I am literally pinching myself right now because tonight I got to go on a private tour of the Warner Brothers Ranch Lot in Burbank. The Ranch is normally closed to the public, but my friend works on the lot and agreed to take me on my very own private stalking tour. I was in heaven! Even though I have been on the lot once before for an acting class, at the time I had no idea what exterior sets were located on the lot and I didn’t really take advantage of being there. The only thing I stalked on that day was the Friends fountain. Today, we parked right in front of the fountain and it was actually turned on!! I was literally ready to jump in and start dancing, but my friend got a little worried that he might get fired over something like that. 🙂
Advisory 🙂 – cameras are taboo at the Ranch and we had to take pictures on the down low while we were walking around, so the pictures aren’t the greatest.
Before the tour, my friend told me that would try to find his map of the Ranch which listed all of the productions filmed on the lot and which exterior sets they used for filming. I told him that Lindsay needed no map, and that most likely I could show him a thing or two that wasn’t on that map! 🙂 Our first stop was the Life Goes On house – which I was SO excited to see. I grew up watching Life Goes On and wanted nothing more than to be Tyler Benchfield’s girlfriend! LOL I absolutely could not WAIT to see the Thatcher family house.
I was shocked that the house looked almost exactly as it did back in the Life Goes On days. Sometimes the Ranch changes the facades of the set homes, making them almost unrecognizable. But that was not the case with this house – I recognized it immediately. This house was also featured as Gladys and Abner Kravitz’ home on Bewitched.
The next house I was DYING to see was Clark W. Griswold’s home from one of my all time favorite movies National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Even though the facade of this house has changed considerably since filming, I could still picture Clark in the front yard yelling expletives at his plastic Santa Claus and eight tiny reindeer when his Christmas lights refused to turn on. What I wouldn’t give to have been able to see this house all lit up with Clark’s Christmas lights during the filming of Christmas Vacation!! 😦
Next door to the Griswold’s house is Danny Glover’s house from the Leathal Weapon movies – and no, it was not blown up during the filming of Leathal Weapon 4. A replica house was built and blown up for the filming of the movie, and Roger Murtaugh’s house is still standing strong on the Ranch. This house was also used in American Beauty and as Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ house in Christmas Vacation. “Why is the carpet all wet, Todd?” “I don’t know, Margo!” The exterior of this house has also changed considerably since being used in both Lethal Weapon and Christmas Vacation.
The Bewitched house is also located on the Ranch. I was surprised that virtually none of its exterior has been changed since the Bewitched days. It looks exactly as it did back when Samantha and Darren lived there. It was surreal how much it looked like the Santa Monica home that the studio set was modeled after.
Lastly we hit up the Pushing Daisies house. This house was also used in the movies Small Soldiers and Pleasantville. The facade of this home was vastly changed for each production it has “starred” in. For a more in-depth view of the lot, check out Adam R. Jones’ website, entitled “1164”.
Stalk It: The Warner Brothers Ranch Lot is located at 411 N. Hollywood Way in Burbank. While it does not offer tours at this time, you can take the “VIP Studio Tour” at Warner Brothers Studio, which is just down the road at 3400 W. Riverside Drive. I’ve heard the VIP tours are excellent and tickets can be purchased for $45 per person.