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What is the first thing that comes to your mind when someone says “Hollywood”? This question had been mooted to an online survey about a year ago on my personal blog post and a whopping 97 percent said that the first thing that came to their minds when someone talked about Hollywood was the Universal Studios!
The survey apparently also enquired the age of the subject and I realized that irrespective of the age of the subjects from early teens to septuagenarians, most of them were unanimous in their choice. Well, if truth be told, this was expected and I, for sure was not taken aback even for a moment with the kind of response it elicited.
The Universal Studios is one place that is always competing with its closest competitor, Disneyland. More here while both have their share of fame and nothing pretty much in common, still there is a hint of intense competition between the two. Both gear up every year to receive maximum footfalls and also to become a hit favorite for tourists to take back memories too!
Only a couple of years ago, The Universal Studios turned a grand fifty and it was a celebration worth visiting. Did you know that about 52 years ago, back in the year 1915, the entry ticket to this gargantuan movie studio was pegged as low as 25 cents only. And hold your breath, because this much also included a boxed lunch with lot of goodies! Wowow!!
Another amazing fact about this place is right from its inception in the year 1915, this movie studio has stayed put in one place alone and the venue has never ever shifted from within the precinct’s gates. This is quite an achievement if you come to think of it because in reality this particular studio is the only one that has the longest stint in just one single venue!
According to the Studio’s creative director, John Murdy, the day the studio was inaugurated and that was March 15, 1915 and the opening day saw a crowd of twenty thousand people thronging to see their favorite movie stars perform in front of their eyes. Of course, that was the era of the silent movies and the so called stars were apparently not all that big stars in the real sense of the word.
Still, people did throng in thousands to the studio out of sheer curiosity. These were also the days when the movies has no sound and therefore any amount of crowd did not matter and the feature film’s shooting could be carried out as per schedule.
It is believed sometime in the late 1920s that the universal studio started restricting people’s entry in to at such meager amount. We must appreciate the fact that by this time, movies were being made with sound and effects and the excessively large picnic population in the studio was making a ruckus enough to distract the film’s crew and put the work out of gear.
The first ever ride through the studio cost a measly $2.50. It is up today to as much as 43 times to $92 pax. The tram which was a complete tour of the studio included lunch. It is reported that the first ride that the glamour tram took was a big disaster as the tram broke down half way and people on board had to get down and push it all the way to its shed.
Unbelievably, yesteryear film stars and their famous relatives have at some or the other point in time acted as tour guides of the place and some of the names are so famous that it must serve as a lesson in humility to today’s starlets!
It is obviously on every American tourist’s bucket list to visit this studio at least once in their life time. While this is good news for the studio who earns a big chunk of its revenue from the picnickers and the sight seers and the movie enthusiasts, the studio has on its part done a great job in expanding in size and adding creative incentives to keep bigger crowds turning up year after year.
Some of the tourists are so enamored by the studio that they love to drop in here every time they land in America. Their logic is that every time they make it there is some new and better adventure waiting to be discovered there thanks to the creative team at the universal!
If you are due to touch America anytime soon, don’t forget to drop in there. Trust us, you will have a load full of memories to take back home!