They started in 1918 with the film, “My four years in Germany”. Now after over 100 years of producing films and television series that have shaped filming history and peoples lives, I got to take a tour of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. That’s right, I went to Los Angeles, the city of the angels, home to Hollywood, and the location where so many of the shows and movies I have watched from childhood to adulthood were are made. From Friends to Batman to the Big Bang Theory, there are so many productions that Warner Brothers have made over the years on the WB Studio lot and I went on a tour of it at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood.
There are so many exhibits and set locations to see on this tour that it’s mind blowing. So many movies or shows that WB were produced over the years are being showcased in the tour, as well as, getting to see the practical props, sets, vehicles, and costumes, that were used in the productions. What are practical props? Those are the props like a Batmobile that you saw in the newest film, “The Batman”, starring Robert Pattinson as Batman and Zoe Kravitz as Selina Kyle, or it’s the suit that was worn by Christopher Reeve in, “Superman the Movie”. There were also some set replicas, such as the living room from, “The Big Bang Theory”, and the coffee house from, “Friends”, but you would never know the difference between the replicas and the ones on film.
When I got to Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood to go on the tour, I didn’t know quite what to expect. I’ve worked on films and a few television shows and been to a few studios for work, but as exciting and fun as working on films is, it’s still work. The way I looked at it was with both fun and seriousness, so, I didn’t have the same experience that I fan would. That is not the case for going on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood.
The thing to know about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood and this review of it is, it all can’t be done/told in one attempt. I can go on and on with just saying, and then this, oh and this, there was that, and I can’t believe they had that, did that really look like that, how did I miss that, and on and on and on I could go. But I won’t. I will try my best to tell you about the tour but the photos will say more and quicker then I could. That’s just how much there is to see and do at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood, it’s too much to be able to talk that I just have to let the photos take the brunt of the work.
Still though, I’ve got some work to do and that’s to express my joy and fun I had while going there. What was there to see that was unexpected and what was expected that still blew my mind. For this article, I’ll be jumping all over the place on what I saw, so, if you know the tour and think, hey Lee, that’s at the end of the tour why are you talking about it like it was the first thing or why did you talk about that last when it’s at the start? That would be because I’m just talking as my brain remembers all the fun I had and those memories will be out of order. However, I’ll still start with the very beginning of the tour when I first got to the front of the building where my joy and awe begun.
At the front of the entrance is a giant statue of Wonder Woman greeting me and everyone. I’m a big comic book reader and over the years there’s been drawings of some scene that has statues of the heroes, and they always look very cool, but this statue is what that artwork looks like in real life and it’s so amazing. It’s a beautiful statue that seems to have this way of welcoming everyone who is entering the building and then saying goodbye, it was nice to have you here today, as you leave. Anyone who knows the character, Wonder Woman, knows she embodies and radiates power, and the sculptor done an excellent job at showcasing that power in this statue.
Once you go inside, get your ticket, you get to go into this one room that makes you feel like a giant. It’s a scaled model of the layout of the WB studio lot. There are scale model buildings of the studios and the famous WB water tower that you get to walk around and like I said, feel like a giant. There were also cool displays of props from the WB filming history. I saw the boots and hat of J.R. Ewing, one of the best prime time drama series along with one of the best opening themes and it gripped the nation for a year with who shot J.R., so, it was really cool getting to see that. But if the show Dallas is not one you’ve watched, (you should though), there was the guitar used to play, “Smelly Cat”. You better not tell me you don’t know what song that is or who played it cause if you don’t, then go on this tour and find out.
Next up were the really cool posters of some of the most famous films and shows of WB but from different parts of the world. Seeing the different languages but still knowing it said, “Friends” and another one that was of, “Casablanca”, was so cool. These posters were works of art in my opinion and I really enjoyed seeing them all. Once you watch a short video introduction that gets you all hyped to go on the tour, which by the way, that theater is super nice, you get introduced to your tour guide and off we went.
Ok, so what did I like the most about the tour? For me, it was backlot set of exterior sets. It’s been used for so many productions but for me, I remember it most from the show, “The Dukes of Hazzard”. I’ve see the buildings from that set in a lot of different shows and movies and every time I think about how that was where I saw Bo and Luke go racing down the street, do a powerslide, and then jump over Roscos patrol car before making their escape. I could have spent all day there just looking and taking photos of just those buildings and would have been ecstatic in my joy. When our tour guide, which by the way, I’m sorry I don’t remember her name but she was super nice and she made the tour a lot of fun, she made my day when she said I could get a picture of me standing in the gazebo. I think I might have knocked people over if they had gotten in my way to get up those steps I was so excited.
It’s amazing how well built this set is. Yes, I’ve been on sets and have seen practical sets but this was more than that. This was me standing in a movie or show, remembering the scenes, having them play out in my mind, and getting the knowledge that I was now standing there where it all happened. It’s real, it’s not a fake front or painting, but a real building that you see and can walk in, though we didn’t get to walk in them all, I would have spent another week just going down one block of the many blocks of this town that was been built.
Another really mind blowing part of the tour, seeing the water tower from the road on the backlot set. I knew it was real. I knew it existed. I’ve seen photos of it before, but to stand there myself, looking down the street to see that tower, it was surreal. I was hoping to see Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner escape from the tower but sadly they were being good that day of the tour. Maybe, another trip?
Another surreal moment for me, sitting on the couch in the coffee house of, “Central Perk”. It was like I was on the set of, “Friends”, for real. Not only that set, but the set of, “The Big Bang Theory”, both of which I got to sit on a couch that is so famous and then look around like I was there in the show. The amount of detail put into these sets is mind blowing and it’s what makes me love it so much and why I actually got into the film and television industry myself. I’m a huge fanboy and I love seeing all the hard work that gets put into making the unreal creations become a real, living, creation that I get to interact with.
Everywhere I looked there was something to see and take photos of. Seeing for the first time how short Zoë Kravitz is compared to Robert Pattinson was eye opening. The suit he wore as Batman standing next to hers as Catwoman, looked like if I stood beside a NBA basketball player. What was even more amazing was seeing the detail in the suits for the first time, up close and clear. The movie shows a lot of detail but like all movies and shows, you never see 100%, maybe 50% of the detail, but never the full amount. The work put into these suits and props is really mind blowing and never gets enough credit. I was standing before the real Batmobile, not one of them but two of them, and the Batplane and the Batpod, and different bat suits. Each looking so amazing that I just wanted to take them all home, then again, I think maybe someone would notice a bearded hillbilly trying to put on a bat suit and then trying to drive off in a Batmobile. I wouldn’t have gotten far.
Another exhibit that I really liked seeing where the scripts. I’m a huge reader, I love to read, but I really love to read scripts and adaptations of films, because they contain so much more information. With adaptations, they give the insight into what the character can be thinking which will make a scene make more or less sense, or give more detail on what a location looked like, and just a lot of added information. A script does kind of the same thing, but it does it more on how the film or show was made. I love reading the description of an exterior shot that when it was written it was supposed to look one way but then on film it became something else. Like almost anything being built and created, what is put down on paper/notes/directions for how it will be done, can end up being the idea so that during the actual creation it becomes something else. Yeah, I know, it seems like I just went off topic but I didn’t, I just wanted to show some of my love of reading a script, so, when I got to the display of the stack of scripts, all I wanted to do was sit down and start reading them. If anyone at Warner Brothers is reading this that has any say in doing sales, please, make replicas to sell of actual filming scripts. You could do so many formats, from the one I would want which are the ones that look like the ones used during filming, have the pages be the same colors as they were with each change, have it printed like they were during filming. There could be a deluxe set of some films or shows where the set includes a few of the paper prints of the scripts of different colors, have some of the dailies included, a call sheet, and maybe even the script supervisors or directors script that contain the notes. I would buy that stuff up like it was lifeblood. Ok, sorry, that was off topic but I have to take my opportunity to try to get these made because I want authentic scripts not something off eBay that was printed by some random person.
Ok, back to the tour.
Then there was the Wizarding World section. Getting to go into more of the Harry Potter world was a lot of fun. Not too many months ago, I went to the Harry Potter exhibit in Atlanta, GA, and it was amazing, but the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood offered me things that the exhibit did not. I won’t say any but one, because I was pleasantly surprised by the tour and what I got to see, so I don’t want to ruin anyone’s surprise if they don’t know. But, the one thing I will tell about is the sorting hat experience. This is on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood and not the exhibit, so if you want to get sorted, you have to go to the tour. By the way, for the first time I did not get Gryffindor, I got Ravenclaw. I suppose it had to happen that I would get sorted to a different house at some point.
So, I’ll end this and let you look at the photos, but before I do end it, I want to talk about the other side of the tour, the workers. Yes, seeing all the sets, getting to sit on the Friends set, getting all the photos, and going to the shops are all so very cool and fun, but it’s the workers there that helped make it this way. Like I said, the tour guide I had was amazing, again, I’m sorry for not remembering your name but if you were working on July 28, 2023, giving a tour at 3:30p-6p, and you are female, then thank you so very much for being so cool and fun, and making my experience so much fun. Not only was she very knowledgeable on her set info but she was patient with me and everyone else who wanted to ask questions and take photos. She wasn’t the only worker that was great, all of the ones I encountered was super nice and helpful but what made them stand out is that they seemed to be having fun as well. It’s one thing to be nice, that’s not that hard to do, even if it’s fake, you can do it, but when someone is nice and you can clearly see they are having fun, then that spreads to others and it made the tour even more exciting and entertaining. So thank you to all the workers of the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood for making a fun experience into one that will last with me for a lifetime and one I will tell about for years to come. Oh, before I forget, I won’t say what it is, but, before you leave or enter the tour, in the lobby, go over to the cafe for a big cup.