Saturday, 23 May 2009

Psycho House & Bates Motel Timeline

I'll try and keep it up to date as much as possible, with time permitting.

Upon completion of filming Psycho, Universal Studios, wasted no time putting the standing exterior sets to good use. In fact, Hitchcock, himself, used his house and motel facade in his own TV series. Using the former PsychoHouse group at yahoo and countless emails from eagle-eyed viewers we have managed to locate some obscure appearances.

1959 The Psycho House is constructed mostly from stock units originally used on Colonial Street. The Bates Motel is also constructed on the backlot in a vacant area off Laramie Street, next to (the then) Singapore Lake (which is now used as 'Jaws' on the tour). Originally the house was constructed with only 2 walls - the left and front facade.

December 1959 Filming commences for Hitchcock's Psycho. The Psycho House and Motel are left as 'standing sets' after filming completes.

1960 The house is used for exteriors in 'Boris Karloff's Thriller' TV program, "The Purple Room" starring Rip Torn, Richard Anderson and Patricia Berry. This is probably one of the first uses after Psycho.

1960 The house is seen in the TV series, The Quest in the episode, Whispering Smith.

1960 The Bates Motel features in the TV series, Thriller, the epsiode, The Big Black Out.

1960 The house features in background shots of the TV series, The Deputy, the epsiode, Palace of Chance.

1961 The house appears in the TV series, Thriller in the episode, The Hungry Glass.

1960 - 1962 The Tall Man was a TV series which ran from 1960 till 1962 that aired on NBC. As it was filmed in Universal's western section of the backlot the Psycho House was a familiar backdrop.

1961 The "Psycho" house was used in the episode, Masquerade, part of the "Boris Karloff's Thriller," Tom Poston and Elizabeth ("Bewitched") Montgomery played a couple whose car breakdown leads them to an old house...

1961 Again the house features in Thriller, the epsiode, An Attractive Family

1961 The house is used in Wagon Train, episode titled, Eleanor Culhane.. Flint McCullough finds his former girlfriend living alone in the house after she has become isolated from the town because they believe her husband has become a murderer. The episode starred Robert Horton and Felicia Farr.

1962 The house features in two episodes of Laramie, titled, The Runt and Hour After Dawn.

1962 The house features in two episdodes of Frontier Circus, titled, Coals of Fire and Mr Grady Regrets.

1963 The Bates Motel features on the show Arrest and Trial in the episode, Who's Little Girl Are You?.

1963 The House appeared in an episode of "Alcoa Premiere" from 1963 called "The Town that Died."

1963 The Motel appeared in an episode of "Kraft Suspense Theatre" in 1963 called "Are There Any More Out There Like You?" with Robert Ryan and Katharine Ross.

1963 A third wall is added to the right hand side of the house during this period. Possibly so the house could be used from the reversed angle for use in Westerns. The house still has no rear wall - and would remain so until the house was "boxed in" in 1982.

1964 The Bates Motel appears in the Ann-Margaret movie, Kitten With A Whip.

1964 Universal Studios open the studio tour on July 15th. One of the key attractions is the Psycho House. The Bates Motel is bypassed and is not seen by the original tour.

1964 The house features in the Yul Brenner western, Invitation To A Gunfighter.

1964 The exterior of the Bates Motel's office appears in the Ronald Regan film, The Killers.

1965 The exterior of the house was featured in the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, "An Unlocked Window." Several nurses are trapped in the house with a psycho on the loose trying to get in. It has a very "Psycho" twist at the end.

1965 The original Bates Motel exterior is used in the Alfred Hitchcock Hour, "Off Season." This was the final Alfred Hitchcock TV show ever made, and starred John Gavin.

1965 The house features in The Virginian, episode,” Farewell To Honesty”.

1966 The house is featured in The Virginian, Men With Guns, guest starring Telly Savalas.

1967 The house features in the western TV series Laredo, "Small Chance Ghost".

1971 "Night Gallery" episode, A Question Of Fear, Leslie Nielsen spends the night in a haunted house on a bet. For this, the Psycho house exterior was used.

1971 The house features in episode 14 of Alias, Smith & Jones, titled, Never Trust an Honest Man.

1972 Emergency! use the house in the episode. Brush Fire. John and Roy rescue an elderly woman and her sister living in the house.

1976 The house features in the television mini-series "The Captains and the Kings." It was for this production a veranda was added making the home appear larger. It remained attached to the house until the house was demolished in 1980.

The house features on an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man called “A Bionic Christmas Carol.”

1977 Universal Studios airs a 25 minute TV Special about the Universal Studio Tour, called, Catch Hollywood In The Act. Hosted by Richard Anderson (Oscar Goldman on the Six Million Dollar Man) it features footage of the backlot including the Psycho House, Jaws, Airport 77 Theatre, Runaway Train, Collapsing Bridge, Doomed Glacier, Parting of the Red Sea, makeup demonstrations, special effects stages and interior sets from the Bionic Woman.

1977- 1979 The Psycho House features in 3 episodes of The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries. The Mystery of the Haunted House, The Mystery of the Hollywood Phantom and The House on Possessed Hill.

1980 The house features in the Get Smart Movie, The Nude Bomb. (Maxwell Smart becomes a tour guide at Universal Studios.)

1980 The house features in the TV show, The Misadventures of Sherrif Lobo, in the episode, The Haunting of Orly Manor.

1980 The original Psycho House is dismantled around December 22nd 1980 with the Motel following shortly after.

1982 Jamie Lee Curtis hosts a movie, Coming Soon. The Psycho House is seen at the Universal Studios Mill before being moved to it's new location on the backlot. Interestingly the house is in mid-production with half the roof missing.

1982 It's decided to move the Psycho House to a new location on the backlot. Psycho II director Richard Franklin said at the time, "they built a tour around it, so we had to move it to a remote location". The house was rebuilt and placed opposite where the log cabin sits today. Only thirty feet of motel was built. The rest was done as a matte painting.

1983 A TV special, Australian Movies To The World, features a brief segment hosted by Psycho II director, Richard Franklin - he tours the inside shell of the Bates House and talks of directing Psycho II.

1983 The house is featured in the movie, D.C. Cab.

1984 Knight Rider episode titled, Halloween Knight which has a Psychoesque storyline.

1984 A two part episode of TV comedy, Diff'rent Strokes, Hooray for Hollywood, features the Psycho House with Arnold getting lost on the Universal Studios backlot and who opens the Psycho house door? Frankenstein of course!

1985 The Jan Michael-Vincent series, Airwolf, features the house in episode 15, Santini's Millions on 2nd February.

1985 The Psycho House is moved to it's current location on the backlot. The Motel is fully rebuilt for Psycho III.

1986 The House and Motel feature in an episode of Amazing Stories, Welcome To My Nightmare (filming must have coincided with Psycho III as Cabin one is fully dressed).

1987 With the Bates Motel TV Pilot in production, the Motel now has BATES MOTEL painted in white letters along the roof and the Motel is transformed with a more modern appearance. A cement rendered wall is placed around the Motel.

1988 Universal builds a new Psycho House and Motel in Florida for Psycho IV.

1990 A Bud Light beer commercial uses the house in a promotion.

1991 Murder She Wrote films an episode directly involving the House and Motel titled, Incident on Lot 7.

1995 The cement rendered wall surrounding the Bates Motel (from the TV Pilot) is removed.

1995 Janet Leigh hosts a segment titled, Celebrity Homes for E! Featured is the exterior and interior of the Psycho House.

1995 Universal Studios commissioned a parody of 1950s corporate/industrial films for Seagrams using the talents of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Angela Lansbury is seen painting the Psycho House.

1997 The house features in a few episodes of the TV soap Bold and the Beautiful.

1997 Filming commences for the Gus Van Sant Remake. During the filming of Psycho 98, the original house is masked with a new house used in the movie.

1999 Universal Studios, Florida, dismantle the house and motel built for Psycho IV The Beginning, to build an extension to a children's play area.

2000 Janet Leigh returns (along with journalists) to the Bates Motel for Psycho's 40th anniversary.

2000 Whoville from The Grinch That Stole Christmas is filmed partly behind the Psycho House. After filming is complete the Whoville Houses are moved behind the Bates Motel.

2000 The Bates Motel is seen in the movie, Big Momma's House, where it's portrayed as the Cactus Motel.

2001 The Backlot Murders (filmed on the Universal Backlot) uses the Psycho set as part of the movie.

2001 The red letters (Motel) that sat on the Bates Motel roof in the 1998 remake are removed.

2001 The house appears in a black & white television commercial for DiGiorno Pizza.

2001 The House is briefly featured in the Frankie Muniz comedy, Big Fat Liar

2002 The House featured in the Psycho 98 remake is removed.

2004 The house has a refurbishment.

2004 During 2004 the church seen in the original Psycho is demolished by the Universal backlot department - a restructure of Circle Drive necessitates changes to the backlot and it’s decided the church isn't worth saving.

2005 With the Region 1 DVD re-release of Psycho II and Psycho III, the Bates Motel is refurbished. A number of set pieces make a familiar return, the icebox from Psycho III, Marion Crane's car (complete with body in the trunk), a suitcase, mop and bucket sitting on the Motel's veranda and a cardboard cut-out of Norman Bates stares from the window of Cabin 1.

2005 The Motel and house are filmed as part of the TV series, Fear Factor.

2008 Puddle of Mudd feature inside the Psycho House for their single, Psycho.

2008 Universal Studios host Halloween Horror Nights and offers guests a rare night view and a chance to walk past the Psycho House and Bates Motel.

2008 The Universal Studios Tour now features a Norman Bates look-a-like stepping out of Cabin One, carrying a body to the trunk of the car, noticing the tram, he raises his knife and walks slowly towards it. If Norman is not at the motel a cardboard cutout of Anthony Perkins stands looking out the window of the Motel Office.

2010 Jonas LA film a segment of the show on the Universal Lot using the Psycho House and steps as a background.
© copyright - not be used without written permission


  1. wow its amazing about the Psycho house and motel.Thanks!!

  2. Amazing research, Space Potato.
    I worked as a security guard at Universal Studies the year Psycho II was filmed. You haven't lived until you work the graveyard shift guarding the fully dressed interiors of the Bates house and fruit cellar. In the morning, I got meet the one and only, Anthony Perkins!


  3. According to a tour I went on in the early eighties, The Bates House was featured in the Movie "D.C. Cab". At that point there was a gargae and farm windmill. At this point the rear of the house was completed. I can't recall seing the rear of the house in Pycho 2.

  4. Thanks for the very informative timeline! I got to walk right up to the Psycho house and Bates Motel last month during the yearly Universal "Horror Nights." It was dark (too dark to take pictures), and we couldn't go inside the buildings, but I did get to briefly walk on the porch of the motel and then go right up and touch the front steps of the house.

    I would disagree, though, about the motel being restored to its 1960s appearance. Looking at the film just now and comparing it with the shots of the refurbishment here... really is the same only in shape and the number of doors and windows. The windows and doors are a completely different style from the original; so is the siding. The posts holding up the awning are round and metal in the refurbishment... in the film they are 4X4 wooden beams. The film's motel has an almost log cabin appearance. The new version gives a nice feeling of the original, but I wish they had remained more true to its 1960 appearance.

  5. There was one additional appearance the Psycho house made that was not on your list--in 1976's TV miniseries "The Captains and the Kings." It was used as the home of Charles Durning's character in that show.

  6. Thanks for the update. I've added it to the evergrowing list.

  7. Astonishing work!
    Thanks for sharing.
    I am trying to identify the paintings in the office. Looks like a Susannah and the Elders and a Rape of ... .

  8. Two more entries: The House appeared in an episode of "Alcoa Premiere" from 1963 called "The Town that Died."

    The Motel appeared in an episode of "Kraft Suspense Theatre" in 1963 called "Are There Any More Out There Like You?" with Robert Ryan and Katharine Ross.

  9. Also used as a backdrop photo for Gary Puckett & The Union Gap's picture sleeve for the "Lady Willpower" 45rpm. Although with slight architectural changes, it appears to be the same house...CREEPY!

  10. Thanks for finding those, I've added them to the list. It still amazes me where this set pops up.

  11. Yes, it does appear on the Gary Puckett single cover. It's also used on a generic Gary Puckett "best of" CD cover too.

  12. Actually, The Thriller TV episode, "Masquerade," with Tom Poston and Elizabeth Montgomery does not feature a car that is broken down. Rather, the two get lost in a torrential rainstorm and decide to seek shelter in the "Psycho House." I am an avid aficionado of the Thriller TV series.

  13. Also seen in the background of Marcus Welby MD, S01E02 The Foal.

  14. Greetings! THANK YOU for the terrific and informative timeline. I've always wanted to go out West to see the location and set for the original BATES MOTEL. I know the PSYCHO HOUSE also made an appearance in (I believe) the second season of WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE. It was COOL watching Steve McQueen and the classic house together! And if memory serves me, it also appears in an episode of Richard Boone's HAVE GUN WILL TRAVEL. THANKS, and I'll continue reading!

  15. Thank you for the kind words. I'll add these to the timeine when time permits. Again, thanks for the welcome additions.

  16. 1981 modern problems movie. Chevy chase film.

  17. i love the bates motel series. you couldn't ask for better actors to play the part. especially Norma and Norman. perfect, just perfect.

  18. Is the Simmons house in "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" (1965) the Psycho house? IMDB says no, but then they say that the Simmons house was the Harvey house on Colonial street, which seems to argue in favor of it being the same house, according to your work and information I found on another Psycho/Universal website (I have not examined pictures of both to compare.) Just curious.

    From IMDB:
    The outside street scenes in the opening credits to "The Ghost and Mr Chicken" were filmed at Universal Studios Back lot. The mansion shown is the Harvey (1950) House, now seen in Desperate Housewives (2004).

    Contrary to some belief, the exterior of the Simmons house was not the same one built for Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960). The Simmons house is a different facade located on what used to be named Colonial Street on Universal's back lot, and has been used in several other shows.

  19. AggieLady, this question pops up often. No, the Simmons mansion (as seen in 'The Ghost & Mr Chicken) isn't the Psycho house. However, the home on the studio lot DOES have a connection. In 1959 the original tower was removed from this facade and used on the Psycho House. Anything from 1946 to 1959 IS the Psycho house tower.

  20. I've been designing my own greeting cards for over 30 years now. Back in 1989 we took a photo of me infront of the Bates House (Universal Florida) [using B&W Film!] and I used it in my Halloween Card! Too bad they tore down the house to build "Barney Land"...Yuk! -gregg in Sarasota, FL

  21. Hello,

    Just wanted to add one that seems to be missing from the list. Although 2 entries are noted for the western series Laramie, there is another appearance of the house in that series during the 2nd season in 1960. In the episode Duel at Parkinson Town (S2, Ep12) the house is used as the Parkinson home. It's shown clearly in a couple scenes with old man Parkinson and his son.

  22. Incredibly detailed. Thank you!

    I'd add that at the annual Halloween Horror Nights, for the last few years, they've had a photo op at the Psycho House with an actor playing Norman holding a knife, posing with guests on the front steps. :)

  23. Wasn't there an episode of The Wild Wild West,featuring the Phyco house?

  24. Was the Phyco house featured in an episode of The Wild Wild West?

  25. The house was used in the December 13 1960 episode of Laramie entitled "Dual at Parkinson's town"

  26. The house was used in the December 13 1960 episode of Laramie entitled "Dual at Parkinson's town"

  27. Another Laramie episode "Rimrock" features not only the exterior of the house, but also extensive interior shots from the soundstage as well.

  28. Great list! One that is missing from the list, is the appearance of the house in the 1972 movie: "The Night Stalker" starring Darren McGavin, Carol Lynley, Simon Oakland, Claude Akins and Barry Atwater as 'Janos Skorzeny' the Vampire. Towards the end of the movie, Kolchack rolls up on the house in search of the Vampire killer. It's a night scene, but the outline of that wonderful and iconic house is unmistakable! Of course this was the first of two movies leading up to the series: "Kolchack: The Night Stalker"

  29. great job on your timeline I love it.. the unmentioned episode of Laramie titled Rimrock is by far the best post-Psycho interior soundstage footage of the house used in other shows and movies

  30. Thanks for this! Question though: does anybody know, on a guide map or something, where each psycho house was located? it mentions it was demo'd once and moved twice, I believe. Where it is now (on the studio tour) is that where Hitchcock filmed? Or somewhere else on the universal lot/hill? Was it close to where it exists now?

  31. Found a house and two entries for you

  32. Sometime in 1988 or 89, my husband and I went to a Halloween party set up in a large tent on the grounds at the Psycho House and Bates Motel. It was sponsored by Coors and the promotional star attraction was Elvira!

  33. Correction on my comment, it was a contest sponsored by Pepsi not Coors....

  34. Lawrence Da Silva17 July 2019 at 01:17

    Incredibly varied history! Great digging up (pun intended!) all the house's more obscure appearances!

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