Universal Studios Hollywood turns 50
On July 15, 1964, Universal Studios Hollywood
debuted its pink and white "Glamor Trams," and welcomed visitors back on to its production lot for the first time since the silent movie era.
Some souvenirs from those early Universal tram tours
In true Hollywood fashion, Universal Studios is celebrating turning 50 by ignoring its birthday and getting a facelift instead. Construction continues on the $1 billion-plus "Evolution" plan that already has brought Transformers and Despicable Me into the park, and soon will deliver a new Fast and Furious encounter to the park's famous tram tour, a Springfield dining area next to The Simpsons Ride, and, biggest of all, the Hogsmeade village of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will open in 2016. These days, Universal's focus appears to be on its future rather than its past.
Not that Universal isn't looking back at all. Wander down to the park's lower lot and you'll find a nice display commemorating the park's history in the Universal Experience exhibit, next to Transformers.
50 years of props and costumes, as well as the park's animatronic ET (evicted by Revenge of the Mummy)
Other than that, though, there are no announced celebrations or events planned to commemorate the anniversary today. So let's wish Universal Studios Hollywood a happy birthday anyway, even if the park seems reticent to honor itself. Oh, and always, if you're in the park today, be sure to ask for Babs.
I love this park. Been going to it ever since the early 90's. I have many fond memories of Universal Studios Hollywood. Its geography and the fact that it's in a working movie studio make it very unique.
The tram tour felt like a real studios tour then. It now seems like an excuse to just visit the sets that saw no action for years. The movie studios don't film much in California due to tax incentives in other states and countries. Just make the tram tour into a ride, which it is.
"The movie studios don't film much in California due to tax incentives in other states and countries."
Not kidding. Production is moving away.
If you want to see the real sets Anon, you have to pay for it. Take the Universal VIP tour and they'll let you walk on current sets (not filming at the time of course).
"you have to pay for it"
Anonmouse: "don't film much" is different than a decline in filming.
I was there just last month and the crowds at Universal were the biggest - by far - of any of the other parks we had visited in the previous two weeks. Bigger than I ever remembered them in the past. By afternoon you COULD NOT MOVE through that park because of the crowds. Can't imagine why Universal would need to "give away" their park in anticipation of WWoHP in 2016 when the crowds just keep coming in droves.
No question that the backlot tour needs some help. Back in the day when the tour was split into two parts with a layover at prop plaza in between it was such a unique experience. But that was when TV production and movie making seemed like magic and it was so exciting to get a glimpse behind the curtain.
This is right up my alley... I am hopelessly infatuated with anything movie related. Going to visit Universal Hollywood someday. I have been to LA quite a few times, but always for business. I'd love to take a day trip from Vegas on the next visit, maybe one night in LA.
A lot of movies and TV shows are moving productions to other destinations due to tax incentives and other production cost savings. However, Hollywood is still the epicenter of the entertainment universe. It is still typically cheaper to film in California than anywhere else in the world because all of the professionals live there and suitable working sound stages are available. Sure, many TV shows, particularly ones on cable, that use quite a bit of on-location shooting, film elsewhere (especially Vancouver, BC and New Mexico), but many still are supported by firms in Hollywood, and many still do soundstage and ADR work in California (long-established productions do build stages and recording studios near locations in many instances, but it's still pretty rare, and expensive).
The movie studios don't film 'as' much in California due to tax incentives in other states and countries.
I probably wouldn't even go as far to say that Anon...
@Russell: I hate to ask, but what proof do you have to your assertions. You certainly skipped my links above. To say filming in Hollywood is steady is nonsense. Hollywood went from number one in pilot filming to number 2 or 3, which in marketshare means less then 30%.
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