Author Topic: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault  (Read 2086 times)

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Ravi

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Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« on: June 01, 2008, 07:42:02 PM »
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Universal Studios blaze burns sets, video vault



LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- A pressurized cylinder exploded at Universal Studios on Sunday, injuring two firefighters as they tried to fight a blaze that began earlier in the day, Los Angeles authorities said.

The fire destroyed buildings and movie sets at Universal Studios on Sunday.

Eight other firefighters were injured in the fire, which was expected to be contained by 4:15 p.m. (7:15 p.m. ET), said Ron Haralson, an inspector with the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The explosion occurred about 2:30 p.m. (5:30 p.m. ET) near the video vault of the Universal Studios back lot. The vault was damaged.

The fast-moving, early morning blaze destroyed several movie sets and the King Kong exhibit.

Even so, officials still planned to go ahead with the 2008 MTV Movie Awards show at the site -- just north of downtown Los Angeles, adjacent to the Universal Studios theme park.

"The areas we are utilizing for our production were unaffected and the 2008 MTV Movie Awards will go on as planned. We're working closely with authorities to make sure everything operates smoothly," an MTV spokesman said in a statement.

The awards show will bring a parade of A-list stars to the park's CityWalk area. According to MTV's Web site, celebrities such as Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Sarah Jessica Parker, Justin Timberlake and Robert Downey Jr. likely will attend.

Universal Studios officials planned to resume normal business hours Monday, including the studio tour.

The fire destroyed an area called New York street, which includes movie set-style buildings designed to look like the cityscape of New York City. Hours after the blaze was reported, the roughly two-block area appeared charred and resembled a "disaster movie," said Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge.

LaBonge said he could see the smoke from his Silver Lake home Sunday morning. "It looked like a bomb had exploded," he said. Video Watch choppers try to douse the fire »

The blaze began around 4:45 a.m. (7:45 a.m. ET) and was contained initially by 9 a.m. Throughout the morning, large plumes of black smoke rose as the fire burned the vault containing hundreds of videos, said Ron Meyer, chief operating officer of Universal Studios.

"Fortunately, nothing irreplaceable was lost," Meyer said. "The video library was affected and damaged, but our main vault of our motion picture negatives was not."

The set of "The Changeling," a film recently directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Angelina Jolie, was "completely destroyed," Meyer said.

Another area called "Courthouse Square" also was destroyed, Meyer said. Numerous movies have been shot in that area, including several scenes of the 1985 hit "Back to the Future," Meyer said.

And two of the eight locations used by the CBS series "Ghost Whisperer" were affected, he said.

Fire inspectors had not determined what caused the blaze, said Los Angles County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman. There were no reports of filming at the time of the fire.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2008, 05:04:01 PM by Ravi »

MacGuffin

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2008, 11:33:06 PM »
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Another area called "Courthouse Square" also was destroyed, Meyer said. Numerous movies have been shot in that area, including several scenes of the 1985 hit "Back to the Future," Meyer said.


Tell me I'm not the only one who thought "Save the clock tower" when hearing about this.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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Tictacbk

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2008, 02:16:00 PM »
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Another area called "Courthouse Square" also was destroyed, Meyer said. Numerous movies have been shot in that area, including several scenes of the 1985 hit "Back to the Future," Meyer said.


Tell me I'm not the only one who thought "Save the clock tower" when hearing about this.

Haha, you're not.  Me and a couple friends are seriously considering starting a fund to actually save the clock tower...you know, once we figure out how.

MacGuffin

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2008, 01:04:00 PM »
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Universal Studios fire sparked by blow torch

A fire that burned through a large swath of the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot during the weekend was accidentally sparked by workers using heating tools on a film set, fire officials said on Monday.

The blaze erupted before dawn on Sunday in a portion of the lot containing exteriors used to resemble a New York City streetscape. It reduced a two-city-block area of the lot to ashes and burned through much of the adjacent Courthouse Square set that has appeared in such films as "Back to the Future" and "To Kill a Mockingbird."

Also destroyed was the popular "King Kong" attraction featured in the Universal Studios Theme Park tram tour of the back lot, and a warehouse where thousands of copies of archived TV shows and films were stored. Studio officials said all of the material lost in the video vault could be replaced.

More than 400 firefighters battled the flames late into the night. Nine firefighters and a deputy sheriff suffered minor injuries, Los Angeles County Fire Chief P. Michael Freeman said at a news conference.

He said an investigation revealed the fire was touched off by three members of a studio work crew who had been using a blow torch to apply asphalt shingles to the roof of a building facade.

They finished their work at about 3 a.m. and stood watch for an hour, according to company policy. Seeing no signs of a fire, they left the scene for a break, but a security guard in the vicinity noticed flames about 45 minutes later and called the fire department.

The fire, which burned for about 18 hours, forced authorities to close the theme park for the day, but the facility was reopened to tourists on Monday morning.

Much of the same area scorched by Sunday's blaze had been destroyed by a 1990 arson fire and was subsequently rebuilt.

Firefighters were hampered on Sunday by low water pressure at times, but Freeman said the difficulty seemed to result from the overwhelming water demands posed by the blaze. At the height of the fire, more than 18,000 gallons of water per minute were being poured into the flames, he said.

Only one current TV show, the CBS series "The Ghost Whisperer," was staged on the portion of the lot damaged by the fire. That series is on summer hiatus and not scheduled to resume production until June 11, a studio spokeswoman said.

She said no movie productions were affected by the blaze.

Universal is operated by NBC Universal Inc, which is 80 percent owned by General Electric Co.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2008, 11:34:31 AM »
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Universal Studios Hollywood Not Rebuilding King Kong Ride
Source: Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood has confirmed in the following press release that the King Kong ride, that was part of the backlot tour and lost in the fire, will be replaced by a new "experience," while the New York Streets sets will be reconstructed:

Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal CityWalk have taken a "the show must go on" stance and are open for business as usual after a much-publicized weekend fire that damaged the King Kong backlot attraction and one area of film sets that were frequently visited by the Studio Tour.

All rides, shows and attractions are open and operating normally, including the new and much-acclaimed "The Simpsons Ride," which opened to spectacular reviews just weeks ago and joined "Revenge of the Mummy -- The Ride" and "Jurassic Park -- The Ride" as stand-out Universal Studios Hollywood thrill-ride experiences.

Neither Universal CityWalk, the popular entertainment, dining and retail complex nor the Universal CityWalk Cinemas were impacted and have also opened for business as usual. The Gibson Amphitheatre, the Sheraton Universal and the Universal Hilton Hotels are fully operational and were not affected by the incident.

Universal Studios Hollywood's parent company, NBC Universal, has announced its determination to rebuild and replace the film sets that were lost in the fire. Specifically, the New York Streets sets will be reconstructed and a new, compelling guest experience will ultimately replace the 22-year-old King Kong attraction.

Universal's world-renowned Studio Tour attraction will continue to take guests behind-the-scenes of an authentic working movie studio backlot, an ever-changing landscape, responding to a myriad of productions daily.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2008, 01:09:00 AM »
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Universal Studios Hollywood freshens up for the Fall
During a recent trip to Southern California, Jim dropped by USH and discovered that lots of changes have been made to both the Upper & Lower Lot
 
As far as Universal Studios Hollywood is considered, this was the Summer of the Simpsons. "The Simpsons Ride," to be exact.

But now Autumn's on its way. Which typically means that this is the start of the slow season for Southern California's theme parks. A time when you push special events -- like USH's Halloween Horror Nights, which will be held this year from October 3rd through November 1st -- in order to drive attendance levels up. Rather than adding new rides, shows or attractions to your park.

Well, Universal Studios is evidently looking to buck that trend this year. For just before Labor Day, they added two newish attractions in order to give tourists something different to experience while visiting USH this Fall.

"What do I mean by 'newish' ?," you ask. Well ... Do you recall that fire that erupted on Universal's Lower Lot back in June ? You know, the one that destroyed this theme park's New York Street as well as its King Kong tram ride-thru attraction ? Well, the site of that blaze has since been razed ...

... And while Universal is now getting ready to rebuild New York, the return of the King is somewhat in flux as of this moment.

What do I mean by that ? Well, according to an industry insider that I spoke with last week, USH is looking to rebuild its Kong attraction. But what they won't be doing is recreating what Bob Gurr & his associates built back in 1986.

This time around, when Kong comes back, Universal Studios Hollywood wants to give its guests an entirely new experience. Which is why they've decide to create a scene for USH's Tram Tour that won't based on the original 1933 version of "King Kong" or even Paramount Pictures' 1975 remake. But -- rather -- Peter Jackson's "King Kong" remake, which the studio released in 2005.

So what will USH guests see after they roll into that reconstructed soundstage ? I'm told that Universal's ride designers have been looking at the Jackson film's Kong-versus-V-Rex battle sequence for inspiration. So imagine your tram standing in for Naomi Watts as you're suddenly surrounded by huge animatronic versions of the brutes that you see below.


http://jimhillmedia.com/blogs/jim_hill/archive/2008/09/12/universal-studios-hollywood-freshens-up-for-the-fall.aspx
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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MacGuffin

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2009, 08:40:34 PM »
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Universal to re-open backlot
Production will resume mid-summer
Source: Variety

Universal will reopen its backlot this summer, nearly a year after a fire destroyed four acres of the studio.

Rebuilt locations include its popular Courthouse Square, Brownstone and New York streets. Production will resume on those sets in midsummer.

While redesigning the lot, the studio added sets such as a gas station, a firehouse and a London Street, as well as a modern urban cityscape with glass and steel facade structures. That cityscape will be the largest modern urban backlot shooting location in Los Angeles, U said.

Additional sets will remain in construction and are planned to open in 2010, but U declined to disclose details on those.

Altogether, the new and rebuilt locations will be featured on the Universal Studios Hollywood Studio Tour, as will the recently renovated soundstage that will house "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" beginning June 1.

U said the new sets were built to "meet contemporary film production needs" and designed with the assistance of filmmakers and art directors.

Studio always said it would rebuild the backlot as quickly as it could, and include the latest fireproofing methods in the new construction.

While last summer's fire, ruled an accident, destroyed key facades, a warehouse storing old prints and the King Kong theme park attraction, other locations like the "War of the Worlds" set, Western Street, European Street, Mexican Street, the Psycho House and Bates Motel, as well as Wisteria Lane, seen on "Desperate Housewives," were untouched by the fire.
“Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” - Andy Warhol


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WideShot

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Re: Universal Studios Blaze Burns Sets, Video Vault
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2009, 11:17:46 AM »
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I wasn't in LA when this happened and I rarely watch the news so I had no idea of this fire.  Some things that are interesting is the idea that these backlots are passe we can see is clearly not true.  Even before they decided what else to rebuild, they knew they were going to rebuild the NY backlot.  Also, it seems to have worked out for the best.  Nothing damaged that couldn't be replaced besides the courthouse (is the clock tower still there?  that thing should be a landmark or something).  And in the process, it looks like USH managed to rebuild some of the backlot for 21st century use including a new london street, and bring it up to modern fire code.  Plus, backlot tours will now get a brand new experience instead of the dated-when-it-was-built 86 King Kong attraction.  All around, seems like the accident might have been a good thing for the company.

 

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