Today we went on a two hour tour of Warner Brothers Studios. Finding the visitor centre was fun but we eventually did. After a quick lunch we started the tour, Tony stopping to have his photo taken with Bugs Bunny.
The name Warner Brothers honours the four founding Polish Jewish brothers Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack who started in the exhibition business, having acquired a movie projector with which they showed films in the mining towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio. They opened their first theater, the Cascade, in New Castle, Pennsylvania in 1903.
By 1918 they opened the Warner Brothers Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Sam and Jack Warner produced the pictures, while Harry and Albert Warner and their auditor and controller Chase handled finance and distribution in New York City.
Over the years Warner Brothers has grown with many famous films, cartoons and TV programs. Gone with the Wind, Driving Miss Daisy, Casablanca, Batman, Harry Potter, Bugs Bunny, West Wing and Friends just to name a few.
The Warner Brothers Studios is the largest studio lot in Hollywood and many other studios use their facilities. We discovered as the tour progressed that nearly every building on the lot (including the administration building) has been used in a film or programme.
Our first stop was the New York Street lot. Here there was a complete street with a real feel of New York and was one of the original sets. However all was not as it seemed. Some buildings were just fronts some had small sets for internal shooting. The frontages could be changed to suit the period. We were not able to take any photographs when any filming was taking place.
We then made our way into a forest glen with wooden cabins and a lake, passing the famous Warner Brothers water tower. Again it was not as it seemed. All the foliage was made of silk. The lake could be any colour and also heated. There was also foliage “blinds” which are used when a background needed to be disguised.
We passed classic American suburber before entering the area of the various stages. We entered the set where Two and half men was recorded and learnt how they recorded the programme with a live audience. We then went on Stage 16 the largest stage set in Hollywood and Heather was sure she saw George Cloony wizz by on a golf cart but it could have been wishful thinking!
We then entered the small car museum which housed a number of the cars used in some of the films. General Lee from The Duke of Hazards;. The Mystery Machine from Scoobydoo: The Batmobile and the battered Ford Anglia from Harry Potter just to name a few.
Our penultimate stop was the Friends set complete with the yellow sofa.
Our final stop was the Warner Brothers Museum which had a collection of costumes and props. To Heather’s delight as a Harry Potter fan, there was a complete floor of costumes and props from the Harry Potter films including the famous Sorting Hat.
The tour was excellent – a theatre on a large scale.