Pismo Beach is a wonderful place for so many reasons, and the creative types in the entertainment industry have long referenced the Central Coast city in both film and television productions. Out of the many recent examples of Pismo Beach being a part of popular culture, perhaps the most famous is in The Big Lebowski, the cult classic made by the Coen Brothers and starring Jeff Bridges as the film’s protagonist, Jeffrey Lebowski.
In the film, one of Mr. Lebowski’s bowling friends passes away after an incident involving a group of angry nihilists. The friend, played by Steve Buscemi, suffers a heart attack and is subsequently cremated. Mr. Lebowski – also known as “The Dude” – and Walter Sobchak, a character played by John Goodman, hold the service for Buscemi’s character, Donnie. During the eulogy delivered by Goodman’s character, he mentions Pismo Beach as a favorite location of the deceased, a place he frequented for its ideal surf conditions.
The pop culture references go back to the days of Dragnet, when Bill Gannon is famously rejuvenated by the city’s clams in the made-for-TV movie. After just three weeks in Pismo Beach, Gannon comes out of retirement and rejoins the LAPD, claiming the clam chowder as having made all the difference.
There are other references, of course, but these are certainly among the most memorable. The city is so frequently referenced because it is one that stays in the memory of visitors and residents alike. Just as those who take a memorable vacation are compelled to share the details of their trip by writing Occidental Vacation Club reviews, the writers of these television shows and movies are simply sharing their experience in the manner in which they are able.