Thursday, May 03, 2012

More Universal Studios, March 1985

Today I have the final four images from a lot of Universal Studios slides, circa 1985. If they feel like cold leftovers, it's because that's kind of what they are!

Here's a happy fellow, posing with Woody Woodpecker, Universal's biggest animated star (who remembers Andy Panda?). Woody was one of those characters I could never really love, because he was mostly an obnoxious troublemaker. Lucky for him, he had a memorable theme song and laugh that kids liked to imitate!

The venerable Wild West stunt show was a staple at Universal for years (although I'm not sure if they still do anything like it today). It consisted of controlled mayhem... punching, shooting, sinking in quicksand, falling from balconies, stuff like that. Fun for the whole family! See that building kind of in the center, with the two open windows?

Well, in this picture one of the windows is spattered with gore. Sweeeeet!

And finally, here's a blurry shot of Universal's suburban street, known today as "Wisteria Lane" (formerly called "Colonial Street"). The home at the end with the pointed cupola is the former Munster mansion!

I promise I have better Universal Studios pictures to share with you in the future!


TokyoMagic! said...

Great Universal pics, Major! I had the day off today and went back to Universal Studios (I had bought an annual pass when I was there last week). The western stunt show area has been demolished. The bleacher seats are gone and so are those western buildings. The walls that used to be behind the bleachers are still there with just a big open area of concrete where the arena used to be. Very sad. Even sadder is the fact that they tore down the stone War Lord Tower which is visible in the distance of both of your stunt show pics. Geez, Universal is JUST as bad as Disney and Knott's! NOTHING IS SAFE!

Oh yeah, and they also ruined the Munster house a couple years ago! I'll send you a photo of it that I just took today, Major!

stu29573 said...

I think the house closest to the camera in the Colonial Street shot is the Ghost and Mr. Chicken house (frequently confused with the Psycho house...

Nancy said...

I was at Universal in California just one time in 2001 when we took our first visit to Disneyland. I dont remember seeing this show then (dont now how long ago it has been since they were torn down :*(

I do remember my favorite part was the Backlot Tour, where we saw the Bates Motel and Norman's house. What a cool feeling to know that we were really THERE.

We went to Universal also a few times on our trips to Walt Disney World, and interestingly, the only picture we ever had with a character was also Woody Woodpecker. (We did see Popeye and Olive Oil but the line was really long for a pic with them, so we just snapped one as we went by.)

PsySocDisney said...

Nice! More gore splatterings please! Maybe add some to the waterworld show?? Or Wisteria Lane... Whatever :)

Douglas McEwan said...

Just last month I visited Universal, but not on the tourist tour. I was with a friend and her husband visiting from London, and her brother works at Universal in "Legal." The four of us got to tool about the backlot BY OURSELVES on a golf cart. As long as we stayed out of the way of the trams, we could go where we wanted - and get out of the cart and take pictures!

I'll send you some of the great pictures we took, of me checking in at the Bates Motel, and actually knocking on Norman Bates's front door! Of hanging out in "Whoville," of strolling about the Frankenstein Village set, of playing on the crashed airliner set from Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

The only place we couldn't get out and romp was "Wisteria Lane," as it was a"Hot Set," still shooting. In fact, elsewhere on the lot, we encoutered the Desperate Housewives crew shooting scenes.(First week of April) We got to tool about Wisteria Lane, but we were not allowed to get out of the golf cart while there.

Incredibly fun day.

Major Pepperidge said...

TokyoMagic!, do you think that all of that stuff has been demolished in preparations for the upcoming "Harry Potter" addition? Bummer about the War Lord tower, that was always a handy landmark. Remember the Conan the Barbarian show there?

stu29573, those Don Knott's movies (The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Reluctant Astronaut, The Shakiest Gun in the West) were all part of my childhood viewing!

Nancy, I would love to see the Universal Studios in Orlando, I've heard lots of cool stuff about it.

Hannahx2, I only wish I had more gory spatterings! No such luck though. I do have a slide from an autopsy, it's pretty gross….

Doug, you were kind enough to share your photos from that private tour, what an amazing experience! I hope to get to do that some day.

scott8637 said...

thanks Doug and Major for sharing these wonderful pictures.

Douglas McEwan said...

Thanks for reminding me I'd already sent them. I won't resend them then. (I wasn't sure, so I intentionally waited a day to see if you posted a remark like you did letting me know I'd already done so.) One of the shots of me knocking on Norman Bates's front door is know framed on my living room wall.

I vividly remember the Conan Stage show at Unversal in the 1980s. I have some vintage, mid-1980s shots I took at Universal then, including a couple from that show and some from the A-Team stunt show. The guy who did the rope-slide in the A-Team stunt show (Alex Daniels) was a dear friend of mine back then, and got me in free and taken about backstage at all the shows they were doing then. The Conan show was friggin' amazing! It cost $4,000,000 to mount that Conan stage show, and all the money was there on the stage, as they say.

TokyoMagic! said...

Major, I just now went back and saw your last comment/question. The Stunt Show has been gone for a while....even before the Harry Potter area was announced. As far as I know, the Harry Potter "land" won't extend over that's supposed to take out the area from Waterworld all the way up to the Curious George playground. I think there was speculation that the Amphitheater might even be sacrificed. When I was there on Wednesday, there were no signs of construction yet and they were still running the Waterworld show.

TokyoMagic! said...

Oh, and yes, I do remember Conan. I even remember when it was the Make-up show and they'd pic and man and woman out of the audience and make them up as Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein while the audience watched. Then that theater became "Castle Dracula." Then they added the Hulk to that show, then the show was replaced by Conan the Barbarian and now it's the Special Effects Stage Show (there may have even been a Spider-man thing in there after Conan!

Major Pepperidge said...

TM!, I can't say I will miss the old stunt show a lot, but it was such an integral part of the Studio experience for so many years. That and the animal actors show!

I thought that the Harry Potter show was going to dominate a lot of the upper part of the park, but don't really know where the borders are going to be. Hopefully they will make it big enough, and not try to cram it into a too-small space.

The main thing I remember about the Conan show is the laser effect with smoke and a radiating laser - hard to explain, but I always associated it with The Who!