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Universal Studio Tour
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Universal Studio Tour

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2004 - 2017.


Universal Studio has a long history and the Studio Tour has been entertaining the public for over 40 years.

Universal Studio History


Bavarian immigrant Carl Laemmle (pronounced LEM-lee) opened his first nickelodeon theater in Chicago in1906. In June 1909, he formed Independent Moving Picture Company of America, or IMP, based in New York. Laemmle purchased the Nestor Studio in Hollywood in 1911. Universal Film Manufacturing Company was incorporated on June 8, 1912 in New York. Laemmle centralized all his operations in the Hollywood area and bought a 230-acre ranch in March 1914 for $165,000. With the intention of making this ranch into "the entertainment center of the world" it became Universal City. Film production on the lot began in 1914 and Universal City, the world's first self-contained community dedicated to making movies, officially opened on March 15, 1915

Laemmle began inviting visitors to observe his movie making, but suspended this practice in the late 1920s, when "talkies" began to be shot and required "quiet on the set." Carl Laemmle retired from the movie industry in 1936, and sold Universal to Standard Capital Company. Universal merged with International Pictures in 1946 and Leo Spitz and William Goetz from International took over production. The Company became known as Universal-International.

Decca Records bought Universal in 1952. Jules Stein had founded MCA, or the Music Corporation of America, in 1924 as a Chicago-based agency. MCA, Inc. purchased the Universal City Studio lot in December 1958. MCA's Revue Television Productions relocated to Universal City, and Universal Pictures then leased the lot back from MCA. MCA and Universal officially merged in 1962. MCA/Universal grew and diversified throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Ownership of the studio changed quickly in the last decade of the 20th century and the fist decade of the 21st century. In 1991, Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd. acquired MCA. Four years later, in June 1995, The Seagram Company Ltd. (VO) purchased majority equity in MCA from Matsushita. On December 10, 1996, MCA Inc. was renamed Universal Studios. In 1998, the strategic combination of Universal's international television operations with USA Networks resulted in USA Networks, Inc. with 45% owned by Universal. Later that year, the acquisition of PolyGram established the Universal Music Group. In June 2000, Seagram announced a strategic business combination with France's Vivendi and Canal. In May 2004, through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal was formed. NBC Universal is 80%-owned by General Electric, with 20% controlled by Vivendi Universal.

Universal Studio Tour

Carl Laemmle began inviting visitors to observe his movie making soon after opening his studio in 1915 but suspended tours in the late 1920s when "talkies" required quiet on the set. The Universal Studios Tour was revived in 1964.

The Universal Tour began as a tram ride through the Universal Studio Back Lot with a stop at one of the stages for a quick walk through. There was a half-way rest stop which included some props to examine while awaiting others in your group still in the rest rooms. At the end of the tram tour, there were a few acres at the top of the hill with a stunt show, characters, such as Frankenstein, greeting visitors, and other attractions.

Over the years, the tour evolved into a full theme park with movie making the theme. Now the tram tour is only one of many attractions. The area at the top of the hill where the tram tour once ended has moved down the hill into the studio itself and this lower area now includes the Jurassic Park ride, ET ride, Back Draft, and Special Effects Stage in addition to some smaller attractions. The area at the top of the hill has expanded as well and now includes several more attractions including Back to the Future, Terminator 3D, a new Mummy roller coaster, several stunt and other show theaters, and more. Just outside the gate are a large amphitheater and City Walk, a contemporary shopping, eating, and entertainment complex.

In recent years, Universal has added another theme park in Florida.

For current hours, prices, and directions, see the official Universal Studio Tour web site.

Universal Main Page Production Studios Theme Park Studio Tour

Studio Tour


Entrance to the tours.

Picture Cars.

Picture Cars.

Courthouse Square after rebuilding afther the New Your Street fire.
The flash flood is one of the oldest attractions on the tour.

A large dump tank pours a flood through this street, about every ten minutes.
Western Street has been used in countless movies, TV shows, commercials, and still shoots.
Western Street with Mexican Street in the distance.
Mexican Street.
War of the Worlds, for this scene, a 747 has crashed into a neighborhood.
War of the Worlds, for this scene, a 747 has crashed into a neighborhood.
War of the Worlds, for this scene, a 747 has crashed into a neighborhood.

Whoville.

The tour rushes past this area of eqipment waiting to be used again.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 27-May-2017 08:59:01 EDT

Note:This is not the official site for any of the places shown in Places Earth. Places Earth is not responsible for accuracy of the information. Hours of operations, prices, exhibits, and sometimes locations are subject to change without notice.

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