An Absolutely Insane Link Between ‘Terminator 2′ and… Rodney King?
You won't believe this crazy and bizarre connection between the 1991 blockbuster Terminator 2 and the infamous Rodney King incident.
Our story begins during the principal photography of the movie. You may remember the scene in the beginning that sees Arnold Schwarzenegger's character walk into a biker bar stark naked, helping himself to a guy's clothes, boots and motorcycle. That scene was shot at the Corral Bar at 12002 Osborne Street in the Lake View Terrace section of Los Angeles.
The bar is no longer there, succumbing to a fire in 1997, and a library now sits in its place. But at the time of its filming, a plumber named George Holliday lived in a nearby apartment complex and decided to shoot some behind-the-scenes footage on his home video camera.
If George Holliday's name rings a bell, it's because he's also known for something else he filmed: the tragic and horrifying Rodney King incident. On the evening of March 3rd, 1991, officers of the Los Angeles Police Department stopped King on suspicion of driving under the influence. An unarmed King was brutally beaten on the street near the Corral Bar, where the Terminator scene was shot.
George Holliday captured this incident -- which Rev. Al Sharpton once called "The Jackie Robinson of police videos" -- from the balcony of his apartment... on the exact same tape of his behind-the-scenes Terminator footage. When Holliday sent this footage to news station KTLA, it still contained some of the Terminator footage.
Commenting to the Hollywood Reporter in 2021, Holliday said:
Before the beating, right across the street from where we lived was a biker bar, and they were filming Terminator 2: Judgment Day there. I actually have footage on the original tape of Schwarzenegger getting on the bike and riding off.
The LAPD officers involved were acquitted of using excessive force, sparking the infamous 1992 LA riots. During the riots, King made a televised appearance, pleading with the rioters:
I just want to say – you know – can we, can we all get along? Can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?
In the aftermath of the beating, King sued the city of Los Angeles and was awarded $3.8 million. He died in 2012 at the age of 47.
George Holliday, the man who filmed the incident, died in 2021, aged 61, from COVID-19 complications.
Terminator 2 was the highest-grossing film of 1991, earning over $500 million.