The 'other' studio tours of Los Angeles
Published: July 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM
But Universal's tour isn't the only opportunity for visitors to see a working film and television production facility in the Los Angeles area.
Warner Bros., Burbank
The two-and-a-half hour $49 "VIP" tour takes you on a cart around the Warner Bros. backlot, which is home to the new "Conan" show as well as "The Big Bang Theory," among others. If you want to drop a few more bucks, sign up for the $250 "Deluxe" tour, which runs five hours and includes lunch in the studio commissary. You can book your tickets online.
Paramount's two-hour studio tour costs $45 and takes you around the facility where "Glee" and Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush" shoot. There's no online booking; you'll have to call 323-956-1777 to reserve a date and time.
Sony, Culver City
Sony's $33 walking tour lasts about two hours and will take you past the sound stages for "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" as well as past some historic sets, such as those used in films such as "Men in Black." You can book online or reserve a custom group tour by calling 310-244-8687.
Universal, Universal City
For comparison, Universal's Studio Tour is a 45-minute drive through the backlot. You won't get close to live filming, but you will see historic sets, in addition to the King Kong 360/3D, Jaws and Earthquake attractions. The tour is part of a full-day admission, which is available online for $77.
Of course, filming abounds in the Los Angeles area. My wife and I were watching Legally Blonde on TV last week, and it took me a moment to realize that what the movie was passing off as Harvard Law School was, in fact, the hallway of our kids' elementary school in Pasadena. The LA film office used to publish a daily "shoot sheet," which told you what would be in production where on streets throughout Los Angeles, but it doesn't due that any longer due to "security concerns." So if you want to see film production "in the wild," just drive around looking for yellow rectangular signs with black block lettering, posted on street corners, then follow their arrows. Those are directional signs set out for film and TV crews, so they know where to park. Find one, and you'll find a production going on within a few blocks. You might not be able to get close enough to see any stars, but you can say you've seen a TV show or movie being filmed "in Hollywood."