The ‘Burbs is a 1989 Black Comedy film. It stars Tom Hanks as Ray Peterson, who lives on the suburban street named Mayfield Place. As the movie progresses, he begins to think his next door neighbour might be a murderer.
The movie was filmed at Universal Studios in Hollywood. The production made heavy use of the studio’s Colonial Street. The film required major changes to both the layout and appearance of the street. The street is often referred to as Wisteria Lane, due to it’s role in the ABC show Desperate Housewives. However the history of the street dates back to 1950 when the original Colonial Street was created. In 1981 many of the houses were relocated to a new Colonial Street created on another area of the lot.
Check out The Studio Lot’s page, with some cool maps and info about the history of Colonial Street.
The Klopek House
In order to build the decrepit Klopek house, the studio had to remove the original Leave It To Beaver house. It was moved to another remote area of the studio lot. The production team then built the Klopek house on the same spot. While the movie featured the partial destruction of the house, it was repaired and heavily remodeled for the series Providence in 1999. The house has been so drastically changed, that it’s basically unrecognizable from the film. The garage is still located to the rear of the house, and is largely unchanged from the film.
Walter Seznick’s House
The Colonial Street at Universal ends with a circular Cul De Sac. The facade for Walter Seznick’s house was built at the end of the street, blocking off the Cul De Sac from view. Once filming was complete, the house was moved and is now conveniently located next to the Klopek house. This once again opened up access to the Cul De Sac area of the backlot.
Ray Peterson’s House
The house where Ray Peterson lived was located next door to the Klopek House. I wasn’t able to find any info regarding whether the house was build for The ‘Burbs or if it already existed. I was able to find a map that indicates the house from the 1981 series Harper Valley PTA was located on that spot. But no info on the house and if it became Ray’s house.
The house was torn down at some point in the 90s to make room for the new Leave it To Beaver house, which was built for the 1997 feature film.
Other Houses on Colonial Street
As the entire movie takes place on the one street, a number of other houses can be glimpsed during the film. These houses have been featured in many other productions, including Desperate Housewives, which made extensive use of the street throughout the series. You can see the houses on Colonial Street by taking Universal Studios Backlot Tram Tour.
One particularly famous house belonged to The Munsters. The house has been extensively remodeled, but was still considered so recognizable that cinematographer’s for The ‘Burbs made sure to not show full views of the house.