Back in mid 2019, rumor had it that Warner Bros., the current owner of the Ranch, was going to disassemble the Fountain in the Park and move it to its main Lot, 3 Blocks down for their newly created 'Friends' Studio Tour, starting in December of 2019. This is unfortunately part of a grander scenario that involves the Ranch being sold off to a Development Company in 2023.
The history of the Fountain goes all the way back to the early years of the Ranch. The layout and foundation base were put in place back in 1937, with a straight path leading catty corner from Little Egbert street all the way down to the Deeds Mansion.
The very first photo of the foundation for the Fountain. The surrounding dirt paths have already been placed.
In this shot from the 1939 movie 'Good Girls Go to Paris', a clear view of the Fountain as it appeared originally. Its pedestal and water basin are clearly visible but no statues or dragon fish at its base. Instead a fluted column held up the basin the first few years.
Sometime around 1942 the fluted column was replaced by a secondary base with 4 Cherubs seemingly holding up the basin. The still to the right is from the 1945 movie 'Her name is Julie Ross'.
The Fountain made hundreds of appearances throughout the 80+ years of its existence. It can be spotted in many movies throughout the decades, early serial shorts and many TV shows. Either as a backdrop in the Park or a main feature for a scene. It has always been a staple of the Columbia Ranch.
Above: A screen capture from 'The Fuller Brush Man' from 1948, showing the Fountain in the background.
A still from the 'Superman' serials from 1948 as well. The Cherubs still holding the basin.
In the early 1950's the Fountain underwent another change, the Cherubs were removed and its base was replaced with a more plain style pedestal, shaped like an upside down tulip.
Another change took place in 1955 and the pedestal and water basin were changed out for a smaller type on both. It is featured in the movie 'Hot Blood' ( below ) from 1956 and it can be spotted very briefly in the second season of 'Father Knows Best'.
By late 1956 the Fountain was yet changed again, this was also the last time it underwent a change. The base and pedestal were removed and a Hexagon base was place at the bottom of the base. On top of that are 3 antique Dolphins or Dragon Fish that spew water from their mouths with their tails going upwards in a S shape, holding up the pedestal and water basin.
The Fountain's new 'style' is first featured in the 1958 movie 'Senior Prom' and subsequently makes appearances from this point on in almost every TV show.
Below a small sample of the Fountain as seen in many Movies and TV shows, either as a main focal point or backdrop of a scene.
A screen capture from the 1958 Spencer Tracey movie 'The Last Hurrah'.
Above is a panoramic view of the Fountain as it appeared in an episode of 'Dennis the Menace' from 1963.
To the left: Shirley Booth walking near the Fountain in an episode of 'Hazel' from 1964.
To the right: Big turkey legs and teenagers can be seen around the Fountain in the movie 'Village of the Giants' from 1965..
The Fountain also makes numerous appearance in 'Bewitched' as well as in 'I dream of Jeannie' in 1967.
In the few images above, including this great shot from 'The Monkees', you can see the Antique Dolphins/Dragon Fish spewing water. A function that disappeared over the years and has not been seen since.
The Fountain can even be found in many rare Promo and Still shots.
The Monkees standing on top of the Fountain for one of their Promo shoots in 1967.
A rare behind the scenes still from 'Bewitched' in 1967 showing John Fiedler as Fergus F. Finglehoff floating above the Fountain.
The Fountain continued to appear in many TV shows in the early 70's as well, including the Partridge Family.
In the 1972 Columbia Musical '1776', the Fountain was was the focal point as the setting for one of the big musical numbers. Albeit it covered up with greenery and Lilly Pads.
Sally Field at the Fountain in an episode of 'The Girl With Something Extra' in 1974.
It was also the view from Diana Prince's apartment (on Park Blvd.) in the Wonder Woman series from 1978.
The Fountain was also part of Hazzard High School's campus in 1980.
The Fountain as seen in 'Mr. Merlin' in 1981
'Scarecrow & Mrs. King' also visited the Fountain in 1985.
It made an appearance in 'V' the original series in 1984.
In 1990, we get the see the Fountain in 'Life Goes On'.
In 1994 the Fountain gained its current notoriety from the TV series 'Friends'. It was featured in the opening credits of the show for its entire 10 season run.
After the 'Friends' series ended in 2004, the perimeter dirt walk path, surrounding the base of the Fountain, was removed and repaved completely in concrete. In doing so, the very bottom of the Fountain base was also covered up to make it all level with the rest of the surrounding ground. All the paths from the Park leading to the Fountain were also removed shortly thereafter as well.
The changes made to the Fountain visible in this photo from 2006. No base ring, and the inside painted and tiled. The paths are gone as well.
The inside of the base of the Fountain was painted a sky blue around that same time and has remained so. Sadly no longer do the Dragon Fish Spew water, nor do we see many shows use the Fountain as a focal point or backdrop anymore.
On September 25th 2019, removal of the iconic Fountain began by digging around the base and removing dirt from underneath its original foundation. The supply waterline was removed and temporary wood joist were placed to hold up the entire Fountain. Steel girders were slid underneath the main basin to be hoisted so that the entire structure could rest on it before transportation and avoid breaking.
In mid October of 2019, the once stately and proud crown of the Columbia Ranch Park, was removed from its 84 year old location and transferred over to the WB Main Lot down the street. It's new destination located on Embassy Court and now part of the 'Friends Tour'. Sadly, it was not restored to its original appearance, even as seen in the opening credits of aforementioned show, but rather, without its original 15" tall base around the bottom.
Above: Pre-relocation of the Fountain at the Main lot. A Mock Up was put in place to see and make sure it suited the view.
To the right: The Fountain in its new location a few days after it was unveiled.
The Fountain as it now appears on the WB Main Lot