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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
"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
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 cafe;s 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
"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
"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
"Fluffington?" Bess gasped. "As in, Fluffington, the most famous cat in
the whole wide world?"
Text copyright © 2007 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.