Oakland's Fentons Creamery in Pixar film 'Up'
Peter Hartlaub, Chronicle Pop Culture Critic
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
The latest "Night at the Museum" movie has an advertisement for the Smithsonian Institution in the film's title. "Angels and Demons" places Tom Hanks behind the wheel of a new Fiat. Capt. Kirk from "Star Trek" uses his Nokia phone while speeding down a 23rd century road, and drinks Jack Daniels at the local bar.
The product placement included within "Up" has a more local flavor.
Oakland residents will do a double take when they see that Fentons Creamery - the 114-year-old ice cream parlor and restaurant - not only gets name-dropped by the Pixar movie's over-eager Wilderness Explorer character Russell, but later figures into the plot.
Fentons doesn't have a public relations staff, and only recently opened a second location in Vacaville. But it still received a cameo in one of the most anticipated family films of the year.
"Up" director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera live in Oakland and have young children they take to Fentons. The Piedmont Avenue eatery is also a favorite stop for Pixar employees who are celebrating completed deadlines and other events.
"We thought it was fun. We got applause when we showed that at the wrap party, because so many people go over and eat at Fentons," Rivera says, during an interview at Pixar. "We wanted something specific that sounded authentic. If you live here you'll get it, but it sounds like a real enough place that broader audiences will understand what this kid is talking about."
Scott Whidden, a third-generation Oaklander who has owned Fentons for more than 20 years, is still processing the news. In some ways Pixar's use of Fentons is surprising, and in other ways it makes perfect sense.
See the complete story at SFGate.com.