08 January 2013

Production Center

Seeing is believing, and in the case of Disney-MGM Studios the plan for the park included giving guests the true filming experience. While this included dubbing guests, or their sound effects, into productions and giving them a behind the scenes look at what goes into an action blockbuster, Disney-MGM Studios sought to highlight some real world filming that was occurring within the working studio theme park.

The most well-remembered of these live and in-person filmings is perhaps the Mickey Mouse Club, or MMC as it was known during its 1989 – 1995 revival. The recognition of this show, even today, is due in no small part to the show’s inclusion of Brittney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera, JC Chasez, Ryan Gosling and other well-known performers who premiered on the show in its later seasons.

Such tapings were not typically able to seat a studio audience for their production, although full audiences were used for some shows, such as the game show Hollywood Squares. Wanting to allow as many guests as possible to see the filming taking place, while not disrupting the production on regular intervals, Imagineers had to come up with a way to satisfy both parties. The answer came in the form of a bird’s eye view.

Guests taking part in the Backstage Studio Tour, at the time a two and a half hour tram and walking tour, would make their way up to enclosed catwalks that had been soundproofed to inhibit any obnoxious guests from banging on the windows and disrupting the production. Inside these observation rooms, guests could look out over the production and watch the action on monitors mounted overhead. They may enter in the middle of a scene or leave during the scene without ever having interrupted filming.

Of course, there were always days when filming wasn’t taking place. But that’s a story for another day.


KJ @ PlustheMagic said...

Wow- I can't imagine the Backlot Tour being two and half hours! Where was the production building with the soundproof catwalk? I'd love to see some of the actual live production & recording return to the studios...

June8801 said...

This catwalk was located were now stand Toy Story Midway Mania, the new POC exibit (formely Narnia) and One man's dream.