So Far and Yet So Near

Long a fan of the movies in general and Dustin Hoffman in particular, Brian Johnson of Orange hopped into his van and headed to rural Nevada in July the moment he read that the cast and crew of “Rain Man” would be filming on location outside Las Vegas.

A window cleaner by profession while he pursues a degree in cinematography at Cal State Fullerton, Johnson was hoping to witness a major-studio production in progress. He rolled into Blue Diamond (pop. 300) and Pahrump (pop. 1,000), towns where scenes in a desert diner and self-service laundry were shot.

The trouble was that Johnson got there a day late: Shooting had wrapped, and the crew was gone.


It wasn’t until months later, after “Rain Man” was released and Johnson was reading stories about the movie, that he learned the bitter truth: The very day that he got to Pahrump, “Rain Man” was setting up shop to film the movie’s final scenes--at the train station in Santa Ana, a few miles from home.

“I drove 750 miles,” Johnson said, throwing up his hands, “and Dustin Hoffman is in Santa Ana.”