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More Hollywood Studio Photos

More Hollywood Studio Photos

The hollywoodphotographs.com website has the largest collection of Hollywood Movie Studios. With more than 1500 vintage Hollywood Studio photographs, the hollywoodphotographs website sells both digital and actual images.

Vintage photo of early Hollywood movie studio

Universal Film Manufactirung Co.

Carl Laemmle’s Universal Film Manufacturing Company acquired Hollywood’s Nestor Film Company on the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and  Gower Street in 1912.  At the same time Universal expanded the studio by leasing the property on the southwest corner of the same intersection.  In 1914, after producing several films there, Laemmle moved his company to the San Fernando Valley where he built his new studio known as Universal City.  Both the original Nestor studio at  6101 Sunset Boulevard and the expanded studio, across the street at 6100 Sunset Boulevard laid idle for several months.

Vintage photo of California Studios

Sterling Film Co.

In February, 1914 Fred Balshofer and Ford Sterling formed the Sterling Film Company. With Fred as President, the new company’s name was chosen because of Sterling’s popularity as an actor.  Balshofer hired about twenty Keystone players,  including Henry “Pathe” Lehrman who was Keystone’s best comedy director. 

After taking up quarters as Universal’s expanded studio, on the southwest corner of Sunset and Gower, they immediately began making their first film, “Love And Vengeance.”  This was quickly followed by “The Fatal Wedding” and “Beach Romance” both directed by “Pathe.”

Within a few months of working together, Lehrman and Sterling were at each other’s throats. Sterling resented Lehrman, who as director, ordering him around.   The feud between the two escalated so much that Balshofer had to step in.  He immediately fired Lehrman, since Sterling was the basis of their contract with Universal, who distributed their films.  With Lehrman gone, the production slowed to a trickle and in early 1915, Balshofer disbanded the Sterling Film Company.

L-KO Studios

After being fired from the Sterling Film Company, Lehrman formed his own company, in July, 1914 and called it L-KO (Lehrman-Knock-Out).  He leased the former Sterling studio and then hired several actors to star in his films.  He attempted to hire Mabel Normand from Mack Sennett but was successful when he was “out bid.”  Soon the studio was producing three one-reel movies a week, under Universal’s distribution schedule.  English comic, Billie Ritchie made his film debut in the first L-KO production “Love And Surgery’” which was released on October 25, 1914.  For the next couple of years, L-KO produced scores of well appreciated comedies. 

After a dispute with Universal in late 1916, Lehrman left L-KO and took over the Sunshine Comedies unit at Fox. Yet, L-KO kept going and proved a valuable training ground for new and upcoming comedic talent until it closed its doors in 1919. 

Century Film Company

The studio remained vacant for a few months until the Century Film Company  took possession in late 1919 or early 1920. The company which was started in 1917, was operated by Abe and Julius Stern, the brothers-in-law of Carl Laemmle. Both brothers had worked for Carl but decided to go out on their own.  Needing someone to direct, they hired Fred Fishback, one of Keystone's comedy directors.  By 1920, Century was best known for its animal comedies, featuring the Century Lion, “Brownie” the Wonder Dog  and other four legged actors.  Films made under the Century Comedies banner included such actors as Alice Howell, Harry Sweet, Charles Dorety and the very popular “Baby Peggy”, whose real name is Diana Serra Cary.  In 1926, a quick moving fire broke out and within  a couple of hours, the studio was completely destroyed.  After making hundreds of films, the Century Film Company ceased operation and faded into motion picture history.

Vintage photo of Hollywood Studios

Poverty Row and Gower Gulch

By the mid-20s, scores of small independent studios were operating in Hollywood, primarily on Sunset Boulevard near Gower Street. These studios struggled to exists by making one and two reel comedies, Westerns and dramas. Because of the fierce competition, uncertainty of having their films distributed, and the difficulty of making a profit, the small studios went out of business as quickly as they were conceived. The high “mortality” and rate of these independent studios causee this area of Hollywood to become known as “Poverty Row.”

During the same period, many extras and movie Cowboys could be seen standing near the corner of sunset and cower awaiting casting calls to appear in early Western films being ground out daily by the many small production companies. To the residence of Hollywood, this area was popularly called “Gower Gulch.”

Some of these poverty row and Gower Gulch production companies which have long since passed into oblivion were Loftus Features, sterling motion picture company, L – KO motion picture company, quality pictures Corporation, Paulis, Waldorf productions, Francis Ford studio, century film company, Wilnat studios, Wade productions, California Studios, Bischoff comedies, choice productions, Snub-Pollard production, goodwill studios, and Chadwick pictures company.

Historic photo of Century Studio in Hollywood

Columbia Pictures

As time went on, more and more of these small studios went out of business or consolidated with other tiny production companies.  By the early 1920s, almost all of the small studios had vanished from Sunset Boulevard. Two brothers, Harry and Jack Cohn, had been making movies for the old universal company. After deciding to go out on their own, they purchased the California Studio property at 1438 North Gower St. The original name of their company was CBC film company. It wasn't long after acquiring the property on Gower Street that they decided to change the name of their company to Columbia Pictures Corporation. Over time they acquired many parcels of land adjoining their original studio. By the early 1930s Columbia pictures became one of the largest motion picture studios in the world.

hollywoodphotographs.com website

All the Hollywood studio photos on the hollywoodphotographs.com website are available for purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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