“The Entertainment Capital of L.A.”Jun 9th, 2008 | By Lindsay | Category: Movie Locations
This weekend, for my birthday, my boyfriend surprised me with a day at Universal Studios Hollywood, which according to the entrance sign, is the “Entertainment Capital of L.A.” and is now just as expensive to visit as Disneyland – $70 per day! I must say that while I had a FABULOUS time on the Studio Tour (which lasts about 45 minutes), I was ready to leave the park by 1pm. LOL Besides the Studio Tour, Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride, and The Universal Experience attraction, there wasn’t a whole lot I wanted to see. I don’t know that I’d recommend spending the $70 to get into the park, unless you are a huge movie buff. For me, the Studio Tour alone was worth the entrance fee.
Even though it was a bit cheesy at times, I loved every single minute of the backlot tour!!! It was a blast and I could hardly sit still in my tram seat! The first stop we made on the tour was the entrance to Courthouse Square, from Back to the Future fame and, more recently, the location of the Universal fire. As we came upon it, my boyfriend said “Oh, that must be the War of the Worlds set.” I was like, “No, no – that was the real fire!” LOL I am happy to report, though, that the Clocktower that sends Marty back in time in Back to the Future was not harmed in the fire, despite news reports to the contrary. The Courthouse Square set is currently being used in the TV show Ghostwhisperer and it looks a bit different than it did when Back to the Future was filmed. The Courthouse is now made of brick and the clock is no longer there- it is currently in Universal’s storage area until Ghostwhisperer goes off the air, at which point they plan to re-attach it.
While the tram does go right by the fenced off, fire-damaged section of the backlot to give you and up close and personal view of the destruction, it unfortunately does not drive very close to the Courthouse or the New York Street sets, many of which are still standing. I was so looking forward to seeing that area of the lot, so I guess I am going to have to go back as soon as it is rebuilt and is part of the tour again! My boyfriend will be oh-so-happy about that.
Our next stops on the tour were a demonstration of a flash flood and rain storm, a drive through Old Town Mexico where the Tijuana episode of The OC was filmed and a drive through of the Old West set where the bar from Jessica Simpson’s These Boots Were Made For Walkin’ video is located. After that came the moment I had been waiting for all morning – the tour of Wisteria Lane from Desperate Housewives! Mia posted a comment on my previous Universal Studios post saying I probably wouldn’t be able to see the Wisteria Lane set as the area is usually closed for filming, but since it was during the summer, when most episodics are on hiatus, the street was open for us to view. YAY!
We got to see all the Housewives homes and they were all so much smaller than I had expected. Ironically my boyfriend said they were bigger than he imagined they would be, but I was just shocked at how tiny they were. To me they look like they were built on a 3/4 scale or something. Wisteria Lane is a little cul-de-sac which begins with Gaby Solis’ large yellow home (pictured above). The houses definitely look like sets – the flowers are all fake and I can’t quite put my finger on it, but they just don’t look like real homes. Possibly because of the size thing. Bree’s house (pictured at left) is by far the nicest and apparently was also used as the main home on the TV show Providence. I guess the first few episodes of Providence were filmed at a real house somewhere in LA, and subsequent episodes were filmed on the back lot. Looks like I have some research to do so I can stalk the real home!
Susan Meyer’s (Terri Hatcher’s) house was by far the tiniest of the street! I almost didn’t recognize it at first. It is a teeny, tiny yellow house with gable windows. In the picture to the left, though, it looks normal size. So wierd how cameras can do that! The magic of the movies! Wisteria Lane used to be known as Colonial Street where it was used in Leave It To Beaver, The ‘Burbs, Ghostwhisper, National Lampoon’s Delta House, The Munsters, Gremlins, and the Smashmouth Allstar video, as well as countless other productions. The exterior of the homes on Wisteria Lane change for each film shoot (with the exception of Bree’s house which looked exactly the same in Providence as it does in Desperate Housewives), so the houses at this time are not recognizable from other productions.
One of the last stops on the tour is a plane crash set from Steven Spielberg’s movie War of the Worlds. This set was absolutely incredible! Steven took a real 747 airplane and destroyed it for the movie and let me tell you, it was HUGE! In the movie a plane crashes into the middle of a suburban neighborhood, destroying homes and cars in the process. I think it is so cool that this set was left intact for stalkers like myself to tour long after filming was completed and I wish more productions did that. Imagine if the set from Friends was still around and was open to the public for touring! How cool would that be???
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: Universal Studios Hollywood is located at 100 Universal City Plaza in Universal City. You can visit the park’s official website here. There is a VERY cool site called The Studio Tour that gives a comprehensive and detailed history of Universal Studios (as well as other LA studios) and productions that were filmed on the lot. LOVE IT!