Britney Spears dropped her debut album, “ . . . Baby One More Time,” 22 years ago this month. At the time, the then-17-year-old was already well on her way to becoming part of the zeitgeist, having released the single of the same name and accompanying music video the previous October and November, respectively.
Boasting throaty vocals and high-energy dance moves, the seminal video is arguably most famous for its leading lady’s attire, namely her schoolgirl uniform, complete with thigh-highs, tied-up blouse and pink feathered hair accessories, which she wears in the opening. The iconic costume not only invited controversy but instantly cemented Spears’ status as a pop phenomenon. But the school where filming took place is also notable.
“ . . . Baby One More Time” was lensed in its entirety at Venice High School, located at 13000 Venice Blvd. in the L.A. neighborhood of Mar Vista. Designed by the Austin and Ashley architecture firm, the Moderne-style campus was erected between 1935 and 1937. The video made extensive use of the school, shooting in the lower-level hallway of the east building, a first-floor classroom, the west gymnasium and the outdoor eating area.
The campus was famous long before Britney shimmied down its hallways, though, thanks to its appearance as Rydell High School in “Grease.” Like “ . . . Baby One More Time,” that 1978 musical made use of Venice’s outdoor eating area for the big “Summer Nights” number. The Fox series “Glee” later re-created that sequence in the same spot for a Season 3 episode. Other productions lensed on the premises include “Matchstick Men” and “American History X.”
Venice High also boasts several notable alumni including In-N-Out Burger founder Harry Snyder, Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham, and actors Beau Bridges, Crispin Glover, Myrna Loy and Gary Collins.