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0869 Touring Celebrity Homes and Filming Locations

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 869: Touring Celebrity Homes and Filming Locations.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 869. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast, support this podcast. You’ll also get, as a member, the Learning Guide, an 8-10 page guide we provide for each episode that will help you improve your English even faster.

This episode is about taking a tour – going around and looking at – celebrity homes here in beautiful Los Angeles. Let’s get started.

[start of dialog]

Tour guide: Welcome to Hollywood Tours, everybody. I’m your tour guide for today, and I’ll be showing you some of the most memorable locations in Hollywood history. Every seat in this double-decker bus is a good one, and you’ll be able to see every landmark we drive by. Uh, do you have a question?

Elvira: Yes, I do. When do we see the celebrities? I want to get my picture taken with a real Hollywood star!

Tour guide: Well, we’ll be stopping at some celebrity homes and it’s possible that we’ll catch a glimpse of a celebrity. I’ll also be taking you to some filming locations where classic and well-known movies were filmed on location.

Elvira: Yes, but can we go to some celebrity hangouts? I really want to meet Johnny Depp.

Tour guide: I’m not sure...

Elvira: If I saw a Johnny Depp or any celebrity walking down the street, I would just go crazy! For sure I’d chase them down!

Tour guide: This isn’t a hop-on, hop-off bus and it would be really dangerous to run out into L.A. traffic.

Elvira: Oh, what’s a little danger if I can come face to face with a real life movie star?

[end of dialog]

We begin the dialog with the tour guide, the person who leads a group of people as the travel around and look at things, visit places that might be interesting for someone who is not from that part of the world or from that area. This is a case of a tour guide here in Los Angeles, here in Hollywood. “Hollywood” is just one part of the city of Los Angeles. It’s not its own city. It’s just what we would call a neighborhood, a section of the city of Los Angeles, although the word really gets used to describe the entire industry, the entire business of making movies and television shows and other things here in Southern California. The tour guide says, “Welcome to Hollywood Tours, everybody.” You can actually take a tour here in Los Angeles that will drive you around to famous places. This is one of those tours.

The tour guide says, “I’m your tour guide for today and I’ll be showing you” – I’ll be taking you to – “some of the most memorable locations in Hollywood history.” “Memorable” (memorable) is something that is easy to remember, usually because it’s very exciting or very interesting. The guide says that “Every seat in this double-decker bus is a good one.” A “double-decker (decker) bus” is a bus that has two stories or two levels. These are most famously found in London, in England, where you’ll see the double-decker buses.

I’ve ridden in double-decker buses once or twice. They’re very popular for tours because you can put a lot of people in the same amount of space. You can put people on the bottom and people on the top. For most of the Hollywood tour buses, the top floor or level of the bus is open; that is, there’s no roof over it. So if it’s a sunny day, you’re going to get a lot of sun, and if it’s a rainy day, well, you probably want to go down to the first level.

The tour guide says that “You’ll be able to see every landmark we drive by.” A “landmark” (landmark) is some structure, object, location that is somehow important, that is typically connected with something special – perhaps it was a special historical event, perhaps it was a famous movie, maybe a famous person died here or someone was born there. You can go and visit the houses where famous people may have lived. Those could be considered landmarks. Or you could go to, say, the capital of our country, Washington D.C., and see the big monuments and memorials, the statues. These could all be considered landmarks, especially when they’re found at places where something important happened.

Someone has a question – Elvira. Elvira says, “When do we see the celebrities?” This is a question that everyone who comes to Los Angeles wants to know the answer to – Where are the celebrities? A “celebrity” (celebrity) is a very famous person, usually a singer, an actor, an athlete, a podcaster – well, most of those would be celebrities. Elvira wants to get her picture taken with – she wants to take a picture with her standing next to a real Hollywood star. A “star” is like a celebrity, usually an actor, an actress who’s very popular in a movie or a television show.

The tour guide says, “Well, we’ll be stopping at some celebrity homes and it’s possible that we’ll catch a glimpse of a celebrity.” “To catch a glimpse” (glimpse) means to get a very brief, quick look at something or someone without seeing it very well. So, you see someone walking down the street and they’re walking very fast and you just get a quick glimpse of them. You just get a glimpse of what they look like. You don’t see them very well because they go by so quickly. The tour guide says, “Maybe we’ll catch a glimpse.” Notice the verb “to catch (catch)” a glimpse. You could also say “get a glimpse” of something or someone.

The guide says, “I’ll be taking you to some filming locations.” A “filming location” is anywhere where they used the area for a movie or a television show. Here in Los Angeles, there are filming locations everywhere, and they use different parts of the city to make movies and television shows, including my neighborhood, where I live. You will often see a film crew – a group of people making a movie. You know they’re there because they’re blocking the streets and you can’t drive around there and I really hate that. But it’s part of living in this city – living in Los Angeles.

Other parts of the city have filming locations more frequently. Downtown Los Angeles is often – parts of it are often closed because they are filming. The tour guide says that they’re going to go where some classic and well-known movies were filmed “on location.” The expression “on-location” means they were filmed right there. They weren’t filmed back in what we call a “studio” (studio), which is a place where you would normally make a movie or a television show, that’s inside a large building. They would actually, when you film on location, they will go to the place that is in the script – that is, in the story or that represents some place in the story. So they’ll go to a real house or they’ll go to a street and they will film there, not inside of a studio.

Elvira says, “Yes but can we go to some celebrity hangouts?” A “hangout” (hangout) is a place where you spend a lot of time, in a casual informal way, just having fun, not working – just enjoying yourself. It can also be a verb, “to hangout.” “I’m going to hang out with my friends.” That means I’m going to go spend time with my friends. As a noun, a hangout is a place where people go to have fun.

Elvira wants to go to some celebrity hangouts. Are there celebrity hangouts? Yes, there are. There are restaurants and hotels and bars where a lot of celebrities go – not me, but a lot of celebrities do. I’ve seen celebrities here in Los Angeles many times but usually at the grocery store or at the pharmacy or at the post office, not very exciting places.

Elvira says that she really wants to meet one celebrity – Johnny Depp. Johnny Depp, you may know, is a famous actor, probably most famous for his role in the Pirates of the Caribbean – those movies. The tour guide says that he’s not sure. Elvira interrupts – stops him from speaking – and says, “If I saw Johnny Depp or any celebrity walking down the street, I would just go crazy.” She would be so happy. She would “go crazy,” go wild.

“For sure” – meaning I’m absolutely sure – “I would chase them down.” “To chase someone down” means to follow someone who is moving away from you until you reach them, until you catch them. Maybe they’re trying to escape from you. Maybe they don’t know that you are behind them. Elvira would chase down any celebrities she saw walking down on the street. I do not recommend that, however here in Los Angeles. You could have the police at your hotel door soon after.

The tour guide says, “This isn’t a hop-on, hop-off bus.” “To hop-on” means to get on a bus. “To hop-off” means to get off the bus. A “hop-on, hop-off bus,” however, is a special kind of tour bus that many cities have where you pay one amount of money for the whole day, typically, and that bus will go around in a circle to a lot of different famous places that tourists will want to see. And you can get on the bus, it will take you to another place, and then you can get off, visit that place, go back, get on the bus again. That’s a hop-on, hop-off bus.

The tour guide says, “It would be really dangerous” – not safe – “to run out into L.A. traffic.” “To run out” would mean to walk out where the cars are. “L.A.” is, of course, Los Angeles and “traffic” refers to the cars going back and forth on the street. Elvira says, “Oh, what’s a little danger if I can come face to face with a real life movie star?” “What’s a little danger” means it’s not important if it’s unsafe, if it’s dangerous, because the reward, the benefit, would be so great. “I would come face to face,” meaning I would meet someone personally – that person standing right in front of me – with a real life celebrity. “Real life” means real, actual. It’s just a way of emphasizing. When someone says “real life,” they mean real, someone who is actually that thing, in this case, a movie star.

Now let’s listen to the dialog this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialog]

Tour guide: Welcome to Hollywood Tours, everybody. I’m your tour guide for today, and I’ll be showing you some of the most memorable locations in Hollywood history. Every seat in this double-decker bus is a good one, and you’ll be able to see every landmark we drive by. Uh, do you have a question?

Elvira: Yes, I do. When do we see the celebrities? I want to get my picture taken with a real Hollywood star!

Tour guide: Well, we’ll be stopping at some celebrity homes and it’s possible that we’ll catch a glimpse of a celebrity. I’ll also be taking you to some filming locations where classic and well-known movies were filmed on location.

Elvira: Yes, but can we go to some celebrity hangouts? I really want to meet Johnny Depp.

Tour guide: I’m not sure...

Elvira: If I saw a Johnny Depp or any celebrity walking down the street, I would just go crazy! For sure I’d chase them down!

Tour guide: This isn’t a hop-on, hop-off bus and it would be really dangerous to run out into L.A. traffic.

Elvira: Oh, what’s a little danger if I can come face to face with a real life movie star?

[end of dialog]

The most famous celebrity here in ESL Podcast is, of course, our scriptwriter – the wonderful Dr. Lucy Tse.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2013 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
tour guide – a person who leads a group of people as they explore an area they are not familiar with, providing information about what they are seeing and the history of the area

* The tour guide told us some fascinating stories about the people who built those temples.

memorable – something that is easy to remember, usually because it is very interesting, exciting, or emotional

* Kylie’s wedding day and the births of her children and grandchildren are the most memorable days of her life.

double-decker – with two stories (floors); referring to a bus with two levels, with some people sitting on the bottom and other sitting on the top

* If we’re going to be on a double-decker bus, let’s try to get a seat on the top level so that we can have better views of the countryside.

landmark – a structure, object, or geographical feature that is easily recognizable and associated with a place, making it easy for one to know where one is

* The Statue of Liberty is one of the best-known landmarks in the United States.

celebrity – a person who is very famous, especially a singer, actor, or athlete

* This movie has a lot of famous celebrities featured in it.

Hollywood star – an actor or actress who is very popular and well-known for his or her work in movies made in California

* A lot of people go to Los Angeles to try to have a career in acting, but very few of them become Hollywood stars.

to catch a glimpse – to see something very briefly (quickly), without seeing much detail

* Rachel caught of a glimpse of the teachers’ test answers, but she wasn’t able to actually read and memorize them.

filming location – the place where action is recorded for use in a movie

* Hawaii has been a filming location for many movies about southeast Asia.

on location – the site where something happens; the main place where something is; not in a studio or laboratory

* For your convenience, our company will organize the training on location, but you will need to pay for the travel costs of our trainers.

hangout – a place where someone spends a lot of time in a casual, informal way, just having fun without any particular purpose

* The local shopping mall is a popular hangout for many teenagers.

for sure – certainly; without a doubt; definitely

* For sure, if I won the lottery, I’d buy a new house and a new car.

to chase (someone) down – to follow someone who is moving away until one reaches him or her; to try to catch someone

* Kari has a lot of meetings today, but you might be able to chase her down in the cafeteria at lunchtime.

hop-on, hop-off bus – a tour bus that follows a circular route with designated (stated) stops, so that people who have paid can get on and off the bus as often as they want to, deciding how much time they want to spend at each site

* They’re hoping to find an inexpensive hop-on, hop-off bus that will allow them to explore the downtown area, visit the zoo, and see the business district.

to come face to face with – to encounter; to meet someone or see something directly, without simply hearing about another person’s experience; to experience something personally and directly

* The first time Oliver came face to face with death was when his grandfather died.

real life – actual; real; not imaginary or pretend

* These days, it’s unusual to call a large company and have your call answered by a real life person, instead of a computer.

Comprehension Questions
1. What kind of bus is a “double-decker bus”?
a) A bus that has two levels.
b) A bus that has two tires.
c) A bus that uses a lot of fuel.

2. What would Elvira do if she saw a celebrity?
a) She would run after him.
b) She would faint.
c) She would ask for an autograph.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
on location

The phrase “on location,” in this podcast, means the site where something happens, or the main place where something is: “They wanted to film the movie on location, but they couldn’t because it was too dangerous.” The word “location” also refers to a place where people live or where there is a lot of activity: “Where are the best locations in the Pacific Northwest for young families?” Finally, the phrase “location, location, location” describes the importance of location when buying a house or choosing where to establish one’s business: “It’s all about location, location, location. Your business will have more customers if you choose a building downtown.” Or, “Homes near parks and good schools usually sell for higher prices than other homes. Location, location, location.”

to come face to face with

In this podcast, the phrase “to come face to face with” means to encounter, meet, or see someone or something personally and directly, without simply hearing about another person’s experience: “Do you know anyone who has come face to face with the President of the United States?” The phrase “a long face” describes a sad facial expression: “Mindy had a long face for weeks after her cat died.” The phrase “to be written all over (someone’s) face” means to be very obvious and easily understood from looking at one’s facial expression: “When the doctor stepped into the waiting room, the failure of the surgery was written all over his face.” Finally, the phrase “to keep a straight face” means to not laugh even when something is very funny: “How could anyone possibly keep a straight face while watching that video?”

Culture Note
Unusual City Tours

Visitors to most major U.S. cities can choose among “a variety of” (many different) tours, but some of them are very “unusual” (not common; strange). For example, Los Angeles has many tours that allow visitors to see homes where celebrities live, but one tour, “Escape from the Paparazzi” “takes a different approach” (does something different). On that tour, the tourists run four miles, pretending that they are celebrities running away from the “paparazzi” (aggressive photographers who take pictures of celebrities and sell them to newspapers). They run past many celebrity hangouts, sometimes seeing celebrities “along the way” (as they follow the route).

San Francisco, California, has a tour of “toxic” (poisonous; harmful to the human body) sites. The tour groups visit “refineries” (places where oil is made into gasoline and other products) and “brownfields” (places with significant environmental damage and “contaminated” (dirty) “soil” (dirt)) while hearing stories about how these toxic sites have affected the health of “the locals” (people who live in the area).

In Austin, Texas, some tour groups visit “chicken coops” (small buildings made for chickens). They learn about how “urban” (in the city) families in Austin are raising chickens to have fresh, healthy eggs.

Other unusual tours focus on food. For example, on the “Chicago Chocolate Tour,” participants spend 2.5 hours learning about the history of chocolate while tasting “samples” (small amounts) at chocolate “shops” (stores), cafes, and bakeries. On the “Chicago Pizza Tour,” visitors spend 2.5 hours learning about and tasting different types of pizza.

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - a