So TV and movie cars have always been of particular interest.
While a blizzard hammered Kansas City during the week of February 1, I was in Los Angeles taking in some sun. And my favorite stop was Universal Studios. Sure, the fake floods, King Kong attacks, and earthquakes were cool, and the Jurassic Park water ride was OK, but the things that held my attention the most were the authentic movie and TV cars that were on display around the theme park.
If you haven’t been to Universal Studios Hollywood, let me give you an idea what it’s like. First of all, it isn’t Disneyland. Nothing is quite as polished, the kids they have running the concession stands don’t dazzle you with their friendly personalities. Rides and walls are unpolished, unpainted, and generally skuzzy looking.
The primary function of Universal Studios is not that of an amusement park. If you really want roller coasters and thrill rides, Worlds of Fun is a better choice.
Everyone talks about the famous cars they have there, and they do have some recognizable rides. A DeLorean and Biff’s ’46 Ford from Back to the Future are there. A reasonable facsimile of a Ferrari 308 that represents Magnum P.I. is a popular attraction. The Deathmobile from Animal House, and several other well-known cars and trucks are scattered through the tour.
Near the entrance, a pretty bad copy of the Bluesmobile sits in front of the theatre where a Blues Brothers show takes place. There’s an ‘80s checker cab that looks to be one of the nicest cars on the lot. And several cars from The Fast and the Furious are parked here and there.
Really, all of the cars around there were in pretty bad shape. It looks like most of them were pretty tough when they were parked there, and most of them have been basically neglected ever since. Movie provenance or not, that warm California sun and lack of care takes its toll on old cars.
You also drive through the Desperate Housewives neighborhood, and there are all kinds of BMWs and Mercedes and things along in there. What’s interesting about that to me is that there are several Volvos and other cars that have their name badges taped over. Evidently the studio didn’t want to pay the licensing fees to display those logos. You see that sometimes on TV; it was just funny to see it in person.
They also had “stars” driving cars along the streets occasionally. Marilyn Monroe was cruising around in a pink ’56 Pontiac convertible. Actually, it might have been a coupe with the top hacked off. The Scooby Doo gang was spotted in a ’69 Chevy Van Mystery Machine. And Lucille Ball came back from the beyond to pose in front of the Checker cab.
I’ve included a few pictures in the slideshow below. Most of them were from the middle seat of a moving tram, so don’t be too hard on me. It should tide you over until you get to Hollywood to check them out yourself.