be close to Oakland and Fremont was considered more safe? His mansion was in a gated community. However, it was really easy to get through because all you had to do was follow another car in. It was kind of a ‘thing’ to drive around in that area and stare at all of the really gaudy mansions. There was a whole section of that gated community where nothing was built yet so people would drive into that bit and party.
One of the strangest aspects of this entire thing was running into MC Hammer’s crew around Fremont. Everybody saw them at least once. I especially remember the dude with the diamond shaped hair. I saw him at Newpark Mall and at The Hub shopping center.
All good things must come to an end. In 1996 MC Hammer declared bankruptcy and in 1997 sold his Fremont mansion for just over 5 million dollars. Somebody paid over 5 million to live in Fremont? It boggles the mind!
It’s not very often when the sequel to one of your all time favourite movies ends up filming some scenes in the really boring Californian suburb where you are living. The principal photography for Terminator 2 took place from October 9th 1990 to March 28th 1991, so it happened within that time frame, but I quite honestly don’t remember the exact month. Camera phones had not been invented yet so I do not have any photos to prove it, so you are going to have to take my word on it. I’ve told this story so many times through the years that I’m sure that if you have known me in real life for any length of time you have heard it before.
I heard about T2 being filmed in a local office park through word of mouth. All of the weirdos in the Fremont area knew all of the other weirdos, and there was talk about whether anybody could actually manage to sneak onto the set of the film. It was kind of a dare type thing, and since I was a huge Terminator and Arnie fan I took that to be a challenge and ventured forth.
There were two other people with me as I made my way to the Valhalla of Terminator fandom. I remember knowing the general area where it was happening so I didn’t really have to drive around looking for it. Once there is was quite a site to behold. There were a bunch of cop cars in front of the building, the same as in the film, and there was maybe a group of twenty people in lawn chairs on a grass strip located outside of the yellow taped off area of the front of the set. From what one of them told us there was going to be a helicopter sequence filmed later that night. There was indeed a helicopter in another area of the large parking area. It was very evident that there was no way I was going to make it onto the set from the front area because of the lawn chair brigade and the film crew milling about.
We got back into the car and drove around the business park. To our amazement the back entrance to the set had only yellow tape guarding it, there was no security! It still kind of trips me out that there wasn’t any. I guess Cameron and the producers thought why bother since the set was in a boring suburban business park. I parked my car and the three of us snuck under the tape and walked very slowly along the right side of the Cyberdyne building. There was absolutely nobody there, and after a couple of minutes we came upon some really giant fans that were going to be used for the helicopter scene. We almost made it to the right corner of the building before we decided to head back because we were within twenty feet of the cop cars, and there had been some crew milling on the other side of them that we had seen before.
I ended up being the only person in my friend group who actually got onto the set, which I have worn as a badge of honour for almost thirty years! Yeah, I’m a total film nerd and Arnie fangirl.