Familiarity often creates indifference. Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank is a thirty five minute drive from where I live yet it never occurred to me to take the available tour of the facilities and write about it. I knew that such tours were available and indeed one of my sons had been on such a tour. However that all changed recently when I actually took the tour.
The start of it was most impressive. First how easy and convenient it was with road signs giving directions once one leaves Freeway 137 at Pass Avenue. Parking in a well marked and directed garage was no problem at all. Stepping out of the elevator one is met by not one but several most helpful staff members. Once tickets are purchased we were organized in groups of twelve for our cart and tour guide. Our group covered all age groups from this ancient Scribe to a well behaved six year old girl. Our guide, Logan, obviously liked what he was doing, really knew his subject matter while also showing great care by often counting to see we were all still with him.
Our opening was being ushered into a comfortable theater and watching a film that showed quick flashes of Warners greatest movies through the years and some of the stars of those movies. After this we were away in our cart and the size of what we were seeing was fascinating. In 110 acres there are thirty sound stages, each large in size as well as ten back lots. The tour, for us, started with the lots that display buildings and streets, one typical of New York or some other major city, then one like a smaller mid west town. Then a wooded green area for the likes of New York's Central Park or Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. Also exterior sets from Casablanca, Batman, Gilmore Girls and Friends.
Next it was the Fantastic Beasts exhibit with the showing of authentic props, costumes and sets of shows like Harry Potter and other familiar TV series. This was followed by Stage 48 showing how a particular production moves from Script to Screen. In three stages there is pre production, actual production and post production. Here were head pieces and clothing worn in screen productions like The Great Gatsby and Camelot.
We were particularly fascinated with the Prop Department. Here in a warehouse with four floors and 200,000 square feet are 450,000 artifacts that have been used in a century of film production. Some recognized from classic films like Casablanca, The Hangover, Falcon and Seinfeld.. Here there are chandeliers, furniture, paintings of presidents and famous people, animal pelts and the list is unending.
Very popular with our group was D C Universe which has closeups of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Cyborg and The Flash all taken from the original D C Comic Books.
One full stage is devoted to the 45 years link between Batman and Warner. A large series of Batmobiles used in such films as Tumbler, Bathhammer, Batman Forever and Bat-Pod, both four wheel and two wheel vehicles are present. Our guide Logan told how sometimes there were design slipups. One Batmobile lacked headlights on first design, another had a cockpit that proved too small for the actor who was to use it.
We then moved to some of the stages where shows were still in production. Stage 25 for The Big Bang Theory, Stage 17 for Shameless, Stages 1, 2 & 3 for the Ellen Degeneres Show, Stages 8 & 9 for Famous in Love.
Our tour ended at the Studio Store with a statue of Daffy Duck on the outside. Inside much screen and TV material to be purchased as gifts or memorabilia.
Warner Bros. Studios is located at 3400 W. Riverside Drive, Burbank, Ca. For information about tours call 818 977-8687.
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