A massive fire ripped through the backlot at Universal Studios destroying multiple famous movie-set facades. One of the most devastating casualties includes the iconic Main Street set from “Back to the Future“.
Iconic Courthouse Square Set Destroyed
In addition to engulfing a soundstage, a video vault and part of the King Kong attraction at Universal’s theme park, the fire that broke out early Sunday on the studio’s famous backlot destroyed the iconic Courthouse Square set, used in hundreds of film and TV productions over the decades, as well as part of the studio’s New York Street area.
Fans of the old television series “Leave It to Beaver” may recognize the courthouse facade as where the Beav went to school. And before it was called Courthouse Square, thanks to its use in the “Back to the Future” movies, the area was known as Mockingbird Square because of its extensive use in the 1962 adaptation of the Harper Lee novel.
The Hill Valley clock tower was added to the courthouse for “Back to the Future,” but over the years, filmmakers have removed the clock and redressed the buildings for several films, including Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” plus “Bruce Almighty” and “The Cat in the Hat.” It was also used in the 1960s musicals “Bye Bye Birdie” (it was where pop star Conrad Birdie performed to his adoring female fans) and “The Music Man” (as the locale of the “76 Trombones” parade finale).
Courthouse Square was one of the standing sets of the current CBS paranormal drama “Ghost Whisperer.”
Universal’s New York Street area has also seen many TV shows, commercials and films. The set’s New York Street is actually much smaller than it appears on-screen; it is curved on both ends to give the illusion on camera that it is a bigger area. Among the recent films to have shot there are Clint Eastwood‘s latest, “Changeling,” and Eddie Murphy‘s upcoming summer comedy, “Meet Dave.”