By Dave Otterbach
Sitting down at dinner over some grilled salmon, marinated mushrooms and potatoes, along with some simple, fresh greens, I had the special pleasure of talking with Doug Lumsden, the owner of Monterey Movie Tours. Listening to Doug’s well known and silky voice, it was an enchanting evening.
Where to begin? Let’s start with Doug’s charismatic passion in what he does. Doing what you love is something that you can’t hide and Doug fits this bill. “Do you know how many movies have been filmed on the Peninsula?” he asks me. I stop and think for a moment and guess, “Fifty to sixty?” thinking I might be a little on the high side. He says to me, “How ‘bout over 200 films!”
These films include silent movies in the early ’20s to Clint’s famous directorial debut Play Misty for Me, and others that have followed like Turner & Hooch and Star Trek IV, the Voyage Home. There is an amazing list of classic and lesser-known films, including the first million dollar movie touted by the studio that made Foolish Wives. The list of actors and directors is equally surprising including the sites that have long been Hollywood favorites. ”Did you know that Point Lobos has long been a Hollywood favorite film site? 17-Mile Drive? The Monterey Aquarium? Colton Hall in Monterey?” inquires Doug.
Taking the Tour was a fun and interesting ride. Even for a local like myself who make up 20% of his passenger load each day, I left with a greater appreciation of our beautiful Peninsula’s special history. When asking Doug what he loves most about what he does, he inequitably states: “I get to share with the rest of the world how special and beautiful this place is! Our customers literally come from every corner of the globe, and many ‘locals’ are repeat customers, bringing their friends and family members.”
A former banker of 20+ years, Doug had a longing to do something on his own and something unique. Initially, he sought to use his piloting skills and do scenic tours by air, but the math of the business just didn’t work, so he focused on a one-of-a-kind tour of the Monterey Peninsula.
Originally, Doug created Scenic Tour with his special multimedia tour bus that has eight DVD screens, can provide the Scenic Tour in eight different languages, and seats up to 33 passengers in total comfort including individual headsets. “We wanted to do everything just right,” says Doug.
Fate played a hand in today’s tour operation. At the request of the Monterey County Film Commission for the 30th Anniversary of Clint’s directorial debut, Doug did a special tour on sites where Play Misty For Me was filmed. “This Tour was the weekend right after 9-11 when there was no air travel and no one was going anywhere. Yet we still had a great turnout!” says Doug. And as they say, the rest is history.
Ten years and thousands of tours later, Doug is still driving his special bus providing everyone voice overs with energetic and interesting insights about the beautiful settings and unique movie history of our beloved Monterey Peninsula.