ASTORIA, Ore. — "It's a small museum because this is a historic jail that was built in 1914 and it was our real jail until 1976." McAndrew Burns is giving us a tour of the most famous jailhouse in Oregon, the Clatsop County jail in Astoria, Oregon. If it looks familiar that's because it was the site of a dramatic break-out involving the dastardly Fratelli clan in the 1985 movie "The Goonies."
It is now the Oregon Film Museum and Burns happens to be the executive director of the Clatsop County Historical Society. He may have told some of his stories a thousand times but he hasn't lost any enthusiasm.
"We're standing outside jail cell number 2 where Mr. Fratelli was kept and visitors to the Oregon Film Museum get to go in there," Burns said. "There's even a little sign that says, 'You Schmuck, you think I'd actually kill myself?'"
There's a cell next door loaded with "Goonies" memorabilia as well as a place to get your mugshot taken. There's a gift shop full of mementos from movies shot in Oregon, from "The Shining" to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," even "Stand By Me."
One room is dedicated to experiencing what it's like to make movies. Visitors can film their own scenes and email them to themselves.
"We want people to understand this rich industry of filmmaking right here in Oregon," Burns said. "We've been called Hollywood North."
Astoria especially caught lighting in the bottle in the 1980s with "The Goonies," "Short Circuit," "Kindergarten Cop," and "Free Willy." But the state's film history even includes Buster Keaton's 1926 film "The General," shot in Cottage Grove, which made The Sight & Sound critics recent poll for the 100 greatest movies of all time.
Before you leave, check out the messages posted by fans of "The Goonies."
"They're funny," Burns said. "They're poignant. They're these memories of childhoods."
Like "The Goonies," some movies never say die.
"These movies are multi-generational," Burns said. "And because of that, it's never going to end."