Brenon Corp.-Ideal Studio
Hudson Heights,Cliffside Park, NJ
On a picturesque bluff on the Palisades, on what is now John Fitzgerald Kennedy Blvd., overlooking the Hudson River with an unobstructed view of New York City, stood one of the longest surviving studios of the Fort Lee era.
Brenon-Ideal, as it is now commonly known, was built on spec by W.I. Cherry in 1915 and was completed in June of 1916. It was located on Hudson Boulevard East (now John Fitzgerald Kennedy Boulevard East).
Immediately following completion it was leased on a 5 year term by Herbert Brenon Film Corp in partnership with Lewis J. Selznick. It sat on 2.5 acres and had a large stage (10,750 square feet) and a smaller stage (3,500 square feet), an office building, and 3 outdoor shooting stages.
Herbert Brenon was an Irish actor and director. He was born January 13, 1880 in Dublin and raised and schooled in London. He got his entertainment start in vaudeville shows and got his his acting in and directing start in "All for Her" for Carl Laemmle's Independent Motion Pictures (IMP). He directed Lon Chaney in "Laugh Clown Laugh" in 1928 and was nominated for the very first Best Director" Oscar for 1927's "Sorrell and Son." He directed the the original "Peter Pan" (1924), the original version of "The Great Gatsby" (1926) and first version of "Beau Geste" (1926) and its sequel a few years later, "Beau Ideal" (1931).
In 1917 Brenon first bought out his partners in the production company, then bought the property the studio sits on. By 1918 Brenon lost the company and returned to directing movies for others.
The studio continued on for another 4 decades as a rental lot. By 1934 it was known as Ideal Sound Studios and was one of the last studios in the Fort Lee area to be in production. It burned to the ground in 1953 giving all of Manhattan one final show. Today the site is an apartment complex.
Herbert Brenon direct his last film in 1940 and died June 21, 1958 in Los Angeles. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.
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