Summer fun: Walk among the stars, stay close to home

| June 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES abound on the tour. From left to right at the Bronson Gate are Heather Olivier, Rachel Olivier and Jeannine Olivier.

What to do with visitors this summer when you want a fun outing that’s close to home? Why not check out the daily tours at nearby Paramount Studios, 5555 Melrose Ave.? As a place in history and our community, Paramount is the home of movies from “The Godfather” and its sequels to the “Star Trek” franchise. And it’s also where a young man named Charles Buchinsky got his start, and his stage name, and became Charles Bronson.

Why do it?

Visitors have come to town, and you’ve already done Disneyland and Universal, visited Museum Row and the Original Farmers Market, taken the park-and-ride shuttles to the Griffith Observatory and the Getty Museum and explored downtown, Angels Flight and Grand Central Market. You’ve even had that day when everyone stayed home to chill and catch up on laundry.

Now, you’d like to do something a little different, that gets everyone out of the house for a couple of hours without going on one of those long, grinding car drives or bus rides to the other end of Los Angeles. Heck, it would even be nice if you could walk.

This was the situation when my family came to visit last winter. Enter the Paramount Studio Tour option.

What you get to see

This is no “ride,” like the tram at Universal where Jaws comes out of the water to scare the visitors. This neighborhood studio offers daily tours of a working studio conducted by pages who are working to get accepted into the studio system.

These pages, similar to interns, are part of an 18-month program to mentor and apprentice young men and women into different parts of the film industry. Because these pages are young and learning the system, visitors benefit from their enthusiasm and working knowledge as they conduct the tours. There are three different tours to choose among.

The regular tour, which is the tour my mother, my sister and I went on, is about two hours with a group of about 10 people.

COSTUME FROM “Star Trek Beyond.”

We started in a waiting room that included costumes and props from “Star Trek: Beyond,” “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” and “Cleopatra.”

COSTUME FROM “Sweeney Todd.” Edith Head drawing is in the rear.

Tour groups do a combination of walking and riding around the 100-year-old studio lot in carts. Each person is given a headset with a receiver so everyone can hear the guide as he or she explains what guests are seeing on the tour. Visitors see the New York back lot, the Bronson gate and soundstages, and hear stories about working on the lot. And there are many photo opportunities (especially in the prop room).

The VIP tour is more in depth, lasts approximately four and a half hours, and includes a lunch or afternoon appetizers, a visit to the archives, seeing special effects, and meeting some of the back-lot tradesmen and women as they practice their crafts.

For the adventurous, there is an evening tour that lasts about two to three hours and goes through Hollywood Forever Cemetery (adjacent to Paramount Studios). Called “After Dark — Tales from the Other Side,” this tour explores some of the spooky and scandalous stories of Hollywood’s past.

How it works

Advanced reservations are preferred for the regular tour, but the studio also accepts walk-ins. There are several morning and afternoon slots available. However, the VIP and After Dark tours require reservations.

Children under 10 years old are discouraged on the regular and VIP tours (they would probably get bored). Children need to be at least 16 years old to go on the After Dark tour.

Tickets are $58, $78 for the After Dark tour and $178 for the VIP tour. Visit

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Category: Entertainment

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