Strange Neighbors-Code 3

Colonial Street, Universal Studios. The Leave It to Beaver House foreground, during Christmas.
R.I.P. Tony Dow, Universal Hall of Fame. The Beaver’s House on a sunny day…
Same house-different address…
Original Colonial Street location. Producer Bungalows replaced this area. It was moved, yes, the entire street. Welcome to Hollywood. The Long and Winding Road-wait -is that Paul McCartney?
Kid’s go to school here- pull over!” You’re correct- that’s the Beaver House in the rear-view mirror.
We just passed the Beaver House, now passing the Munster’s, he’s not stopping, speeds up to 50 mph”
Beaver House inside search…
All clear...
Beaver’s house is clearsuspect at Munster’s house”...
1313 Mockingbird Lane- Munster’s House
They could be anywhere around hereDamn-Trespassers!”…Beaver house side view beyond officer Malloy.
Blue jeans- long hair….very fast”
Munster’s Houseopposite end of street...”I’m sick of chasing you!”
Have you seen two kids running around?”…” No-Are they still on the loose?”
Have we searched the Pink Palace yet?”
I’m not searching in here…”
Thanks for protecting our neighborhood…
We have fine law enforcement – that’s why we live here.”
My favorite house on the lot. Let’s peek inside, shall we?…
Bottom floor, just inside the front door where Butch Patrick exits with a club in his hand
Although Lily Munster seldom cooked, Teri Hatcher did. So Desperate Housewives built her character a nice kitchenette. That TV series took over this street for eight years. Disney was in charge of this entire street. No other filming was allowed. Disney and Universal compete heavy against each other, tour guides were not to promote this show. The view out the kitchen window looks at The Beaver House across the way. The original street location had both houses on the same side of street.
This is the stairway that takes you to the second floor
This is the turret section of the Munster’s home-interior.

The turret exterior, on the right upstairs. French doors took you out on a balcony when The Munsters lived here.
Today’s version of 1313 relocated.
The Beatles had a sleepover in 1965 on the Universal Lot. MCA -Music Corporation of America…Not movies-music is the(M). Lew Wasserman, rest his soul, stepped up and offered our facility to a band that is so big, hotels wanted nothing to do with them. Dodger Stadium’s first concert. The baseball team won the World Series in 1965.

How did I miss this one“- I wasn’t hired in yet, but soon after-I too gave Michael Jackson a tour on that exact trolley. We paused while inside the ice tunnel, and my tour guide gave him the microphone as I slowly backed up, went forward, backed up -just to force him to sing his way out…As the tunnel spun endlessly, Michael sang a verse of (Beat It). We had a captive audience-stuck in a spinning tunnel of ice.
Paul McCartney with wife Linda-clutching a refreshing Jaws cup- and Michael Jackson. In the years to come, M.J. not only took the VIP tours often, but he shot two large videos on our lot. Paul was here in 1965 with the Beatles on a sleep over-with the entire band in tow. Beatles, Munsters, and the King of Pop, one big summerfest .
Michael Jackson appears so shy…Paul fits right in-Castle Dracula on your tour map. Quincy Jones and his 28 Grammys complete our show… “On behalf of the boys in the band, we thank you for this audition “

On a quaint little neighborhood on the Universal Backlot…We Begin

There are so many iconic homes are on this street, it’s hard to disguise what can still appear as clear as day. Every house on this street has a star attached to it, Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Barbara Eden, Eva Longoria, Marcus Welby, The Cleaver Family and my favorite-The Munsters.

Recently, I was watching Adam 12 and criminal activity was taking place where all these stars have studio homes. Reed and Malloy attempted to make a traffic stop on a speeder in a Chevy Nova, naturally he resisted. Quickly things escalated and backups arrived and scoured the street. I became fascinated, this street has very noticeable structures and all were in play on this episode. Two houses we all know and grew up at were the focus of police attention.

First, the Beaver House needed to be investigated, while the suspect ended up across from the Munsters’ residence. At this point, I’m all in. A potpourri of iconic film sets need police to secure it. This is better than my TV dinner. My mind races as the police search everywhere- my gosh, this could be me running from building to building. Before my long career, I trespassed here, I met Barbara Eden on this street in Harper Valley P.T.A.

I hung out with Dan Pastorini and Greg Evigan along with Sam – the chimp. Bear is his stage name. These were all fine trespassing moments. I never could have dreamed back when I banged the bushes to hang out here, I would eventually have a full backstage pass career here. Before I worked here, I knew these buildings inside and out. As a production electrician, I would need access to all the buildings on this lot. Inside are the shooting stations that we tie our power to and distribute around the set.

My job requires me access to the same buildings I used to hide from security in. My, how times changed.

This street would be moved, one structure at a time, to an upper lot location as the studio landscape was altered and producer bungalows would become a creative campus area. Backlot sets were relocated even deeper in the backlot. In this remembrance, I want you to see what the two homes featured in this episode look like inside. These interiors you walk into now are not the same as they originally were-they were restrengthened, and old rotted wood replaced.

This is necessary if you want another 50 years of movie and TV production to happen here. These sets are now built to last, secured and sealed from weather. Yes, flat out livable. There is one bathroom next to the Beaver House and not every house has water. But wood floors, carpets and drapes brighten up what once were drab interiors.

This episode of one of the best police shows of its time triggered so many memories. Tram guests love this street. Cameras can’t click fast enough as tourist’s heads swing side to side. Many not understanding a single word being spoken. One set is equal to a thousand words in any language. The studio offers tours in several tongues, and it was fun to hear these sets talked about in German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, and just good old broken English.

I couldn’t understand 90% of the tour, but the faces and reactions said it all. Guides and drivers laugh at how many pictures of us in action are across this great big planet. Since tourists rarely see movie stars, they photograph us. We feel very honored to have this privilege. On coffee tables everywhere foreign flags fly, you may see a tiny piece of memorabilia with yours truly behind the wheel of a Glamour Tram.

Adios, Auf Wiedersehen, Sayonara, Zaijian, Arrivederci… so long everybody.

Written and lived by…Donnie Norden

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