Minutes from Downtown Los Angeles, just a few blocks from Hollywood is the self-proclaimed entertainment capital of Los Angeles - Universal Studios Hollywood in Universal City. The complex that makes up Universal Studios consists of three sections, which include a theme park with rides based on popular Hollywood movies, a guided tour of the studio and various movie sets, and Universal CityWalk, a comprehensive shopping, dining, and entertainment site that contains, among other things, a large theater complex and a concert venue.
The Universal Studios theme park currently contains a variety of attractions based on popular movies. Among the park's most popular rides today are the Revenge of the Mummy roller coaster, a water ride based on the Jurassic Park movie, and the park's newest addition - a ride based on the popular cartoon series The Simpsons. Despite the popular rides, the studio is best known for its famous studio tour, which takes park visitors on a tram ride through various sections of the studio, including sets used on television shows like Desperate Housewives and movies like Jaws and The War of the Worlds.
Adding to the excitement at Universal Studios is the popular entertainment venue known as Universal CityWalk, which first opened in 1993. Visitors to Universal CityWalk, which can be accessed without having to pay any admission into the theme park, are treated to a variety of venues and shops. Included in CityWalk's offerings are a large theater complex complete with an IMAX screen, dozens on top-notch restaurants, the Gibson Amphitheater which has become a popular concert venue for some of the world's biggest musical acts, several on-site nightclubs including the Rumba Room and the Saddle Ranch, and dozens on unique souvenir shops and stores that sell everything from comic books to authentic Mexican chocolates.
Universal Studios Hollywood was officially created in 1964, when investors Albert Dorskind and Lew Wasserman invested a mere $4 million to design trams and build simple amenities such as parking lots and restrooms on the movie lot. Although the original Universal Studios also charged admission to patrons wishing to movies being made in person, the studio's 1964 re-incarnation is regarded as the studio's modern birth. The studio's tour originally featured a make-up demonstration, a movie costume exhibition, a push-button monster, and a live action Western shootout show. The original cost of the studio tour was $2.50 for adults, and $1.50 for children.
Today, Universal Studios Hollywood has become the place for promoting and hosting major movies and productions. It's location so close to Hollywood has made it a popular place for premiering movies, especially considering the scope of the studio's movie complex and the possibility of creating a tie-in with a studio ride or attraction. Top-notch performers also continuously sell-out concerts at the very popular Gibson Amphitheater. Recently, Universal CityWalk has also become the yearly home of the pep rally held before the USC versus UCLA game, as well as a place for fans to celebrate Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Dodgers victories.
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