A Free View of Universal Studio’s “War of the Worlds” Set!Jul 3rd, 2012 | By Lindsay | Category: This and That
Many moons ago, shortly after we first met, Mike, from MovieShotsLA, took me to a place that quickly became one of my very favorite “only in L.A.” spots – a residential street from which the Universal Studios War of the Worlds plane crash set is visible. And even though I always make it a point to take visiting friends to the site (which is located on the 3400 block of Blair Drive in the hills just south of Burbank), I somehow forgot to add it to My Los Angeles Must-Stalk List back in May. I have since corrected the problem and figured that now was as good a time as any to blog about the location. (I also just turned My Must-Stalk List into a page on my site in order to make it more accessible to my fellow stalkers. I will be adding to the list as I discover more must-stalk locations, so check back regularly. )
When Mike first took me to the 3400 block of Blair Drive, I was absolutely aghast at both the fact that such an amazing set piece was so openly visible from a residential street and that it had not, for whatever reason, ever been written about in any of my L.A. guide books. That is the beauty of going stalking with someone born and raised in L.A., as Mike was. He knows the city – and all of its little hidden treasures – like the back of his hand. Mike had actually discovered this location back in the early ‘90s, before the War of the Worlds set even existed, while working for the radio station Power 106. When he first began his DJing job, the station moved him into a hill-top house with several other DJ’s. That house happened to be located on Blair Drive, directly across the street from what was then the site of Falls Lake – a 2.7-million-gallon water tank and green screen in the Psycho Flats area of Universal Studios. (Falls Lake was moved a few hundred feet west in 2004 to make way for the War of the Worlds set, but you can still see it in the background of the pictures below).
According to the fabulous The Studio Tour website, the War of The Worlds plane crash shoot took place on January 5th, 6th, and 7th of 2005 and the set was then left, virtually untouched, to be featured as one of Universal Studios’ backlot attractions. The only changes made to the set after the filming were the relocation of a few of the houses and the removal of some debris in order to provide a pathway for the tram to pass through during tours. Otherwise, though, the scene appears pretty much exactly the same as it did onscreen. SO INCREDIBLY COOL! On a side-note, one of my favorite movie lines ever was uttered in War of the Worlds. When Ray Ferrier (Tom Cruise – and I canNOT believe that he and Katie Holmes are getting a divorce!) begins making peanut butter sandwiches for dinner, his daughter, Rachel Ferrier (Dakota Fanning), informs him, “I’m allergic to peanut butter!”, causing Ray to laugh and say, “Since when?”, to which Rachel states, “Birth!” LOL LOL LOL
The War of the Worlds plane crash set is so realistic, it is almost unbelievable! I cannot even imagine living on Blair Drive back in 2005 during the filming and getting to witness not only the construction of the massive set, but the actual shoot. How incredibly cool would that have been?!?
It is actually quite surprising that I like this location as much as I do being that I am absolutely petrified of flying, but I guess that is the magic of the movies!
As you can see below, when the Universal Studios tour tram passes through the crash set, smoke begins to rise from several of the props.
The set features an actual Boeing 747 airplane that the production team cut up and distressed. Supposedly it cost $2 million in transportation fees alone to get the aircraft to the studio.
I visited Universal Studios way back in June of 2008 (you can read my post here) and snapped the below close-up photographs of the War of the Worlds plane crash set. As you can see, it is nothing short of incredible – no matter which vantage point you view it from!
From the 3400 block of Blair Drive, you can also catch a glimpse of one of the Whoville sets from the 2000 movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas;
the back of the house where Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) lived in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho;
and the Falls Lake green screen/backdrop.
Which I decided to have a little bit of fun with.
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Big THANK YOU to Mike, from MovieShotsLA, for telling me about this location!
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The War of the Worlds plane crash set at Universal Studios can be viewed from the 3400 block of Blair Drive, just off of Barham Boulevard, in Los Angeles.