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Hooray for Hollywood
I can't believe we're in Hollywood!" Nancy Drew said excitedly.
"I can't wait to see all the movie studios," her best friend George Fayne added.
"I can't wait to see all the movie stars," said Nancy's other best friend, Bess Marvin. "I packed my autograph book so I can get zillions of autographs!"
The three girls were sitting in the backseat of a shiny silver convertible, heading down West Sunset Boulevard. Nancy's father, Carson Drew, was in the front seat, driving. Next to Mr. Drew was the Drews' housekeeper, Hannah Gruen. "Housekeeper" didn't quite describe Hannah, though. She had been like a mom to Nancy since Nancy's mother died five years ago.
Mr. Drew was in Hollywood on business. He was a lawyer, and one of his clients, Brett Banner, was a movie director. Mr. Drew had decided to combine his work trip with a family vacation and bring Nancy and Hannah along. He had told Nancy that she could invite George and Bess.
The five of them had landed at Los Angeles International Airport less than an hour ago. Now they were cruising through Hollywood in a convertible, with the top down. What could be more fun? Nancy thought. She loved the way the wind blew through her long reddish-blond hair. She loved feeling the warm sun on her face.
She also loved the scenery. As they drove, they passed pastel-colored houses with red tile roofs and lush gardens full of tropical flowers. They saw funky boutiques and outdoor cafés packed with people. They rode by tall palm trees and giant billboards. One of the billboards said: WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA!
"We're almost at our hotel," Mr. Drew called over his shoulder. "It's in a part of Los Angeles called Beverly Hills, which is very close to Hollywood."
"Our hotel has five swimming pools," Nancy told George and Bess. "Five!"
"We can each have our own swimming pool," George joked.
"Let's check in, and then we can take a dip," Hannah suggested.
"Later this afternoon, we're invited to visit Thunderchickens Studios," Mr. Drew told everyone. "That's the studio where my client, Mr. Banner, is shooting his latest movie. It's called The Aliens Next Door. We'll get a tour and meet the star of the movie."
"Yay!" Nancy exclaimed.
"Awesome," George agreed.
"I'm definitely bringing my autograph book," Bess added.
Mr. Drew chuckled. "You might have a hard time getting an autograph from this particular star, Bess."
"Why, Dad?" Nancy asked, puzzled. "You'll see," Mr. Drew said mysteriously.
Thunderchickens Studios was a massive complex of buildings on the outskirts of Hollywood. Mr. Drew, Hannah, Nancy, George, and Bess checked in with a security guard at the front gate. The guard gave them all name tags to wear around their necks.
"Mr. Banner is in Soundstage Number Three, to your left," the security guard told them. "They're not in lock up right now, so you can go on in."
"Soundstage? Lock up? What do those words mean?" Nancy asked the guard.
"A soundstage is another name for a building they make movies in," the guard explained. "A lock up is when they're about to shoot a scene, so they have to make sure no one enters the soundstage who isn't supposed to."
Nancy and the others thanked the guard and proceeded to Soundstage #3. As they passed through the heavy metal doors, Nancy felt like jumping up and down. She was about to enter a real-live movie studio.
And what a place it was! The large room the size of the gym at Nancy's school was filled with cameras, lights, microphones, cables, and other equipment. In the middle of the room was a fake living room complete with furniture, a TV set, and walls covered with artwork and photographs. A man and a woman were sitting on the couch while another woman with a clipboard stood over them, talking. Other people rushed around, shouting orders and looking very busy.
The woman with the clipboard glanced up when she heard Nancy and her group enter. She was tall and slender, with reddish-brown hair and glasses.
She waved and came over. "Hello, welcome!" she called out. "You must be the Drews. I'm Yasmine, Brett Banner's assistant."
Mr. Drew introduced himself, Nancy, Hannah, George, and Bess. "It's very kind of Brett to let us visit the set," he said.
"Oh, it's no problem," Yasmine said pleasantly. "He's in his office on an overseas call right now. Why don't I give you a quick tour while he wraps it up?"
"Thank you, we would love that," Hannah answered.
"I don't know how much you know about the movie," Yasmine said. "It's called The Aliens Next Door. It's a comedy about a family that moves in next door to the Mitchell family, owners of Fluffington. Fluffington is the only one who can tell that the new family, the Graysons, and their dog, Pompom, are actually aliens posing as earthlings."
"Fluffington?" Bess gasped. "As in, Fluffington, the most famous cat in the whole wide world?"
Text copyright © 2007 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.