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John, Deborah, Johnny and James go to Hollywood.

From Batman's original cave, to the set of ER, we saw it all. We took a three week trip cross-country with our first stop being in Ohio to visit family. We made a couple of other stops at Mormon Church history sites (article to come on that soon too) in Nauvoo and Salt Lake City and finally ending up in California to meet with Fara and Aysha for the time of our lives.

We didn't take the typical tour most folks would take to Hollywood. We didn't seek out movie stars, we didn't try to visit their homes, or view them in any way. We didn't pay exhorbant amounts of money to take the Universal Studios Tour. We went to where the "behind the scenes" action occurs. 

We went to Sword & the Stone and met proprieter Tony Swatton (he's been interviewed on various cable channels, like the Travel Channel). Tony is the maker of much of the swords, weapons and armour that you see in todays movies. For example, he had the hook there that Dustin Hoffman used in the movie Hook. He also had the batterang there from modern Batman movies. We saw Connan the Barbarian's huge sword there, the sword from The Mask of Zoro and many other props, armor and helmets we've seen on the silver screen! Tony took a liking to me and took me, Johnny and Aysha back into his work shop for a visit. We'd never seen such an array of unique industrial equipment that Tony uses to hammer out, create, adjust and finish the massive suits of armour, swords and other weapons he works on. Johnny and I got to handle the blades for the swords Tony is making for Tom Cruise's upcoming movie "The Last Samurai". So when you see that movie, remember that we handled those swords before Tom did! We didn't take any photos. We should have asked to, I think he would have let us. Anyway, you can visit their website: http://www.swordandstone.com

We also went to Modern Props. They weren't going to let us in as it is not their policy to give tours. We saw them on the Travel Channel and could have sworn they said it was tourable. Anyways, after enough whining and complaining (Hey, we drove cross-country!!!) the assistant manager was a sweet young lady who agreed to take us on an abbreviated tour - absolutely no photos. Modern Props makes pretty much all of the SciFi stuff you see in movies. They had a couple of space control module panels sitting there reserved for the Hulk. Johnny, Aysha, and I of course went and played with the knobs, dials, controls, switches etc. So when the Hulk movie comes out, remember, we were there first! We saw the shrink gun from the "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" movies, props from the modern Batman movies and much, much more. Many things that look so real and usable, yet were only dummies or props that only worked because somebody behind it flips a switch to make a light come on or whatever. Finally on the way out we saw several control panels for Terminator 3 there. Of course we flipped switches and dials and etc., so when you see the flick, we were there first!

Ok, enough words, how about some photos? Click on this URL to view the photos from the Hollywood portion and some of the Vegas (yes we went there on the way back) shots too: 
 California Vacation Photos 
 

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