Wednesday, September 28, 2016
I have a lot of fondness for Universal Studios in the 1970's. Who remembers when Alfred Hitchcock did commercials for the park?
The Devlin family has about a dozen pictures from Universal, I think you'll get a kick out of them!
We'll start with this photo, showing a young woman being carried off by Frankenstein's monster (though his friends -like me- call him "Frankie"). She doesn't look very worried. As a kid I always looked forward to seeing Frankie, or the Phantom at least. Meanwhile the couple in the background is breaking at least 3 laws by carrying a bag from Disneyland.
I can't tell if the girl is one of the Devlin sisters (Judy or Mary) all grown up; or it could be a girlfriend of one of the boys. If only there was someone who could tell us!
The "Glamor Trams" took visitors on a 2+ hour guided tour of Universal's historic backlot... I sure loved it! Among the sights was a particularly cozy (and oddly familiar) street known as "Colonial Street" - later "Wisteria Lane". This house (the "Dana Home") was used in a 1941 Deanna Durbin film called "Nice Girl", and Ronald Reagan lived there in "Bedtime for Bonzo" in 1951. It was later used in "Desperate Housewives" - a show I managed to miss completely.
I believe that this next house is one that was built for the 1955 movie, "The Desperate Hours", and was known at the time as the "Paramount House". It was apparently used in the third season of "Leave it to Beaver", as well as "Marcus Welby, M.D." From what I gather, this house was moved to another part of the lot, and a different home was built for the 1985-1989 series, "Still the Beaver", which was way better than that crummy old black and white original show.
Here's a familiar view from the upper backlot looking down on the lower lot, with "Park Lake" and "Little Europe". Note the riverboat in the lake. In 1973 the "Parting of the Red Sea" effect was built there, so presumably this is pre-73. Past the Lakeside Golf Course you can see Warner Studios, and just above that, the Walt Disney Studios. Beyond the Verdugo Hills is the end of the Earth.
Zooming in a bit, you can see the riverboat in the lower left. The empty concrete channel for the Los Angeles River (the most beautiful river in the world!) can be seen. Near the riverboat you can just see a small homestead that appears to be stuck in a perpetual winter...
...and here it is up close! I can't find anything about this feature - was it built strictly for the tour, or was it used in a move? "Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House and Then Makes Snow Cones Out of Real Snow But They Taste Kinda Funny". The snow looks very convincing.
Many thanks to the Devlin family - there will be another batch of Universal Studios photos coming up next week!