Hooray for Hollywood!

Hooray for Hollywood!

Last month, Keao and I had a few days free so we hopped on a redeye to visit beautiful Los Angeles. I read about a two-hour tour of the Warner Bros. studio that included some glimpses backstage of some of Keao’s favorite shows and so after a quick five-hour flight on Hawaiian Airlines, we grabbed a car and headed toward Hollywood!

This may sound silly, but up until the tour, I didn’t realize that there were actually a group of brothers that founded the studio. I guess I never really thought about it. But in 1918, four brothers, Albert, Harry, Sam and Jack Warner, open the Warner Brothers Studios. In addition to the Looney Tunes series that I always associate with Warner Bros. they also produced a vast number of movies, television shows and musical recordings.

But enough history, on with the tour!

As we arrived at the VIP Studio Lot tour entrance, we were greeted by some of Warner Bros. most famous characters.

It's Bugs Bunny!
It’s Bugs Bunny!
And Daffy Duck!
And Daffy Duck!

After checking in and getting our tickets, we proceeded to watch a short film depicting the history and successes of the studio. We also met our very friendly and boisterous tour guide Caroline. We quickly made friends with the other ten or so tourists and boarded our tram for view into Tinsel Town.

Our first stop on the studio backlot was to a seemingly unremarkable street. Little did we know how remarkable that street really was. Appearing in numerous films and movies, the look and feel of the street made it easily transformable to fit in almost anywhere. Currently the street is the home to Pretty Little Liars but more importantly, it was also the home to one of Keao’s favorite shows, the Gilmore Girls.

Anytown, USA
Anytown, USA
Outside of Luke's Diner from the Gilmore Girls
Outside of Luke’s Diner from the Gilmore Girls

Caroline shared with us that since movies only film in on location at one time, many buildings have multiple uses. For instance, this building’s three sides are actually used to portray three different buildings: a fire department, the city hall and a high school. Also, most of the buildings’ interiors are completely empty because most interior shots are done on a soundstage or they, like the street outside, need to be changed to fit whatever is shooting at the time.

Is it the Fire Department...
Is it the Fire Department…
Or City Hall...
Or City Hall…
Or the local high school?
Or the local high school?

For the automobile enthusiast, we visited a collection of Batmobiles made famous in the Batman movies going back as far as 1989 when Michael Keaton played Batman (still probably my favorite, sorry Adam West).

IMG_2177
One of the many Batmobiles on display
It's the Bat-Signal!
It’s the Bat-Signal!
Will the real Batman please stand up?
Will the real Batman please stand up?

Right outside, and even more impressive to me, there was one of the original Nerd Herd cars from Chuck.

Maybe they're hiring!
Maybe they’re hiring!

After that, through the magic of Hollywood, we were transported to New York and the real reason we wanted to visit. Keao, being a huge fan of Friends, was dying to visit Central Perk. We spent a good amount of time going through the iconic, albeit tiny, coffee shop made famous by Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, Rachel and Phoebe. Our tour guide Caroline even let us sit on the couch!

Central Perk looks so much bigger on TV
Central Perk looks so much bigger on TV
What can I get you?
What can I get you?
We're standing on the very stage that Phoebe made famous with her original song, "Smelly Cat"
We’re standing on the very stage that Phoebe made famous with her original song, “Smelly Cat”
And of course, the couch
And of course, the couch
They have had the same menu since the 90s
They have had the same menu since the 90s

After driving by some of the soundstages, including those that currently house the Ellen Show and Conan O’Brien, we ended our tour with a stop at the Warner Bros. Museum. The two-story museum currently hosts a Batman exhibit on the first floor and a Harry Potter exhibit on the second. They also have a small exhibit in one of the side rooms that pay homage to the studio’s Best Picture Oscar winning films (in case you’re wondering what’s in the envelope that the presenters read to announce the winner, they have those on display too).

Short, straight and to the point
Short, straight and to the point

Not being a really big Batman fan (except for the Michael Keaton era) I didn’t really stay downstairs but spent most of my time on the Harry Potter floor.

Quidditch anyone?
Quidditch anyone?
Was a doubt I'd be in Gryffindor?
Was a doubt I’d be in Gryffindor?
Keao's new acromantula
Keao’s new acromantula
Even Hermione was on display
Even Hermione was on display

If you are interested in taking the tour, I would highly recommend it. We had such a good time seeing the locations and props from some of our favorite movies and television shows.

For more information visit vipstudiotour.warnerbros.com. Ask for Caroline, she’s the best!

2 thoughts on “Hooray for Hollywood!

  1. Thank you for sharing this, Scott. Sounds like you two had a great time. When I get back to Cali, I will definitely take this tour.

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