Gallery of Photos of the Filming Process
(click a photo to enter the gallery)
A book can have a Dedication.
Why not a web site?
This site is dedicated to the Studios. The Edifices. The buildings. The studios, the lots, and the men and women who built them, bought and sold, and merged them.
There are dozens (if not hundreds) of sites dedicated to the Movies and the Stars. Dozens more dedicated to the Directors of the movies. I have run into only a handful of sites dedicated to the Studios themselves, and none of them are very complete and fewer are at all accurate. This is an effort to change that.
While there have been literally thousands of production companies and hundreds of distribution companies, we are focusing on those people and companies who built and owned studios, the places where the movies were made.
My hope is to present these places and names into something that is organized and makes sense, and will endure as a place for research and fun.
To that end, I sincerely dedicate this site in their memories. I hope I can keep them alive. And I hope you enjoy your visit to TheMovieStudios.com
I also dedicate this site...
...to the two people in the world who give me inspiration every day, my wife Cami and my son Ryan. I am a very blessed man.
My History and the History of this Site
I am Ren Kessler, a failed actor and director. I majored in Theater Arts my first time through college, and Film Making the second time. I wasn't very good at either, but along the way I found that I was good at two other things: computers and research.
I began researching the movie studios in roughly 1985. It began while I worked my one and only Hollywood job and I had the chance to drive all over Hollywood, Burbank, Culver City, and all the places where the movies are made. After talking to my mother about this new found interest, she purused several used book stores and found several books. They made a great birthday present. Then I bought a ream of paper and a pencil and began by writing out the name, location, and some details of the studios.
Keeping this "analog," linear version used up a lot of paper and erasers, and I never could quite get it organized. Thank goodness I learned to use a computer, which helped keep me organized and made making changes a snap. I read dozens of books, wrote letters to historians and old timers, and searched for newspaper articles at the library.
Thank you, Internet. Letters turned into emails. Web sites eventually came along, but were few and far between and lacked credibility and accuracy. The Internet also allowed me to find books I previously did not know about. Slowly pictures became available on the internet and replaced photocopies. I bought scanners so I could digitize my book research. Early versions of Wikipedia provided unverifiable information, and to this day it, while having improved greatly, it still has a lot of inaccuracies and opposing information.
We may never know all the history we need and may never get complete accuracy. The studios simply did not track themselves, and most historians were ambivalent. Newspaper and magazine accounts were plentiful at the time, but are hard to find and research now. Much of what we know is still anecdotal.
This site was started in July, 2018. Because of the huge amount of information I have collected, and the time it takes to create nice looking pages, I anticipate the site will not be completed until some time in 2020 or 2021. It is proving to be a slow process.
Contributing Producer and Historical Adviser
Marc Wanamaker is recognized as a world leader in film history and is the world's foremost authority on the Hollywood movie studios and their histories. He has been researching film history since 1969. He owns one of the largest photo archives in the world.
Marc was born in Los Angeles and grew-up in West Hollywood/Beverly Hills. He graduated with a degree in Theater Arts and has worked in many areas of film and entertainment, including for the American Film Institute. He consults with many companies and museums in Los Angeles and around the nation.
Marc's Bison Archives was started in 1971 as a repository for his vast knowledge of film history, including his huge collection of photographs, negatives, and documents. It serves as a base for his consulting work around the world. His Bison Productions has produced or consulted on over a hundred documentaries and countless other projects.
He is a past president of Los Angeles City Historical Society and has been archivist/museum consultant for the Culver City, Westwood, Santa Monica and Beverly Hills Historical Societies. Wanamaker was also President of the Hollywood Heritage Organization and one of the curators for the Hollywood Heritage Museum.
Bison’s extensive and unique photo archive, assembled over an almost 50 year period, is used for story research, publishing, international media outlets and documentary film production, and is an information source for several Bison Productions film projects.
Marc has written or consulted on nearly 3 dozen books on the histories of the Los Angeles and Hollywood areas, and the studios. He has provided photographs and histories for many other books and countless websites.
Marc is uniquely qualified to consult on film history projects, and we are very fortunate that he has agreed to be a part of our project.
Please visit his web sites.
Special Thanks to the following individuals
who have been valuable in putting this history together
Richard Kozarski and Tom Meyers
of the Fort Lee Film Commission, who helped with the Fort Lee Section of the site.
of UC Santa Barbara whose expertise on the American Film Company helped fill in historical gaps in my knowledge of this studio.