Postcards from Hollywood
Back in LA for a bit. Am continuing my Spincycle enthusiasm which is not going to end anytime soon. I thought I’d take a wee break to take you on a field trip.
We spent the afternoon the other day doing one of my Very Favorite Things: a movie studio tour.
I love movies. I am so glad I never worked in the movie industry and wrecked the fantasy of it all.
There’s something haunting about a place like Paramount Pictures. Imagine 65 acres where so many iconic movies and TV shows were made. It’s definitely weird to me that I can wander around a place like Paramount Pictures and be enthralled by walking past empty buildings and narrow lanes. But I was! I was enthralled!
December 30, 1913: “WANT AUTHORITY TO RENT BARN IN A PLACE CALLED HOLLYWOOD FOR $75 A MONTH. . . . CECIL B. DEMILLE.”
Katharine Hepburn. Harrison Ford. Elizabeth Taylor. Gregory Peck. Robert De Niro. Al Pacino. Robin Williams. All worked here.
So many superfamous movies and TV shows were created here: The Godfather movies. Sunset Boulevard. I Love Lucy. Star Trek.
And parts of some of my favorite Alfred Hitchcock movies: Rear Window, To Catch a Thief, The Trouble with Harry.
The entire set for Rear Window—the courtyard of a Greenwich Village neighborhood—was built on Stage 18. (Read about how they did it here.)
The illusions are part of the fun when it comes to a movie studio tour.
Generic New York City subway stop. Add signs as needed.
Greenwich Village. Add hardware and light fixtures to match whatever era you’re shooting. The bricks are not bricks, at all.
Fakey fake fakeness everywhere.
The Red Sea in The Ten Commandments is a parking lot when not filled with 900,000 gallons of Red Sea. The California sky doesn’t look right on film, so they fake it with a giant backdrop.
The TV series This Is Us was shot here, and they just wrapped production for its final season.
I was pretty sure that I’d come across the Pearson family any minute. Who’s watching? Tonight’s penultimate episode is the one that so upset the show’s star, Mandy Moore, that she threw up when she first read it. It must be so trippy to be a character for so long.
As always, Hollywood has me in its grip. Travel is so good for getting out of one’s head for a bit.
An Oscar really does weigh eight pounds! (This one is for Love Story. Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw, remember? So great.)