Paramount Pictures' Iconic Gates

A Pit, Paramount And Podcasting

Myself and a few of the Who Asked You? Crew took a lil’ drive to Los Angeles for my birthday last weekend. It was an eventful few days. We started off Friday with a trip to The Snakepit Alehouse, Whiskey Bar and Kitchen on Melrose Avenue. Being a whiskey bar, you might imagine they’ve got quite a selection of the stuff.

The Snakepit Whiskey Selection

It’s a cozy joint. We sat in the corner while it poured rain outside sipping and sampling the booze. Our table was also a Ms. Pac-Man arcade. We got in a few rounds before the screen was covered with pint glasses from our beer chasers and plates for the tasty happy hour pizzas and nachos we ordered.

After several hours we emerged from The Snakepit around 8pm and were immediately reminded how spoiled we Las Vegans are with all of our 24-hour businesses at the sight of pretty much everything on Melrose either already closed or in the process of doing so. Next stop, the only place we could find within walking distance still open: Winchell’s Donut House for a donut and cup of coffee.

Saturday was the highlight with my guest appearance on MORTGAGE MOM RADIO and our tour of Paramount Pictures. The weather cleared and it was a really nice afternoon to putter around the hundred-year-old backlot and geek out on movie history. Check out the gallery above for some of the things you’ll see on the tour. Five fun facts about Paramount which you’ll learn along the way:

1. The Paramount name has no significant movie making meaning. It’s actually named after an apartment building one of its founders, W. W. Hodkinson used to pass by regularly.
2. Flagstaff, Arizona came very close to being the original spot for the studio which would’ve made it the movie making capital instead of Hollywood.
3. Bronson Avenue, which leads right to the famous, gated entrance to the studio IS NOT named after actor Charles Bronson. It’s the other way around. Charles’ real last name was Buchinsky. Studio executives didn’t think that sounded manly enough and directed him to pick a more burly surname. He saw the street “Bronson” in front of the studio and the rest is history.
4. Bob Hope used to hit golf balls over the two story office building that housed producer offices. He wasn’t that great at it and busted out a lot of second floor windows. As a result, noob producers just starting out were often given second floor offices while the more senior, well-known guys got ground floor, golf ball-free digs.
5. The golf carts used for the studio tours are in DESPERATE need of power steering! Our petite, female tour guide did her best though to strong-arm the steering wheel around tight corners and obstacles.

That’s it… that’s all you get. Don’t wanna spoil the whole tour. I highly recommend it. The tour ended with a visit to the DR. PHIL set. While I don’t really care about the show itself, as someone who comes from broadcasting, this was more ‘up my alley’. However, a talk show set is not terribly impressive powered down, with blank flat screens and under fluorescent house lighting. And DR. PHIL’s is pretty beat up. Lots of scuffs and scrapes on the floor and railings. The carpets look like they need to be vacuumed, and would someone clean the teleprompter? It was shockingly dusty. Maybe they’re between seasons right now? Since Paramount doesn’t own the rights to the good doc, we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the sound stage.

And, here’s a tip if you are planning a tour here: DON’T DO IT during an art exhibition called Frieze Los Angeles. The place was flooded with scarf-wearing fart-sniffers as far as the eye could see. Even our tour guide made the comment she’d never seen so many people on the lot. She was repeatedly interrupted by snobs wanting a lift somewhere. She had to keep telling them she was not a chauffeur and was in the middle of a tour.

Golden Road Brewery Tour

We wrapped up our weekend excursion with a trip, naturally enough, to the bar! We’re snobs in our own right, when it comes to beer. We just like drinking GOOD beer. We stopped off at Golden Road Brewery and not only sampled their offerings, but toured their impressive brewery where they make them. We even got to sample an IPA fresh from the tank!