Universal Studios Hollywood

If you find yourself in Los Angeles, California, and are craving some adventure, head on over to Universal Studios Hollywood. This theme park is so massive it is located in both its own unincorporated area called Universal City and in Los Angeles itself. Not only is this theme park full of fun rides and subversive attractions, but it is also the oldest and most famous film studio still being used to make movies.

While there are four Universal Studios theme parks globally, the one located in Hollywood was the very first one that was ever created. Initially, the theme park was made to host visitors that were interested in touring the film studio, and tours began in 1964 as a bid to increase profits, but the studios soon became a popular attraction for rides with the opening of the first attraction in 1965 called the War Lord Tower. The studio found creating things for children to enjoy was the most challenging aspect of developing the theme park.

A backlot was constructed in order to house NBC Universal’s operations present on the West Coast in one area. The lot was once occupied by Technicolor SA but is now the current operating grounds of KNBC, KVEA, and NBC News with Noticias Telemundo Los Angeles Bureaus. The Universal City island, where 70% of Universal Studios is located, also offers visitors plenty of options for lodging with the Sheraton Universal Hotel and Universal Hilton & Towers. Universal CityWalk is another lodging area for visitors that also encompasses restaurants, a theater, and plenty of shops.

The studio’s roots trace all the way back to the year 1914 when Carl Laemmle, a German American immigrant, purchased a piece of land in the San Fernando Valley that was then the Taylor Ranch and opened a studio accompanied by an enormous zoo. He also established Universal City, which was run by its own mayor and had a complete police force. Residents at the time were mostly of Native American descent. Universal Studios was officially opened in 1915 on March 14 and had a full two-day grand opening welcoming 10,000 eager visitors. Since the studio was still part of a running farm, fresh produce was available for purchase.

The tours eventually came to an end in 1930 when films with audio came into existence. The noise produced by the films was too loud, and the stages were not sufficiently soundproofed that they could safely allow visitors to enter.

Throughout its existence, Universal Studios Hollywood has experienced nine fires on its backlot. In 1932, the first fire would strike, leading to $100,000 in damages. The fire was caused by a nearby brushfire that the wind caught ahold of and blew flaming embers toward the backlot. The same circumstances occurred in 1949, except this time, a building was completely destroyed alongside the damage of two others. The next fire took place only eight years later, in 1957, when the New York film set was the victim of arson and burned to the ground resulting in half a million dollars worth of damage. Little Europe saw the same fate in 1967, along with some of the Spartacus Square.

The other fires occurred in 1987, 1990, and 1997, but the most destructive and devastating of them all was the 2008 fire.

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Map from Universal Studios Hollywood to CreatedHair by Amy Gibson

Map from Universal Studios Hollywood to Los Angeles International Airport