A group of us recently traveled to Culver City, California to take the Sony Studio Tour. This was my first studio tour. I was surprised to see that the studio is sandwiched in between other businesses in Culver City. The entrance gate, however, is as I had seen pictured. It was the original MGM studio which later became Columbia Pictures, and now it is the Sony Studio We soon met up with our tour guide who led us through to the inner sanctum.
Our tour began with a visit to the studio museum.. Many movie and TV props were on display along with costumes and a real Oscar and Golden Globe statue! They’re HEAVY. Can you say “Photo Opportunity” ? Movies such as The Wizard of Oz and in more recent times, Men in Black were filmed here. They even have the original swimming pool (pit) that Esther Williams used in her synchronized swimming movies. Some TV shows filmed here are Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, The Goldberg’s, etc.
Our guide walked us through the Barbara Streisand Scoring Studio where most all music filmed is produced. It’s supposed to have the best acoustics anywhere. We even had a guy in our group that must have been a professional, because as we filed out of the room he started singing…. amazing sound.
We walked past wardrobe trailers – I’m talking semi-trailers – that housed costumes and accessories for whichever production. Most trailers had their own washer and dryer.
We toured the Jeopardy studio and sat in the audience seats. Amazing how much smaller it all is in person. Aaah the fantasy of Hollywood. We had our pictures taken next to Alex Trebek. You can hardly tell he’s just a life size cutout . . .
Our guide took us to the sound studio where they fake sounds, like glass breaking, creaking doors, horses walking . . . you name it. We saw where the kids of the 30’s and 40’s went to school while on set. The building is now used as an office. A lot of the buildings reflect the Art Deco period of their beginnings. Neat, neat, neat to see. There are so many stories this place has to tell and I was glad our tour guide was so well versed in its history.
The tour ended at the gift shop where numerous movie and TV memorabilia could be found. The 2 hour tour was well worth the $50 ticket price. We came away with not only stories of “behind the scenes” but also our Tour Guest lanyards and a group picture. If you like behind the scenes and the history of make believe, you’ll love this tour. Alas, we didn’t see any “stars” but we did see the extras (dressed in 80’s garb) on the set of “The Goldberg’s” waiting to be called in for filming.
I think it would be fun to sign up as part of the audience of Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune. Then you’d really see how it all works in real time. “Quiet on the Set . . . Roll ‘em . . . Action !” or “Cut, Cut, Cut . . . Get that woman out of here!”