There are always characters throughout the park. Our encounter with a character was while we were having our lunch. Lucy Ricardo, from the 1950s classic TV comedy “I Love Lucy,” came into the cafÃ© visiting with each table. It was amazing how her character looked and acted just like the real life red-headed comedian. She stayed in character and discussed things that happened on the TV show. She was carrying in her purse a bottle of vitameatavegamin. Vitameatavegamin was introduced in the 13th episode of the sitcom, airing on May 5, 1952.
Our tram paused next to a winding street running through a Mexican village. We had a demonstration of movie “rain” effect involving rain bars which direct a spray of water upwards which then falls looking like rain. Then there was a thunderstorm using powerful strobe lighting and thunder sound effects.Â Then they said the rain won’t turn off as a wall of water rushes down the hill and threatens to engulf the tram. The Flash Flood consists of 10,000 gallons of water from two tanks. One flood comes down the hill and one comes through the buildings at the left of the area. Water was fired under pressure through two addition ducts right next to the tram. A signpost and cart were knocked over by the flood. The water is reused and is pumped back into the tanks ready for the next tram to visit.
As the Studio Tour tram enters Stage 50, the only split level soundstage in the world, all seems quiet as the crew are on a lunch break. Then the ground starts shakingâ€¦ The attraction then starts to simulates a large earthquake, rated at 8.3 on the Richter scale. The tram started to shake, the pipes broke, fires broke out, the ground opened up, and an oil truck slides towards our tram.Â .
As our tram entered the King Kong 360 3-D attraction, we were surround by two curved screens, each measuring a massive 187 feet wide by 40 feet high, equal to 16 movie theater screens. We were caught in the middle of a struggle between a 35 foot T-Rex and the 8th wonder of the world, King Kong. King Kong Â is the world’s largest 3-D experience and only at Universal Hollywood. It has been honored with the “Outstanding Achievement” award by the International 3-D Society and “Outstanding Visual Effects in a special Venue Project” by the Visual Effects Society. If the digital 3-D King Kong could leap off the screen, he would be astoundingly large: 30 feet tall, 20 feet wide, 15 feet deep and 6,000 pounds
As we approached the entrance of the Edith Head building, several trucks were backed up to the dock loading props. We entered the building and was amazed at all the things before us. We were looking at Universal’s prop collection, the largest in the industry, containing over 1 million items, stored on four floors. Every item in the warehouse is separately identified, barcoded and cataloged. The set designers place a label on items they want. If anyone gets caught removing the label from an item because they want it, they get banned from the prop warehouse for life. . In one section they had small displays of props used in different movies. Some was easy to find the name of the movie, others were not. The prop house also had clothes take check out also. Some were on hangers others were boxed up.
We arrived at the Staff Shop and was amazed at the creations they make. The shop is one of the oldest and most historic manufacturers of exterior and interior ornamentation. Their products have been used in the motion picture industry for the re-creation of sets and facades from every architectural style and era.
On the VIP Experience instead of a four-car tram, we traveled around the back lot in a special open-air trolley. Our group had 11 people so we shared a bus with Mary’s group that departed at the same time as us. Both Matthew and Mary were knowledgeable on the past, present and future of the back lot.There are 391 acres. Universal Studios originally opened in 1912 in New York and then moved to L.A. in 1915. They started offering tours in 1964. Over 8,000 features have been shot on the Universal lot. They use the same sets over and over but they change the lighting and angles so we do not notice it. There are 35 sound stages at Universal but they have higher numbers than just 35 since they never use the same number of one if it gets closed down.
Our “light” breakfast included hard-boiled eggs, fresh fruit, yogurt, ham & cheese on croissants, smoked salmon on brioche, tomatoÂ & cucumber sandwiches, a wide assortment of pastries and muffins, fresh orange, grapefruit and cranberry juice, coffees water and teas. They also had all kinds of sugars and spices for the tea and coffee.