All Photographs are taken and edited by me.
I had the pleasure of “vacationing” at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure last week. I use the word vacation very loosely; I am absolutely exhausted. And all I could think of is the scooter tipping episode of South Park. Well played, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, well played.
Besides the scooter tipping, it really was a great time, and the Harry Potter parks are absolutely breathtaking. The amount of detail is impeccable. Even if you aren’t a Harry Potter fan, you can appreciate the detail and hard work that went into these parks.
As a self-proclaimed film buff, it was fun for me to find some Easter eggs. I am not talking the obvious Hogwarts castle or the Jurassic Park entrance, I am talking the subtle references to films found in the New York side of Universal.
1. Mel’s Drive-In:
Okay, so this is probably one of the biggest landmarks in Universal. But I have to say, most people did not know (especially young kids) knew where this reference came from. And for those of you reading this article, it’s from American Graffiti.
2. Kitty Kat Club:
Another ode to classic films is the Kitty Kat Club, or the Kit Kat Club used in Cabernet.
3. Stillman’s Gym:
Stillman’s gym is a real-life famous boxing gym in New York City, known for its unsanitary facilities and the famous boxers who trained there. However, this gym is also a reference to two classic films Somebody Up There Likes Me, the autobiographical film about famous boxer, Rocky Graziano. And was also host to a musical number in the film, Its Always Fair Weather.
4. Louie’s and Genco Imports:
Louie’s and Genco Imports are references to the Godfather Trilogy. Scenes where the rise and murder of the mafia and corrupt police officers take place.
5. Hudson Street Home for Girls:
The Hudson Street is not only a home for girls, but is home to one of the most famous redheaded orphan, Annie. Hudson Street is a reference from the musical and movie, Annie.
6. Priscilla Hotel:
The Priscilla Hotel is home to the film Thoroughly Modern Millie. Millie moves into the hotel for single ladies in hopes to marry rich. Times never do change, do they?
7. Adrienne’s Pet Shop:
I stared at this for a long time, convinced that this was a definite reference to a film. I looked it up, and found out that this (although, a terrible reference) is a reference to the film Rocky. In the film, Rocky’s future wife Adrien works at a pet shop. I appreciate the effort, but her name is spelt incorrectly and the pet shop she work at was called J&M Tropical Fish.
8. Embryo Books:
This reference is a tricky one. Embryo Books is actually a reference to an Audrey Hepburn musical, Funny Face. In the film, she is a book store clerk at an obscure bookstore, Embryo Concepts. Hepburn’s character is discovered by a fashion magazine photographer and is catapulted into the modeling industry with her unique, somewhat nerdy look.
9. Blues Mobile:
I know, just like Mel’s, I’m kind of cheating. But, this is a classic prop and, admittedly comes from one of my all-time favorite movies. The Blues Brothers, is a film based on a Saturday Night Live skit, and would have to be the best film to come out of SNL.
After visiting Universal and seeing all these references, I quickly came home to sit down and watch them. Next time you are in Universal, check out all the old references, I bet you can even spot some Jaws references in Harry Potter.