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Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Show Goes On: the Warner Bros. Studio Tour (Part 2)

When we last saw our tour group at the Warner Bros. Studios VIP Tour, we were on our way out of the "Midwest" and about to visit a working soundstage, which is where most interior filming happens. Some of that does get done on the back lot too, though.

Warner Bros. studio tour facade setWarner Bros. Studios "practical" set
These are two different kinds of interior sets used on the back lot. The one on the left is a "facade," and on film you'd see it from the opposite direction (characters would be standing on a small platform just inside the doorway, with outdoor activity visible through the door or window behind them). The set on the right is a "practical" interior which might be used instead of a soundstage.

Warner Bros. Studios--last set left from CASABLANCA
You must remember this...although you probably remember it differently. This is the last remaining exterior set used in Casablanca.

Warner Bros. Studios Stage 16, world's tallest soundstage
This is Stage 16, the world's tallest soundstage--98 feet high, with a dropped floor. It's been used for filming many water sequences, including some of those in Titanic.

The tour doesn't allow photography inside the soundstages (in fact, you'll have to let the guide lock up your cameras and phones in the golf cart before you go inside). Therefore, I have no photo evidence to prove that we visited Soundstage 25, which has been in steady use since the 1930's for movies, and later for television. Parts of Casablanca were filmed in there, and it's currently where The Big Bang Theory rehearses and tapes. The show has Saturdays off so we didn't get to watch anything, but our guide Kacey gave us a nice rundown of the process...and we did catch a glimpse of the set for Howard and Bernadette's upcoming wedding!

Batmobile Tumbler, from The Dark KnightPaul & the Batmobile
The Batmobile Tumbler will soon be coming from Gotham City in The Dark Knight Rises, but it was on the Warner Bros. lot the day we visited. It's one of Tall Paul's all-time favorite vehicles, and as he said when he posted its picture on his Facebook page, it "looks as bad-ass in person as it does in the movies."

Warner Bros. Studios car museum: Ford Anglia from HARRY POTTER
The studio's car museum contains a few iconic vehicles (and some that just wish they were), but my favorite was Mr. Weasley's car, seen after it lost the fight with the Whomping Willow. The Harry Potter movies weren't filmed at the Burbank studio--at J.K. Rowling's behest, they were made in the U.K.--but they're the subject of a special exhibit at the main museum. (That was another spot that didn't allow photography, but it features many props and costumes, including the Sorting Hat!)
Warner Bros. Studios: FRIENDS set
Friends' Central Perk set remains as a mini-museum of its own.

Warner Bros. Studios "New York" back lot sets
These sets from "New York" street, like the "Chicago" back lot in yesterday's post, may double for other cities. The "theater" on the left (without the "subway entrance" visible in front) recently represented its hometown of "Hollywood" in The Artist.


Warner Bros. Studios "New York" back lot "bookstore" facade
Hey, they still have bookstores in the movies!


The Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour operates on weekdays and Saturdays, and advance reservations are recommended. Tickets are $49 per person, and children under age 8 are not allowed. The tour lasts 2.5 hours via golf cart and on foot, and the content will vary as production schedules affect access to sets and stages.

If you have any interest in what really happens behind the scenes and what "Hollywood's" work environment really looks like, I highly recommend this tour, and I'd take it again.

Disclosure: My husband and I purchased our own tickets for the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour at a slight discount from a "perks" program offered through my employer.