Saturday, February 27, 2010

Lucille Ball's Dressing Room - Behind the Scenes Look

Lucille Ball

I was going through some of my old photos and came across one that someone took of me with Paramount Studios historical consultant, Gary DeVaugn, in front of the former soundstage for The Lucy Show. The photo was taken back when I was a page on the Paramount lot. Gary was usually around the Paramount lot and available to share his wisdom on the history of the studio and all things Hollywood. As you can imagine, being the Hollywood history fan that I am, I used to try and get as many stories out of Gary as I could. I probably drove the man crazy! 

To get a sense of the kind of stories I was able to learn from Gary, here is a behind the scenes look at Lucille Ball's (and Ginger Rogers') dressing room on the old Desilu Studios lot (now part of the Paramount Studios lot). The video is filmed and narrated by Gary.

Lucille Ball's dressing room

Is that a great video or what?! You just got a tour inside a Hollywood Legend's former dressing room. Now you won't get to see the inside of this building if you take the Paramount Studios tour, but you will get to see the exterior and what is known as Lucy Park across from the dressing room.


Lucille Ball's Office @ Desilu Studios

Above is a photo of where Lucille Ball's office was when this was Desilu Studios. Before it was Desilu it was RKO Studios. Now it is part of the Paramount Studios lot. Looking at the photo below you will see "Lucy Park," which not only serves as a park area on the lot, but also, sometimes as a filming location.


The "Chevalier building" in Lucy Park


Lucy Park


"Lucky Stage 25" next to "Lucy Park"

Above is another photo of Lucy Park and in this shot we can see the exterior wall of soundstage 25. This soundstage is where they used to film The Lucy Show, as well as Bosom Buddies, Cheers, and Frasier. Where the blue awning is would have been the entrance to Lucy's stage dressing room "the leading ladies dressing room" as Gary refers to it in the video, which had direct access to the soundstage. Now, don't confuse this dressing room with Lucy's other one in the video which is located across from the park in the Bob Hope building.


Robby Cress & Gary DeVaughn

Above is the photo I mentioned at the start of myself with Gary

You're thoughts?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Inside Daisy Clover - Film Locations

Inside Daisy Clover (1965)

You would think the film Inside Daisy Clover, with a cast starring Natalie Wood, Christopher Plummer, Robert Redford, Roddy McDowall, and Ruth Gordon would be a somewhat entertaining film. Quite the contrary. This film is terrible! I think what bothers me the most is watching Natalie Wood play a 15 year-old tomboy when she was already in her late twenties. It was really distracting as she doesn't look at all like a teenager. What makes it worse is that Wood's acting is so over exaggerated. Even if Wood's performance isn't considered, the story is weak and emotionless and I don't think any cast could have saved this picture.

Nevertheless, I think the film is worth watching to get some glimpses of the Warner Bros. studio lot as it appeared in the mid-1960s as well as the Santa Monica Pier. In this blog post I have captured some of scenes from both the studio and the pier to compare how the locations appear today.

Santa Monica Pier Merry Ground (Inside Daisy Clover)

Wood plays a teenager in the 1930s with dreams of being a star. At the beginning of the film Wood walks into the old Merry Go-Round building found at the front of the famous Santa Monica Pier to make a record of herself singing. She later sends the recording to the movie studios hoping she will be noticed. Above is a screenshot of the building as seen in the film and below is the same building as it appears today - and it still has the merry go-round!

Merry Go-Round Building, Santa Monica Pier (February 2010)

Santa Monica Pier as seen in Inside Daisy Clover

Above is another shot of the pier as it appears in the film. Below is the same building as it appears on the Santa Monica Pier today.

Building on Santa Monica Pier

Natalie Wood, Ruth Gordon Home

Above is a screenshot showing the trailer that Natalie Wood and Ruth Gordon (Wood's mother in the film) live in located on the pier. Below is a shot looking where the trailer stood in the film. If you look carefully you will notice a funny pointy roof building towards the back of both images.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier Bridge as seen in Inside Daisy Clover

Wood's character does get discovered by Raymond Swan (Christopher Plummer), the head of the fictional Swan Studios. He arranges to have Wood picked up from her home on the pier and brought to the studio.

Santa Montica Pier Bridge (February 2010)

Entrance to "Swan Studios"

Above is the entrance to Swan Studios which is really the Warner Bros. Studio lot in Burbank, California. I couldn't tell where this was on the lot immediately, but then I noticed the different rooftops and was able to match them up. If the film was accurate, Wood's chauffeur would be driving towards the exit of the studio, not entering the studio. The studio gate seen in the film is completely fake.

Warner Bros. lot (February 2010)

Roddy McDowall meets Natalie Wood

Above Roddy McDowall, one of the studio execs, meets with Wood at the Swan Studio lot. In the background we can see what is the main executive building on the Warner Bros. lot.

Warner Bros. Executive Building


Roddy McDowall leads Natalie Wood pass soundstage 16, the largest soundstage on the Warner Bros. studio lot.  Below is the same alleyway as it appears today.

Alleyway next to WB Soundstage 16

Entrance to WB Stage 16

Above McDowall and Wood enter soundstage 16. The building to the right is the Mill where they create many of the sets and the set pieces.

WB Soundstage 16 Entrance (February 2010)

Warner Bros. Lot as seen in Inside Daisy Clover

Above is a screenshot showing some of the soundstages on the Warner Bros. lot and below are the same buildings as they appear today. The soundstage where the people are standing in both images is currently being used for the television show Chuck.

Warner Bros. Studio Lot

So, although the film is terrible for entertainment value I still recommend watching this film if you're interested in seeing the Warner Bros. lot and the Santa Monica Pier as they appeared in the 1960s. As you can see from the images, these locations have changed, but not as dramatically as one might think.

You're thoughts?
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