Universal Studios staged a homecoming for Courthouse Square.
The outdoor set, best known as the town square from the "Back to the Future" films, welcomed the first backstage tour tram Thursday since it was destroyed a year ago when a fire ripped through the back lot. Roofers using a blowtorch accidentally started the blaze, which also destroyed the King Kong attraction, a video vault and other outdoor sets.
Stilt walkers dressed as hippies, members of the University of Southern California marching band and actors portraying such characters as Eddie Murphy's Nutty Professor and Doc Brown from the "Back to the Future" films emerged from the courthouse during a ceremony to welcome the first tram, which was christened with a bottle of champagne.
Construction crews are still busy working on Courthouse Square, which in addition to a courthouse also features small-town facades portraying such locales as a firehouse, police station and antique store. The outdoor set has been featured in such films as "To Kill a Mockingbird," ''Gremlins," ''Bruce Almighty," ''Amistad" and the TV show "Ghost Whisperer."
"This is the first time since the fires that guests will be able to experience the backlot street sets of Universal Studios," Universal Studios Hollywood President Larry Kurzweil said at the ceremony. "They're really just seeing the beginning with the Courthouse Square reopening. It's like chapters unfolding in a book. Each chapter unveils a new story."
New adjacent exterior sets — including New York, London and modern streetscapes — are also under construction and scheduled to open in spring 2010. A new 3-D King Kong attraction based on Peter Jackson's 2005 film is slated to swing onto the tour in summer 2010.
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