Saturday, December 11, 2010

What's Up, Doc? (Warner Brothers VIP Tour)

Hi all -- Dianne here. One of the fun things we decided to do with Robyn while visiting was to take a studio back lot tour. Warner Brothers' tour looked like a good one, so we bought tickets for the three of us.

When the day arrived, Roger and I left Acton two hours before we were to pick up Robyn, because there was no way to avoid the infamous Los Angeles morning rush hour traffic.

As we drove out of the mountains, we didn't get far before traffic stopped on "The" 14.

As we got onto the 5, 405, then 101 it got even worse. The drive takes 45 minutes when there isn't much traffic, but it took every bit of the two hours we alloted for this trip.

We picked Robyn up and made our way to the studio in Burbank. Luckily it's not far from Robyn's apartment in Sherman Oaks. We all posed and mugged for the camera with the Daffy Duck statue out in front of the visitor's center.

Daffy Duck was one of my favorites, so I had my photo taken, too.

After a stop at the Starbucks inside the visitor's center and browsing the gift shop, our 10:00 tour started right on time.

Our tour guide, Freddie, was GREAT and really added value to the tour.  We hopped aboard a tram and Freddie stopped and gave us background information on some of the buildings in the back lot.  It was interesting to learn that the same buildings are used over and over, just dressed differently for each job.

This building was used as the orphanage in the original Annie movie (the one with Carol Burnett).

Freddie explained to us the different types of buildings. Some are nothing but fronts, and the scene stops the moment the actor enters the door. Others have space inside to film. There were times when we were not allowed to use our cameras -- they even locked them up in the tram to be sure. 

One such time occurred as we passed a back lot street where an episode of The Mentalist was being filmed. We could see an ambulance with flashing lights, a SWAT team vehicle, and lots of activity down the street. I was dying to get a view of Simon Baker, but it was not to be.... We'll be watching for the SWAT team vehicle in upcoming episodes and know that we were there!

We then entered the front lot area, which consists of the large studio buildings where inside filming is done on sets constructed right there at Warner Brothers. We passed by the Ellen studio, and then got to go inside the studio where Two and a Half Men is filmed. They were dressing the set for Christmas. It is amazing how small the sets look!   Freddie explained that the camera makes everything look bigger (even the actors).

We could see through the living room of the set onto the patio which is supposedly on Malibu Beach. In reality, that patio is very small, and the view would be of dusty props, if not for a background scene that is dropped into place. They use a rotating light behind the backdrop to make the waves appear to move.

Another interesting tidbit Freddie told us is that the wood living room floor and tile kitchen floor are actually faux painted, to allow the cameras to move smoothly over the concrete surface. They look real even up close!

Another fun area we toured was the old set where Friends was filmed. The couch and coffee mugs from "Central Perk" are still there, and we all got to pose with the props!

Here are some other photos of the set:

We were admitted to a museum to see actual props, including Heath Ledger's "Joker" costume and masks worn by his thugs in the Batman movie The Dark Knight.  I spent most of my time downstairs, but Robyn and Roger made a bee-line up the stairs where the entire second floor is filled with original props from the Harry Potter movies. Unfortunately, no photos were allowed in the museum.

We then toured a building where cars were stored, including the Batmobile.

Other cars included Scooby Doo's van and the "General Lee" from the Dukes of Hazzard.

Roger posed with the "Nerd Herder" from the TV show Chuck since, like ours, it's a Toyota Matrix.

Robyn posed with the Weasley's car from Harry Potter.

At the end of the tour, our guide, Freddie, took each family's photo in front of a "green screen" posing with magic wands from Harry Potter. You can get a glimpse of the "green screen" at the far left of the above photo of Robyn with Harry Potter.
At the end of the tour, we were each given our free photos. Instead of the green screen we were standing in front of, the final photo shows the dining hall at Hogwart's! I scanned ours onto our computer so that I can give the original to Robyn.

The whippet photo of the day is yet another shot of the boys snuggling with a blanket. This is a new throw we found at Camping World -- it's REALLY soft. Obviously my boys approve!


John and Ellen said...

Wow, this was a great post! Looks like all of you had tons of fun.

Margie and Roger said...

As usual you've had another fun day. Sounds like a really great tour!

Wayne and Maureen said...

Great tour of the all should be in the movies!

Benny said...

That was great!
I love the photos!