Saturday, September 21, 2019

More From Universal Studios, September 1974

I'm using up the last few scans from a 1974 collection of photos from Universal Studios, next to (but not in) Hollywood.

Sorry about the backlighting. Even through the murk you can see a number of people sitting on an oversized bench, located in the Prop Plaza. Unusually large benches are fun! Not as fun as a very large lollipop, but then again, what is?

Well, here's a conundrum. Or maybe a fine kettle of fish? Check out this display with the lifeless corpse of a great white shark. He's big I tell ya, BIG! But these slides are date-stamped "9-74", and the movie "Jaws" did not come out until June, 1975. In fact, according to Wikipedia, filming for Jaws did not end until October of 1974. Did they really have a giant shark tableau a year before the movie (which could have flopped, how could they know?) was released?

Punishment and torture are always good for a laugh, and that's why the stocks were so popular at Universal. Look at that kid, you just know he's done something bad.

Ladies, we gave you two warnings, and still you continued to ignore the local laws against gum chewing. Maybe six months in the local jail will help teach you a lesson.

It's the Old West; a single tumbleweed probably rolled past right after this photo was taken (and somebody in the distance was playing a harmonica). Think of the hundreds of TV shows and scores of films that were shot on this dusty street.

Whew! That was a close one. The Glamour Tram appears to have stalled on the railroad tracks, and it was very nearly smashed to smithereens by a runaway locomotive.

There's a familiar sight... the perpetually burning house. General Sherman and his boys must have come through here, destroying everything. 

This is actually a merge of two separate images! It's the end of the day, and the photographer thought it might be nice to capture the view from Universal's hilltop. The Hollywood freeway is to our left, and Lankershim Boulevard heads toward the misty (smoggy) mountains beyond the San Fernando Valley. 

Never fear, I have more Universal Studios slides for you!


Nanook said...


Oh, for the days of double exposures-! But through it all, the smog is never-ending.

Thanks, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Those folks on the bench are all Edith Ann wannabes.

Just wait until those "women in cages" meet the sadistic prison matron Pam Grier. They'll never chew gum again.

Love the smoggy panoramic shot. Thanks, Major.

"Lou and Sue" said...

3 bugs on parade! - all exiting in a row, in the last picture. The cars in the parking lots bring backs lots of memories from my teen years - Pinto, Datsun 280Z, etc. (I know Nanook will know all of them.)


JC Shannon said...

Well, it's the 70's, the years of highly questionable fashion choices and disco mania. I am kind of a Hollywood history nut, although I mostly the silent era. I have been on the Universal tour a few times, the last being in 1970, and loved it. Check out the unexploded blue Pinto in the parking lot, even then no one wanted to park next to it. 30 days has September, April, June and the two ladies in the jail. I am ready for my close up Mr. Demille. Thanks Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

It's interesting that there is a man next to the tram, which is "stalled" on the R.R. tracks. It would have added to the excitement if the driver or the host jumped out of the tram as the train approached, but having experienced this stunt multiple times, I know they didn't do that. So the question is, who is that man and what was he doing? We may never know.

Major, I posted a very dark and murky pic of that shark back in 2012. When I was looking for info about it, I found out that supposedly, the shark "was created using the same molds that were used to create the shark for the movie Jaws." That is odd about it being there one full year ahead of the movie. Maybe someone in charge just thought it would make a cool prop, whether the movie was a hit or not.

Andrew said...

I've long thought of the Galmour Trams as very cool, especially with their sleek "lean." Do any still exist somewhere?

Also, 5 stars for the early backlot tour sights like the Burning House and Runaway Train. Now we just need the Collapsing Bridge, the "Runaway Boulders"...

Chuck said...

That family didn't lose much when Sherman's army came marching through. While they put up a wealthy front to maintain their place in polite society, it was all just a facade.

(As an aside, I have at least three family members - two of them direct ancestors - who were with Sherman on the March to the Sea. I've often wondered how they felt about burning people out of their homes and what part they played in it all. One of them picked up some pine cones in Georgia that he later planted around his farmhouse in Ohio. The trees he planted are still living today.)

Ken, and that's the truth. Phbbbt!

JC beat me to the Pinto joke. You gotta log in early here to get the best one-liners.

Nanook said...


I must make it a point to both read, and look more carefully when perusing GDB at 12 midnight. Of course it's not a double exposure. It's a fabulous 'panorama' image, that encompasses all.

@ Lou and Sue-

'Nanook' may "know all of them"; but, mum's the word today.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, that layer of smog is magical!

K. Martinez, ah, Pam Grier, she was quite the honey back in those days!

Lou and Sue, now I can’t help wondering if all of those bug drivers were together. Did you drive Ferraris and Porches when you were a teen, like I did?

Jonathan, I STILL have disco mania. Do the Hustle! The silent film era is pretty fascinating, it’s too bad so many of the films have been lost. I did the Universal Tram Tour just a few months ago! It’s still fun, but somehow not as fun as it was in the early 70’s. Remember when Alfred Hitchcock did the commercials?

TokyoMagic!, hmm, I do wonder why that guy is walking next to the tram. I like your idea a lot, but something tells me that isn’t what was going on! I double-checked the date stamp on the slides (sometimes I do mess up), but they are indeed stamped “September 1974”.

Penna. Andrew, I would love to know the answer to your question! I have lots of photos of the collapsing bridge (some on GDB), but none of the Runaway Boulders.

Chuck, Sherman’s troops looted everything but the very front of the house! That’s how mean they were. As for how Sherman’s troops felt about their deeds, they were probably having a great time; there’s something about human nature, all kindness and empathy for others vanishes. Plus the Rebs gave the Yankees a pretty fierce fight over the years, I suppose that demoralizing the populace is one way to help bring an end to the war.

Nanook, I knew what you meant! Lucky for me, I never make a mistake. Never mind my comment to TokyoMagic.

"Lou and Sue" said...

JC Shannon - LOL re your Pinto comment!! And I also LOVE that movie - Sunset Blvd. - one of my favorites! They don't make stars like they used to.

The Pintos weren't the only fireballs in those days - so were the Mustang Ghias, and my first car was a 1975 Ghia. It went up in flames in 1979, without any collision. My mom was backing it out of the garage, when the engine immediately started smoking and caught on fire (it was "totaled"). Because of all the problems (& lawsuits) Ford was having at the time, the insurance company (or Ford?) reimbursed us more than what the car originally cost brand new in '75. I loved that little car, but I guess I would've been better off with a Ferrari or Porsche, Major! The funny thing is that the insurance/settlement money was then used to buy another Ford - a '79 T-Bird.


Melissa said...

Sadly, the girl on the far right in the shark picture never made it back from the studio tour. She was abducted so that the TV division could use her enormous DayGlo plaid trousers for a test pattern.

TokyoMagic! said...

That area of parking to the right of the Volkswagen Bugs, is where they eventually built their first parking structure, to accommodate all the people that would be coming to see Star Wars Land. Wait, wrong park....but that is the spot where they erected their massive parking structure and the glass covered escalators that would take guests up to the main entrance.

JG said...

I only visited Universal once, but the memories last a lifetime.

The last photo is the best, Major.

Illustrates the long-held Los Angeles motto: "Never trust air you can't see.