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May 21, 2006 - Pink, Blue, Green, Red

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Southern California colors - Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas a few blocks north of Melrose Avenue on Thursday May 11, late morning. This is down in "the flats," the mixed-use industrial area with Paramount and lots of sound and post-production shops, and Kodak and auto repair shops and small restaurants and strip malls and low, fifties-style apartment buildings, and grit. Hollywood Center Studios is a minor Hollywood studio, not affiliated with any particular motion picture company - these guys rent out the back lot and twelve sound stages to whoever has the cash for movies, television, music videos and whatnot. It was built in 1919 - Howard Hughes shot "Hell's Angels" (1929, silent) here, with Jean Harlow in her first movie role. Mae West and Harold Lloyd made many of their films here. There's more detail below this shot. The photograph is more an exercise in framing and color than in history.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas -

The website "Seeing Stars" has more detail here


Other early movies shot here included "Pennies From Heaven" (1936, with Bing Crosby), "The Thief Of Baghdad" (1940), "The Jungle Book" (1942 with Sabu), and "Angel On My Shoulder" (1946, with Paul Muni). Shirley Temple had her film debut at this studio.

In the 1930's, it was known as General Service Studios, and produced countless b-movies and independent films. in the late 40's Cagney Productions (Jimmy, and his brother William), owned a large part of the studio.

In 1951, the studio turned to television. The first two years of "I Love Lucy" shows were shot here on Stage 2 (before Lucy & Desi moved Desilu studios over to RKO and moved the show over to Ren-Mar). In fact, the studio's sandwich shop next door to Stage 2 is called the "Babalu Cafe." The "Burns & Allen" show was also filmed here.

More recently, the studio was the scene of a noble failure, as Francis Ford Coppola (the director of "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now") began his ill fated Zoetrope Studio here. Alas, Zoetrope didn't last long; when Coppola's first new release, "One From the Heart," bombed at the box office in 1982, he lost the studio. (Although Zoetrope still exists as a production and post-production company in San Francisco, and online at http://www.zoetrope.com.)

As a rental studio, numerous classic TV series were shot there, including "The Beverly Hillbillies," "Green Acres," "Petticoat Junction," "Mr. Ed," "The Bob Cummings Show," "Ozzie & Harriet," "Our Miss Brooks," "The Addams Family," "The Lone Ranger," "Baretta," "The Rockford Files"... and more recently, "The Cosby Show," "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Boy Meets World" and "Soul Train." "

"The Burns and Allen Show" was also shot there, and George Burns had an office at the studio which he visited almost every day until he died (at age 100). In fact, the Burns office is still there.

Modern films shot here include: "The Shaggy Dog" (with Tim Allen), "Cursed" (with Christina Ricci), "The X-Men," "Bad Santa," "Zoolander," "Dumb And Dumberer," "What Dreams May Come" (with Robin Williams), "Scream 2," "The Out of Towners" (with Steve Martin), "A Walk in the Clouds" (with Keanu Reeves), "Con Air" (with Nicolas Cage), "When Harry Met Sally" (with Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan), "The Running Man" (with Arnold Schwarzenegger), "Frances" (with Jessica Lange), "Shampoo" (with Warren Beatty and Goldie Hawn), "Save the Tiger" (with Jack Lemmon), "The Player" (with Tim Robbins), "The Karate Kid" and 1997's "Spawn."


There are no public tours. This is a working studio in an ugly part of town - think Steubenville with palm trees. It's not tourist territory.

On the other hand, if you need stage space, and rigging and lighting, and union grips and gaffers and such, for your own next major film, television show or music video, the Hollywood Center Studios website is here. They'll be glad to accommodate you. The site also lists all the films made on site, starting with "Smiling All The Way" in 1920 through the 2005 remake of "The Shaggy Dog" (the long list is here). The list of television productions is here and includes everything from Sky King to the show with the talking horse, Mister Ed - and the Mel Brooks series Get Smart. Very odd.

Hollywood Center Studios on Las Palmas

If you use any of these photos for commercial purposes I assume you'll discuss that with me.  

There is a copyright notice at the bottom of this page, of course.

These were shot with a Nikon D70 - lens AF-5 Nikor 18-70 mm 1:35-4.5G ED or AF Nikor 70-300 mm telephoto.

They were modified for web posting using Adobe Photoshop 7.0
The original large-format raw files are available upon request.


Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik

The inclusion of any text from others is quotation for the purpose of illustration and commentary, as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law.  See the Legal Notice Regarding Fair Use for the relevant citation.
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