The Black Lagoon


My Glamour Tram training now takes us to this iconic movie set. We’ll need to learn the proper technique to safely exit to the other side of this self-draining lagoon. Yes, my magic genie controls that also!

Dennis, my trainer, gives us the low-down on what to expect here at this island destination. We’re told to interact with the guide here. We must listen to her or his set-up, then trigger our genie as the tram shouts “Part the Lagoon!”

This is about as much interaction as we get on the tour route. The more personal interaction already took place at the backside of Prop Plaza.

Dennis rightly mentions “Beware of the tram while exiting, it may fight you like a hooked sword fish! The exit ramp and the area beyond it are very slick, you can have a heck of a time gaining traction in the rain. Wait for the water to drain to the bottom of the grid first.”

“Each driver needs to get a feel for what I’m talking about,” he continues, his spin coinciding with the spinning of my tires. Ironically, we’re experiencing the very phenomenon he’s been describing. Dennis now wears an evil smile, apparently enjoying this moment. The mannequins provide little weight to off-set this slippery slide, but the sand bags take over finally, giving us just enough bite to exit.

“Many factors apply,” Dennis advises us. “Weight, water level, tram tires, speed, driver ability, etc.”

Meanwhile, a torpedo gets launched from a nearby submarine, exploding in a huge water spout. Water lands on the tram like rain. My pocket genie initiates all this mayhem, what a tool!

Once again, I’m on a set I’ve previously seen as a trespasser. “Tales of the Gold Monkey” shoots just opposite the the black lagoon! The last time I was here, I was privileged enough to pet a movie dog, in costume, wearing a patch on his eye.

The set that night was that of a crashed airplane in the jungle with skeletons inside of it.

This show was cancelled just a year before hand.

We all practice this lagoon exit stunt and feel we have a handle on it. Let’s move forward to the studio’s European sets.

We slowly move over the cobblestone roadway and through the narrow little stretch of village. The curbs in this village are all rounded off and worn down. Dennis points out that trams have done this over time, particularly the last car. The front power unit that I operate from never feels what’s happening way back there.

We stop in the center of “Berlin” and walk around each twist and turn we’ll face on this portion of the guided tour.

I was on the set of “The Voyagers” on this street just last year and watched a chase sequence. While climbing around in these European buildings, we happened upon a poker game some of the crew were having. This, I decided, was a fort built by employees, for employees.

This show filmed almost entirely on the backlot.

There are no animations in this section, just real old sets. As drivers, all that is required to learn is not to crash and grind all the curbs in this village. Simple enough!

A castle also looks down upon this village. It was used as the Tower of London in a Vincent Price classic. I think this is the coolest set at World Wide–a maze of turrets with views of the entire backlot. I used to sneak on this set to watch the TV show “Airwolf” film inside it’s cavernous walls.


Next we practice the “Run Away Ghost Train.” It’s pretty simple: the driver uses the Genie to trigger the engine to move forward down a hundred feet of track. It plays out as if we are in jeopardy, of course.

“I can’t stop” shouts the mannequin “engineer” at my tram–that’s also full of mannequins!

The engineer and his train does, of course, stop just short of a calamity. None of the

Written and lived by Donnie Norden…page 8

This site is best navigated like a book… start at the beginning… cheers!

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