Travel Adventures, Cincinnati Attractions & Writing
I witnessed a guy from France being turned away, so if you want the tour, register online well before the date you want to visit. Once inside, they checked our id’s and then directed us to the gift shop to await our tour guide. Meanwhile, Beth pretended to be a star, besieged by the Paparazzi.
Soon, George, our tour guide, rounded us, and four others, up for the tour. Everyone on the tour fits on a golf cart, so groups must always be pretty small, 7 maximum. Our guide asked about our favorite films and TV shows, as if to cater to our likes, but given everyone had a different answer, I’m betting our tour was pretty much like everyone’s. Within minutes we were started, and soon took our seats on Tom Hank’s famous Forrest Gump bench.
I was thrilled to see the original Paramount Gate that the stars I love all entered through–the Marx Brothers, Marlene Dietrich, Audrey Hepburn, Gloria Swanson and many more. We were told to touch the gate for luck, and I did,because I just wanted to touch the gate.
George took us around the studio, showing us the New York street scape, facades that change with the addition of decals on the glass windows or trees dropped into grates. We saw construction going on, foam stone walls, and the empty shells behind the exteriors.
One of my favorite parts was seeing a parking lot. Really. Because it was no ordinary parking lot. When films need an ocean, the lot becomes a pool. There’s a sky painted on an adjacent building, and gallons of water later, ships can be tossed by waves and Charleton Heston could part the Red Sea for the classic Ten Commandments.
At one point, we sneaked inside one of the sound stages. A plaque on the exterior lists the films made inside. We went into Dr. Phil’s space, and I’m pretty sure it said that several of Fred and Ginger’s movies had been made there.
After the soundstage, which was actually part of what used to be RKO and was bought by Desilu, we saw Lucy and Desi’s dressing rooms. I touched the doorknob of Lucy’s and later found out that the dressing room belonged to Kate Hepburn before Lucy used it. Greatness!