Friday, March 20, 2009

Universal Studios

I have a soft spot in my heart for Universal Studios. Sure, my family went there occasionally when I was a kid. But I mostly remember looking at my Viewmaster Packet! I wore that thing down until it was only 2-D. Those were the days when there were props from "Land of the Giants", the lagoon had Lieutenant Commander McHale's PT Boat, and Alfred Hitchcock was the spokesman.

Thanks to my mysterious "6th sense", I can tell that this is a photo of Universal City. Oh, that and the giant sign on the hill. The sign is made of delicious milk chocolate with white chocolate letters. Yum. In the foreground, the stripey roofs of the Glamor Trams, which took you on a tour of the studio backlot in style and comfort.

The classic stunt show involved plenty of simulated mayhem. Breakaway chairs, sugar glass bottles, gunfights, fistfights, and the always-popular "man plummeting to his death" pictured here. I don't care what you say, even a controlled fall from that height is a scary proposition.

Andy Panda had not made a movie since 1949, but the Studio must have figured that somebody out there remembered him. Andy wishes that you were there with him, looking at that phony-baloney waterfall.

Even as a tadpole I remember being impressed with the realism of the studio backlots. It wasn't hard to imagine people really living and working behind those detailed fa├žades of plaster and fiberglass.


TokyoMagic! said...

Yesterday Walt Disney World and today Universal Studios....I love it! More fantastic vintage images. Thank you, Major!

I remember when they added a "quicksand pit" to that western stunt show!

Anonymous said...

You were a tadpole? Now you're... well, can't be a Gorilla, they don't blog... a frog?! A frog blog. A bloggin' frog!

Ok nuff mileage (ok, centimeters) from that angle. I like the chocolate sign. :) As for man plunging to death - yiy!

Thufer said...

gads i remember this. thanks for posting these.

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

I've got that same soft spot too Major! I filmed my first Super8 movie at Universal(1976), we watched Jaws attack the tram so many times that summer the film wore out!

At one time the stunt show had a quick-sand pit and the cowboy would sink and disappear. That always fascinated me, once I asked what it was made of and the gave me a handful, it was ground up cork! Nice post, Thanks!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Hey TokyoMagic remembers the quick sand pit too, sweet! Any photos of it out there?

Katella Gate said...

Question about the trams... were they side loaders and once the guests were in, the chrome rails shown above the roof swung down and formed an outboard railing?

TokyoMagic! said...

Yep, Katella Gate. That's how they worked. It's been a couple years since I've been, and I know they have newer trams now, but I think they still work the same way, don't they?

Chris Merritt said...

Cool! Hows about some Battle of Galactica shots?

Nancy said...

we've been there only once, on our first visit to DL in 2001. it was really cool to see the Bates Motel ;D

love the Universal City sign on the hill