theStudioTour.com

Universal Studios Hollywood - Backlot -
Courthouse Square

GlamorTram seems to be interrupting this scene outside the Courthouse (from 'Inside Universal Studios', 1979)
GlamorTram seems to be interrupting this scene outside the Courthouse (from 'Inside Universal Studios', 1979)

A large town square named after the imposing Courthouse building most famously seen in Back to the Future (1985-1990). The square has been seen in hundreds of Universal films (and those of other studios). In common with many other standing sets, simple changes like the arrangement of street furniture and signage can make the set appear to be a completely different location.
Prior to Back to the Future, the area was known as Mockingbird Square, after it's appearance in To Kill a Mockingbird.
It was until recently the home of the CBS TV drama Ghost Whisperer.

Although the devastating fires in 1990 and 2008 destroyed the New York Street area, the Courthouse itself was spared, and looked even more magnificent amid the ashes.

Courthouse Square reopened after the fire on June 18 2009 with the USC Marching Band and costumed actors. See Life Magazine Photos of the reopening event and the video footage below.

To the south of Courthouse Square is New York Street.

Courthouse Square in Back to the Future

Photo Gallery

GlamorTram seen outside the Courthouse (from Inside Universal Studios, 1968)
GlamorTram seen outside the Courthouse (from Inside Universal Studios, 1968)
Courthouse seen in Viewmaster collection, around 1983
Courthouse seen in Viewmaster collection, around 1983
Courthouse in 1990 (photo by Russ Glasson)
Courthouse in 1990 (photo by Russ Glasson)
Courthouse Square in 1995 (photo by yeoh_ts)
Courthouse Square in 1995 (photo by yeoh_ts)
VIP guests exploring Courthouse Square, around 2001 (photo © Universal Studios Hollywood)
VIP guests exploring Courthouse Square, around 2001 (photo © Universal Studios Hollywood)
March 2003 (photo by caribb)
March 2003 (photo by caribb)
Courthouse on the VIP tour, April 2003 (photo by Chris M)
Courthouse on the VIP tour, April 2003 (photo by Chris M)
Courthouse and tram, December 2004 (photo by Michael)
Courthouse and tram, December 2004 (photo by Michael)
The famous clock tower roof from the Courthouse has been removed and is stored on the backlot, hopefully to be restored once Ghost Whisperer has finished filming. (September 2006)
The famous clock tower roof from the Courthouse has been removed and is stored on the backlot, hopefully to be restored once Ghost Whisperer has finished filming. (September 2006)
Courthouse Square as seen in Ghost Whisperer, September 2006
Courthouse Square as seen in Ghost Whisperer, September 2006
Courthouse Square as seen in Ghost Whisperer, September 2006
Courthouse Square as seen in Ghost Whisperer, September 2006
Grandview Clock, ready for filming Ghost Whisperer, September 2006
Grandview Clock, ready for filming Ghost Whisperer, September 2006

Courthouse Square Grand Reopening

June 18, 2009 - the first Studio Tour tram experiences the newly restored Courthouse Square after the 2008 fire.

Seen on Screen: Universal Studios Hollywood [Courthouse Square]

TitleReleasedDirectorIMDB
An Act of Murder [Feature Film]1948Michael GordonIMDB Database page about An Act of Murder
The courthouse at Courthouse Square was built for this movie. Sets that were to be moved to Colonial Street in 1950 also appeared.
Ma and Pa Kettle [Feature Film]1949Charles LamontIMDB Database page about Ma and Pa Kettle
Stage 24, Courthouse Square
It Came from Outer Space [Feature Film]1953Jack Arnold IMDB Database page about It Came from Outer Space
Courthouse Square, Stage 12 (sequences were shot here with painted backgrounds)
Tarantula [Feature Film]1955Jack ArnoldIMDB Database page about Tarantula
Courthouse Square
Inherit the Wind [Feature Film]1960Stanley KramerIMDB Database page about Inherit the Wind
Courthouse Square
To Kill A Mockingbird [Feature Film]1962Robert MulliganIMDB Database page about To Kill A Mockingbird
Courthouse Square, Stage 29, Stage 30 [courthouse interior], Stage 32. The courthouse interior built on Stage 30 was a painstakingly accurate reproduction of the courthouse at Monroeville, Alabama.
The whole street featured in the movie was built on the backlot, adjacent to the New York Street sets. The Boo Radley house was designed by Henry Bumstead and built at Universal, while all other houses were moved to the backlot from Chaves Ravine, where developers were clearing the land for the Dodgers Stadium. The houses were bought for $1 each from developers. The Boo Radley house remains on Elm Street to this day.
Bye Bye Birdie [Feature Film]1963George SidneyIMDB Database page about Bye Bye Birdie
Courthouse Square (Conrad Birdie sang good-bye to his fans)
Village of the Giants [Feature Film]1965Bert I. GordonIMDB Database page about Village of the Giants
Courthouse Square
Simon and Simon [TV Series]1981-1989Philip DeGuereIMDB Database page about Simon and Simon
Colonial Street, Courthouse Square, New York Street, Elm Street (as Industrial Street), Old Mexico, Six Points Texas, all on the Universal Studios backlot. Stage 25
Knight Rider [TV Series]1982 - 1986Glen A. LarsonIMDB Database page about Knight Rider
Along with soundstages, the backlot was used extensively including Colonial Street, Courthouse Square, Denver Street, Boragora and Six Points Texas. Stage 28 appeared in Season 4 Fright Knight episode. Stage 01 was also used.
Psycho II [Feature Film]1983Richard FranklinIMDB Database page about Psycho II
Black Lagoon (dumping of the body), Courthouse Square (as Fairvale), Psycho House on the Universal backlot.
Still the Beaver [TV Series]1983-1989IMDB Database page about Still the Beaver
Colonial Street (the Cleaver house), Courthouse Square (Mayfield town square)
Gremlins [Feature Film]1984Joe DanteIMDB Database page about Gremlins
Courthouse Square featured heavily as the town square of Kingston Falls. Colonial Street is also featured.
Back to the Future [Feature Film]1985Robert ZemeckisIMDB Database page about Back to the Future
Courthouse Square featured as Hill Valley. Stage 12 (Interior Doc's house).
Sneakers [Feature Film]1992Phil Alden RobinsonIMDB Database page about Sneakers
Courthouse Square
Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman [TV Series]1993-1998Beth SullivanIMDB Database page about Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman
Courthouse Square, New York Street
Weird Science [TV Series]1994-1997IMDB Database page about Weird Science
Courthouse Square, Singapore Lake
Three Wishes [Feature Film]1995Martha CoolidgeIMDB Database page about Three Wishes
Courthouse Square
Escape from L.A. [Feature Film]1996John CarpenterIMDB Database page about Escape from L.A.
Courthouse Square (as defunct theme park), Singapore Lake
Jingle All The Way [Feature Film]1996Brian LevantIMDB Database page about Jingle All The Way
Courthouse Square and New York Street (as Minneapolis)
The Nutty Professor [Feature Film]1996Tom ShadyacIMDB Database page about The Nutty Professor
Courthouse Square, Stage 23, Stage 25
Amistad [Feature Film]1997Steven SpielbergIMDB Database page about Amistad
Courthouse Square
Batman & Robin [Feature Film]1997Joel SchumacherIMDB Database page about Batman & Robin
Courthouse Square and New York Street on the backlot.
Why Dont You Get A Job: The Offspring [Music Video]1999McG
Extensive shooting around the backlot - Colonial Street, Courthouse Square, New York Street
Bruce Almighty [Feature Film]2003Tom ShadyacIMDB Database page about Bruce Almighty
Brownstone Street, Courthouse Square, Falls Lake, New York Street on the backlot and Stage 01, Stage 19, Stage 29, Stage 41.
The Cat In The Hat [Feature Film]2003Bo WelchIMDB Database page about The Cat In The Hat
Courthouse Square, Stage 23, Stage 27, Stage 28 [interior of the Walden house], Stage 29, Stage 31
Scream Play [TV Series]2004David BasinskiIMDB Database page about Scream Play
Courthouse Square
Nintendo DS [Commercial]2005
The Collapsing Bridge featured (not collapsing at all) in a UK Nintendo DS advert, December 2005 (the advert also used Courthouse Square and Brownstone Street)
Ghost Whisperer [TV Series]2005-2010John GrayIMDB Database page about Ghost Whisperer
Based on Courthouse Square, this series also filmed in the Chicken Ranch, on Colonial Street, on Elm Street, in the Underwater Tank and on Stage 05, Stage 06, Stage 18, Stage 19, Stage 20 at Universal.
The Edge of Glory: Lady Gaga [Music Video]2011Lady Gaga and Haus of Gaga
Filmed on a Brownstone set just off New York Street on the Metropolitan Sets backlot and a tenement fire escape behind the gas station on Courthouse Square at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The Little Rascals Save the Day [Feature Film]2013Alex ZammIMDB Database page about The Little Rascals Save the Day
New York Street and Courthouse Square filming in October 2012
Colonial Street
Saving Mr. Banks / Saving Mr Banks [Feature Film]2014John Lee HancockIMDB Database page about Saving Mr. Banks / Saving Mr Banks
Backlot sets Six Points Texas and Courthouse Square are featured in two short sequences.

Additional Seen on Screen

Leave Comments

See Also

Back to...