In a Hollywood moment Monday, a leafy Los Altos neighborhood was transformed back to the 1970s, when two irrepressible 20-somethings tinkering in a simple suburban garage set out to revolutionize humanity's relationship with computers.
The modest 1950s home on Crist Drive received a time-travel makeover as film crews for the movie "jOBS" began three days of on-location shooting at what many acolytes consider the Holy of Holies: the birthplace of Apple (AAPL) in 1976.
The vertical garage door was replaced with sliding ones. The blue-green exterior paint was covered with yellow. Sport utility vehicles and Mercedes coupes were removed from the street and wheels from a bygone era were brought in: a Pinto, a Plymouth and a brown Dodge van painted with rainbow colors and the words "Peace and Love" on the rear doors.
"It's weird," said Patty Jobs, Steve Jobs' sister who, like a few other onlookers, lived through the era. "It's a little bit eerie. I just stand there and stare. This was my childhood and it's a little overwhelming."
Actor Ashton Kutcher, sporting a scruffy beard, floppy cowboy hat and torn jeans, portrays the young and mercurial Apple co-founder for "jOBS," the movie that aims to retell the greatest computer tech story for the big screen. The film is a rival to the Sony Pictures movie that has tapped Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak as an adviser and hired Aaron Sorkin of "The Social Network" to write the script based on Walter Isaacson's biography "Steve Jobs." The "jOBS" movie is being shot in 31 days and could be released this fall.
Patty Jobs, who lives in Cupertino and for decades steered clear of the spotlight, quickly pointed out all the details the filmmakers didn't get right. Her brother drove a green VW van that was not painted in psychedelic colors. The furniture in the house isn't the same but more "frilly," in the taste of Marilyn Jobs, who married their father, Paul, after their mother, Clara Jobs, died of lung cancer in 1986. Marilyn Jobs still lives in the house.
"The living room was close but still too fancy," she recalled. "My parents were very simple, very plain. I found a lot of mistakes."
The neighborhood has long been unlike other neighborhoods. Tourists from around the country pose for pictures in front of the home. Sometimes they knock on the door.
Fifteen-year-old Megan Pope, who lives two doors down, is used to visitors asking her to point out the right house.
"My friends said they'd see him drive by," she said of Steve Jobs, who died in October.
Gene and Joan Tankersley, both in their 80s, lived across the street from the Jobses. They recalled the day Steve Jobs, a friend of their daughters, raced over to invite the couple to look at what he and Wozniak had created -- a boxlike device with a keyboard.
"It didn't' mean anything to us," said Gene Tankersley.
"He said, 'Everyone is going to want one of these things,' " added Joan Tankersley. "I said, 'Steve, what would I do with it?' He said, 'You can put your recipes on it.' I said, 'I like to put them on cards with rubber bands.' "
Still, beyond the occasional lookie-loos showing up, the street always remained sedate, said Guitty Mostafavi, who has lived in the area for decades.
"It was quiet," she said. "No one made any fuss about it."
That changed Monday. The commotion of scores of crew members who have descended on her street elevated the neighborhood's aura to a whole new level. Two giant motorized lifters hoisted huge screens over the house to filter sunlight. Set assistants roamed the front yard, yelling, "Rolling! Quiet all around, please!" And from behind the house: "Action!"
At one point, Kutcher's screams drifted over the house. It was a re-enactment of "when my brother was going through this primal-scream period," Patty Jobs said. "I once went with him to a primal-scream session. It was weird to sit in a room with a therapist and scream your head off."
Patty Jobs, two years younger than her famous brother, recalled him being unlike the siblings of her friends. She used to get irritated when he'd shower in the backyard with a garden hose.
"He kind of lived in the shed. I said, 'Do you really have to run around naked?' " Patty Jobs recalled.
It's unclear how Jobs would feel about the film. He fiercely guarded his privacy; then again, he invited biographer Isaacson to chronicle much of his life, up until his final days.
Joe Meduri, a former software designer who met Steve Jobs several times over the years, watched the film crew from a distance. He didn't think this would be the kind of project that would excite Jobs.
"I don't think he was someone who dwelled on the past," he said. "He didn't seem like he was sentimental at all."
Said sister Patty Jobs: "I don't know if he'd be too thrilled -- only if he had complete control over it."
Contact John Boudreau at 408-278-3496.