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Sat. Feb. 16 to Fri. Feb. 22

Saturday-  We were off early for grocery shopping. We returned to the motor home ate lunch, then went to downtown LA to the Container store. I wanted to buy some drawer containers for the bottom of the closet. The ones at Walmart and Target did not fit, but the Container Store had some which were the perfect sizes, both height and length. They are also heavier and well made, a good thing as they are much more expensive.

Storage bins in our closet.

We returned home, picked up the dogs and went over to Lake Balboa again to walk the dogs. It was a beautiful day, so the park was mobbed. When the weather is good, people here head outside!

We walked in the opposite direction from last week, which turned out not to be a good idea. It meant that we were walking along the water and the dogs wanted to be on the other side sniffing. We will not do that again!


We stopped at Boston Market for chicken dinners, then returned home, ate dinner, watched the movie, Flight, and went to bed.

Sunday– We were up and out the door by 9:00. We drove south on the 405, then took I-10 west to the ocean in Santa Monica. We turned south again to Venice Beach. VB is on TV a lot, so it was interesting to see. It is pretty tacky and a beach town. Parking was $10 for the lot. When we left it was $15  for our spot. Inflation!

We started out and I realized that my front tire was low on air, so we stopped in a bike shop and Bob asked the guy to put in some air. We rode north to Santa Monica. The ride was awesome and we have promised ourselves that we will do it again.

We rode under the Santa Monica pier and kept going about four more miles, then turned around and rode back. We continued south, until the end of the bike path, right at the Venice Beach pier. About a total of 9 miles.

Most of the way there was a bike path and a walking path. Not that some people paid any attention to the signs all over the place saying that the bike path was only for bikes. It was okay that the roller blade’ers were on it, but the walkers and joggers were a bit annoying. All I can say is that the ride was awesome! So beautiful!

Here are some scenes:

Venice Beach

Venice Beach CA

Venice Beach


Santa Monica from bike trail

Venice Beach2013-02-17_11-28-39_364


Venice Beach Freak Show

Venice Beach sidewalk sale

Sail boats off Venice Beach

Grafitti art on the beach, Venice Beach

Graffitti art at Venice Beach

VB had this flea market going on the boardwalk. Above is a graffiti wall. You have to have a permit, but you are allowed to spray your pictures on the wall and the cone thing above. I had forgotten to take my camera with me, so these pictures were taken with my phone. Not as good, but they work….

We returned home and took a two hour nap! We ate dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

Monday- I was expecting Richy to take over my assignment, but she has not rec’d her MIdas password, so she could not take over. It ended up being a typical busy Monday

Bob worked around the motor home on his long list of things to do.

Tuesday- Richey still did not have her password, so I continue with my same assignment. Bob fixed the closet door, as my door keep sticking.

Wednesday-  Roxie woke us up at 5 AM to let us know that she needed to go out. Sick dog again!  Richey and I switched places. She had been in the director’s office. So she took over my desk and I moved into the director’s office. They still have not filled the Director position, so I am there, hopefully until I leave. I took the Interqual class, from 9-1, ate lunch, took the exam, then assisted Mary with her assignment on 5 West.

Thursday– Again, I assisted Mary and then took the Midas class. At least now I can get into Interqual to do reviews again. Karlie is getting whatever Roxie had. Roxie is doing better today.

Friday- Karlie woke us up this morning to go out.  Roxie seems to be over whatever it is. We had planned to go see Jay Leno again this afternoon, but with sick dogs that was just not going to work, so we cancelled out tickets. Too bad, this morning they had added Michelle Obama to the line up for this evening.

This is the first of two weekdays that I have off. I had requested to do two weekdays, one each month. I will be working on Saturday this week. Of course the other CM’s are thrilled, as it means one more person in the rotation, so they have less Saturdays to work.

We left at 9 AM to drive to Hollywood to take the Paramount Studio tour. The GPS discovered that there were traffic issues, so it took us a longer way, that was supposed to be faster. Since you can use the carpool lane with two people, we buzzed along past a big jam on the 101. Drivers are much  more polite here. I had to get over from the carpool lane across four other lanes of traffic and people actually let me in. Then we had a traffic jam on the side road. So we arrived at the parking lot at 9:55 for our 10 AM tour. It turned out not to be an issue, as three other people were later than we were. You park across Melrose Ave from the studio, as that is the where the visitor/tour parking is located ($10).

Our entrance gate on Melrose Blvd.

The tour cost $ 48 each.  There are seven people on each tour. Our tour guide, Lauren, took us around the two hour tour. Each of the major studios also have VIP tours, but we decided that we would just to the regular tour. We did not do Universal because it has turned into a theme park, including the studio tour in the package.

First, we started at the front gate,( we started in the small building on the right)  where Lauren met us and walked us to the Studio Store.  She gave us each headsets, as she spoke into a microphone through-out the tour, and we were able to hear what she was saying. Well, most of the time, she was having some issues with her microphone.

We walked back towards the entrance and we sat in the golf cart. Our first stop was at the  map of the studio with the list of shows currently filming.

What is currently filming and the map of the lot.

Next we went to the Paramount Theater. We could not go in this door, as Rizzoli and Iles had filmed in there yesterday and they were breaking down the set. The theater is used for a lot of different uses. Directors pre-view movies there, they do award ceremonies, and they film in the theater frequently. Lauren showed us a short film on her Ipad of Harrison Ford walking in the front door,  designed as a hotel, in one of his movies.

Paramount Theater

Next we went past the famous Bubba Gump bench.( in picture above it is on the left).

Forrest Gump Bench 

It is hard to tell, but the back of this bench is straight up. Bubba had perfect posture, so Tom Hanks had to sit on it for a long time when filming. It is not very comfortable.

One of the stories is that Tom Hanks found out that the bench was there. He had a break while filming a later movie so  he walked over to the bench and sat on it, giving out chocolates to the people on the tours!

Next it was back to the famous Paramount gate. This gate is inside the gate we had entered. They expanded the studio in the 60’s and you may have seen this in a lot of movies.

Famous Paramount Gate.

Here is us in front of the gate.

Use in front of the famous gate.

The entrance from the famous gate.

Here is inside the gate.

Lauren on  the Production Park.

This is Paramount Park. It has been used in many films. 

More production park looking at the dressing rooms.

The park is surrounded on 4 sides. The story was interesting. This area was where the contract people worked. The building on the left was the dressing rooms. The bottom floor housed the “A list”stars, the next floor housed the “B” stars and the extras were on the upper floors. How the studio worked in the 20’s and 30’s, everyone was contracted to the studio. The writers wrote a script. They took it across this quad to the directors. If the director accepted the film, it was taken to the next building in the quad, where the producers ( the money guys) were housed. If they accepted it , it was taken to the stars and they were told to study the script, as they were all contract players, and had no option. This went on until Gloria Swanson sued the studio to keep from having to play a part that she did not want. Other stars sued, the the system changed to how we have it now, where people can work for any studio.

Evidently Alfred Hitchcock was famous for going over budget,  so his office was with the producers so that they could keep an eye on him.  he filmed Psycho, Rear Window and two other of his movies here until he changed studios.

NCIS LA entrance to the stage where they film.

This is studio 18, where NCIS LA is filmed. They built the outside door, which you see as the entrance, which is used on the show. They were filming off the studio lot, somewhere in LA today.

Star Waggons

Notice the trailer. There were trailers like this all over the studio. It is labeled Star Waggons. Years ago Lyle Waggner,( Carol Burnett Show) realized that it would be better for the stars if they had trailers for their dressing rooms. Before, they had to walk back to their dressing rooms in the buildings that we had just seen. So he started the use of trailers for the stars. Now the trailers are labeled with the ‘character’s name’ and placed close to the filming. Bet he made a lot of money on these!

Sets are stored all over the studio. Here is the cafeteria set for Glee.

Glee Cafeteria in storage.

They have various sets, but like with the theater, they film all over the place. We would look at some thing and realize that we had seen it before, such as this area.

Familiar scene

Glee extra's getting their costumes.

These are extra’s for Glee who are getting their costumes.

The Paramount Water Tower, overlooking the ocean parking lot.

This is a very interesting place. Notice the parking lot. If they wish to film a water scene, they empty out the parking lot. It is actually a large, shallow pool. It takes a day to fill the pool and a day to empty it. The wall on the right is painted blue, and is the background. They can make consistent waves, which is safer for the stars. One episode of Cheers was filmed here. Shelly Long was going to accidently drop her engagement ring in the ‘lake’, then she had to jump in to retrieve it. She stuck her toe in the water and said it was too cold. The director said okay, and overnight they heated up the water. The next day she did the same thing and she was told jump in or else! The next season she was gone from the show.

Charlton Heston, as Moses, filmed the parting of the water here. The could not get the water to part, so they had him move his arms in, instead of out, and used editing to make the water part the correct way.

While we are sitting there Lauren pointed out this guy( the short one). I have no idea who he is, but he is one of the stars on Glee, which we never watch.

Glee Star

While we were there, all these people disappeared into the studio to film an episode.

New York setting.

Next we were off to New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, or in this case, Boston. They have these streets where they will change the names on the buildings or change the street lights to match the city or time period.

Me picking up the fire hydrant.

Bob picking up the fire hydrant.


Here are both of us pretending to pick up a fire hydrant, which was of course a prop.

Door example     Larger door

Lauren showed us these two doors. One is shorter than the other one. When they have an actor like Tom Cruise, who is short, they use the shorter door for him to appear taller. If he has a co-star that is taller than him, she will use the taller door, and they will splice them together, so that they appear to be entering or leaving the same door.

High rise and lunch

First, this is where lunch was set up for the crew of Rizzali and Isles, under the tents. The building is their skyscraper. Notice how the bottom windows are shorter than the top ones. If they shoot upwards, it makes the building look taller. Then they copy the top two floors as many times as they need to get the building as tall as they want it, in editing.

Starting on Rizzoli and Eiles set Boston newspapers

Back to Boston. Note that the newspaper boxes are for Boston newspapers. On the other side was USA today! We went into the building behind, where they had filmed some commercials recently. It was set up as a cupcake shop, and they had just filmed an episode of Castle there.

In store window, note different names.

The cupcake store, has these signs. Notice that they do not say Visa, Master Card or America Express. They cannot use the logo’s or they have to pay the company, so they make them slightly different. American Excess, someone’s joke!

Bob looking at a sound stage. William Shatner/fire story

Here is Bob looking into one of the stages. This one caught on fire. The first person to notice it was William Shatner. He assisted with putting out the fire, before the fire department arrived, and the next day in the newspapers was something about William Shatner saving New York. They think he called it in himself.

Rizzoli and Eiles Boston Police Station/ Also Castle Police Station

This is the façade for the Boston Police Department, today. When Castle films here, they change it to the New York Police Dept. This building has also been an apartment building, a courthouse etc.

Lauren tried to walk us a block over where they were filming, but the security guard stopped us. While standing there, this van pulled up. Out climbed actor Bruce McGill, who stars as Detective Vince Korsak on Rizzoli and Isles. Note that he stopped and is assisting the gal out of the van. A gentleman!  He walked towards us ( we were not supposed to take pictures but I managed to get this one). I smiled at him and he smiled back, before he walked around the back of the van and headed over to the next street for filming!

Bruce McGill, who stars as Detective Vince Korsak

There was a star I recognized! We watch Rizzoli and Isles.

New York building used in Seinfeld

This was Seinfeld’s building.

Dr. Phil studio

Next on the agenda was touring Dr. Phil’s set. He films on Mon-Tues-Wed. They film the Doctors in here also, and they were currently filming, to the right of this entrance. The Doctors films Thursdays and Fridays.

Dr. Phil set

Here is the Dr. Phil’s set. Just across from Dr. Phil’s set is a Nickalodeon set. We toured it, but I don’t remember the name of the show. It is a show about some teen rock stars, similar to The Monkees.

Lucy Park

This is Lucy’s Garden. This part of the studio was originally RKO studio, owned by Howard Hughes. Howard Hughes was paranoid and thought that everyone was trying to steal his airplane designs. So he hid his planes in the studios. Since they were not being used as studios, they were not making money. The studio was sold to DesiLu and in 1960, bought by Paramount. Lucy had this garden put in when it was part of DesiLu. She was criticized for not staying home with her children, so she put in this garden to show that she was a good mother, with her kids with her. Lauren showed us how this was used during the Brady Bunch, with another film clip on her Ipad.

Lucy's Dressing Room

The building with the porch was Lucy’s dressing room. Prior to Lucy it was Katherine Hepburn’s. Howard Hughes and Katherine Hepburn had a fling. He wanted her to be a prima dona, entering the studio at the front gate all dressed up. She did not want to do that. So they compromised. A look a like, would enter through the front gate and Kate would ride her bike in the back gate to her dressing room.

Back to Lucy. The next brick front , to the back, was Desi’s dressing room. When they divorced in 1960, she concreted the door, with all his stuff inside. It is hard to see, but there are two doors. Paramount had to put in another smaller door to be able to use this part of the building.

Continuing along, most TV shows and movies use apple juice or tea for alcohol. Not the cast of Cheers. They actually drank alcohol. So with numerous takes, you can imagine how snockered they became!  One time there was a bet and Ted Danson and Woody Harrell lost. They had to run, with only shoes on, around the outside perimeter of the studio. Needless to say, everyone was hanging around to watch this. Just past the Lucy Garden, they were putting in some new concrete, so Ted and Woody stopped during their run and put their hand prints and footprints in the wet concreted, to celebrated their naked run, on 1/12/89!

Ted Dansen and Woody Harrellson, naked prints.

Hollywood sign in distance

Finally, one more photo. We are at the end of the tour, back at the Paramount store, but off in the distance, towards the back of the studio,  you can see the Hollywood sign!

We stopped in the store and looked at the $50-60 dollar sweatshirts. We passed on them!

We went to lunch at the Olympic All Day Breakfast restaurant, just past Wilshire Blvd, then headed home

We checked on the dogs, then headed to Walmart, Von’s and Albertsons for groceries. Back at the motor home, we did laundry, ate dinner, and watched TV.

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