We got the “unofficial” tour of the familiar lot from Katherine Gaffney, Regent’s newest faculty spouse. Katherine (and Sean between stints in the office) took us through all the soundstages and back lot areas, amused as we geeked out over ER and Gilmore Girls trivia (Personally, I just about melted at the door of Luke’s Diner, currently transformed into a set dress shop).
We all gaped a little looking up into Studio 16, a building cavernous enough to shoot parts of Poseidon (2006) and stage a full-blown musical in its early days. The Gaffneys also shared some history of the studio along the way—like how Jack Warner purchased the whole company out from under his other three brothers and how “Bros.” isn’t shorthand for “Brothers,” it’s the way the company was trademarked.
We wrapped up our tour in the Warner Bros. museum, a two-story exhibit of costumes and props from some of the studio’s most popular films and series. Several students spent their time upstairs in the Harry Potter exhibit, grouped into rival schools from the franchise to take a tour of the simulated world. I, however, was too enthralled with Leonardo Di Caprio’s Gatsby suit (far more petite than I imagined), the late Heath Ledger’s Joker costume, a full wardrobe set from the characters of Friends, a series of Will Farrell costumes (taller than I thought) and the Casablanca piano (almost a miniature) to even make it upstairs.
The only sadness is that we weren’t allowed to take photos of any of it, so the day lives primarily in our memories.