The Blue Raccoon

Monday, June 02, 2008

I've Never Known You To Have A Hydrant In A Crisis

-- Up In Smoke --

This isn't Scarlett and Rhett watching Atlanta burn in Gone With The Wind-- a MGM production-- but an amazing image captured by Associated Press photographer Mike Meadows of the Universal Studios back lot inferno. According to reports, the conflagration began on Sunday around 4 a.m., June 1, on an active soundstage.

Faux streetscapes of New York went up like, well, kindling (they're just supposed to look good, not stand up forever). More important, films stored in the Universal vaults were damanged--or that's the spin, anyway--and call me stupid, but last time I saw fire get anywhere near film it wasn't damaged, but turned extra crispy. Farewell, Back To The Future/Plesantville set, good-bye King Kong ride, I never knew ye. Somewhere, Henri Langlois is shedding a tear.

Studio execs with their best corporate denier demeanors insist that "nothing is really lost forever." Which is the slogan eBay tried for awhile. I guess this is better than saying, "Priceless original prints of classic films and archival television programming were incinerated due to gross negligence. The only thing we use that stuff for anymore is contributing to the Academy Awards necrology reel."

No Universal personnel seemto have been hurt although about a dozen firefighters received minor injuries. They found their efforts to bring the flames under control hampered by lack of water pressure. The real world writes a better script, every time.

Somebody's getting a nasty memo about this.

High concept re-make? Think of it like this: Backdraft meets Always meets Three Kings...we'll get Clooney and all those Ocean's guys, and Kurt Russell...hello? Firefighters haul cannisters of film out from the vaults. At least the sprinklers didn't activate. Maybe some thought-lost classic will emerge out of this mess. You know, how you find things you couldn't lay your hands on while looking for something else? Or is that just me? Image via This Is London.

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