Friday, February 15, 2013

Warner Brothers Studios with Patrick and Megan

Patrick and Megan came to visit us from Colorado!  On Friday we all headed out to the Warner Brothers Studios to take the VIP tour.
Our tour wasn't until 11:30, but we arrived just a little early for some photographs.

Two of the more famous WB cartoon characters welcoming everyone at the entrance.

After going through security, we entered the WB gift shop and VIP tour counter.  The famous WB water tower.

While waiting we looked over some items they had in the lobby.  Lots of costumes from the Harry Potter movies were on display.  

Left to right: Dolores Umbridge, Voldemort, Professor Quirrill.

To start the tour we watched a 10 minute movie on the history of the Warner Brothers studios and saw some of the more famous movies and TV shows that have been created here.

Sadly we never got to see the Animaniacs on the whole tour, but we knew they were there watching us from the water tower the whole time.

After the video, we headed out to the tram.  It sat three across so while Theresa, Patrick and I sat in one of the back rows, Megan got to sit up front with our guide.  The made us lock up all our bags before we left so I guess I'm shooting this whole day with my wide angle lens. 

The first part of the tour was driving around various neighborhoods built on the lot.  There were lots of places that you know you've seen before, but it's hard to place it exactly.

We continued to the middle of Anytown USA.  It's all designed to look like the middle of a small city town that can be decorated to look like anywhere.  

The trees here are bare because it's winter, but they've got to make them look green to reflect the time of the year they're filming.

So they have to take these plastic leaves and branches...

And zip tie them to all the real branches.  We were told they have the opposite problem in the summertime and they'll have people picking all the leaves off the tree to make it look like winter.

This city block has been used in multiple films and TV shows.  We recognized it mostly from the new Muppets movie.  Check out this clip and pay attention to the buildings in the background.
Here's the church where the wedding is taking place.

The row of shops Walter and Gary are walking by as they're singing.

And the alley where they have the big dance number.

And even the school Gary runs up to to meet Mary.

We hopped back in the tram and continued our tour.  We saw this theater with a lit up marquee and didn't think much about it at the time, but over the weekend Theresa and I went to an AMC theater and saw it in one of the pre-show clips for the "Coming Soon" shows.

While we're driving along, our guide kept asking us if we'd seen a particular show filmed on the lot.  Sadly Theresa and I don't watch many shows produced by WB.  It became a recurring joke that whatever show she mentioned, hardly anyone had watched it.  
This one we have heard of though.  When they film the outside of the Big Bang Theory apartment building, they use this location.

The real claim to fame on the studios tour is the Friends tv show.  All over the place they were saying how this episode has this particular clip filmed here, this is Phoebe's dad's house, or here's where they shot the exterior of this scene.  In this instance, here's the field where Ross plays rugby.  Unfortunately Theresa and I never got into Friends so most of this was lost on us.  Also the last episode was almost 10 years ago.  I'm amazed that it's still so popular.

We quickly drove through the WB Design Studio.

The tour stopped and we got to see a lot of famous movie vehicles.

Including the flying Ford Anglia.

Plus Batman.

Along with a Tumbler

And the Batpod.

The Batman Returns Batmobile.

The Batmobile from Batman and Robin.

That has some really cool tread on the tires.

And the Batman Forever Batmobile.

This space capsule was recently featured on an episode of the Big Bang Theory.

The Nerd Herd vehicle from the recently finished Chuck series.

And even a Ducati from the Matrix Reloaded.

One of the free perks of the tour was a green screen photo of your entire group with a surprise image. I got a picture of Patrick and Megan in front of it.

And taking hardly any time in photoshop, they're being attacked by Dementors from Harry Potter.


The Willy Wonka bicycle, unfortunately from the newest movie and not the classic.

Here's one of the surprises they had in store for us.  As we were driving beside a prop house, our guide told us we'd be going inside to see all the different lamps and scenery they use to decorate their shows.   But instead of that, we were led into the set of Central Perk, the coffee shop from Friends. 
And they even let us sit in the sofa.

Having watched the show, Patrick and Megan really enjoyed this part.

Megan expressed her huge love for Ellen, so the tour guide stopped the tram and let her get a photo in front of the doorway. 

And her parking spot.

The famous WB water tower.  

Do you recognize this street from LMFAO's Party Rock anthem?

Down the next street is an alley that is used for filming "bad city" neighborhoods.

But you might recognize it from the upside down kiss scene from Spider-man

Unfortunately at this point, we were told that we had to put away all our cameras and we wouldn't be getting them back for the rest of the tour.   They took us to the WB Studios museum where they had two floors showcasing plenty of costumes from famous WB movies.  The first floor had a variety of clothes from classic movies and tv shows, including Casablanca, Friends, John Wayne, Buddy's costume from Elf, Jackie Moon's Tropics jersey, Big Bang Theory costumes, lots of props from the latest Batman series including Christian Bale's Batman costume, Bane, Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman, and the statue dedicated to Batman at the end of The Dark Knight Rises.  Those were all cool to see.
The second floor was entirely dedicated to Harry Potter.  Sadly no photos from here either, and they had guards roaming around to make sure you didn't.  Up here we saw lots of cool things including Hagrid's clothes, a full sized Dementor, one of Aragog's giant spider children (that Theresa didn't want to get anywhere close to), a Golden Tri-wizard tournament egg, the petrified statue of Hermione from Chamber of Secrets (which I thought looked a bit creepy), and lots more!

They even had a stool that you could sit on (no hat though, odd) and get sorted into your Hogwarts house. Sadly I didn't end up in Slytherin like Patrick did.  I guess I just have too much bravery and courage, so I ended up in the Gryffindor house along with Megan.  The surprise of the day was Theresa who everyone was sure would end up in Ravenclaw, but found herself in Hufflepuff instead.

After a quick 15 minutes, it was time to leave the museum and finish the tour.  With our cameras still locked up, we were given the choice to see the set of the Mentalist or Big Bang Theory.  Only 3 of the 12 people on the tour wanted to see the Mentalist, but being gracious, our tour guide decided to take us both places.

We walked around various sets, forbidden to touch anything.  Having not seen the show it didn't really connect with us, but the next place definitely did.   
The Big Bang Theory is one of our favorite sitcoms
The show is filmed in front of a live studio audience and we weren't allowed on the set, but we could see a bit from the bleachers where the audience usually sits. This isn't my photo, but it's an example of what we saw.  The only permanent sets are Penny's apartment, the elevator/hallway, and Leonard/Sheldon's apartment.  All the rest of the sets are temporary and changed as needed.
And with that, our 3 hour tour was over.

We headed back to the tour center and picked up our complimentary photo.  As you may have guessed, it was a photo in front of the Hogwarts Express.

We had a fun time on the studio tour!  Good job Patrick for recommending it!  But the day isn't over, we've still got one more stop before we go home!


  1. I was so mad when our tour guide hurried us past some really cool stuff.(Party Rock Anthem street, Terminator areas, Batman filming areas) We spent way too much time on irrelevant stuff. We got the same thing: "Has anyone seen this show?" Everyone said "Nope" and yet the commentary continued. Good tour overall, but they need to work on showing more of the current, famous, stuff. Thank you for sharing your tour.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the review. They definitely need to update it with the more current shows and more of the classics. And I really wish they allowed photos in some of those forbidden places.