In Palos Verdes, a most remarkable set was constructed, a 2-acre park which looked as if it had been there forever.  Before Stanley Kramer’s crafty construction specialists arrived, it had been a dreary, shale-covered promontory overlooking the Pacific.  When the cameras rolled, it was a grassy dell of flowers, shrubbery and 70 towering, full-grown sago and fan palms. The transformation cost $40,000; the view of Catalina Island, 20 miles across the water, came free.

The film is “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and there is no mention of it in the book Mysterious Stranger or by David Blaine himself. The solution to the Challenge is referenced in the 41 clues as being “south thirty east” from the “seventy ascents,” or later, as “climb ten weeks to the route.”

However, on that fateful afternoon in September of 2002, after we had agreed that the “concrete timbers” was a suitable landmark, I began climbing up the stairs and counting them off as I went.

Could I help it, as I climbed to the seventieth step and gazed upon the neglected garden containing this one magnificient tree, that I heard the same choir of angels that Jonathan Winters had heard when he realized he’d discovered the “big W?”

I’d found our hiding place — a homage to the greatest treasure hunt film of all time.

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