I Visit the Stars

Going out to the Columbia Ranch to spend a day on the set of “Here Come The Brides” is always something to look forward to. The Columbia Ranch is situated just a few blocks away from NBC studios in Burbank. It covers acres of grounds and is surrounded by tall fences covered with ivy so you can’t see in.

When you first pull up to the security gate, the friendly guard carefully checks to see that your name is on the list. He gives you the go-ahead sign after directing you to stage 29, the “Brides” indoor sound stage.

Getting there

Finding that is always fun, because getting lost is such an adventure! You drive around the city park and by Samantha and Darrin’s house from “Bewitched,” then by the house of Major Nelson from “I Dream of Jeannie.” It’s a little sad to pass by the jungle where you saw several Monkee episodes shot last year, but your spirits come back when you pass through San Juan, Puerto Rico and by the Convento San Tanco, as well as Carlos’ A Go Go club from “The Flying Nun” series.

Just beyond “western town” and the 1900’s main street, you see the Captain’s ship from “Here Come The Brides,” and you know you’ve found it. Behind the mock ship you can see the whole town of 1880 Seattle, just as it looks on TV. To the left of this is stage 29. Outside you spot Bobby Sherman’s Rolls and Bridget’s Mustang.

Lights flashing

The red lights are flashing outside, which means they are shooting a scene inside. When the lights blink off you pull back the two heavy doors and enter a darkened sound stage. People in old time costumes are milling about and off across the stage you spot Bobby, Bridget and Joan Blondell.

When they finish a scene, Bridget may invite you over to her dressing room between scenes. Like Bobby’s it’s a portable trailer, only Bridget has hers decorated just darling. There are two old-time velvet-covered chairs, a loveseat and a dressing table. On the dressing table there’s an adorable photo of Bridget with her cheeks puffed out and she’s chomping on an apple. This, she says, is to remind her how she’ll look if she eats too much!

Bobby writes

Bobby’s dressing room, which is three doors down, is not as decorative, but just as comfortable. In one corner sits his guitar and whenever he has a free moment it’s likely to find him writing songs or singing some tunes with David Soul.

Back on the set you run into charming Robert Brown. Before you even get a chance to smile a hello, Robert is shaking your hand (probably paying you some sort of compliment) and introducing you to his new puppy, which he brings to the studio everyday.

No matter where you are on the “Brides” set, or who you are with, you can’t help having a ball, because the “Brides” cast are the friendliest people you’ll ever want to meet!

Land of giants

To find the land of the giants, you must travel all the way across Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Once inside the studio gates at 20th Century-Fox, you are escorted to a massive stage at the back of the lot. It’s hard to believe that all the outdoor scenes on “Land of the Giants” are shot indoors, but when you see the enormous set of “Giants,” you can finally understand!

Your guide for the day is Stefan Arngrim, who is so excited to show you around and introduce you to all the members of the cast. Luckily, you’ve caught them in the middle of a scene and from what you can tell it’s going to be very exciting. Stefan is not in this particular scene, so he’s right next to you explaining all the action.

Big carrot

Don Marshall, the co-pilot, is supposed to walk onto the set carrying a massive carrot he’s found. Meanwhile, the Captain, Gary Conway, is arguing with passenger Mark. The director yells “quiet on the set!”, the sound man gives his okay and says, “Speed,” and you hear “Action!” From behind a tall set of shrubs, Don comes walking out carrying this huge carrot and Mark and Gary just can’t keep from laughing. Their laughter sets off every one on the set and it’s minutes before quiet is resumed.

They try the scene again from the beginning, but it happens again. The director steps in and says, “You realize we can’t work with that carrot.” And then you hear, “Strike the carrot!” This happens often on the “Giants” set, because of all the way-out and hilarious props they use. All the cast members really have to try to keep serious, and that’s a job let me tell you!

What to wear

I promised last month that I’d tell you about what to wear on the various TV sets, should you ever be lucky enough to be a set visitor, so here goes: First, “Mod Squad”-anything goes here. I often wear a pants suit, since you never know when they’ll be filming outside, which means you might end up anywhere. They dress very casually on the show, so no matter what you wear you’ll fit right in.

Ditto for “Here Come The Brides,” and “Land of the Giants.” Brides is shot outdoors half of the time and it’s convenient to have a pair of high boots on when you have to cross the Seattle set since there is often a lot of dust and mud. Indoors it’s suitable too, because there often aren’t enough chairs to go around and you may wind up sitting on a dirty stool or something like it. It’s best to be prepared for anything and then you’ll have no worries.

“Here’s Lucy,” is another story. This is a family-type show taped in front of a studio audience. Even when they dress casually, Lucy, Desi and Lucie always look pretty sharp, so if you’ve got on a nice, smart dress or a skirt and blouse, you’ll match up fine.

One other tip, the dress for “Here’s Lucy” goes for all the shows that feature a studio audience like “The Smothers Brothers Show,” “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” etc. These shows often have shots of the studio audience and when you think about being seen by several million people, you want to look as nice as you can.

Next month I’ll tell you about how the stars are made-up by studio makeup artists and some more secrets you won’t want to miss. See you then.

Magazine: Tiger Beat
Editor: Ann Moses
Volume: 4
Issue: 8
Publisher: Laufer Publishing Company
Pages: 26–27