Thursday, June 29, 2017

Vintage Postcards - Universal Studios

Today's post (featuring the vintage postcards belonging to Ken Martinez) shines a spotlight on Universal Studios. When these cards were printed, there was only one Universal Studios, and that one was in Hollywood. Or next to Hollywood, at any rate. I have a real fondness for the old Studio tour and all of the stuff that visitors could see back in those days! Here's Ken:

Vintage Universal Studios.

Today is a quick visit to the classic Universal Studios, Hollywood.  This is a Southern California attraction staple right up there with Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.  Between the three big attractions, it’s the one I have the least experience with.

I like this postcard of the Glamour Tram stopped in front of 1313 Mockingbird Lane.  There seemed to be those who preferred “The Addams Family” and those who preferred “The Munsters” but I enjoyed both as a child.  I did have a special fondness for “The Munsters” though, probably because of its connection to the Universal classic monsters.  I always liked Al Lewis as grandpa.  This house also stood in for 4351 Wisteria Lane on “Desperate housewives”.

As a kid of the sixties, I grew up on the old Universal Monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man and the Mummy.  I’d always get excited seeing this postcard of Frankenstein and think about what I would do if I ran into him at the studio when I was a kid, but strangely I don’t ever remember encountering Frankenstein while at Universal.

Here we have a Wild West Stunt show.  Stunt shows seemed to be a staple at Universal Studios.  The last one I remember was “Water World”.  It’s been a while since I’ve returned to Universal. 

Hope you’ve enjoyed this quick visit to Universal Studios, Hollywood.

THANK YOU to Ken Martinez! I hope we revisit this park soon.


Chuck said...

I remember running into both Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera at Universal as a kid, and both completely freaked me out (I didn't develop an appreciation for the classic monster movies until I was in college, although I always loved The Munsters). My parents have a photo of Frankie holding my little sister at age 4, with a big, sly grin on her face. Pretty sure I was cowering behind my mom's leg.

Note how the stunt show audience is standing up. I wonder if that was normal at the time or if there were actually seats and the photographer had everyone stand because he/she thought it looked better.

Thanks again, ken, for sharing more of your postcard collection!

Scott Lane said...

As always, thanks for sharing guys. In all our visits to Universal I never saw any costumed characters either. Maybe it was a peak/summer thing?

Chuck: there were seats (benches) as of 1974 on our first visit. Can't say if there always were.

TokyoMagic! said...

Alfre Woodard kept her son locked in the basement of that house!

I believe that last postcard shows the very first location of the Wild West Stunt Show.....from the 1960's. The show moved in 1970 and the look of the sets also changed at that time.

Thanks Ken and Major, for sharing these!

TokyoMagic! said...

P.S. I remember seeing Frankenstein on a couple visits to Universal. I also remember seeing the Phantom of the Opera and Woody Woodpecker!

Grandpa Munster's basement laboratory was on display (complete with a Herman Munster figure) in a separate location at Universal.....separate from the house exterior, I mean. Major, you posted a photo of it way back in 2007:

Herman Munster

And does anyone remember when Shirley Jones lived in the Munster House, in her short-lived (1979-80) TV series titled, "Shirley"?

Anonymous said...

Major and Ken, these are fun postcards. I only visited Universal Studios once, but vivid memories remain.

My Dad lived in Lankershim for a while, which was right below the studios on the flat land in San Fernando Valley. It was a little town that later was swallowed up by North Hollywood or some other sprawl. He had memories of hearing the studio zoo animals roaring in the morning when they were fed. That was a long time ago.

We toured the set for "Ironsides", the Raymond Burr detective program, which was currently on the air. That brackets the time of my visit to 67-75, but I'm guessing it was around 1970.

Also, I was strangled by Frankenstein (I got better).


Nanook said...

@ JG-

Yes, it's hard to forget the Ironside "set", as it was a part of the tour when Universal was taking credit for just about everything Hollywood ever turned-out. They were particularly-proud of the fact many Ironside sets used ceilings - implying this was the first. I mentioned to the tour guide there was another infamous film that beat Ironside to the punch by just a few decades: Citizen Kane. He remarked something along the lines of, "Well, I'm unfamiliar with the film the gentleman is referring..." Uh Huh-!

Gotta love those days of the tour. But Let's not be too hard on them, they had yet to win their third Academy Awrard for Best Picture (and one of those films [Hamlet], they merely distributed).

K. Martinez said...

Chuck, I was into the Universal Monsters heavily as a child because my dad was a film buff and exposed me to every kind of movie there was when I was growing up. I'd love to see that photo of your sister with Frankie. Have you already shared it here on GDB?

Scott Lane, it was very possibly a peak thing or I just never had the luck to run into them or wasn't paying close enough attention. Of course I ran into Frankenstein and Mr. Hyde at home around Halloween since my father would dress up as those characters.

JG, you were strangled my Frankenstein? If only I had such luck when visiting Universal! That's a great story about your dad living near Universal and hearing the morning roars of the animals being fed. Sounds like a great memory.

TokyoMagic! I remember Alfre Woodward's son in the basement, but I don't remember Shirley n the Munster's house. Again, you're a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Southern California theme parks.

Nanook, your tour guide didn't know about "Citizen Kane"? Yikes! And I consider that film one the basics of film history. It reminds me of this YouTuber who gives video tours of WDW and said "Why are they serving pizza at "Pinocchio's Village Haus"? Pinocchio's not Italian."

Chuck said...

Ken, I have not shared that photo yet, mainly because it isn't scanned yet. My parents live a couple of Midwest states away, and I don't get to visit as often as I'd like (even less now that I'm working again and have no vacation time built up). Maybe next trip...

Anonymous said...

@Ken, my grandfather had a small farm and orchard of fruit trees in the Lankershim area. He sold that and moved the family out of state around 1924-26. If he had hung on to the land, it would be fantastically valuable today, but at that time, the whole area was rural farmland with plenty more further north.

Feeding time for the Universal lions was early AM, my Dad would be up working on their farm, and sound carries a long way in that quiet morning air. That was back before you could see the air in LA.


Sunday Night said...

Sorry I missed the 4000th post party yesterday. But wanted to add my congratulations and many thanks for all your work on this site. Your anniversary scans were top shelf. I did miss one - the kid who climbed the tree on Tom Sawyer Island!