Saturday, August 05, 2017

Universal Studios, December 1969

Here are a few vintage photos from Universal Studios, circa 1969! 

One of the stranger "photo ops" at Universal was this odd and rather phony little waterfall. I guess it was supposed to reveal "the magic of the movies" or something. 

Woody Woodpecker was sometimes used around the park as a mascot (being one of Universal Studios' cartoon stars), but Andy Pandy is featured on the sign; in the 1940's, Fred Moore (one of Walt Disney's top animators, famous for his ability to draw pleasing characters) briefly worked for Walter Lantz, and this pose definitely echoes Mickey Mouse in a big way. Unfortunately, ol' Andy was not much of a personality. 

This nice lady's fashion sense seems to predict a kind of punk aesthetic, with the plaid skirt and the giant safety pin; all she needs is a pink mohawk. In fact, all I need is a pink mohawk.

Ah, the old Western Street! It makes me want to mosey on in to the saloon to order a glass of redeye (in a dirty glass). I can almost hear the clip-clop of horse hooves, and the jingle-jangle of spurs. Let's go into the general store and get some sundries; hard candy for me, a box of tenpenny nails for Pa, and cigars for Ma. 

It looks like we've moved out of the late 19th century and into the early 20th century. Paved streets and automobiles have changed the way cities look, while buildings are no longer weathered wood, but solid and sturdy brick and stone - the way a respectable town should be.

Movie backlots really are fascinating places. Turn a corner, and you're on a typical suburban street. Not far from that, you'll be in medieval Europe. Continue walking and you might be in a coastal Asian village, or 1940's New York, or a rustic Mexican town. 

I hope you've enjoyed your visit to Universal Studios!


Nanook said...


This iteration of the Universal Studios Tour certainly has a bit more going for it than today's [charmless] version - although the greater variety of things to do certainly does compensate for that lack of charm.

That tartan-clad gal seems to be standing in front of a poor man's version of Cascade Peak...

Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Ahh, the Old West, with its dirt streets, hitchin' posts, and portable lighting scaffolding. These are the hard facts that built America.

That young lady's skirt is a traditionally-constructed kilt, with leather straps on the left-hand side. That giant safety pin is a plain version of a "kilt pin," designed to keep the kilt from blowing open, which could prove somewhat embarrassing, particularly if the wearer is "going Regimental." And yes - we all need a pink mohawk.

The second photo was taken westbound on Denver Street. The freight station is out of frame to our left. The buildings on the right side of the photo are visible just to the left of the tram in this photo.

The third photo was taken in the Six Points area, looking southwest one street to the east of the street with the shallow church facade at the northeast end (sorry for the convoluted description, but not knowing the actual street name I don't know how else to describe it). Park Lake is behind us, with the riverboat behind us and to the right.

You can see the building on the right of today's photo in the upper, center left of this photo, to the left of the church facade to the left of the riverboat. The side in full sunlight is street side of the building in the right foreground of today's photo; the portion in shadow is behind the ladder and truck.

The cut on the hillside above appears to the road to Prop Plaza, which is just out of view to our right.

Despite all of the fires and rebuilding that have occurred over the years, satellite imagery indicates that all of the structures in this photo are still there, although it appears that they have moved the ladder.

Nanook said...

@ Chuck-

Oh my-! It's as if you're the official historian of USH. (You're not, are you-?). Thanks for all the info.

K. Martinez said...

But, but, but, but... I want a chartreuse Mohawk.

It's the old backlots of Universal Studios that hold interest to me. The rest is just a diversion albeit a good diversion.

Chuck, you're extensive knowledge of USH is amazing! Thanks! And yeah, nothing says old west like dirt streets.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I haven’t been to Universal Studios (Hollywood) since they added the Harry Potter stuff, but I took my niece and nephew years ago, and we did have fun. I just don’t know if that park bears repeat visits quite so often.

Chuck, thanks for all the info! I obviously didn’t do any research - I wanted to but didn’t have time. I swear I am considering actually breaking my thousands of days of consecutive posts for a break. Maybe a LONG break? Anyway, I love all the details about the photos, it really helps to make them a richer experience.

Nanook, if he isn’t the official Universal Studios historian, I don’t know who is. TokyoMagic! knows a lot too…

K. Martinez, listen, if you want to upset the apple cart and get a chartreuse mohawk, fine. In my day, kids got the mohawks that their parents wanted them to get.

Chuck said...

Just found a map of Universal with street names. That street in the third photo is known as "Avenue M."