USA ’17 – Day 3 – Backlot Tour

The common view is that America isn’t geared up for walking and that you have to drive to get around. Yesterday Helen and I walked about 12 miles so it is certainly possible to get around on foot – it’s just that the Americans choose not to. The woman that owns the B&B we are staying in thought that we were mad for walking back from the Griffiths Observatory yesterday. She may have been right though given the temperature – an air conditioned car would have been more pleasant.

I mention the walking as today we had booked to go on movie studio backlot tour and had specially chosen to do the Paramount Pictures Studio Tour as we could walk to it. This took us through some “interesting” areas of Hollywood that aren’t covered in the the guide books!

The tour itself was two hours spent mostly being ferried around on the back of a golf cart, which was a relief after all the walking we have done over the last 24 hours. You are taken round in groups of seven accompanied by, if ours is anything to go by, a very knowledgeable guide.

What you see and what you are allowed to take pictures of is very much dictated by the number of shows that are being recorded on any given day. It just so happened that there was lots going on today which, ironically, meant that we were able to take less photos – no plot spoilers allowed here. That said we were treated to a good mixture of both the history of the studio (the first in Hollywood and that created the word “movie star”) and a look at the sets to two shows.

The two sound stage sets we were shown couldn’t have been more different. One was the interior of a house used in the Netflix series Grace and Frankie. It was amazing. On the inside you wouldn’t have know that you weren’t in an upmarket California home. While on the outside it was basically untreated wood. The other was the set for a TV chat show called The Doctors which, apparently, people go on to discuss their ailments. So far so normal. However, in one corner of the set was an area where they – “carry out minor operations live on TV”! Only in America.

We were also shown a car park that doubles as a pool taking a day to fill. This is where Moses parted the waters in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments. A feat that was achieved long before the invention of CGI and apparently took three months of editing to achieve.

We both thoroughly enjoyed our trip around Paramount and then went off and celebrated with a thick shake at the Ghirardelli chocolate shop!