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Universal Studios
Universal Studios

 

Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio and theme park in the unincorporated Universal City community of Los Angeles County, California, United States. It is one of the oldest and most famous Hollywood movie studios still in use. Its official marketing headline is "The Entertainment Capital of LA", though during the summer it is often advertised as "The Coolest Place in LA." It was initially created to offer tours of the real Universal Studios soundstages and sets. It is the first of many full-fledged Universal Studios Theme Parks located across the world. Woody Woodpecker is the mascot for Universal Studios Hollywood.

Outside the theme park, Universal City includes hotels Universal Hilton & Towers, the Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, the multi-screen Globe Theatre, often used for banquets and receptions, and Universal CityWalk, which offers a collection of shops and restaurants, as well as the Gibson Amphitheatre, a concert venue.

History

Fountain at park entrance The first studio tourFrom the beginning, Universal has offered tours of its studio. In the silent film days, Carl Laemmle's tour included a chance to buy fresh produce, since then-rural Universal City was still in part a working farm. This original tour was discontinued in the early 1930s due to the advent of sound films coming to Universal.

The arrival of Universal Studios HollywoodShortly after Music Corporation of America took over Universal Pictures in 1962, accountants suggested a new tour in the studio commissary would increase profits. In 1964, the modern tour was established to include a series of dressing room walk-throughs, peeks at actual production, and later, staged events. This grew over the years into a full-blown theme park. The narrated tram tour (formerly "GlamorTrams") still runs through the studio's active backlot, but the staged events, stunt demonstrations and high-tech rides overshadow the motion-picture production that once lured fans to Universal Studios Hollywood

 

Backlot fires Wikinews has related news: Fire in Universal Studios backlot

Smoke during the 2008 fire. The Courthouse facade is visible to the left of the smoke plume.Universal Studios Hollywood's backlot has been damaged by fire 8 times throughout its history. The first was in 1932 when embers from a nearby bushfire were blown towards the backlot causing 4 movie sets to be destroyed causing over $100,000 damage. Seventeen years later in 1949 another bushfire caused the complete destruction of one building and damage to two others. In 1957, the New York street film studio set was destroyed by an arson fire causing half a million dollars damage. Ten years later, in 1967, twice as much damage was done when the Little Europe area and part of Spartacus Square was destroyed. It also destroyed the European, Denver and Laramie street sets. In 1987, the remaining portion of Spartacus Square was destroyed along with street sets and other buildings. As with the 1957 fire, this was suspected to be the result of an arsonist. Just three years later another deliberate fire was started in the backlot. The New York Street set, the Ben Hur set and the majority of Courthouse Square was destroyed. In 1997, the seventh fire occurred at the backlot. A portion of the Courthouse Square was again destroyed leaving the Courthouse itself to live another day.

The most damage was done on June 1, 2008 when a three alarm fire broke out on the backlot of Universal Studios. The fire started when a worker using an acetylene torch for welding accidentally let it catch fire with the surroundings. The Los Angeles County Fire Department had reported that Brownstone Street, New York Street, New England Street, the King Kong attraction, some structures that make up Courthouse Square, and the Video Vault had burned down (not to be confused with the actual Film Vault, The Video Vault contains the duplicates of the films). Aerial news footage showed the miraculous survival of the Courthouse building survived the fire (for a third time) with only the west side of it being slightly charred. Over 516 fire-fighters from various local fire departments, as well as two helicopters dropping water, had responded to the fire. Fourteen fire-fighters and three Los Angeles County sheriffs' deputies sustained minor injuries. The fire was finally put out after 12 hours, since fire-fighters encountered low water pressure.

Destroyed were 40,000 to 50,000 archived digital video and film copies chronicling Universal's movie and TV classic shows, dating back to the 1920s, including the films Knocked Up and Atonement, the NBC series Law & Order, The Office, and Miami Vice, and CBS's I Love Lucy. Many audio master tapes from Universal Music have been destroyed as well. Universal president Ron Meyer stated that nothing irreplaceable was lost, meaning everything will be rebuilt again, at a price of at least $50 million. Days after the fire, however, it was reported that the King Kong attraction would not be rebuilt and would eventually be replaced by a new attraction that had yet to be announced. In August 2008, Universal changed its position and decided to rebuild the King Kong attraction, basing the new attraction on the 2005 film adaptation.

Park layout

Statue at the entrance of the park.

View of the lower lot.Universal Studios Hollywood is split into two areas on different levels, connected by a series of escalators called the Starway. These areas are known as the Upper lot and Lower lot. Each lot features a collection of rides, shows and attractions as well as food, beverage and merchandise shops.

Upper lot

The Upper lot is home to a variety of family based attractions and shows. It is also home to many dining and merchandise shops as well as the park's entrance. For children and families The Adventures of Curious George and The Simpsons Ride are offered. For older guests the park offers Universal's House of Horrors, a year-round haunted house.

This lot is also home to all of the park's shows including The Blues Brothers Revue, the Special Effects Stage, the Studio Tour, Universal's Animal Actors and Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular. The Upper lot is also home to two 3-D films: Shrek 4-D (which features additional immersive features) and T2 3-D: Battle Across Time.

There are several themed retail outlets located near their respective rides in the Upper lot. For Terminator merchandise there is T-2 Gear & Supplies while Simpsons merchandise is offered at the Kwik-E-Mart.

In homage to Back to the Future: The Ride, which once occupied the area where The Simpsons Ride now stands, Doc Brown's Chicken shop has remained open. Newly developed King Kong 3-D arrived late in 2010 and is part of the Tram Tour|Access Hollywood.

Lower lotThe Lower lot is the smaller of the two lots. It is home to Jurassic Park: The Ride, The NBC Universal Experience, Revenge of the Mummy and will soon be the home to Transformers: The Ride.

Similar to other Universal theme parks around the world, where duplicates of Jurassic Park: The Ride exist, the area surrounding the ride features a Jurassic Park merchandise shop named Jurassic Outfitters and a dining facility named Jurassic Café. Similarly a Revenge of the Mummy gift shop, called Tomb Treasures, greets guests as they exit that ride.

Park characters

View of the studio backlot at Universal Studios Hollywood. The studio tour takes visitors through the backlot.Universal Studios has a number of costumed characters roaming the park grounds, representing many different genres. Some are portrayals of Hollywood icons while others are based on Universal's vast media library. The following is a list of characters that are currently seen in the park:


 







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