Unless you live in the middle of it, you might not realize how little of the work associated with “Hollywood” is actually done in Hollywood, California. (Conversely, I work in Hollywood at a job that has nothing to do with “Hollywood.”) Last Saturday, Tall Paul and I visited one of the places where Hollywood’s work has been done for more than eight decades: Warner Brothers Studios in beautiful downtown Burbank.
You may have done the Universal Studios “tour” out here, or in Florida. That’s a movie-themed theme-park ride. The Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour is exactly that: a 2.5-hour guided tour through the back lot, sound stages, and museums of a working TV and movie studio. It’s a group tour, but groups are capped at 12 people, and each tour is shaped by the personality of its guide and the interests of the visitors. Our group’s guide was Kacey, a recent college grad from Alaska who frequently had us out of the golf cart and exploring the sets, and we were encouraged to take photos except in the places where they weren’t permitted.
These pictures were taken in one of the two areas of the back lot used for filming city scenes–although it’s called “Chicago” street, it can stand in for a lot of places.
Although it’s part of the “Chicago” set, this alley famously filled in for New York in Spider-Man (2002)–it’s the site of the “hanging-upside-down-kiss-in-the-rain” scene between Spidey and Mary Jane.
Just a minute away from the “city” by golf cart was the iconic “Midwestern” setting of Anytown, USA, which you might recognize from its roles as a number of small towns.
This was the Town Hall in River City, Iowa, where “Professor” Harold Hill started leading those “76 Trombones’ down the street in The Music Man.
Apparently the gazebo is not a permanent fixture…but even without it, Gilmore Girls fans might recognize the Stars Hollow town green.
And speaking of those Gilmores, this is the exterior of the house where Lorelai and Rory lived. (It doesn’t really have an interior.)
Tomorrow: more streets, more sets, and some cars!
Disclosure: My husband and I purchased our own tickets for the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour at a slight discount from a “perks” program offered through my employer.