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Hollywood & Metropolitan Studios

THE HOLLYWOOD/METROPOLITAN STUDIOS

Hollywood Studio Corporation

Recognized the increasing demand for modern “rental studios”, Hollywood real estate, and business developer, Charles E. Toberman, incorporated the Hollywood Studios Corporation in 1919.  The stockholders and officers were C.E. Toberman, President; C.W. Bradford, Vice President; John Jasper, Secretary and manager.  After several acres were acquired on the south side of Santa Monica Boulevard, just east of Las Palmas Avenue construction was begun.  As manager of the studio, Jasper oversaw the building of four large stages, dressing rooms, film viewing rooms, prop rooms and offices.  The stages resembled horticulturist hothouses with their steel frames, thick cloth walls, glass roofs and clerestory windows .  The unusual shape and sighting was necessary in order to illuminate sets in the days of slow film stock and before the technique of arc lighting had been perfected.  Behind the large stages a small group of outdoor sets were constructed.  The entrance to this new studio was at 6642 Santa Monica Boulevard.

Vintage photo of early Movie Studios

The hollywoodphotographs.com website has the largest number of Hollywood Studio and Metropolitan Studio photos. Many are from original glass negatives. All photographs are available for purchase.

First Hollywood Studio Producers

Some of the first producers and directors on the Hollywood Studios lot included Marshall Neilan, Albert Kaufman, Allan Dwan, King Vidor and Marion Fairfax. 

Photo of Hollywood Studio

Metropolitan Studios

In June, 1923, Toberman’s Hollywood Studio Corp. sold the studio to a group of men which included S.W. Tompkins and John M. Nickolaus, founders of the Standard Film Laboratories.  The new owner changed the entrance to the studio from Santa Monica Blvd. to around the corner on Las Palmas Ave.  The studio changed ownership again in 1924 when B.P. Schulberg, the producer who discovered Clara Bow, bought the controlling interest in the studio for Preferred Pictures Corp.  In January of the following year, it sold for the third time in two years to Al and Charles Christie, producers of the Christie Comedies and owners of the Christie Film Corporation.  Shortly thereafter the studio was renamed Hollywood/Metropolitan Studios.

Historic photo of Metropolitan Studio

Howard Hughes

In 1925, Howard Hughes entered the motion picture business and took up offices at the studio.  Hughes considered his first film “Swell Hogan”  to be so bad that it was never released for public viewing.  His second film "Two Arabian Knights” won director Lewis Milestone the first “best director” Oscar, from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.  Some of the scenes from his sensational film “Hells Angels” were filmed on the lot.

After the depression hit in 1929, production fell off precipitously.  In January, 1933, the Christie brothers found themselves in receivership and ceded control of Metropolitan to General Service Studio. 

General Service Studios

During the 1930s, the studio was used by Mae West for some of her films, including “Klondike Annie.”  Bing Crosby filmed both “Pennies From Heaven” and “Doctor Rythmn” at the studio.  Other stars, including Gary Cooper and Shirley Temple  made films there.

The 1940’s saw Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Frederic March, Cary Grant, Glenn Ford, Fred Astaire and Erich von Stroheim on the General Service Studio.

With the advent of television, the studio zeroed on this new medium.  Some of the sound stages were fitted with some of the newest equipment in order to capture their share of this new business.  Burns and Allen were tenants on the lot until 1996 when George passed away at the age of one hundred.  For the first few years of the “I Love Lucy” shows, Desilu rented space (Stage 2) at General Service Studios.  Later, Stage 2 was named Desilu Playhouse and a special entrance was created on Romaine Street, on the south side of the lot.

Photo of early Hollywood Studio

Hollywood Center Studios

From the 1930’ until 1984, the studio had owners including Benedict Bogeaus, David Loew, George, Jimmy and Ted Nasser, and Francis Ford Coppola.  In 1984, the popular studio changed hands, for the last time, when Coppola sold his interest to the Singer family who, up to that time were Canadian real estate developers.  The lot changed names, for a final time, to Hollywood Center Studios. Today, the historic studios caters to all facets of the entertainment business.

hollywoodphotographs.com website

Visit the hollywoodphotographs.com to view the largest collection of Hollywood Studio and Metropolitan Studio. 

 

 

 

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