Most people think of the big red double decker bus or the minivans with the roof cut off when they think of Hollywood sightseeing tours. These tours pile large groups in together to see celebrity homes and shopping districts like Rodeo Drive and the Sunset strip. One Burbank resident is using his Toyota Prius to redefine the art of Hollywood sightseeing by offering the only private and customizable tour showcasing iconic movie and TV filming locations, that other Hollywood tours don’t cover.
Paul Preston is a Burbank resident and avid movie goer. You might have seen him hosting the outdoor movie nights in Magnolia Park at the UMe Credit Union parking lots over the last few years, where he provided move trivia and games at the events. His website, themovieguys.net, is dedicated to the cinema world where he hosts and features podcasts, reviews, articles, comedy events, movie premieres, live shows and more.
It wasn’t until he put together a list of sought-after film locations for a friend’s birthday that the idea of turning his passion into a tour business came about. “Films have been a lifetime passion of mine so exploring and devouring movie history in the city where it all started (and continues) didn’t require a nudge,” said Preston. “I got the idea that this city is one big movie set. Everywhere I looked reminded me of a scene from a movie I saw. It got to where directions started being given in movie sets. ‘You wanna get to the mall? Sure, you go down Santa Monica Blvd. ’til you get to that building Riggs jumped off in Lethal Weapon, then turn left just past the burger joint from Real Genius. Go all the way down to Nakatomi Plaza and the mall’s just past that.’”
The Movie Guys’ L.A. Film Locations Tour offers five different location zones to choose from: Hollywood, West Valley, East Valley, West Side, and East Side. Guests pick a zone and the tour remains in that area for the entire three hours. On the website, each zone showcases up to 30 locations that could be visited and guests choose their top ten spots from that list so that they are seeing locations from movies they like or have seen. “There are so many fantastic filming locations in the L.A. area, there’s no losing in which city section you pick, and you can always come back and tour another area later,” adds Preston.
The tour usually starts or ends at a restaurant, bar or cafe listed as one of the filming locations on his website so that guests can enjoy dinner or lunch at a bonus location not counted as one of the 10 spots chosen. Preston will pick up the guests in his Toyota Prius which accommodates up to four people other than himself. Water is included in the tour as well as snacks tied into the filming locations you visit.
The East Valley Tour option features the San Fernando area including Burbank. Some of the most iconic filming locations that can be visited in the Burbank area are the Burger King as seen in Back to the Future, numerous locations from La La Land, Bob’s Big Boy that was featured in Heat, The Wonder Years house, andKabuki where they filmed Clueless. “My tours will give you a customized experience you can’t get anywhere else, catered entirely to what you want to see,” said Preston.
Other iconic places from the other zones include Daniel LaRusso’s apartment building from The Karate Kid, Venice High School which doubled as Rydell High in Grease, and houses from A Nightmare on Elm St, E.T.-The Extra Terrestrial, and Halloween. TV locations are also included in the tour like Seinfeld’s apartment, The Brady Bunch house and The Golden Girls’ residence.
Preston, who has been a performer his whole life attributes his passion in relation to a quote from Glenn Close when asked why she was an actor: “I change people’s molecules.” Preston hopes to do that exact thing. “This is true for any art, and it’s become my response to ‘What do you do for a living?’” said Preston. “Whether you bond more with the people you brought with you, or you learn more about movies and become more appreciative of them or just have the best damn vacation of your life that will be a highlight of your year, I hope to keep this from being a passive experience. Plus, movies are awesome, right?”
Tours run at 10AM and 2PM Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as 10AM on Mondays and Wednesdays. The private tour can be booked directly from www.lafilmlocationstour.com and can be done as late as midnight the night before. MyBurbank readers can use the promo code MyBurbank2022 for 10% off through Memorial Day!