Discovering the History Behind Universal Studios Hollywood

How ‘Laemmle’s Folly’ became a world-class theme park that changed the industry forever.

One of the original “ Glamour Trams” exploring the Western Sets of the backlot. [Security Pacific National Bank Collection at Los Angeles Public Library]

A Rebel Filmmaker With a Dream

Carl Laemmle [Getty Images]
The original White Front Theater (Left) and Independent Moving Pictures’s logo (Right)
Nestor Company Studio — Known as “Gower Gulch”
The ‘Oak Crest Ranch’ Property
The First Universal City on the “Oak Crest Ranch” property in 1913
An early birds-eye view of Universal City, built on the Taylor Ranch property, in the 1910s. [California State University]
Opening day of at Universal Studios Hollywood March 15, 1915. [Universal Handout Photo]

“They are to witness the opening of the first municipality — the first city or community — to be devoted exclusively to the manufacture of motion pictures. The city — this Universal City of which the picture world has talked for months — is the realization of a dream by Carl Laemmle not more than ten years ago.”

The 25 Cent Studio Tour

Filming a western on Universal City’s stage, the bleachers of the original tour visible in the background (c. 1915. USC Photo Archive)
Universal City as it looked in 1916.
Universal City (c. 1915)

The Studio Reopens Its Gates

A promotional photo for the new Universal Studio Tour with the Glamor Trams (c.1964)
A scene from the backlot on the Universal Studio Tour (c. 1960s)
How the studio tour looked in the 1960s.

Bringing the Movies To The Audience — A New Era of The Studio Tour

The 1970s at Universal Studios — Shooting Schedule (Left) and Prop Plaza (Right)
How the Flash Flood set appeared at opening (c. 1968)
The Parting of the Red Sea set (1973) & The Collapsing Bridge (1974)
The Jaws Experience (2000s)
The King Kong Experience [Herald Examiner Collection at Los Angeles Public Library]
Earthquake: The Big One (1988)

From a World-Famous Studio Tour to a World-Class Theme Park

The Original Upper Lot of the “Theme Park” — The Welcome Center and Studio Tour

Discover The History — Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood of Yesteryear Today

Denver Street (on the right) beside the Tower of London set (on the left) [From “Inside Universal Studios”, 1978]

Despite this constant evolution, you can still experience elements of the original Universal City and the 1960s version of The Studio Tour.

Falls Lake and The Studio Tour (1964)
GlamorTram in Little Europe (postcard) [Scan from the Dickens Collection]

The Legacy of Universal City

Visiting Universal Studios Hollywood

Hello! My name is Austin & I am a product manager, career coach, and podcast host.

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