Halloween. Hollywood Style.
Well, Halloween is here so what better time than now for a TIMMY TAKEOVER! This is my favorite time of the year, so being in California I really wanted the day to be special. We took our time in the morning. We have a nice little kitchen in our unit, so Julie cooked up a small breakfast. Our resort is literally 300ft from Sunset Beach and there is also an ecological preserve close by, so we decided to take a morning stroll down the beach and through the preserve before heading out for the day. The preserve is huge, with all kinds of birds and small wildlife (apparently ground squirrels DO exist). The highlight though was the costumed kayak tour we witnessed, complete with a T-Rex trying to paddle with those little arms.
After a relaxing morning, we headed up to Los Angeles where we had a full day planned. We were hungry when we arrived and found a cool sandwich shop called Fat Sal’s. Apparently it has been featured somewhere on the Food Network, but we weren’t aware of that until after. The menu is quite overwhelming, with tons of appealing choices. With our upcoming plans for the day we didn’t want to eat too heavy. So we played it safe with Julie ordering a chicken cesar wrap and me the ham and cheese hero. Both had their own unique extras on top and were delicious.
With full bellies, we headed over to Hollywood Center Studios for our first event of the day: a live taping for the Halloween episode of @midnight! I’m a HUGE fan of the show and watch it every week. For those of you unfamiliar with this Comedy Central series, it airs 4 nights a week and is hosted by Chris Hardwick. Each episode features three different comedians who compete in a quasi gameshow, slinging jokes based on current trending topics. This particular episode featured comedians Moshe Kasher, April Richardson, and Kevin Pereira, all decked out in their Halloween costume best. We were sat in the second row, so we were close enough to not miss a thing and for my hoots, hollers, and laughter to likely make it on air. The show airs the night it is taped so the subject matter can remain topical. Though the waiting process to get into the show was lengthy (and this is with us having advanced tickets), overall we had a blast. The show was hilarious and it was really cool to see how the taping process worked.
We had several hours to kill between the taping and our next event, so we decided to make an obligatory tourist stop at the nearby Chinese Theater and Walk of Fame. You always hear about the crazies hanging around this area, so what better than Halloween to visit! Expecting a ramp up in the strange department this holiday, we were treated to just that. It was hard to decipher who was dressed up for Halloween and who just dressed up for a Monday. Lunatics aside, we enjoyed looking around the sidewalks at the stars and the hand/footprints in front of the theater. Julie was delighted to find her two favorite leading men (Vin Deisel and The Rock) were placed right next to each other by the theater entrance.
After the sights (and unfortunate smells) on Hollywood Boulevard, we decided to grab some food. On our walk we stumbled upon an outside concert taping for the Jimmy Kimmel Live show. Who was it you ask? None other than Alice Cooper! It was like a little Halloween miracle! The show was closed off to pre-ticketed guests, but we joined several people gathered outside the gate to listen and catch glimpses through the fence. We would have never noticed, but someone out there mentioned Johnny Depp was guesting on guitar. I peaked through the fence and wouldn’t you know it there was that Captain Jack Sparrow smile right up on stage. The short set finished up with an awesome version of “I’m Eighteen”. An awesome happy accident that we happened to be walking by for this. Next we headed over to Mel’s Dine In for dinner. Every year in Florida we would attend Universal’s Halloween Horror nights, and they have a replica of this diner there which we frequented. So it was only fitting on Halloween night that we hit up one of the originals. I had the three-way slider platter and Julie had the open-faced hot turkey sandwich. The food was good and the milkshakes were great.
Last on the agenda for the night was the Paramount After Dark: Tales from the Other Side tour. Paramount Pictures is the longest operating Hollywood studio and the only major studio still headquartered in Hollywood, in their original location that was opened in 1912. They do daily daytime tours year round, but for the month of October they also conduct special nighttime tours that show a different side to the lot and also include access to the neighboring Hollywood Forever Cemetery which is usually closed to the public after 6pm. We were greeted with personalized passes and complimentary champagne as we arrived. We had about 45 minutes until our tour departure so that gave us plenty of time to read about the history of the studio, check out some of the movie props/costumes, see some actual Oscar statues the studio has won, and of course refill our champagne a few times. Unfortunately right before our tour started my champagne glass inexplicably slipped from my hand and Julie was the unlucky and rightfully unhappy target of the spill. No idea how it happened (no I was not inebriated), so as a friend of ours mentioned it must have been one of the spirits of Hollywood walking by right at that moment. Yep…I’m going with that. A few paper towels later and we were off on our tour.
First stop was a prop room with TONS of actual film--used props, sets, and costumes that were at our disposal. Julie was especially excited about the Star Trek "lift" used in the recent movies. We could have spent the whole tour just in there, trying on costumes and playing with the props, but the tour was just getting started. We got to walk all through the dark and empty alleys of the lot and even several pitch black soundstage (including Stage 19 which is considered the most haunted), all while hearing a mix of history about the studio, some iconic and others tragic. The darkness and lack of hustle and bustle going on gave an especially eery tone to the tour. Combine that with a walk through the cemetery (which was so dark they gave us flashlights) and stories about death on the lot, and you have a perfect way to spend Halloween night.
We were also given roses at the cemetery so we could leave them on a grave or memorial that resonated with us. Being the horror film fan that I am I just had to leave mine on the grave of Maila Nurmi, better known as tv's first horror host Vampira.
The several hour walking tour concluded with a visit to a creepy soundstage basement where they had a dark room decorated with props from Cloverfield and Wold War Z and the best part: FREE CANDY! No matter how old you are, who doesn’t love free candy on Halloween! We stocked up on full size packages of Junior Mints, Raisinets, and Popcornopolis, and thus was the end of our tour and Halloween.
Another TIMMY TAKEOVER in the books! Until next time... "Bad dreams, darlings." ~Vampira