Film and television buffs will not want to miss a tour of storied Paramount Pictures in Hollywood. Once home to Alfred Hitchcock, Lucille Ball, and costume designer extraordinaire Edith Head, there’s a ton of history on the lot, as well as plenty of sights from more recent productions, like “Glee”, “Rizzoli and Isles”, and “Community”. Like Warner Brothers, Paramount offers a regular studio tour and an extended, more in-depth tour. Here’s the lowdown on Paramount’s four-and-a-half-hour VIP Tour.
Where is the studio tour? The studio is located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
What time is the tour? The VIP tour is offered Monday through Friday at 9:30am. (Regular tours are offered seven days a week, between 9:30 and 2:30.)
How much do tickets cost? The VIP tour costs $178 per person. Included with the price of admission are a gourmet lunch, a 5×7 photo of your group in front of the Bronson Gates, and a free movie poster (you can choose from a few options of recent Paramount productions). Parking is also free for VIP guests, and you’ll receive 15% off merchandise in the studio store that day.
Where do I park? Complimentary parking is offered for VIP guests, and you’ll actually park in a filming location! VIP guests park where staffers do, in the B-tank where ocean scenes for “The Ten Commandments” and “Orange County” have been filmed. (If they happen to be filming there on the day you take your tour, I’m sure there would be another area where you could park for free.)
How long is the tour? This tour is about twice as long as the regular tour, and will run approximately four-and-a-half hours. There’s not a lot of walking involved (for most of the tour your guide will drive you on a tram) but you’ll want to make sure you’re dressed comfortably.
What should I bring? Phones and cameras are allowed, just no videotaping.
What’s the tour like? The VIP tour is similar to the regular tour, but much more in-depth. You go a bit beyond seeing the sites, and have access to some of the industrial and creative areas of the studio. We chatted with fabric and lighting guys, saw where sets are constructed and special effects are tested, and said hi to the dudes who create signage and other graphic design elements for shows and movies. You’ll get a lot of good information and some cool insights. You’ll also traverse the backlots and see the different streets built to represent New York, Chicago, Boston, etc. You may get to step inside a sound stage, as well. (On my first VIP tour we walked through Rosalita’s pub and Max and Dave’s apartment from the show “Happy Endings”; on the most recent tour we visited the stage of “Dr. Phil”.) You’ll also get to visit the Archives, which house tons of stored films, costumes, and jewelry from productions. Our tour guide told us that going to the Archives is a treat for the guides, because other than the VIP tours no one really gets to go in there. Pretty cool!
My thoughts: This VIP tour, especially my most recent tour with Jason Cho as our guide, is great! It’s shorter than Warner Brothers’ extended tour but you don’t feel short-changed. You get to visit the backlots, the production facilities, and the Archives, plus you get a great gourmet lunch. The people working in the production facilities are also super nice. My cousin Alana and I were fangirling about the MeowMeowBeenz decals in the signage department, and one of the guys working there grabbed a couple off the shelf and told us to sneak them in our bags. So cool! I’ve also seen the most celebrities just walking around at Paramount: Jane Lynch, Chris O’Donnell, Alison Brie, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Casey Wilson, Zach Knighton, Damon Wayans Jr., Sasha Alexander, Ryan Murphy, Daran Norris, Dean Cain, Angie Harmon, Lee Thompson Young (RIP). You have a pretty decent chance of seeing a star while on the Paramount lot.
You can get VIP tour tickets here.
Shows that film or have filmed at Paramount:
“American Horror Story” (first two seasons)
“Big Time Rush”
“Everybody Hates Chris”
“NCIS: Los Angeles”
“Rizzoli and Isles”
STORY & PHOTO CREDITS