It is estimated that well over 45 MILLION people visit “Hollywood” each year; but how many of those 45 million people actually see the real deal? The fact is the what we generally call “Hollywood” is indeed the epi-center of the entertainment industry certainly in North America but with a huge and powerful global reach. Television shows. movies even video games reach out to our world from “Hollywood” bringing not only entertainment but also dreams of the glitz and the glamour widely associated with “Hollywood “ and the world of entertainment. I cannot say for an absolute certainty but I feel very comfortable in saying that many if not most tourists who visit “Hollywood” don’t see the real and the reel deal. That is too bad because what there is to see is richly and powerfully fascinating. To help the visitors have more fun and gain more knowledge I shall began a series that focuses on the best of the best in “Hollywood” tour options. Not necessarily in order of rank, but likely very nearly so I begin with a look at Warner Brothers Studios.
On April 4th 1923 brothers Albert, Sam, Harry and Jack Warner incorporated their fledgling movie company as Warner Brothers Entertainment. Only six years later in 1929 Warner Brothers won its first Oscar for Best Picture “The Broadway Melody.” Two years later they won again with “Cimaron” and the very next year they won again with “Grand Hotel”. Two their most classic films, “Gone with the Wind” garnered an Oscar for Best Picture in 1939 and “Casablanca” won in 1943. In fact Warner Brothers Studios has won more Oscars than any other studio in the world and all of that magic is on display in some form along the path of the Warner Brothers Studios tour. Oh but there is so much more.
Warner Brothers has also produced such smash hit TV shows as “Gilmore Girls,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends” and as you tour on you will visit the sets where these and other great shows were shot.
From another Warner Brothers Oscar winning movie “La La Land” you will visit the exterior of “Café Sur Le Lot” and imagine walking along with Mia and Seb. While not an actual component of the tour you may also visit the very nearby great restaurant “The Smoke House” where yet another scene of “La La Land” was filmed and where you can enjoy a delicious meal.
Another exciting place you will visit on this tour is the Warner Brothers Studios prop shop holding literally millions of props of every imaginable type including such classics as the sign for “Rick’s Café Americain” and the piano from “Casablanca.” There will also be a visit to the Archive featuring the DC [comics] Universe, The Exhibit and Harry Potter and a major tribute to Wonder Woman.
And then there is the Batmobile Museum. How absolutely exciting and our tour guided added even more fun with the knowledge of how was that the decision was made that skilled professional drivers and not actors would be the only one allowed to drive Batmobiles. Let’s just say that actors tend to act better than they drive and most drivers don’t act.
The tour lasts about three hours beginning with a brief video to set up the experience before heading out with your tour guide. Each tour group is only about eight to ten people meaning you get full attention and can fully immerse yourself in this magical tour. The tour guides are also extremely knowledgeable about all things Warner Brothers be film, television or other media so they can and do answer any and every question with genuine knowledge.
I did enjoy one fairly unique extra benefit the day I took this tour for I was joined by actress, TV personality and fellow journalist Germany Kent [Graceland, Criminal Minds and Real Housewives of Atlanta].
The tour ends at the Café and gift shop where you may dine and shop a massive sea of awesome collectibles that help secure forever this one magic moment in real Hollywood. However I do admit on this day I chose to dine down the street at the Smoke House.
For Warner Brothers Studio tour information visit: Warner Brothers Tours
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Photos: Ron Irwin