While on my lunch break from work today, I jumped on-line to do my usual social network site surfing and caught a flurry of posts claiming that the legendary PSYCHO house and neighboring Bates Motel on the Universal Studios Hollywood backlot were facing potential demolition. Could it be? After all these years, is Universal finally going to tear down what most would consider to be a cinematic landmark? Not exactly. Here’s the scoop as best as I can figure out:
The rumor first came from The Psycho Movies website who posted the below image (via their Facebook page) of a crew member on a production currently filming on the backlot of Universal. The tweet read something along the lines of, ‘filming at the PSYCHO house and we may be the last production to shoot here before they tear it down.’ I don’t have the exact quote of the tweet because despite my best efforts, I was unable to find the original Tweet or the user that posted it. Chances are it could have been deleted shortly after word got out?
However, there’s also this: http://nbcuniversalevolution.com/
NBC Universal Evolution is a 20-year long plan & $3 billion dollar project mapped out to expand and utilize the 391-acre San Fernando Valley property to its fullest extent. It was announced back in November of 2010 and entails adding 7 new theme park attractions (by removing and relocating several existing ones), as well as adding new studio warehouses for future productions and even building a residential area and transit. This also means the expansion of jobs in the Los Angeles area. You can explore the full battle plan for “evolution” at the link above.
So what’s that mean for the PSYCHO house? According to this LA Times article that talks in detail about the NBC Universal evolution plan, “Wisteria Lane from “Desperate Housewives” and the iconic “Psycho” house would be relocated to other areas of the backlot.”
It seems the house itself will be safe, it’ll just eventually be in a different spot, which wouldn’t mark the first time its been moved. It was actually first moved several years after Hitchcock shot PSYCHO at the end of 1959 and then again moved for the production of PSYCHO II back in 1982. The Bates Motel was rebuilt beside the house for the follow-up sequel PSYCHO III and the house and motel have remained in that spot as part of the tourist attraction ever since. (PSYCHO IV was shot on location at the Florida Universal Studios. That PSYCHO house and Bates Motel were torn down in 1998.) And hell, Michael Myers house was moved a block over in South Pasadena and I’m thankful I can still stop by and visit frequently.
So sleep tight, PSYCHO-phants. It just seems at some point in the not-too-distant future, our friend Norman Bates and his mother are going to be moving, but you’ll always be free to check in on them. -Robg.