Visiting The Warner Bros Ranch! Seeing The Sets From Bewitched! The Middle! Christmas Vacation! Friends! The Walton’s! Gilmore Girls! And More! Fanboy Heaven!by mike on Jul 9, 2012 • 12:46 am 2 Comments
It’s a Comic Con miracle! I have always… and I do mean always wanted to visit the Warner Bros ranch! For those of you who are not familiar with the ranch, it’s the old Columbia ranch that Warner Bros bought back in the day. Now, unlike the main lot at Warner Bros, the ranch is not available to the general public.
So, to get on, I had to put feelers out to all my friends. I was like who do I have to sleep with to get on that ranch! After I put that offer out, everyone I know ran as far away as they could. So, I had to change my approach, bribes… It works every time… Actually, one of the coolest people I have ever known was like… I can try and get you on!
And with one call, a Comic Con miracle was born! I was able to go to the old Columbia Ranch! Now, the Ranch is a much much smaller version of the main Warner Bros lot. But so many classic television shows were filmed here including Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, The Walton’s, Friends, The Partridge Family and some films including one of my favorites National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
Originally, the Warner Bros ranch had a full western set, and was the filming location for the serials of the early 1930’s Blondie, Batman and Superman shorts.
Much of the lot was damaged in a large fire, in fact all the the Flying Nun sets were destroyed and much of the ranch had to be rebuilt.
In the 1970’s another fire destroyed much of the New York street and the lagoon area where Fantasy Island was filmed.
Currently, The Warner Ranch is the home of several different television series including Pretty Little Liars, The Middle and even films like Project X.
When we first pulled in the lot the very first thing you see is the iconic fountain. This fountain was used in countless productions but is probably more familiar to audiences from the opening title sequence in Friends.
It was used in countless productions including the television series Private Benjamin (It was the army base), the Three Stooges Shorts, and the television mini series V.
I couldn’t resist imitating the end of the theme by doing a little flexing. Yep, I’m a dork.
Annette struck a sexy pose by the fountain as well!
One of the other notable things about the ranch is the fact that there is a full size swimming pool in the middle of the park.
Now, if you have seen any television series from the 1950s or 1960s that pool has been featured so many times. Lindsay from I Am Not A Stalker and I had a quick debate about if it was the pool used in Christmas Vacation or not. We both think it was.
Most recently it was used in Project X for the pool at the house party.
Speaking of Project X the house from the party movie is on the ranch. This house was built for the film Small Soldiers and was used recently in Pushing Daisies. The back of the house is used as the porch and yard for The Middle which is why a section is painted blue unlike the rest of the house.
This house is the newest structure on the lot and it was built in the late 90’s.
The most famous street on the ranch is called Blondie street. It was named for the Blondie shorts.
Many of the houses on Blondie street are very recognizable.
The first place we went to was The Hazel house. This house was the home of Hazel back in the 1960s and also was used in Dennis the Menace and I believe they are using the home in The Middle currently.
This house is probably most familiar to modern movie goers as the Lethal Weapon house! It was the home of Danny Glover’s Captain Murdoch. And even though the house was destroyed in Lethal Weapon 4, they did not destroy the facade. In fact they built a replica and destroyed that one instead.
The church on he end of the ranch was used in countless television series. It was used in Hazel, Bewitched and more. I believe that the the original church burned down and this one replaced it, but honestly I’m not 100% certain.
I was very excited to see the Bewitched home. Now this house is great because honestly it hasn’t changed much since Samantha and Darren called the facade home back in the day.
Annette and I had to snap a few quick photos of it and next to it.
Bewitched was one of my favorite shows to watch as a kid. It would always be syndicated and during the summers especially was always on in my home.
The sad thing was we only had a few minutes to walk around the Ranch and it wasn’t nearly enough time. Still we really did make the best of it.
I was very excited to see the Griswold’s home from Christmas Vacation. It has changed a lot since the movie was shot, but still just standing in front of it… I was in Chevy Chase heaven!
You can almost see Chevy Chase popping head out of the small window in the movie!
We managed to go inside however the camera flash foiled us. Doh! Ah well… Still to stand on the steps from Christmas vacation was a thrill.
I’m sure that all the interiors were shot on a soundstage because the home is very small inside but right now this is as close as anyone is going to get.
Then I headed over to the The Middle house. This was really cool since I’m just starting to like this little series. The house is exactly like it is in the show and just like walking on the set.
I had to get a photo knocking on the door and in front of the house as well.
We had to get going and move fast. We really wanted to see the Walton’s house which is not on the main strip. It’s way way in the back and was moved to the ranch from the main lot.
This facade was also used in Gilmore Girls as the Inn (thanks Lindsay!)
I have to say this facade is in need of some major repair. It’s really fallen on some sad times, there’s even a bed sheet hung in the window upstairs for some reason. We could have went inside but honestly we were a tad afraid because of the poor condition of the structure.
Still we had to get some photos on the porch and of the barn as well.
There is so much history here on the ranch! It’s crazy.
Before we left we passed by the used car dealership from The Middle AKA Ehlert Motors. The cool thing was that even though The Middle is on hiatus the sets look just like in the show for this one as well.
I didn’t even know the Middle shot on the ranch until I pulled in!
Such a fun day and honestly something I have really wanted to do for years now. I’m so thankful to my friend Annette for getting me on the ranch and I have to go back for a better photo on the Christmas vacation steps. There are other facades I haven’t visited either so expect another visit in the future!
Until next time kids!