For the last few weeks, we’ve had a group of Korean students visiting us at Dodge College as part of our Cross Cultural Filmmaking course, taught by
James Gardner
. Recently, the students went on the Warner Bros. Backlot Tour. Guest author
Brian Hamilton
was lucky enough to join them, and sent back this report:

Whenever I had a sleepover as a kid, my friends and I would watch Tim Burton’s 1989 film
, starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson. Through junior high, I was riveted every afternoon by Eric Radomski’s and Bruce Timm’s
Batman: The Animated Series.
Later, as an adult, I thrilled at Christopher Nolan’s re-imagining of the character in
The Dark Knight Trilogy
. That’s why I jumped at the chance to accompany Professor James Gardner and our students from Korea on a tour of Warner Bros. Studios, as they are currently celebrating Batman’s 75

Traveling through the backlots, we had a chance to see where many of Warner Bros.’ most famous outdoor scenes were filmed. There was the building that Peter Parker (Toby McGuire) hung upside down and kissed Mary Jane (Kirsten Dunst) for the first time in the movie
. There was Madam Ruby’s shop from
Pee-wee’s Big Adventure
. There was the exterior of the orphanage designed by Dale Hennessy for the 1982 film
. And, of course, several buildings that appeared in Batman; including the courthouse from the television series and Gotham’s Hall of Records from
Batman Returns

Image of Dodge College students touring Warner Bros. Backlot

The students getting ready to go on the tour!

After our tour of the backlots, we traveled over to the Warner Bros. museum, where the entire bottom floor was devoted to sets and costumes from the Batman films. The
pièce de résistance
of this collection was a glass case at the front entrance, which held every Batman mask from 1989-2012. There was also the Joker’s purple suit that Jack Nicholson wore in
, one of the penguins from
Batman Returns,
Arnold Scwarzenegger’s glowing Mr. Freeze suit from
Batman and Robin
, and the fusion bomb from
The Dark Knight Rises

Batman wasn’t the only silver screen hero highlighted in the Warner Bros. museum. On the second floor, we ventured into the wizarding world of Harry Potter. Walking past the scowling goblin banker, with his quill poised over his giant ledger from
The Sorcerer’s Stone
, we encountered Hagrid’s spider from
Chamber of Secrets
, the Marauder’s Map from
Prisoner of Azkaban,
and Death Eaters’ costumes from
Goblet of Fire
. They also had Dumbledore’s talking sorting hat, which sorted each of us into one of Hogwarts’ four houses (including a few students who were sorted suspiciously into Slytherin).

Image of Dodge College students touring Warner Bros. Backlot

“Hmm, difficult. VERY difficult. Plenty of courage, I see. Not a bad mind, either.”

Continuing on our tour, we went into Stage 25, where Warner Bros.’ first television series,
, was filmed and where the set of the sitcom
The Big Bang Theory
is currently housed. We also got to see Warner Bros. prop house, where students got a chance to have their pictures taken on the set of the coffee shop from
. We then drove over to the vehicle shops, where they had displayed many of the vehicles from the Batman films, including several versions of the Batmobile.

Topping off our day, we got a chance to walk on many of the sets of the CW Network’s
Hart of Dixie
, including Dr. Zoe Hart’s office, the Butter Stick Bakery, the Rammer Jammer Bar, and Dr. Hart’s studio apartment.

“My favorite part was the alleyway where they filmed
,” says Jaehan Pag, one of the Korean students when I caught up with him in the gift shop after the tour. “I saw the film when I was a kid and their first kiss seemed so romantic. I also enjoyed seeing all of the costumes from Batman and Harry Potter.”