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Los Angeles:
Burbank: Film and television production centre

In or near Burbank are five major film and television production studios, including Universal, NBC Television, Sony (once Columbia Pictures), Walt Disney, and Warner Brothers, except for nearby Universal.

Most visitors experience Universal Studios—a must see in Los Angeles—but fail to go beyond it.

One of the most remarkable things about Burbank is how very ordinary it seems outside of the studios.

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Universal Studios

The Universal Studios tour is an absolute must for all visitors to Los Angeles.

Unlike Universal in Florida, this is where it really happened.

Alfred Hitchcock's Bates Motel, his cemetary in The Birds, the town square in the Back to the Future series, the parting of the Red Sea, King Kong, Jaws—they're all here waiting for you.

However, you'll also want to go beyond Universal to explore the Warner Brothers and NBC Television studios in Burbank.


Warner Brothers Studios

Warner Brothers, eyeing the tour profits and the PR bonanza at Universal Studios down the road, has started its own tour, called the VIP Tour. (This link changes at times.)

You won't find the spectacular rides of Universal, but Warner offers an intimate glimpse at a working studio. You have a much greater chance of seeing live filming than if you join the masses at Universal, where tour and production facilities are kept for the most part separate.

Universal did not used to be like this.

Until some 30 years ago, Universal Studios tour participants not only frequently witnessed sites of live filming, they also ate in the studio commissary among the actors and other employees.

Unfortunately, the number of tour participants grew too large, and their potential impact on production and on the peace of mind of celebrities too great.

The Warners VIP tour is a must for any serious film buff. Tours depart Monday through Friday, which increases your chance to see live filming.

This studio is legendary.


NBC Television Studios

Near Warner Brothers, you find the NBC (National Broadcasting Company) television studios, located at the corner of Alameda Avenue and Bob Hope Boulevard.

The late Bob Hope worked continuously for NBC since the 1930s. Of all the network studios located in the Los Angeles area, NBC is the biggest deal.

While Hope was still alive, Dr. Voyageur attended the dedication of Bob Hope Boulevard. Hope broke up the audience with a discussion of where he planned to place toll booths.

The most popular show with a studio audience is the late afternoon taping of the Jay Leno's Tonight Show on NBC, which will be shown in the late evening. Ticket information for this and other shows, some of which should be booked as far in advance as possible, is available by calling 818 840-3537. The Tonight Show involves much audience participation, and its guests always include top celebrities.

Although the Tonight Show is a "hot ticket" (although sometimes available the morning of the show), the reality is that the various networks based in Los Angeles--ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox—as well as various independent television production companies—are desperate for your participation.

Shows are many, and a camera panning over empty seats just does not look good. Consequently, we may be approached and offered free tickets, when you visit southern California.

Tickets offered on the street or online should be free; otherwise, decline them.


Sony Pictures

Sony maintains the former Columbia Pictures studios in Burbank, but its tour is at the old MGM studios in Culver City, near Santa Monica.


Disney

Although the centre of Disney Pictures production is in Burbank, the Disney tour operates in Orlando.


KROQ—The best of Southern California radio

Across the street from Warner Studio is radio station KROQ 106.7, the premier new music station in the country, although some are always saying it has sold out.

Prior to KROQ, rock music was an AM radio experience in America. With the advent of KROQ and those that followed it, AM radio became mostly talk shows, sports, and news.

For example, the great king of early rock in L.A., "colour radio" KFWB (K-F—Doub—BLE—U—Beeeee, Chan—nel 98! Dial 98!), which helped lead the way to an American youth-dominated culture in the 1960s, is now an all news station, abet a good one, sort of sad.

Emerging new music icons frequently come for interviews at KROQ and stop off at the Dalt's Restaurant, below it.

Listening to KROQ will keep you in the know about the L.A. music scene. The comedy is great, too. MTV's former Loveline show started out as KROQ's sex advice show.

For on-line ticket information and sites of movie and television filming on location, see the link listings page.

Visit Forest Lawn in Glendale, near Burbank.

For more off the beaten track L.A.:

Go to >> Forest Lawn
Go to >> San Gabriel Valley, Huntington Library and Gardens, Pasadena

For additional L.A. information:

Go to >> Introduction to your visit
Go to >> L.A. at night
Go to >> Disneyland
Go to >> Links to the most useful information

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