Let’s start our story in 1828 as it was then that the area in which the Media District sits was named Rancho La Brea and had been offered, in a Mexican land grant, to Antonio Rocha. Rocha, a respected local settler, was a blacksmith and businessman who had come from Portugal. The almost 5000 acre Rancho covered the areas known today as Hollywood, part of West Hollywood, Miracle Mile, Windsor Square, Hancock Park and Fremont Place.
Years later it was later discovered that the land grant made Rocha only a ‘provisional’ owner rather than an absolute owner. There was some confusion as to whether the land was part of the Los Angeles pueblo (in which case, provisional ownership would be correct) or not. The Rocha family hired lawyer, Henry Hancock, to help them with the grant clarification. A legal back and forth ensued and legal fees, then as now, were overwhelming. This would ultimately break the Rocha family at which point Hancock scooped up the Mexican grants from the Rochas for a mere $20,000.
As the issue to whether the grants provisional/absolute status had never been fully settled, when Hancock’s friend Cornelius Cole was elected to the U.S. Senate, Hancock prevailed on his pal to fix his problem for him on a federal level. And just like that, the United States Supreme Court found ‘absolute ownership’ was the point of the grant and, just like that, Hancock gifted some 480 acres of the property to Cole which he would move to by the early 1880s and name Colegrove. And Colegrove is where most of the Hollywood Media District lies.
Colegrove (and the Rancho La Brea, for that matter) were situated in what was then known as The Cahuenga Valley, an area where seemingly anything of the fruit and vegetable variety could be grown. As such, citriculture was the theme of the Colegrove era. For the next 30 years, life in Colegrove was easy, pastoral, juicy and lemon scented. So much so that on the southeast corner of Santa Monica and Cahuenga (where now sits Security Storage) was the Colegrove Lemon Exchange, later named the Cahuenga Valley Lemon Exchange. In 1906 alone this facility processed and shipped 17 and a half million lemons across the western U.S. via refrigerated railcars.
Could anything this idyllic last? Well, apparently the answer is no. It seems there was a growing animosity and a rivalry raining down on Colegrove from the immediate north…..a place called Hollywood.
No one recalls what started the ill feelings that the mother of Hollywood, Daeida Wilcox Beveridge, had against Colegrove and it’s founder Cornelius Cole. They’d had a friendly cooperation ever since Hollywood (the latter of the two areas) was founded. Maybe it was the somewhat tonier reputation that Colegrove enjoyed from having a former Senator as it’s leader. Maybe it’s because Colegrove opened the first Post Office in all of the Cahuenga Valley that Hollywood citizens had to travel to for their mail. Maybe Cole didn’t necessarily share the rigid fervor of loathing that Daeida had against alcohol. Certainly the straw that could’ve broken the camel’s back was the successful 9 hole Colegrove Golf Club that had opened not long after Daeida’s husband, Philo Beveridge, had tried and failed to open a golf course up in Hollywood. Whatever the combination of perceived slights, animosity did, indeed, grow.
When the widow Daeida Wilcox married Philo Beveridge a mere 100 days after their first meeting, she soon arranged for his father, the former Governor of Illinois, to come out and live with them. (I’ll see your Senator and raise you a Governor) Then, after years of both communities sharing Sunday church services at St. James Mission on Willoughby and Vine in Colegrove, she donated free land for the building of St. Stephen’s (a rival Episcopal church) on Hollywood and Ivar taking over half of the congregation and even the rector of St. James with her. Finally, Hollywood announced it’s final independence with the opening of a post office of their own thus shedding the Colegrove mailing address once and for all!
The battle for supremacy between Hollywood and Colegrove would ultimately, of course, be won by Hollywood. The irony is, it would occur after there really wasn’t a Hollywood or a Colgrove anymore!
After the turn of the 20th century, the town of Colegrove was a thriving area from its main intersection of Colegrove and Weyse where the well stocked general store and the post office were located to a few blocks west where the Union Ice plant and the Lemon Exchange was. Senator Cole was so pleased with the status quo that he saw no particular need to follow in the path of Daeida Beveridge in 1903 when she formally incorporated Hollywood into its own municipality. In fact in 1909, tempted by all that glorious Owen Valley water (not to mention the secure notion of being folded into an organized network of firehouses and fire fighters) the folks of Colegrove voted overwhelmingly in favor of annexation and became a part of the city of Los Angeles. A mere 3 months later Hollywood would vote 409 in favor of, and 18 against its annexation. One wonders if Daeida and Philo Beveridge were among the 18 dissenters!
With the annexation complete, Los Angeles ordered some street name changes. Colegrove Blvd., they insisted, was to be renamed as Santa Monica Blvd. thus making the area seem more like a byway toward a destination rather than a destination itself. About this same time, with high profile residents like painter Paul De Longpre, and author L. Frank Baum, Hollywood’s status was on the rise sufficiently to where real estate agents were now referring to listings in Colegrove as ‘South Hollywood’. And when real estate agents turn their back on you, you know your goose is cooked. It wouldn’t be much longer before the name Colegrove would become a forgotten footnote in history.
It was also around this time that another event of mild historical import was happening. The movies came to town and CHANGED EVERYTHING!
The following is a selection of Media District addresses and their history.
900 N. La Brea Ave
Now demolished, the property once hosted the magnificent deco/zigzag/moderne Morgan, Walls and Clements masterpiece that was finished in 1930 for the Moderncraft Laundry Company. For years, until its destruction, the building was the home of Mole-Richardson Studio Depot. Mole-Richardson was the company that developed the use of incandescent lighting for movie sets, replacing the inefficient and injurious carbon arc lighting.
932 N. La Brea Ave
Was the address of the Dunning Process. C. Dodge Dunning, at the ripe old age of 17, developed the blue screen traveling matte shot. The Dunning Process would get shortened in terminology as simply a ‘process’ shot. It was used in countless films beginning in the 30s. Its first major use was in a little picture called “King Kong”.
960 N. La Brea Ave
Built in 1933. From 1945 through 1954 the build was the home of Decca Records pressing plant.
7000 Romaine St
In 1928 Van de Kamp Bakery bought almost the entire block (14 lots to be exact) bordered by Romaine to the north, Willoughby to the south, Sycamore to the west and Orange to the east. Immediately newspaper articles began trumpeting the new Van de Kamp’s baking plant to be built on the site. It would service the entire western and northern territories of the company’s customers. The first set of articles said that the facility wouldn’t be finished for almost a year. About a year later, somewhat less breathless reports mentioned that construction of the bakery would probably be starting up any time. And in 1930 the excitement was back, only this time it was announcing the building of the Fletcher Ave. baking facility. In the same article almost as an aside, it was mentioned that the Hollywood property would be disposed of at once!
Meanwhile, a young millionaire named Howard Hughes, whose fortune had come from tools, wrenched his way out of Texas and crowbarred his way into Hollywood with movies on his mind. He had bought controlling interest in the Multicolor company (an early color filming process) and when word of the Van de Camp property sale got out, suddenly a team of 400 workers were employed to construct a half-million dollar, 50,000 sq. ft. Multicolor Lab and offices, then known as 7020 Romaine. And what Howard wanted, he got. The facility went from ground-breaking to door-opening in 90 days!
It’s needless to say (since you’ve probably never heard of Multicolor) the company didn’t last but Howard’s association with 7000 Romaine did. He kept the building, using it as his headquarters until 1953 when he sold it to Eastman Kodak. Evidently regretting this decision four years later, he repurchased the building in 1957 for keeps.
6626 Romaine St
Columbia Records pressing plant from 1935-1948. There evidently were also recording studios there as well. The Library of Congress website mentions that the Duke Ellington band was in Studio B at this address the week of Nov. 24, 1941 to pre-record 5 sides that they would then pantomime to the following week for a Soundie (promotional short film) called “Jam Session”, released in 1942.
6300 Romaine St
Hard to believe there was a Hollywood before that giant of all giants:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but there was. It was Metro Pictures and it was not in Culver City. It was right here in the Media District!
They originally occupied one square block bordered by Eleanor, Lillian,
Romaine and Cahuenga (more about this block and it’s star wattage is discussed elsewhere in the 1025 Lillian Way section). By 1919 they had seriously outgrown that limited space and took the block just to the southwest bordered by Romaine, Cahuenga, Willoughby and Cole. Three more blocks, as backlots were also acquired (one of which, lot 3, is also discussed in greater detail elsewhere in 846 N. Cahuenga section).
While it was not yet the king of all the studios that it would become once
the MGM merger and move to the westside was affected, Metro was nonetheless a major player in the late teen/early twenties. Many huge movie stars with long-forgotten names called this lot their home. Others with slightly more remembered names like Viola Dana, Francis X. Bushman, Alla Nazimova and Ethel Barrymore were also employed at this studio. But the most legendary of all was the explosion created in “The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse” by a young man named Rudolph Valentino. His swarthy latin lover counterpart, Ramon Novarro would also begin his career here. There was even a popular British actor there who has a street in the West Hollywood hills named after him and, a few years later, when they built a hotel there, they named it after the street which had been named after the actor. So, thank you Percy Marmont for inadvertently
giving your name to the Chateau Marmont Hotel!
1016 N. Sycamore Ave
The Hollywood plant for RCA Victor between 1929 and 1976. At one time or another this massive facility did it all: recording, processing, pressing, warehousing and shipping.
1032 N. Sycamore Ave
For years, beginning in the ‘29 the build was owned by RCA and converted from a warehouse to recording studio space. In 1946 it was acquired by Radio Recorders and called The Radio Recorders Annex. In 1965 the business was bought by recording engineer, Thorne Nogar and simply renamed, The Annex. Since 1986 it has been The Record Plant.
729 N. Seward St
The 1973 city directory shows Bob Clampett Productions occupying suite 101. Clampett was the legendary animator and director who designed the characters of Porky Pig, Daffy Duck and Tweety Bird. In the late 40s, he moved into television with his puppet show, “Time For Beany” that counted both Groucho Marx and Albert Einstein as avid fans. The puppet show graduated into the popular cartoon series, “Beany and Cecil”. In fact, at the beginning of the 60s, Clampett leased the entire building at 729 to be the “Beany and Cecil” production house! The entire production: storyboards, voice recording, animation, cel painting, backgrounds and all merchandising approval was completed in that building.
736 N. Seward St
Tom Kelley Photography Studio. The photo studio where the legendary Marilyn Monroe red velvet nudes were shot in 1949. But as a popular celebrity photographer a veritable Who’s Who has been through that studio. His first celebrity client after his arrival in Hollywood was, herself, a new arrival: Ingrid Bergman.
801 N. Seward St
Churchill-Wexler Film Productions. Bob Churchill and Sy Wexler were responsible for producing many of those educational films that anyone who was a student in the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s will remember. There first film,
“Wonders In Your Own Backyard”, 1948, was made with a budget of $836. “The shop” (as its owners referred to it) also maintained a strict daily observation of 4pm ‘tea time’, the event was something of tradition up and down the street and was attended by workers of nearby industrial production houses, labs, title and effects houses, rental stages and animation companies. It’s said that the tea itself was often prepared by the mailman or the UPS delivery guy. So often Hollywood reveals itself to be a real small town!
861 N. Seward St
In the 30s the building house offices for Walt Disney animators. In 1948 it became the home of Walter Lanz Productions, the man who gave us Woody Woodpecker!
933-959 N. Seward St
Wasting no time after the catastrophic explosion and fire destroyed their Melrose Ave plant in 1929, Consolidated Film Industries built a massive processing plant on Seward. This industry leader was cofounded by Herbert Yates (later founder of Republic Pictures). A laissez faire attitude by the 1980s caused clients to refer to CFI as “Can’t Find It”, and “CFI care”. Acquired by Technicolor in 2000, CFI was later shut down.
836 N. Highland Ave
Was the Probe gay bar from 1978-1999. Before that it was the Paradise Ballroom a disco. An online remembrance recalls Chaka Khan driving her Excalibur right into the front of the place!
940 N. Highland Ave
Built in 1930 by Architect/Contractor Ted Cooper, this was a Veterinary and kennel owned by Dr. Alex Moxley. Moxley had received acclaim 15 years before when the newspapers reported he performed an operation on Tweedledum, a motion picture elephant, from the David Horsley’s Bostock Jungle that was located on Main and Washington.
Somewhere in the 40s or 50s the building and Vet practice was taken over by Dr. Paul Lockhart. It was in 1959 that Dr. Lockhart replaced the papier mache dog on the roof with the more durable steel and neon dalmatian that remains today.
950 N. Highland Ave
The Crane Company conceived the idea of the modern bathroom with their deco and streamline Henry Dreyfuss designs and this was the location of their spectacular Hollywood showrooms.
1025 N. Highland Ave
Opened at a cost of $750,000 in June of 1926, this familiar structure was first named the Terminal Building which doesn’t seem to make much sense for a tall storage facility which is probably why the name lasted for a total of 2 weeks before it was renamed the Hollywood Storage Building. Less than 2 months later, radio station KMTR began broadcasting from its new studios on the top floor. In fact, including the radio towers on the top of the 14 floors it became the tallest building in Los Angeles. But for the striking appearance the building made on Highland, the real showstopper was waiting when you looked in the facility Manager’s office and saw Mrs. Myda L. Shattuck, a petite brunette behind the desk. It was rare in this era for a woman to be the head of any business but, a storage warehouse was something else altogether! The Pacific Coast Furniture Warehousemen had a monthly luncheon at a downtown men’s club and special dispensation had to be arranged in order for Shattuck to attend. She was also the only woman at the National Furniture Warehousemen’s 1927 annual convention held at Biloxi Mississippi. Bravo, Myda!
For New Year’s Eve of 1928, nightclub impresario, Eddie Brandstatter, decided that his famed Cafe Montmartre wasn’t enough and took over a rooftop ballroom on the building for what appears to be the one-night-only Club Royale. In 1930 that large ballroom became the go to spot for a series of Republican fund raisers.
But what’s a good Hollywood story without a scandal? And when scandal came to Hollywood Storage, it came deluxe.
Here’s an excerpt from a Dec. 7, 1930 L.A. Times account:
VICE RAID NETS 366 AMID RIOT
Party on Top of Hollywood Building Raided
Four Girls Among Prisoners Seized in Foray
Hundred and Fifty Officers Battle Revelers
In perhaps the most spectacular raid ever conducted by Los Angeles police, nearly 400 persons were arrested early yesterday on morals charges when 150 officers broke up what they said was a wild stag party on the fourteenth floor of Hollywood Storage Building, 1025 North Highland avenue. All but four of the prisoners were men.The raid was the result of a tip received by vice squad officers and four detectives, clad in tuxedos, were assigned to gather evidence. They arrived early and mingled with other spectators, who paid $1 each for admission.
The affair was billed as a “fraternity benefit smoker” and early in the evening began to take on the aspect of an orgy, according to the police report.
Not until nearly midnight, however, did the vice squad officers feel that the revelry had reached its height, when four young women appeared in what was described as an indecent performance. This was climaxed, they declared, by another dance in which the four appeared without even a semblance of drapery. Rushing toward the exits, the detectives announced that every spectator was under arrest.
Meanwhile, just outside and in the streets below, guarding every means of escape, were 150 reserves who had been summoned in anticipation of a riot. Dozens of men attempted to flee by means of fire escapes, but they were driven back by officers who had expected such attempts. Hand-to-hand fights were numerous as the officers rushed into the hall, once an exclusive Hollywood night club, and beer bottles crashed through windows as the melee increased in violence. Several thousand persons had gathered in the street below to watch the proceedings.”
Whew! In 1939 the facility would be bought by the Bekins company.
1110 N. Highland Ave
The northeast corner of Santa Monica and Highland was home to Arthur J’s Restaurant. A ‘family restaurant’ with a difference.
In the pre-internet era, the sex trade was mostly a street business and Hollywood was an epicenter. Particularly the male for male industry, which had two strips of commerce Selma Ave. and Santa Monica Blvd. And Arthur J’s was a favorite drop in spot for both male street walkers and their potential customers. An online remembrance also tells of the remarkable sense of community that developed between the young hustlers and the suburban gay teens who would come from the Valley and Orange county to find their place in the gay world. They were all teenagers bonding together; some making money and some spending their allowance.
1133 N. Highland Ave
Was home of the United Productions of America or UPA who made some of the slickest cartoons in Mid Century Modern entertainment. It was here that they shared office space (on the floor above a cap and gown business) with Eddie Albert Productions, yes, that Eddie Albert! And it was in this space that a rather nearsighted fellow named Mr. Magoo was born.
1213 N. Highland Ave
The location for the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center for over 25 years.
1017 N. Orange Dr
This was a part of the massive RCA Victor Talking Machine Company complex that was built in 1928-29.
1024 N. Orange Dr
Built in 1929 as the Hollywood Casket Company factory.
940 N. Orange Dr
Was the home of Gillette, Severy & Clark, 1930. In the laboratory there was a camera department that boasted “..the finest precision machinery in the world for the production of motion picture equipment”. By 1941, it was the Gillette Machine and Tool Company.
941 N. Mansfield Dr
With the 1928 introduction of its Society Make Up line to the general public, Max Factor was no longer just theatrical and no longer just local. Expansion of their main studio building at Highland and Hollywood and an additional factory space in south Hollywood was necessary. This building was the new Max Factor manufacturing plant and opened in 1929.
911-921 N. Mansfield Dr
Was built in 1929 to be Hansen Dairy Company and would soon become Borden Dairies.
7026 Santa Monica Blvd
As a subsidiary of Western Electric, the Electrical Research Products, Inc. held all the patents for all the equipment necessary to produce, synchronize and exhibit the talking picture. It goes without saying that ERP was suddenly a big player in Hollywood by the late 20s. They built this plant in ‘28 and expanded it in ‘29. After ERPI, the plant was home to National Screen Service Inc. a company, when founded in 1920, produced and distributed film trailers for all the movie companies. By the 1940s it also handled the production of movie posters and other advertising ephemera.
7000 Santa Monica Blvd
From 1933 till 1946 it was the home of the Columbia Pictures cartoon unit, Screen Gems (the head animator, Charles Mintz, even had his name on the building till 1939). Afterwhich it became the legendary Radio Recorders recording studio for many years.
6823 Santa Monica Blvd
Pathe had their West Coast film laboratory here.
6802 Santa Monica Blvd
In 1935 this address was the Davis Ice Cream Company and sometime later would be Milani’s French Dip Buffet which boasted that it was open from 7:30am till 3:00am ‘for the night owl patron’.
6750 Santa Monica Blvd
Built in 1947 to be the distribution facility for Decca Records
6725 Santa Monica Blvd
Probably more actors and actresses were seen in this building than any other in Southern California. It was the Hollywood Unemployment Office!
6700 Santa Monica Blvd
Built in 1929 to be the West Coast home of Kodak, it was also the offices of J.E. Brulatour, Inc., the sole distributor for Kodak film products. In addition to sales and research departments, their screening room was a very popular place for independent producers in the area to watch dailies.
6701 Santa Monica Blvd
In 1930 this was the address of Roy Davidge Film Labs which specialized in the development of film negatives.
6656 Santa Monica Blvd
Built in 1929 for the Smith and Aller Co. Smith and Aller were the sole west coast distributors of Dupont motion picture film. In 1947, Dupont bought out Smith and Aller and the building became the property of Dupont.
6601 Santa Monica Blvd
From the early 1930s till the late 1960s this was the address of the Good Humor Ice Cream plant.
6424 Santa Monica Blvd
This streamline deco beauty was built in 1937 for the Agfa-Ansco Film Company. Before their merger with Agfa in 1928, Ansco was almost bankrupted by Eastman Kodak copying their patent process. A patent infringement lawsuit was brought, and won, by Ansco and the small settlement was enough to keep them in business but not large enough to punish Kodak in any meaningful way.
6350 Santa Monica Blvd
This was the decades-long home to Pacific Title and Art. The company had been founded in 1919 by Leon Schlesinger (of Looney Tunes fame) to produce title cards for silent movies.
6324 Santa Monica Blvd
This building was built in 1920 for Bell & Howell movie camera and supplies.
6314 Santa Monica Blvd
For a brief period in 1979, anarchy reigned supreme as the punk club, The Other Masque (the original Masque on Hollywood Blvd had been shut down), hosted crowds to slam to the dulcet tones of The Germs, Dead Kennedys, The Cramps and Wall of Voodoo.
929 N. Las Palmas Ave
Bancroft Middle School opened in 1929 and was named after Howe Hubert Bancroft, an historian specializing in the western United States. Amoung the thousands of young people educated there, alumnus include Kathleen Hughes (Fox and Universal Pictures star known for the iconic still of her, hands up and screaming from “It Came From Outer Space”, 1953) and Mila Kunis (Star of “That 70s Show”).
1040 N. Las Palmas Ave
The little lot that could. John Jasper was an innovative guy. He had been the General Manager for Charlie Chaplin’s company and oversaw the building of Chaplin’s wonderful studio on La Brea in 1917. In 1919, he came up with the idea, and a quarter of a million dollars, to build a studio that would be a rental facility for independent producers of moderate means to make pictures at a facility equipped with all the things that had only been available to the big companies. And thus, The Hollywood Studios was born on Santa Monica Bl. between Seward and Las Palmas.
It was such a fine job that, when it sold for $1.5 million just four years later,
it was described as ‘one of the most modern and extensive producing centers in the city’. The lot could accommodate 10 different producing units and in the mid twenties Harold Lloyd, B.P. Schulberg, and Hunt Stromberg were among those producing on the lot.
In the early 30s the lot acquired the name General Service Studio and big names like Mae West and the Marx Brothers were working there. It also has the distinction of being the first place that 3 year old Shirley Temple ever stepped in front of the camera for a comedy short in 1932.
United Artists had their offices on the lot in the 40s and by the time the 50s and 60s rolled around television was the name of the game. And when I say television, I mean gold-seal television. Television that people still remember today. The first two seasons of I Love Lucy were shot on Stage 2. Their next door neighbor on Stage 3 was The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Filmways, also on the lot, produced a string of hit series there like, Mr. Ed, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Addams Family.
In 1980, Francis Ford Coppola took ownership and opened the lot as Zoetrope. He envisioned the space as a repertory company of actors, writers and directors that would be a complete self contained, in-house production facility. But Coppola, a wonderful filmmaker, was not as astute a businessman, and the studio was put up for sale.
After years of ownership by the Singer family as Hollywood Center Studios, it is now been added to the Hudson portfolio and is the Sunset Las Palmas lot.
1041 N. McCadden Pl
The great producer/director/animator, George Pal had his production company here in 1949.
1106 N. Hudson Ave 2nd Fl
For over 15 years (beginning in 1987) stars from music and film like Madonna, Prince, Dustin Hoffman and David Bowie would climb the wide stairs to be photographed in the Herb Ritts studio. It has also been reported that prior to Ritts, the space was the Gene Kelly Dance Studio.
923 N. Cole Ave
Creco was the premiere motion picture lighting supply firm in town at the beginning of the 20s and probably would have stayed so if they had listened to their employees, Peter Mole and E.C. Richardson. They had this crazy idea that incandescent lamps would be a much better lighting fit for the new panchromatic film than the existing carbon arc lights. The Creco chiefs passed on the idea so Mole & Richardson started a new place of their own.
1025 N. Lillian Way
This is actually the entire block that we’re interested in here. It’s boundaries are Eleanor to the north, Lillian to the east, Romaine to the south and Cahuenga to the west. It’s a bit of a mystery here. The land was owned and developed to be a film production lot by a company called Climax Co, Inc., somewhere between 1914 and 1916. Climax had an office in the Garland Building (740 Broadway) downtown and list themselves in the city directory as being motion picture manufacturers. They don’t, however, seem to have ever made a movie.
What they did do was rent it out in 1916 to the Mutual Film Corporation who named it the Lone Star Studio as they intended it to be used by one lone star, a fellow named Charlie Chaplin. For the next almost 2 years, Lillian Way was Chaplin heaven! “Fulfilling the Mutual contract, I suppose, was the happiest period of my career,” Chaplin later recalled. “I was light and unencumbered, twenty-seven years old, with fabulous prospects and a friendly, glamorous world before me. Within a short time I would be a millionaire—it all seemed slightly mad.”
When Chaplin left at the conclusion of his Mutual contract, Metro Pictures leased the lot from Climax. Metro would, by 1918 start adding adjacent acreage to their studio space and would ultimately occupy 4 additional blocks. Metro pictures was a collection of producing units that operated somewhat autonomously (Nazimova unit, Vidor unit, Sawyer unit, etc.) and in 1920 they would allocate the entire Climax block to a new acquisition and rename it the Buster Keaton Studio.
By 1923 Climax Co, Inc. has completely dropped out of site. By 1924, Metro Pictures has gone through a merger, become MGM and left Hollywood for the wilds of Culver City and finally by 1928, Buster gets talked into giving up his autonomy and his studio and moving west to become a contract actor employee of MGM, a move he would call “The worst mistake of my life”.
By 1931 a demo permit was issued for the abandoned and dilapidated lot. The owner listed on the permit was J. F. Germain, a carpenter who lived 6139 Fountain Ave. Evidently carpentry pays enough to buy a whole block in Hollywood!
Though nothing remains of the original lot on the property (even the commemorative plaque is embedded in the sidewalk on the WRONG corner!) if you stand very still at the site, you can still feel the creativity and unbridled joy of two of the most brilliant and legendary filmmakers the industry has ever produced.
846 N. Cahuenga Blvd
The current home of Red Studios began it’s life in the movies as ‘backlot No. 3, Metro Studios’. After Metro abandoned the property it sat dormant for several years until the construction hammers started swinging the stages started appearing and, in the late 40s it opened as an independent production lot called, Motion Picture Center Studios. In 1949 alone, the lot hosted production for the classic Film Noir, “D.O.A.” and scenes from Marlon Brando’s very first Hollywood movie, “The Men” were also shot there.
In 1953, Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball signed a lease and transformed the lot into a state of the art television production facility and Desilu Cahuenga was born. Throughout the rest of the 50s and 60s some of the most fondly remembered television series’ were made there: “I Love Lucy”, “Our Miss Brooks”, “Make Room For Daddy”, “The Real McCoys”, “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, “My Favorite Martian”, “Hogan’s Hero’s”, “The Andy Griffith Show”, “Gomer Pyle, USMC”, “I Spy” and “That Girl” to name a few.
Since the Desilu days, the lot has been known variously as, Cinema General Studios, Television Center, Ren-Mar Studios (named after the owners RENe and MARjorie Lambert) and, is today, Red Studios.
1000 N. Cahuenga Blvd
A sprawling, one story Spanish Revival facility was built in the mid 30s to be the home of KMTR radio. In spring of 1946 it would change to KLAC
and by fall, KLAC-TV would be added with Betty White starring with Dick Haymes on the first show.
816 N. Vine St
Though the Musicians Union Local 47 had been in existence since 1897, it
was with great fanfare that they inaugurated their new building at 816 Vine St. in Hollywood. The date was 21 Jan., 1950 and it was marked by a full day of events including a live radio broadcast. Equally of note though, is April 1st, 1953. On this date Local 47 officially became racially integrated (one of the earliest music unions in the country to do so).
875 N. Vine St
In the early/mid 30s this was a nightclub called “My Blue Heaven” owned by crooner/songwriter, Gene Austin. At the end of 1935, he agreed to sign the lease over to jazz trumpeter/singer Louis Prima who reopened it as “The Famous Door”. For the couple of years of its existence stars like Jean Harlow would come there. Prima’s ‘out there’ music and persona particularly attracted young Hollywood. People like Mickey Rooney, Jackie
Cooper, and Judy Garland, who were too young to drink there, could be seen with their Coca Colas digging the sounds.
955 N. Vine St
Vine Street School has been educating Hollywood-ites since 1909! Both Mickey Rooney and Marilyn Monroe went there.