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Universal Studios Hollywood is a movie studio in the unincorporated Universal Citymarker community of Los Angeles County, Californiamarker, United Statesmarker, and is the original Universal Studios theme park. Woody Woodpecker is the mascot for Universal Studios Hollywood and the rest of the Universal Studios Theme Parks. 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 fully-fledged Universal Studios Theme Parks, along with Universal Studios Floridamarker, Universal Studios Japanmarker, and the upcoming Universal Studios Singaporemarker, Universal Studios Dubailandmarker, and Universal Studios South Korea theme parks.

Universal Hollywood tour

Fountain at park entrance
From 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 Citymarker was still in part a working farm. This original tour was discontinued in the early 1930's due to the advent of sound films coming to Universal.

Shortly after MCA took over Universal Pictures in 1962, accountants suggested a tour stop in the studio commissary would increase profits, and 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 (formerly "Glamortram") tour 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.

Outside the theme park, Universal City includes hotels Universal Hilton & Towers, the Sheraton Hotels and Resorts, a multi-screen theater, and Universal CityWalkmarker, which offers a collection of shops and restaurants, as well as the Gibson Amphitheatremarker, a concert venue.

Backlot fire



A three alarm fire broke out on the backlot of Universal Studios on June 1, 2008. The Los Angeles County Fire Department had reported that Brownstone Street, New York Street, New England Street, the King Kong ride, some structures that make up Courthouse Squaremarker, the War of the Worlds movie set, and the Video Vault had burnt down (not to be confused with the actual Film Vault, The Video Vault contains the duplicates of the films). Aerial news footage later showed that the actual Courthouse facade survived the fire, although the west side of it was slightly charred. Over 516 firefighters from various local fire departments, as well as two helicopters dropping water, had responded to the fire. Fourteen firefighters and three Los Angeles County sheriffs' deputies sustained minor injures. It was the seventh serious backlot fire to strike Universal since 1932. The fire was finally put out after 12 hours, since firefighters 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.

Attractions

Statue at the entrance of the park.
The attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood are split into two areas on different levels, connected by a series of escalators called the Starway.

Upper lot



Lower lot



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, like the Marx Brothers, Marilyn Monroe, and Lucille Ball. Others are based on Universal's vast media library, such as:

To augment its collection, Universal Studios Hollywood has licensed many other popular characters, like those from Shrek, and Nickelodeon shows SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer. Most recently, as promotion for their movie and their new attraction, the Simpsons can now be seen in the park. The Marvel superheroes used to be walking around, but disappeared ever since Marvel's contract with Universal expired.

Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Land Before Time characters, and Chipmunk characters have starred in their own former live shows, but never walked around before.

Former attractions

Upper lot



Lower Lot

  • The World of CineMagic (June 1991 - July 2001) replaced by Special Effects Stages
  • E.T. Adventure (June 12, 1991 - March 14, 2003) replaced by Revenge of the Mummy
  • Lucy - A Tribute (June 1991 - January 2008) replaced by The Universal Experience


Dining

Upper lot
View of the lower lot.


Lower lot

Shopping

Universal Studios Store.


Upper lot

Lower lot
  • Tomb Treasures (Revenge of the Mummy)
  • Jurassic Outfitters (Jurassic Park: The Ride)


Former shops

Upper Lot

Lower lot
  • E.T.'s Toy Closet (E.T. Adventure) closed in 2003 and are now lockers for Revenge of the Mummy


Future attractions

  • King Kong: The 8th Wonder of the World (part of the Studio Tour), opening Summer 2010. Will Replace King Kong Encounter.


Expansion plan

As of May 6, 2009 Universal Pictures bought 20,000 acres from the city of Los Angeles. The theme park will be expanded over a matter of five to seven years.It will mean a extra 5,000 acres which will be used for the theme park and the studio will expanded another 15,000 acres. This will add over 80 studio buildings to the studio. Construction will begin in Spring 2013.

References

  1. Ann Brigham, “Behind-the-Scenes Space: Promoting Production in a Landscape of Consumption,” pp. 207-223 in The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nation, and Self, ed. Scott A. Lukas (Lanham, MD, Lexington Books, 2007), ISBN 0739121421
  2. http://www.seibertron.com/transformers/news/transformers-the-ride-at-universal-to-open-in-2011/14256/
  • Early Universal City‎ - by Robert S. Birchard Universal City - Oak Crest Ranch welcomes visitors to the Universal ranch


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