Daily digest: Top Gun House is now a pie shop, remembering the late Death Star animator Colin Cantwell, and more

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Daily digest: Top Gun House is now a pie shop, remembering the late Death Star animator Colin Cantwell, and more

The Top Gun House pre-renovation and relocation. (cultivar413/Flickr/CC BY 2.0)

Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend everyone! This edition of our regular news roundup features the creators of fictional universes, historic homes, and domiciles that would not be out of place on Zillow Gone Wild.

Here’s what you need to know today:

Sun Ra’s house is now a Philadelphia landmark

At its May meeting, the Philadelphia Historical Commission overwhelmingly approved the addition of the Sun Ra House to the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. The Afrofuturist composer, musician, and poet Sun Ra lived and worked at 5626 Morton Street from 1968 until his death in 1993. The Germantown rowhouse (also known as the Arkestral Institute) is still occupied by members of the Sun Ra Arkestra, an afrofuturistic jazz band initially led by Sun Ra.

Marshall Allen, a key member and current band leader of the Sun Ra Arkestra, explained the atmosphere of the house in the nomination: “It’s a commune. All the musicians living here would have other skills as well. One could fix doors, another could cook, others were good painters. We were doing everything ourselves. We sewed our own costumes. We even had a vinyl press for some years and we glued the label on the LP’s ourselves. Over the decades we eventually manufactured some 500,000 records in this house.”

H/t to Hidden City

Now’s the chance to own the Detroit-area “Smurf House”

An, uh, architecturally distinctive suburban storybook home with a cartoon-blue roof just hit the market for a cool $4.2 million.

The “Smurf House,” as the West Bloomfield Township house is locally known, was built in the 1920s and features a Cotswold-style roof that’s meant to reference the waters of nearby Pine Lake. The $4.2 million price tag doesn’t just reflect the (dubious?) honor of owning a semi-goofy local landmark. The listing states the 3-acre property has “nine fireplaces, a seven-car garage and storage house, sleeping porch-equipped bedrooms, [and] a boat dock,” as well as lake frontage.

H/t to New York Post

The Top Gun House is now a pie shop

Oceanside, California’s Mission Pacific Hotel recently announced that it has turned the Queen Anne bungalow featured in Top Gun into a pie shop. High-Pie will serve both hand pies (i.e. tiny pies) in traditional flavors, as well as fried pies on a stick out of the 1880s home. After a meticulous restoration that brought the house back to its 1986 color scheme, the structure was relocated from its original location at Pacific Street and Seagaze Drive to the courtyard of the beachfront hotel. 

According to the Oceanside Historical Society, Paramount Pictures selected the house as the residence of astrophysicist and TOPGUN instructor Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Blackwood (Kelly McGillis), and the romantic interest of Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise). Since its 1986 release, the San Diego County home has become a popular tourist attraction.

“We are thrilled to open the doors of Top Gun House and share this beloved historic icon with the city of Oceanside,” Michael Stephens, area manager of Mission Pacific Hotel and The Seabird Resort, told Hotel News Resource. “Adapting, preserving and relocating a nineteenth-century bungalow was a significant undertaking, but the work has been well worth it. We are proud to introduce Top Gun House and celebrate the grand opening of Mission Pacific Hotel and The Seabird Resort.”

Top Gun House is open every day from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

H/t to Hotel News Resource

Colin Cantwell, animator who designed the Death Star, dies at age 90

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Colin Cantwell worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) but he “was most renowned for his work with George Lucas on Star Wars, designing and constructing the prototypes for the X-wing, TIE fighter, Star Destroyer, and the Death Star, among others.”

His interest in architecture and space resulted in a varied career. Cantwell almost attended Taliesin to study architecture at the personal invitation of Frank Lloyd Wright; later, he worked for NASA, wrote science fiction books, and programmed software for Hewlett Packard monitors that enabled them to bump up the display from a few hues to around 5,000 colors.

“Colin’s imagination and creativity were apparent from the get-go. He was there at the very beginning and the first one to design spaceships and prototypes for A New Hope. His artistry helped me build out the visual foundation for so many ships that are instantly recognizable today,” Lucas told “His talent was and remains evident for all to see.”

H/t to the Hollywood Reporter