I doubt this is anyone’s main news source, but in case you missed it, Universal Studio’s backlot is currently ablaze, with several structures damaged (including a video vault and the King Kong exhibit). No reports of injuries at the moment, thankfully.
My thoughts go to the West Coast office of my old company, Focus Features, which is housed in the farthest reaches of the backlot. I hope all is well there.
The Universal Backlot tour left an indelible imprint on me when I visited California as a kid in the early 80’s. Anyone else remember the tram driving into the heart of a life-size Cylon raider, where some animatronic Cylons threatened to kill the tourists before an actor dressed as Starbuck appeared and blew them to bits? The lasers looked so real to the 7-year-old me, and I was absolutely convinced the actor was the same guy from TV.
Decades later, during the Focus days, I was on the West Coast for the American Film Market and had a chance to drive freely around the backlot in a golf cart for a bit. There wasn’t much going on that day, but the innocent, wide-eyed, little kid thrill was still there.
The backlot will be rebuilt, and knowing Universal the video vault material should mostly have been backed up and stored deep in the Rockies somewhere. Everything will undoubtedly survive to thrill the next several generations of kids.