Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Bates Motel, circa 1965

The Bates home and Motel complex from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” (1960) is one of the most popular spots on the Universal Studios tour.

Want to see what inspired the look of the home? It was Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting, House by the Railroad.

Here’s what the outdoor set looked like in May 1965:

I don’t see Mrs. Bates in the window, though.

The 1965 visitor took this second shot; I guess one wasn’t enough. I have read that the buildings have been moved over the years. Not sure if that’s true or not, but it would appear that in 1965 they were still in their original location.

How it looked during my last visit in 2004:

I seem to recall that Mrs. Bates WAS in the window at the time. You can at least see the curtains are open for that reveal.

Or was it just Norman up there?

See more Universal Studios photos at my main website.


Stefano said...

Dave, you took your photo on the right day, very chilling atmosphere.

According to Universal publicity, the Psycho house has been moved 3 times since the film's shooting. It was repurposed from sets already on the lot, including the house for "Harvey", a more amiable look at insanity. The Psycho house cost all of $15,000.00 -- the most expensive set in the picture. Despite its familiarity, it was well used as a location over the years, never more so than the 1965 Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "An Unlocked Window", which builds to a breathtaking peak of terrifying frenzy.

Stu29573 said...

Many people confuse it with the Simmons house in The Ghost and Mr. Chicken. While they do share some details, the Simmons house is on the same backlot street as The Munsters house. It was, however, built from the same stock kit as the Psycho house...

DBenson said...

Odd memory of an old TV special shot on the Universal lot. At one point they cut to the Psycho house, and a bunch of dancers done up as the old Universal Monsters came running out the front door to do a number.

Daveland said...

Thanks Stefano! Today, $15k wouldn't even get you a shack in a Hollywood alley!

Anonymous said...

Fine post, Dave.

Great pictures and good info in the comments, thanks Stefano and Stu29573.

I remember seeing this on the studio tour in the early 70's, but I was too young to recognize the film, so it didn't make much sense. This film is one Hitchcock that I don't re-watch.

$15,000 wouldn't cover the rental for the temporary job office trailer now.