By Sandy Zimmerman
(Photos by Universal Studios)
Have you ever wondered how the technicians created all of those special effects you see in the movies?
Would you like to enter the fantasy world of a movie to see how they blow up bridges, burn down houses, and wreck automobiles? Many of these SFX are explained at Universal Studios Hollywood!
This is a fairyland where the craziest things in the world happen. Turn on your imagination and get ready to be entertained, frightened, and surprised!
The Studio Tour takes you backstage to the sets where your favorite television programs are produced.
While sitting on a comfortable open tram, your ride moves through 415 acres of different studio lots.
There are 35 soundstages, movie sets, props, cameras, lights and all the action associated with the glamour of Hollywood filmmaking.
If you feel a sense of déjà vu, it is because you saw these scenes in one of Universal Studio’s movies.
Since 1915, Universal has produced more than 8000 films, and holds the record for producing more television programs than any other studio throughout the world.
You pass their New York Central Park set for the program “Crossing Jordan.” Do you recognize Wisteria Lane and the home of the “Desperate Housewives”?
Stage 747 was used in the 70’s for their series of airplane movies.
The driver stops at the under water tank used for “Alian,” and “Fear Factor”. Guests see the lower and back lots where filmmakers, celebrities, and technicians walk by.
Suddenly the tram is caught in the middle of an earthquake and everyone is bounced around for a few minutes!
During another exciting moment, the tram crosses a bridge over a river when hydraulics make the bridge collapse, but do not worry, it repairs itself.
Walk through “Van Helsing Fortress Dracula, Water world” to see giant fireballs rise 50’ into the air and a seaplane that be ready to attack the audience.
Later you are thrust into a snowstorm, monsoon, rain forest fog, and other unique climate conditions.
Perform gravity defying stunts and stand eye to eye with creepy, crawling creatures. Tasks may involve eating bugs. It is best if you are not afraid of heights although all contestants will wear harnesses in case they fall. Casting sessions are around one half hour.
Watch celebrity hosted vignettes on the video monitors, and discover the history and stories about Universal Studios.
Jason Alexander narrates a film called “Before They Were Stars”. Visitors learn the buildings are just a façade where your imagination fills in the rest.
Universal’s nonpeak, hours: 10:00 A. M. – 6:00 P. M. weekdays. Peak
Sandy Zimmerman is a syndicated Show and Dining Reviewer, travel writer, Health journalist, professional photographer and talk show host of the Las Vegas Today Show and Discover the Ultimate Vacation travel specials. For information or questions about any of Sandy’s columns, contact Sandy Zimmerman at: (702)-735-5974.