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Summertime: A Guide to Entertainment, Activities And Excursions : Discoveries : * If you've exhausted all of the usual tourist spots, it's time to visit some destinations along the unbeaten path. : A Glimpse Behind the Glitz

June 20, 1991|DAVID COLKER and DAVID WHARTON

The little-known Warner Bros. Studios Tour offers a rare glimpse of the nuts and bolts of a working studio.

Where else can tourists slip onto a Chevy Chase set and watch for several minutes before being shooed away by a production assistant? What other tour would lead its guests into a recording studio, crowded with engineers, to watch a 105-piece orchestra lay down the soundtrack for Kevin Costner's "Robin Hood"?

"You're going to be taking a spontaneous, informal look at our studio," tour director Dick Mason tells his groups when they arrive.

He's telling the truth. Tours are restricted to a dozen people at a time, no cameras and no children under 10. There is no formal route: the guides simply walk visitors across the lot, pausing when they find something of interest.

Guests stroll through such inglorious spots as the wood shop where carpenters construct sets and a prop room that holds dozens of sinks and fountains.

"The Universal Studios Tour is an amusement park--all fireworks and earthquakes," said Chuck Stemple, a visitor from Philadelphia. "This tour shows how things are really done."

The tour guides don't promise that visitors will see a movie shoot, which they sometimes do, or chat with Candice Bergen on the set of "Murphy Brown," which occurs occasionally. The tour is different each day, Mason says.

"If we change the intimacy of the tour," he says, "you'd never get to see anything real."

Warner Bros. Studio Tour, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank, begins at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays. Tickets: $24; reservations mandatory. (818) 954-1744.

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