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Whoa! ‘Bill and Ted’ marks 25 years since adventures in Phoenix

PHOENIX — This week marks the 25th anniversary of a comedy cult classic filmed in the Phoenix area.

Strange things were afoot, indeed, during filming of “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.”

The movie, released in 1989, was filmed in the Valley two years before. Coronado High School in Scottsdale served as the San Dimas, Calif., school where the titular characters were students. The auditorium at Coronado was torn down years ago but the mosaic, visible in the opening scene when the goofball duo leaves campus, was saved and moved to the new auditorium.

Other Valley locations included AMF Tempe Villages Lanes bowling alley, Metrocenter Mall in Phoenix, which served as the San Dimas mall and the Circle K at Hardy Drive and Southern Avenue in Tempe was the site where the movie’s plot develops.

Bill (Alex Winters) and Ted (Keanu Reeves) ask strangers for help with their history assignment when Rufus (George Carlin) arrives in a time-traveling phone booth. From there Bill and Ted decide to gather up historical figures for their report and off they go, meeting Billy the Kid, Lincoln, Napoleon and many others, along the way.

Valley filmmaker Randy Murray said although the film isn’t “Gone with the Wind”, “The Wizard of Oz” or any other cinematic classic, it certainly was worthwhile because it was fun.

“It was a movie that humanized a small group in the community, making the surfer dude somebody we like. We have all these subcultures that we shun or embrace. This movie changed how we perceive them,” Murray said.

The Valley embraced the movie, he said,

“That was special. It hit a nerve. We look back 25 years ago and it was fun,” Murray said.

“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” was also a money maker. Production costs were $10 million but the box- office return was $40 million.