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Warner Hollywood Studios - History

Hampton Studios (founded by Jesse Durham Hampton) begins construction at Santa Monica Blvd and North Formosa Avenue.

United Artists is formed by Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W.Griffith.

Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks, 1922 (LA Public Library)
Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks, 1922 (LA Public Library)

January - Hampton Studios opens a new studio to house their growing production company as they expand from their former home on Sunset Boulevard (the current home of KCET Studio).

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks buy the 18-acre studio property and name it Pickford-Fairbanks Studios in their honor.

Samuel Goldwyn leaves MGM and forms his own company, renting space at the Pickford-Fairbanks studio.

Pickford Building is built on the site. (This building was demolished in April 2012).

Charlie Chaplin moves from his own studio as he co-founds United Artists with Pickford, Fairbanks and D.W.Griffith.
The studio is renamed United Artists Studio.

Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks, 1922
Mary Pickford and Doug Fairbanks, 1922

Goldwyn Building is constructed (used for sound editing). The building was demolished in April 2012.

Darryl Zanuck and Joseph Sheak bring 20th Century Pictures to Pickford-Fairbanks Studio until it merges with Fox Film Corporation two years later.

Pickford Building is re-modelled.

Samuel Goldwyn left United Artists. The lot was renamed Samuel Goldwyn Studios. This name change resulted in the start of a lengthy court battle with Mary Pickford over control of the studio.

After fighting in court for many years, Samuel Goldwyn teamed with James Mulvey to outbid Mary Pickford at an auction, resulting in him acquiring full control of the studio. Pickford was devastated by the loss of her studio.
Kevin Brownlow's book 'Mary Pickford Rediscovered' recounts how after the sale of the studio she would drive up to the gates at 3am, the guards would let her in, she’d go center on a soundstage with a bottle of wine and drink and drink…and cry and cry. Soon after Mary became a recluse until her death in 1979.

Samuel Goldwyn dies and the studio is transferred to his widow, Frances.

Frances Goldwyn dies and the studio is bequeathed to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

The studio is sold to Warner Bros and renamed Warner Hollywood Studios (at the request of the Goldwyn Company), acting as an 11 acre sister studio to Warner Bros in Burbank.

Warner Bros sold the studio to BA Studios, managed by Skye Partners, who renamed it 'The Lot' - a private studio for rental to any production company. It consists of 7 soundstages.
According to the Save the Pickfair Studios website, Skye Partners wanted to demolish the historic buildings on the property, replacing them with 'ugly cube structures'. Hollywood Heritage (in the shape of Robert Hudelman) succeeded in negotiating them out of the idea.

2012 April
Current owners of The Lot, CIM, begin demolition of 'aging wooden office buildings and sound-dubbing stages' to replace them with glass and steel structures.
The first building to go is the Pickford Building (1927). The Writers' Building, Fairbanks Building and Editorial Buildings will follow, along with the long line of production offices that line Santa Monica Boulevard.
The Goldwyn Building (1932) is next to go, on 12th - 17th April.

Facebook group "Save the Pickfair Studios"
Save the Pickfair Studios website
LA Conservancy article about The Lot

More about the Demolition


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