Last week, the 125-year old Oceanside house in disrepair at 102 Pacific Street received a fresh coat of paint, its first since 1985.
For all its problems — peeling paint, crumbling overhangs, and leaning porches — it’s not the unobstructed view of the ocean and the pier that makes the house worthy of an upcoming full-scale renovation, nor is it because it’s one of the last, original, Oceanside Victorian-style beach cottages.
No, it’s the bug of Hollywood that made this house famous and worth spending large sums to restore it, according to the City of Oceanside and its historical society
Known as the “Top Gun” house, the light-blue cottage was a filming location for Tom Cruise’s character, fighter pilot Maverick, and his older woman love interest, flight instructor Charlie, played by Kelly McGillis. The 1986 blockbuster film used five San Diego County locations, including the Top Gun fighter-pilot training school located at the then Naval Air Station Miramar.
Cruise’s character makes out with McGillis on her couch, on the porch of the cottage. In another scene, in a fit of anger after being shunned by Charlie, Maverick speeds away on his motorcycle, north from the house, down Pacific Street, with the ocean and pier in the background.
Cruise’s casting, and subsequent large box-office draw of Top Gun, has been credited as starting his career as a Hollywood “A” list actor. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for McGillis. Although she has continued to work regularly through the decades, Top Gun was her last blockbuster role.
The house sits on a large, vacant piece of land right on the bluff overlooking the ocean. It is owned by the City of Oceanside and already approved for a high-rise resort hotel, which should begin construction in October. The development’s deal included saving the house, which will eventually be moved and to another part of the resort and serve as some kind of a visitor facility, like maybe a gift shop.