January 17, 2008

Day Off in Hollywood

I spent my day off today up in Hollywood. I got up nice and early and took the train up to LA and then a bus over to Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank to take their VIP Tour. It was well worth the $39 (usually $45 but they had a discount day today) for the over two hour tour around the studio. We only had 3 people in our group total too so it felt like we got a more personalized tour experience. Despite the fact that there were no shows filming due to the writers' strike, it still was a lot of fun.

We started off in the back lot where we saw all of the outdoor scenes that they customize for numerous tv shows and movies. The highlights included the alley where the famous kiss from Spiderman was shot, the ER ambulance bay set, and the "any town USA" back lot set where they filmed Dukes of Hazard and Gilmore Girls.

After that we went up to the front lot where all of the sound stages are and drove by the many stages where numerous tv and movies have been filmed over the years. Unfortunately they locked up everyones' camera during this portion of the tour for privacy. The roads between stages were the very same that were used during the filming of Pee Wee's Big Adventure. If you remember the movie, its the scene where Pee Wee was getting chased around the movie studio on his bike. We were able to visit one currently filming sound stage for the tv show Chuck. It is the set used to film the scenes set at his home, a nice outdoor apartment complex. This sound stage is the same one that was used to film the George Lopez show. One of the guides showed us the makeup room which has its walls covered in autographs from various people and stars that dropped by the set over the years the show was taped. Some of the notable stars include Clint Eastwood, Eva Longoria and of course George Lopez. According to the guides, he is one of the friendliest people you will ever meet and was always sociable with the tours.

We then proceeded to the Prop House where they store all of the props used on the sets. In there, they had a mock up of all of the props used in the Central Perk set from Friends which was cool. After that we headed over to the transportation building and saw George Clooney's Batmobile, the General Lee and the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo.

The tour concluded at the museum. In there they had a few props and wardrobe from a variety of movies and tv series. There were such things as the door to their apartment from Friends, wardrobe from The Departed, the Dukes of Hazard and ER, and various awards for such movies as Happy Feet and Roots.

When I was finished with the tour, I headed back to Universal City to walk around Universal's City Walk and to grab some lunch. After that I headed back towards Hollywood to check out Mann's Chinese Theater with all of the hand and footprints in front. I was pleasantly surprised to see I wear the same shoe size as George Clooney. When I finished up there, I took a walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard to check out the Walk of Fame. I think anybody that has ever been even a little bit famous has a star on there. I finished my walk at Hollywood and Vine to take a picture of the Capitol Records Building and catch the train back to Long Beach. Overall, a fun and adventurous day. I think I prefer flying over the Hollywood area to being on the ground though.