Friday, October 13, 2006
fun at city walk and universal

Back in the day, in 1962, I can remember being on the Universal Studios back lot before Universal Studios became this entertainment center. I was there with my father and one of the head guys was driving us around in his car and giving us a kind of tour---way before it became the amazing amusement park tour that it is now and waaay before there was a City Walk. In fact, there was pretty much nothing but the few western streets and a lot of lovely hills, and the "Psycho" house---and that was 'the back lot'. The man who was driving us around, Taft Schreiber, began to tell us about the plans for the future...well, that is MCA, Inc's plans. This was just prior to the split of MCA the "agency" and Universal Studios the "production facility", which happened because the government looked into this monopoly and said they had to make a choice. Either they were an Actors Agency or they were a Movie and Television Studio but that they couldn't be both. They chose to be just a studio. Smart move. The Real Estate alone, made that a very smart move. But more than that, the revenue to be made as a studio was conservatively at that time worth ten times more than what they could make representing talent, as opposed to hiring them, which is what they were doing....representing performers and then hiring those people that they represented.

Anyway, he said they were going to build Hotels and Movie Theatres and they would have an amusement park type place where there would be amazing rides and such, as well as bringing the public to the Studio by way of a tour, it would bring huge numbers of tourists to California. It all sounded like a pipe dream at that time. Well, as anyone knows who has visited Los Angeles and taken the Universal Tour....Universal Studios is quite an amazing and varied "entertainment center" and one of the not-to-be-missed things to do in Southern California by tourists from all over the world.

And now, there is so much going on up there on those hills, it's utterly astounding! Besides the two Hotels (with no doubt more to come) and the Amphitheatre which is huge, there are the 'tours', and all the rides and "happenings" and City Walk, (Shops, Restaurants, etc.) and the many many many movie screens---18 to be exact! This place really is, the most incredible all encomposing Full Service Entertainment Center/Amusement Park, ever....!I wonder what Carl Laemlle and the other original founders of Universal Studios would think if they could see this property, now?

I also remember when they rebuilt the entrances and exits off of the 101 Freeway that lead to was a mammoth job and at the time I thought, who is Universal in bed with that they were able to make this happen and why? Of course the revenue recieved by Los Angeles and California from this major Tourist attraction is huge! HUGE! (Taft Schreiber knew what he was talking about back in 1962, didm't he?)But, 'back in the day' We, the public, really had no idea what MCA Corporation was conjuring up for that hill behind the studio, but they knew, and the city and the state knew and saw this as an incredibly positive thing to have happen. And what interests me is that the city and the state prepared for this enormous influx of traffic by making these entrances and exits humongous, (going north and south), as they needed to be to handle the kind of traffic that has developed because of this great great attraction, especially in comparison to what these entrances and exits were like before. Too bad they haven't prepared for the kind of traffic created everywhere else in this city (The 405 Freeway anyone???) given the fact that more and more people want to live here in beautiful sunny Los Angeles....Ahhhhh progress....

But, back to the real topic at hand....

When Universal first built City Walk, (and early on before it was packed with wall to wall people), I use to go up there and poke around and have lunch and walk around and window shop. There was one place that was most unusual. (I have no idea what the name is or even if it still there....) They had all sorts of photographs of famous stars which you could buy. But the real attraction was that they had a way of taking a picture of you and then putting you in any picture of your choice with any given star. In fact, you chose the star first and then the picture you wished to be integrated into....and then they would do they're 'magic'. Including shaving off some of your extra flesh, shall we say, if you wanted them to....

I thought it would be fun to have a picture with Clark Gable from "Gone With The Wind". It was such a great great film and still to this day is one of the greatest films ever made...And if any of you have read my blog over this year you know that I loved the film of "GWTW" and the book, too. Clark Gable was the only actor that could have played Rhett Butler. And thank God he did! There is a famous scene with Gable and Vivian Leigh, (who was the definitive Scarlett O'Hara, for sure), after her husband Frank Kennedy has been shot to death, where Rhett comes to see her and he ends up asking her to marry is a great great scene....and a very romantic scene as well as being a very funny scene, too. Here they are...(This photo is reversed...and I have no idea why because the actual photo's that one always see's of this scene, Gable should be on the left) in this photo, below! I wonder if anyone will think I was actually in "Gone With The Wind", and if I was, what the hell was I doing wearing a swetshirt? And by the way...I had them smooth out my neck...And it didn't cost me thousands and thousands of dollors for this "adjustment" swipe of the mouse and...Volia! A smooth young looking neck! The year? 1991-92.

More To Come.....

Links to this post:


had this to say:

Love the picture of you and Gable!!

Oh wow.. thanks for your memories and my own.. many a time I went to City walk (I lived about 3 miles from Universal in the Valley.. Magnolia and coldwater canyon) I would go get some good coffee and sit and people watch early in the morning...It was very restful and made me smile!
I wish I had found that place with the photo's! I pretty much know how they'd do that (or close to it) and it's a really neat thing for any movie buff to enjoy!!

Lessee.. I'd have to have one with Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, and a few others i could come up with! lol

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 3:54:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh that picture of you and Clark was great! You even looked adoringly at him. Love it! I think we could all use a little adjustment in our pictures. LOL Also love the before and after pix of Universal City. Thanks for sharing.

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 5:49:00 AM PDT 

Blogger mar
had this to say:

I love the pic!!! just tell you were ahead of your time fashionwise and wore sweats then, lol! I have America's "Ventura Highway" in my head now after seeing one of your pics with Ventura Blv. Mine goes: Ventura highway in the sunshine- Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine -
Youre gonna go I know (yes, I got carried away, sorry !)
Anyways,lovely post as always. Loved seeing the Psycho house!

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 7:15:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

You have led one amazing life girl!

Love the photo of you and Gable.

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 9:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, what a fun post!
I've been to those theatres, and puttered around City Walk in general. It's a bustling place, that's for sure. But it was interesting to hear that it used to be so sleepy. I visited Universal back in the 80's also. Who knew I'd live in the general vacinity all these years later?

And yes, where were these planners when they built the 405!?

Loved the post of you as Scarlet. :)

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 11:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Love you with Clark! I bet if you had been his leading lady, he would have given a damn!

We're thinking of visiting So Cal and taking the kids on The Walk and visiting Universal Studios, etc.

If/when the time gets closer, I'll have to get your opinion on what is worth our time/$$.

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 11:29:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Love that last photo, Naomi. :-)

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 11:43:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I recognized the Psycho house right off!! What fascinating stuff you have to share Naomi!! Love the picture of you and Clark!! This was so interesting. I'm sure the original founders, if they could see it now, would sure be surprised!

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How fun is that???? Oh to have really kissed Gable huh? hehe!

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 2:22:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Thank you for remembering Taft Schrieber. He was indeed a fine man, a visionary and a force in creating the Universal entertainment center. Alas, in L.A., no good deed goes unpunished.

I am not sure of the details, but recall that Universal footed the bill for all or part of the freeway on-off ramps. At the very least, they made sure that they were built, so that they didn't become a traffic problem.

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 2:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How FUN! That picture is so cute! OF COURSE you were IN the movie! ... well, maybe you were just Vivien's understudy... LOL!

I SURELY have to come to California and have allllll that fun at MGM studios -- all set against that beautiful mountainous backdrop!!! WOW! Disney can't hold a flame to THAT! (at least not in Florida!)

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 5:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Another amazing post, Naomi! And I think this is another chapter of your BOOK!! Love the "Psycho" house! And that picture of you and Clark Gable is just great!!

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 5:15:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Love the picture Naomi, even if you are wearing a sweatshirt lol.
We had intended doing Universal this time around but ran out of time , we could have done it on Monday but decided to go visit a certain lady up in the hills that day instead before heading for Anaheim :)

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 7:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Ha! That one caught me off guard! I once had a photo taken with a cardboard Clinton and Hillary. It looked pretty real! One day I'd love to make it to see the sights of Universal and Hollwood and all that, but I know I would be like a fish out of water. Driving would freak me out. I love the view of the mountains. How high are they? Ours are about 3,000 feet.

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 9:17:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

whoa! nice! i want to visit Universal Studios one of these days.... :)

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 11:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love the City Walk, but I do remember the old Universal Studios Tour when it was nothing but a few movie sets, and I loved it just as much then! :)

Why haven't they come up with a great way to get in and out of the Greek?

Friday, October 13, 2006 at 11:51:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Excellent, post, as always. I love the photo of the old back lot with the Psycho house. Really evocative.

And of course the Gone with the Wind photos. I've done some studio tours in Hollywood but not actually visited the Universal City Walk there, although they do alos have one in Florida, which I know quite well. They seem to look fairly similar - improbable as that may sound.

The studio tour I really enjoyed was to a working facility in the Burbank(?) area just outside of LA, close to the motorway. It was big sound stages and also had some back lots including a wild west set with the false houses, where we could walk about. It gave a good sense of 'the movies'.

Here today via Michele's!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 2:21:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Another beautiful sharing. Thanks.

Have a magnificent weekend!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 2:28:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I was intently reading the post when I burst into a fit of laughter at the last picture. You most certainly crack me up Naomi! LOL With each post I am reminded that I really need to visit California.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 7:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

That was great! Love that picture, haha. Frankly, my dear, you look fabulous! =)

I loved Universal studios, of course I only saw it once the pipe dream came to fruition. How awesome to have the memories you do of 'before'. Love it!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 7:45:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh, I haven't been up there in years (since my ex-husband moved out of Burbank). We used to go all the time when we were dating. What a fun place.

I love the picture! One of my favorite movies as well.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 8:10:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Loved my tour! I knew it was the Psycho house right off. Isn't that amazing how that lot has changed. I guess no more movies are done there but on location?
You were wonderful with Rhett....and I love that mouse swiping things away, what a wonderful device!!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 8:51:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I toured Universal a LONG time ago, I bet I wouldn't recognize it now. I loved how you go down the streets and see the fake "neighborhoods" and as the announcer tells you what show that house was from, everyone goes, "Oh yeah!" so they call it "Oh yeah" street.

They mis-cast "Gone with the Wind", should have been YOU as Scarlett!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 12:21:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Michele sent me.. man, I love a good history and culture lesson. This was so much fun; you're the first person whose made me want to visit CA! Everything else just makes it seem like LA - busy, crowded and stinky. You gave it a face and a history and made it interesting. Now I woant to find a book to read about it.

Thank you for the enjoyable read.. and the lovely picture of you and Rhett!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 3:06:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I do like going to Universal City Walk as well as the studios, but as I'm sure you know, the crowds are horrible, especiall during any weekend, holiday or summer months. We don't drive there anymore because of the traffic, gas prices and parking fees. Now we take the Metrolink to Union Station, then get on the Red Line which goes right to Universal and hop on the shuttle bus to take up that long hill. All for a cost of about $10! The kids love it and I don't have to deal with the traffic.
Remember the big fire they had there awhile back? That's when I was working for the Fire Dept. at the time. (FS 51, located there, is and L.A. Co. Fire Station). It was fun to cruised around the lot on a Fire Truck. You get to see it all and then some. A nice perk of the job!

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 3:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great picture of you & Clark Gable!
I've never been to California at all but have always wanted to go, My Uncle used to be the director of a library near L.A. & I meant to go visit but with little kids long trips just don't happen without good reason(& funds) Here from Micheles

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 3:12:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Ha! Love the pic of you and Clark. Can you believe I've never seen this movie??!!! This give me reason to now. Ha!

I've never been to CA. I've been to the Universal park in Orlando and it was fun.

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 6:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely picture! :)
I wonder who I would choose to be with in a photo? I always liked Cary Grant. LOL
But William Holden sure was a hotty!
It would have to be William Holden.


Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 6:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a fun photo to have! Another great post :)

Saturday, October 14, 2006 at 6:47:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thanks for the tour...informative and enjoyable. I love your movie shot too!

Michele sent me.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 2:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

This was a terrific post, Naomi! And imagine the vision they had back then for the current Universal.
Loved your photo with Gable! How unique is that! Never seen one like that before. You are SUCH an interesting person and thanks for sharing it all with us.

Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 2:00:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous the fat lady
had this to say:

What an "apropost" for Friday the 13th!!!!!!!!!!
The software for "putting you in the picture" is available for your computer.

Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 12:12:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the photo of you and your divinely handsome, Rhett Butler. :)

Saturday, October 21, 2006 at 1:17:00 PM PDT 

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