Universal Studios Reopens Backlot After Fire

One year after a fire raged through the famed backlot of Universal Studios, the movie studio today celebrated the reopening of the "Courthouse Square" set best known at the town square in the "Back to the Future" films.

The June 1, 2008, blaze ripped through four acres of Universal Studios, destroying a variety of movie sets, including the Courthouse Square, the New York City streetscape, and the popular King Kong attraction that was a staple of the theme park's backlot tram tour. The blaze was started accidentally by employees doing repair work one of the sets.

Universal officials held a champagne christening, complete with a marching band, for the rebuilt Courthouse Square, which they called the world's most-photographed town square. According to Universal, the square has been in more than 1,000 movie and television shoots dating back to the 1940s

In addition to serving as Hillsboro's main square in the "Back to the Future" films, the square was also the principal location for "To Kill A Mockingbird" and was turned into River City, Iowa, for the musical "The Music Man." The square was also seen in "Bruce Almighty," "Bye Bye Birdie," "Gremlins," "Village of the Giants" and "They Came From Outer Space."

Other sets that were damaged by the fire were expected to be rebuilt and reopened by next spring.

In addition to unveiling the rebuilt Courthouse Square, Universal officials also introduced revamped trams that will be used on the backlot tours. The trams are now billed as "mobile move theaters," with high-definition video monitors and upgraded audio systems.

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