Touring Paramount Studios

I started my day by visiting the only major studio still left in Hollywood–Paramount. And the tour was fantastic. I would recommend it to anyone. It was a mixed blessing when five other people in our tour group were late. So it was just me, a woman from Australia and our tour guide.

Our guide took us on this long golf cart all around “the lot.” We started off by seeing one of the bench’s Tom Hanks sat on in Forrest Gump and the building where they filmed a scene from Clear and Present Danger. She got into the history of Paramount. She pointed out the window where Alfred Hitchcock’s office was and buildings formerly used as dressing rooms for stars including Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Olivia-Newton John and John Travolta (when they were filming Grease).

The highlight of the trip was getting to tour three different sets. First we got to see the entire set of “Community.” I’ve heard of it but never watched it. Although I will be viewing YouTube videos of clips just to see if I can spot piece of the set. It honestly looked just like a college campus–complete with a library stocked with real books, a cafeteria filled with products with the labels obscured or scratched out in some way (legally you can only show maybe 70 percent of a label without having to pay to use it) and an administrator’s office. As we were leaving our guide showed us this sign that lists all of the very famous films that have been shot on location there. The sound stage where “Community” is filmed also hosted Citizen Kane and Chinatown.

We also got to see “Dr. Phil”‘s set and some other kids show that I’ve now forgotten the name of. Ha! Another neat fact is that they usually keep studios chilly because of how hot the lights get. We also paid a visit to a set modeled after New York. It was super tiny and complete with windows designed to explode and a store front that was used in Bridesmaids. “Mad Men” even filmed the scene at the end of season three where Don is starting his new life after he and Betty call it quits.

The lot even hosted a gigantic parking lot that is sometimes filled with more than 100,000 gallons of water. The scene in Benjamin Button where Tilda Swinton swims across the English Channel was filmed there. The funniest part of the whole tour was when our guide showed us a scene from the “Brady Bunch” where one of the boys smokes a cigarette for the first time that was filmed near a fake tree. You can just imagine how funny that is without even seeing it. 🙂

Just as an aside, apparently Woody Harrelson, Lindsay Lohan and some of the big “Glee” stars are not very nice. But everyone probably knows that already.

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