Friday, April 26, 2013

Tales From The College Program: Hilary Duff

Before I start this story, let me remind you that I was in the Walt Disney World College Program in 2003.  At the time Hilary Duff was one of the biggest stars on the planet.  Having said that, let's begin.

I remember one night when Dan and I were working The Link alone, I went home sick.  I had a real sinus attack and the last thing people want to see around their food is a dude who can't stop sneezing.  I went home and Dan closed down the restaurant by himself.  The next morning I was awoken by a phone call from Dan.  His roommate who worked at Blizzard Beach had called to tell him that Hilary Duff was at the park.  Dan loved Hilary Duff, so we decided "Why not, take a crazy chance" and see if we can meet her.

I'll pause here to give you some advice if you ever plan on trying to meet a celebrity.  The first rule should be "Dress in a way that is appropriate to your surroundings.  So, you want to meet Hilary Duff at a water park, wear a swimsuit.  Neither of us really thought about this ahead of time.  Dan was dressed in his usual cargo shorts and sandals which i'd say isn't perfect but is the second best thing to a swimsuit..  At the time I only owned probably 2 pairs of shorts, I wore jeans and chucks everywhere.  This was probably not the best choice, but I also decided to wear an Alkaline Trio shirt with this graphic.


It didn't occur to us how badly we were going to stand out until we reached Blizzard Beach, and by then it was too late.

We arrived at Blizzard Beach with little to no plan.  We just walked around in hopes that we would run into Hilary Duff.  What would we say to her if we saw her?  Most likely nothing.  We assumed she'd probably have some sort of Disney entourage who wouldn't let a couple of street clothes wearing idiots like us anywhere near her. Hilary and I are both from Houston, so she would totally be cool with meeting a fellow Houstonian, right?  Turns out tracking someone down in a water park that you've never actually been to is a lot harder than it sounds. 

We walked around the park for a little while and stopped at a large area with chairs and bungalows for people to sun bathe.  As we stood there discussing if we should continue walking around the park sticking out like sore thumbs or just call it a day, we noticed something.  In one of the covered bungalows on the opposite side of the sun bathing area we were being stared at.  Given what we (or I) was wearing this was not a big surprise. The surprise was that the person staring at us was Lalaine, who played Hilary Duff's friend Miranda on Lizzy Maguire.  

This created a somewhat awkward situation as the three of us just kind of stared at each other.  The conversation between Dan and I at that point went something like this.  "Why is she staring at us?  Does she think we are here looking for her?  Why is she still staring at us?  Should we go over there and say "Hey, don't worry we are just walking around looking for Hilary?"  No, that will surely get us kicked out and probably fired, let's get out of here....Seriously, she is still staring at us" 

We decided it was time to leave, with no sign of Hilary and Disney security possibly on their way looking for the only two people in the park not wearing swimsuits.  We don't even know if she even went to Blizzard Beach that day, but it was definitely an interesting adventure.

The is pretty much my Al Capone's Vault of College Program stories.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Back to the Twilight Zone: Part 2

After the clock tower, the most important set in Hill Valley is probably the cafe. 


In the Twilight Zone, the area we know as being the cafe is a police station.


In 1985 Hill Valley, it's Lou's Aerobic Fitness Center.


The building has not changed that much since the Twilight Zone, all they really did was relocate the door and build that facade.  Funny how Lou went from owning a restaurant to a fitness center 30 years later.


Mike Ferris also takes in a movie at The Savoy.


The Marquee (and movie selection) was changed when this area became Hill Valley



A close up shows, that those busts have been there for quite a while.


One scene that really threw me off, was when Mike walked past a drug store.


It looks like the clock tower is behind him, and the reflection in the window looks like the post office building, but something about the geometry just didn't make sense to me.  I looked for more pictures of the set from this era and found out that an episode of Leave it to Beaver was also filmed here.  This photo is from that episode.


Looks like the side of the Police station is also a drug store.

So there you have it, the story of two guys, who wondered down a lonely road


and ended up in the same place.


obviously, by that I mean...a phone booth



















Friday, April 12, 2013

Back to the Twilight Zone: Part 1

When you think about it, Back to the Future is a very Twilight Zone-esque movie.  In the season one episode "Walking Distance" a man actually ends up back in his childhood town and runs into his younger self and his parents.  Like Marty McFly, tampering with his past changes things when he eventually returns to the present.

"Where is Everybody?" is the pilot episode of The Twilight Zone.  It's about an Air Force pilot who finds himself in an empty town with no recollection of how he got there or who he is.  He spends the episode wandering around searching for signs of life, but only finds, mannequins, lit cigarettes, ringing phones, and an empty movie theater.  This was the only Twilight Zone episode filmed on the Universal Studios backlot.  Why is important, because the town of Oakwood that Mike Ferris stumbles into in The Twilight Zone is also Hill Valley in the Back to the Future trilogy.

I decided to take screen shots from Where is Everybody and compare them to Back to the Future, which was filmed about 25 years later.  We'll start with the most recognizable landmark, the clock tower itself.

There it is behind our Twilight Zone character, Mike Ferris.  


In Back to the Future, obviously they added the clock. 


One of the first signs of life Mike encounters turns out to be a mannequin sitting in a car.


In Back to the Future, this area becomes the Texaco Station.


Mike looks inside the building but finds more mannequins


It looks like this doorway is still there.



Here's a shot of the same area, as Mike runs to the ringing phone.  The record store entrance is still there with possibly a facade built over the pillars.


When Mike enters the phone booth, he looks around the town, which gives us a great view of the entire set.


This area is behind Marty and Jennifer when she tells him how great his demo tape is.


It looks like one of the oval window was converted/inspired the entry way when they remodeled the building.


In The Twilight Zone, the building at the end of the street is a post office


In Back to the Future, it's a Bank of America


Aside from the third story, this building was brought back to it's Twilight Zone store front for 1955 Hill Valley.


Here is a view of the whole street


The building at the end of the street appears to be a church, interestingly even though they tore it down by the time Back to the Future was made, the building they put in its place is also a church.


Mike's phone booth is actually in the same place as the Hill Valley sign.


Stayed tuned for part 2 of Back to the Twilight Zone next week!






















.