on the west side of Los Angeles are the Sony and Twentieth Century
Fox studios, location of countless Streisand triumphs over the
years. Barbra records her albums these days at Sony. The scoring
stage that now bears her name is the best acoustical facility in
town, according to music industry insiders.
Swing by Fox and you just might see the ghostly relics of the
massive "Dolly" set constructed for the show-stopping parade scene
in the picture. Some have said that "Dolly" was such a financial
disaster for Fox that the studio couldn't afford to take down the
film's massive 14th Street set. Remnants of the set have remained
there for decades.
Twentieth Century Fox
10201 Pico Blvd.
Barbra's second film,
"Hello, Dolly!" was filmed at Twentieth Century Fox studios in 1969.
Enormous and elaborate sets were constructed on the Fox back lot to
represent New York City (and 14th Street) in the 1890's. The Act 1
closing number, "Before the Parade Passes By" employed hundreds of
extras in what was to become one of the most costly single scenes ever
to be shot in Hollywood history.
The "Dolly" set: then and
For many years after
the production was completed, the back lot sets used in "Dolly!"
remained as a last testament to what was arguably the end of
Hollywood's musical golden age. A drive down Pico Blvd. and a glance
inside the studio gates were rewarded with a glimpse of the set.
Visitors to the studio would park on the same New York street where
Dolly marched side by side with Horace and where she taught Cornelious
and Barnaby how to dance. Today, a few lasting vestiges of the "Dolly"
sets are still visible from outside the gates on Pico Blvd.
10202 W. Washington Blvd., Culver City
musical history will inevitably take you through the heart of Culver
City, for that is where Barbra records her music these days. The
recording studio at Sony Pictures is the best facility in the world
and provides the ultimate recording environment for films and albums.
A Sony insider recently told us that the recording stage hasn't been
painted in years for fear of disturbing the acoustics. Barbra's recent
studio album, "The Movie Album" was recorded at
Sony as were the scores of her films, "The Prince of Tides" and
"The Mirror Has Two Faces."
The MGM / Sony gates: then
On February 2, 2004, the Sony recording studio was formally named
The Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage. In a 2011 interview with BBC-2
radio, Barbra spoke about her scoring stage:
"It's so exciting for
me and especially working in my scoring stage that SONY, so lovely,
named for me. It's designed the way I like it, it looks the way I like
it to look, it sounds the way I like it to sound, there's space for
people, there's food. It's just a wonderful atmosphere to create
music. And it is the old stage where I think they did 'the Wizard of
Oz' and 'Gone With The Wind' - the old MGM stage."
Visiting the Streisand Scoring Stage
Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage is sometimes, but not
always, included in the daily studio tours offered
at Sony. If the stage is in use, the tour will bypass it
altogether. But here's the good news. When the stage is
idle, your tour will probably take you inside.
Be sure to ask at the desk before deciding
whether or not you want to take the tour. By our
estimate, you have a 20% chance that the stage will be
open the day you visit.
Tours depart Monday - Friday. Call
310-244-8687 for times.
Check in at the lobby of the Sony
Pictures Plaza Building
(across from the main gate on Madison
Ave.). Cost is $28.
In recent years,
Sony's recording studio has been Barbra's home away from home. But one
aspect of the facility bothered her: the restrooms were located
outside. Barbra was thrilled to recently report that Sony had finally
installed facilities within the studio. So now Barbra, who typically
works into the early hours of the morning, has all the comforts of
home within the four walls of her recording environment.
The studio lot has the
most fabled Hollywood history attached to it. In the 1930's (and until
1986), the studio was known as the MGM back lot. "The Wizard of Oz"
was filmed there in 1939 as were dozens upon dozens of Hollywood
musicals of the '30's and '40's. Judy Garland started out as a
contract player at MGM and carved out the beginnings of her legendary
career on the studio's sound stages. The MGM back lot was the
epicenter of Hollywood's Golden Age.
Will Rogers State Park
1501 Will Rogers State Park Rd.
If polo's your game, head over to The Will Rogers State Park
in the Pacific Palisades section of Los Angeles. That's what
Barbra did in 1975 when she filmed a scene from "Funny Lady"
at the park's famed polo grounds. Fanny Brice unknowingly
attended a match in which ex-hubby Nick Arnstein was playing.
A reunion with Nick followed shortly thereafter. The result:
Fanny gave Nick the tally-ho from her life, forever.
Rogers State Park: then and now
Will Rogers was an
avid polo player and promoted the game on this field during the
1920's. The polo lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel got its name from
Will who would repair to the bar for frequent post-game libations.
The Will Rogers State
Park is open to the public, but be sure to
watch out for the chukkas.
9641 Sunset Blvd.
In 1975, Barbra and
the cast and crew of "Funny Lady" took over the world famous Beverly
Hills Hotel for a crucial scene. Fanny finally realized that it was time to extinguish the
torch she had been carrying for Nick over several years and well into
her marriage to Billy Rose. When she decides to return to Billy, she
begins a righteous walk down the hotel's central corridor while
singing the beginning verse of "Let's Hear It For Me." As Barbra
filmed the scene, the camera followed in front of her as she stormed
her way down the hall. The hotel's famous green leaf wallpaper
provided an interesting and exciting visual
while Barbra sang "and I won't be damned anymore!"
Inside the Beverly Hills Hotel:
then and now
A visit to the hotel
today is a most pleasant experience. A drink at the world famous Polo
Lounge or a poolside Cobb salad are indulgences not to be missed.