What Picketers? How The Strike Plays On The Warner Bros. Studio Tour

The Warner Bros. lot may be turning into an unintended flashpoint for everything that’s troubling Los Angeles these days — the overwhelming homeless situation and the first actors and writers strike since 1960 — but you’d be hard pressed to find signs of woe on the lot’s popular studio tour.

Despite the presence of picketers at the Olive Avenue gate and the breathtaking size of the RV encampment along Forest Lawn Drive, the tour was business as usual Thursday as it shuttled tourists from the new and improved welcome building to the historic jungle backlot and famed New York Street. There’s virtually no sign of placard-wielding strikers on the basic $70 tour, and the only way to see the homeless encampment is by standing outside of Stage 29 and looking toward the Hollywood mountain. Even then, trees and production equipment mostly block the dismal view.

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Otherwise, the only hint of trouble brewing outside the 110-acre studio Thursday was when a news helicopter hovered over the lot while visitors wandered around the old Gilmore Girls set and took pictures at the gazebo. When a tourist asked about the chopper’s sudden and prolonged presence, the genial guide surmised it was “for a car accident or something crazy” — not because it was Day 7 of the SAG-AFTRA strike and Day 80 of the WGA strike.

Afterwards, the same guide said he would gladly address the strike if he were asked about it, but no one did. Maybe the conversations are different on the more expensive tours that go for as high as $300 and include a visit to the property department, something that used to be available during the basic tour. Inflation!

Among the tourists enjoying the morning’s first tour were Anna and Kamryn, two young women from Mobile, Ala. who said they were aware of the strike when they made their sojourn to Los Angeles for vacation this week. When asked if they knew why the actors and writers were striking, Kamryn and Anna talked over themselves as they blurted out things like “artificial intelligence” and how “people aren’t getting paid for their services.”

“One of our Uber drivers yesterday was like, ‘you guys didn’t know you were coming when there was gonna be a strike here’ and he was telling us about all that stuff,” said Kamryn.

And with that, the two finished up the tour and went off to find some stars — on the Olive Avenue picket line.

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