On Sunday I read the news that there was a huge fire on the Universal Studios backlot and my heart sank. I was shaken by it; I don’t know why. And then I felt ashamed by it because it doesn’t seem like there is a year that goes by that huge wildfires rip through the state of Califorinia, decimating homes and leaving families with nothing… but the thought of a movie studio burning to the ground! *GASP!*… It just felt very selfish in comparison. Nevermind the other natural disasters that seem to be happening with greater and greater frequency all around the world. The earthquake in China — even the F5 tornadoes that recently hit here in Iowa. And I’m worried about a movie studo?

I seem to have lost my perspective. Have I bummed you out yet?

All the same, the events on Sunday (ignighted by workers using a blowtorch, incidentally) inspired this comic. So art is born again! Can you see The Circle of Life? I have a few other comics that will be posted in a short storyline, so I hope you appreciate them over the next few days. It’s not often one gets an excuse to do a Back to the Future parody, so I’m taking this flux capacitor and running with it.

I remember going to Universal Studios in Hollywood almost over 20 years ago – and in no way is that depressing. I believe I was 13 years old. My parents and I had gone to Arizona to visit relatives for Thanksgiving and then we hopped a flight to L.A. as part of an extended vacation.

I remember L.A. being very plastic and very fake. And this was during the early 90’s, pre-grunge. So everything was awash in bright neon green and pink. It was like some kind of Revlon candy land. It didn’t help that we were there over the weekend the Santa Ana winds blew into town. We didn’t know anything about it and were almost trapped outside of our hotel with sand and debris whipping down the street. They had locked up the glass doors in front to keep the vaccum of the high winds from blowing them out. We had to get inside through a service entrance. It was like our own mini disaster movie!

I’ve not had a strong desire to return to L.A. since, but if I *were* to go there, Universal Studios would be the main draw. We went there first-thing when we arrived in the city and I loved it.

Going to Universal Studios – Hollywood is a much more stratifying experience than going to the one in Florida or even MGM Studios (re: Disney Hollywood Studios) because it’s so much more authentic and so much less of a theme park experience (despite the theme park elements). We didn’t run into any filming productions when we were on the back lot tour, but several of the outdoor sets were immediately recognizable from other films. I remember when our tram turned the corner into Clocktower Square from Back to the Future and the spectacle of fantasy colliding with reality was almost too much for a young nerd to handle. It was so cool.

I feel kind of lame admitting it. I mean, I’ve since traveled the world and I’ve seen amazing, indelible, historical structures. But I speak with such effusive praise for a movie set? For a facade? I have no excuse for it. Seeing Clocktower Square from Back to the Future had as much impact on me as when I was standing 10 inches away from “Sunflowers” by Vincent Van Gogh at The National Gallery in London. I felt like I was face-to-face with history.

Kind of says a lot about the truncated American time line when a movie set from 30 years ago blows your mind.

That’s about all I have to say for today. Be sure to check back on Friday for the next installment of this Back to the Future mini-arc.

Have a great day!

↓ Transcript
Did you hear about that huge fire they had at Universal Studios this weekend?

I saw that on the news! It looked like a movie set!

The fire destroyed a video vault, the King Kong attraction and a bunch of old sets!

It destroyed the clocktower square from the Back to the Future movies!

Aw, Man! I never got a chance to go on that King Kong ride!

All that movie history...gone.

If only we could go bck in time and prevent it somehow!