Saturday, February 24, 2024

Universal Studios, August 1966

I love me some vintage Universal Studios! Today is "part two" of a small batch of scans from 1966. 

The Upper Lot had this scene that was very popular with shutterbugs, featuring a miniature ocean and several vessels, including that Destroyer and the sailing ship. Were they ever used in TV or movies? Notice the artificial rain pouring off of the roof to the right. Just beyond the green hill you can almost see Hollywood through the smog.

While I have been to Universal Studios many times, I don't recall ever seeing an actual famous person walking around. These kids have found Bob Hastings, who was one of the stars of "McHale's Navy", which had ended its run a few months before this picture was taken. 

Here he is as Lieutenant Elroy Carpenter with future Disney star Joe Flynn, People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" in 1967. 

I can only assume that this is part of the European Street; the structure with the red tiles on the roof throws me - is this supposed to be Northern Italy? It looks rather severe, but a few throw pillows and some curtains will make you feel like you've been transported across the Atlantic.

The next two images are fun, featuring our photo family as they pose with... er... Doctor Jekyll? I know that Frankenstein's monster and the Phantom of the Opera would often be seen with fans, but I don't recall seeing this fellow before. 

Some light strangulation is always good for a laugh at Universal Studios!


Nanook said...

Let's hear it for plaid-!

Thanks, Major.

JB said...

I can see why People Magazine named Joe Flynn "sexiest man alive"; so virile! Truly a manly man!

I remember Lt. Carpenter on the show. Vaguely. Wasn't he Binghamton's toadie?

Dr. Jekyll? Hmm, well, perhaps it's his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. He looks more like an old-west zombie to me, or maybe just a corpse... OH, I KNOW! He's Elmer McCurdy! Before he was covered with phosphorescent paint and sold to The Pike amusement park and stuck in the Laff In The Dark funhouse! Actually... maybe this is after he was covered in phosphorescent paint.

sdfgsdfgsdfgsdfg, indeed! Couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Yay! Vintage Universal Studios, a Million Dollar Duck star, AND an Elmer McCurdy reference in the comments, all in the same post!

Even though I was only about 9 at the time, I remember the report of Joe Flynn's tragic drowning at home, in his pool. Poor Joe!

I also remember the report of Elmer McCurdy's discovery at The Pike. Poor Elmer!

How sad is it that Bob Hastings was still wandering around the studio in his McHale's Navy costume, months after the series ended, just hoping for someone to ask for a picture or an autograph. Poor Bob!

I think that "walk-around character" in the last two pics is actually Mary Reilly.

Chuck said...

Ahh…another trip to Lost Universal Studios…

I don’t think that destroyer model is an authentic recreation of a specific ship but more of an “artist’s impression” of a WW II destroyer. It’s sporting the hull number of USS Mervine but doesn’t look anything like her. It looks to me like a cross between a US Porter-class destroyer and a Japanese Hatsuharu-class destroyer, but I am no expert. I haven’t been able to find a reference to a film it was used in. The GDB hive mind may be more successful in refining my initial impressions.

The building with the red tile roof is part of Spartacus Square, built for the movie of that name. You can see that same structure in the right background of this photo, behind Larry Olivier. Sir Lawrence is standing at the top of the steps in your photo. Spartacus Square was located at the southeastern end of the European street sets. If you traveled through the arch in the center right of the photo I linked and made a left, you would be following the Glamour Tram route back up into the older European street sets. This set is no longer standing.

Looks like this family had a lot of fun that day, a reminder of all the fun I had there with my family just a few years later.

Thanks, Major!

JG said...

These are nice reminders. I’ve only been here once, 1969 or 70, but the pond with the sea battle and rain storm are standouts. Interesting that the ship is made-up. I would have thought it easier to just copy a real one and “change the names to protect the innocent”.

I vaguely remember McHales Navy program, but not enough to recognize characters. Maybe it aired too late at night for me to watch?

That “European” street could plausibly be almost anywhere, just change the languages on the signs. I remember an episode of “The Saint” set on a street supposedly in France with signs still in Spanish. Major, you’re right, A few pillows wouldn’t hurt either, maybe some cheerful chintz drapes, a CINZANO umbrella or two, park a Fiat out front... I knew Chuck would know all about it.

Strangling young guests must have been a standard pose back then, I had a photo of young me being strangled by Frankenstein’s Monster. I found it again not long ago, so it’s not “lost”, I just don’t know where it is…

Thanks Major, much appreciated!


Nanook said...

@ TM!-
Bob Hastings was a really nice guy - as is his younger brother, Don. And who could forget this great record album [a part of the 'Nanook Collection', naturally-!] LOOK HERE.

And as long as we're talking about both Bob Hastings and Joe Flynn... LOOK HERE.

Melissa said...

OMG they dug up President Lincoln!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, it’s pretty hard to ignore that plaid!

JB, Joe Flynn was known to drive women wild with just a word and a smoldering glance. The sly dog! Yes, Carpenter was a toady through and through. And yes, duh, I meant Mr. Hyde. The FUN one. Not that stuffy doctor. I love the part of the Elmer McCurdy story where some workman ripped off the arm, only to find bone inside. YIKES. Oh, ha ha, I edited out the sdfgsdf(etc), now everyone thinks you are crazy. Or should I say CRAZIER.

TokyoMagic!, to think that Joe Flynn once shared the screen with Sandy Duncan. It’s a dream too wonderful to even imagine. Wow, I did not know that Joe Flynn drowned. It must have been foul play! Everyone was jealous of him. I agree, it seems kind of sad that Bob Hastings was there to greet guests at Universal Studios, but I assume he was getting a paycheck. I recently watched an episode of “Batman: The Animated Series”, and was stunned to see that Hastings voiced Commissioner Gordon, with a deep voice full of gravitas. Amazing!

Chuck, WHO IS MERVINE?? Interesting that they used a genuine hull number but did not duplicate the look of the actual vessel. Also weird that the ship seems to be a cross between a US destroyer and a Japanese destroyer. WHY? Thank you for the info about the building from Spartacus, I now remember that it’s where Spartacus would go to buy gum. Check out that great matte painting from Albert Whitlock! A true master. Thanks for doing so much research, Chuck!

JG, I really did used to love to visit Universal Studios; for one thing, it was about 15 minutes from where my grandparents lived. And even though it was small and low-tech by today’s standards, we had so much fun. I agree, why not just copy an existing destroyer? So strange. I watched “McHale’s Navy” when I was little, but it’s all a blur now. Like most things. It is fascinating to watch old TV shows when they are clearly driving on a backlot area. “The Andy Griffith Show” often has “downtown” scenes that are obviously a backlot. And I think “Adam-12” has those too. It doesn’t bother me, in fact I get kind of a kick out of it. I would like a table with a CINZANO umbrella, I would sit at the table, eat Doritos, and feel sophisticated. Find that phoito of you being strangled, we need to see it!

Nanook, sure, Bob Hastings seemed nice, but don’t loan him your lawnmower. Enough said. Whoa, that album is kind of awesome. It must be rare! I saw that photo of Bob Hastings and Joe Flynn, but chose one that was a little more dignified (and in color)!

Melissa, hey, I’d vote for a zombie Abe Lincoln.

DBenson said...

I remember "McHale's Navy" being in perpetual weekday afternoon reruns, along with "Leave It to Beaver" and of course "I Love Lucy" (animation was largely limited to old theatrical cartoons on hosted kiddie shows). Also remember seeing that album in a souvenir shop at Universal as a kid. Hastings was there in person, introducing the stunt show. It was 1970 or later, as one of the attractions was a display of Witchipoo's castle from the movie "Pufnstuf".

On "McHale's Navy" Hastings's Ensign Carpenter was nervous aide to Flynn's short-fused Captain Binghamton, the latter constantly trying to nail McHale's crew for Bilkoesque activities. A few years later in Disney's "The Boatniks" Hastings was a more laid-back Coast Guard sailor, affably serving hapless ensign Robert Morse. At some point he started doing cartoon voices, with a long run as Commissioner Gordon in "Batman: The Animated Series".

Melissa said...

I was more of an Ensign O'Toole girl, but then I've always had a crush on Dean Jones.

JB said...

Chuck, thanks for the link to that Spartacus photo. It's pretty cool to see how the set was incorporated into the scene.... Los Angeles (in the background of the photo) looked a LOT different then!!! ;-D

Melissa, "OMG they dug up President Lincoln!" hahahaha!

Major, having people think I'm crazy is just the normal flow of the universe; no one will notice.
What?! You mean that's NOT L.A. in the background of that Spartacus photo?

Major Pepperidge said...

DBenson, I watched plenty of “Leave it to Beaver”, and even “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”, but as I’ve said many times, I did not care for “I Love Lucy”. I especially loved blocks of Warner Bros. cartoons, and those are still my favorites to this day! “At some point he started doing cartoon voices, with a long run as Commissioner Gordon in "Batman: The Animated Series””… see my comment to TokyoMagic!

Melissa, I had to look up “Ensign O’Toole”, as far as I know this is the first I’ve heard of it!

JB, a lot of people think that L.A. looks like ancient Rome, but that’s only Beverly Hills.

DBenson said...

Did anybody mention that Hastings was in both McHale's Navy movies, "McHale's Navy" and "McHale's Navy Joins the Air Force"? They're basically padded out episodes of the TV show, although the second film focuses on Conway and Flynn while the rest of the crew are barely there and Borgnine is totally absent, only referred to in passing as "the skipper".

There was a tipping point when B movies looked exactly like a studio's television product, especially Universal's. Lines got blurry: "Munsters Go Home" was likewise written and shot like a TV episode, "Perils of Pauline" was a pilot for an unsold series, and "Tammy and the Millionaire" was actually a pasteup of episodes from a short-lived sitcom, laugh track removed and a new ending scene shot to wrap it all up. Many of Disney's second-tier efforts were clearly designed to play as a two-part Sunday night show (looking at you, Merlin Jones), while an occasional TV project would resurface on American big screens, either as a featurette (Disneyland After Dark) or spliced into a movie (Davy Crockett, Scarecrow). And Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers and others segued directly from low-budget matinee westerns to slightly lower-budget television programs, usually with the same casts, crews, and horses. And since I'm on a roll, I'll mention how "Thunderbirds" and "Doctor Who" got two movies each across the pond (with American releases as well). The latter were fun but odd, discarding much of the TV serial's lore and all the cast aside from the Dalaks.

TokyoMagic! said...

Nanook, thank you for sharing that album image. That's almost as cool as your "Christmas With Colonel Sanders" album!

Melissa said...

But that TV/movie line blurring could be good, too. Alfred Hitchcock made Psycho on a shoestring budget using the resources of his TV show.