Jacksonville's First Studio

Kalem Moving Picture Company

Tallyrand Ave. at Clarkson St.

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Shooting movies year round begsn here

Kalem Studio

Tallyrand Ave. at 8th St. (now Clarkson St.), Jacksonville, FL
Studio active 1908-1917

Kalem Moving Picture Company was the first movie company to build a studio in Florida.  This made them the first studio shoot year round.

Kalem was one of the original large, successful production companies. It was founded in 1907 by George Kleine, Samuel Long and Frank J. Marion. The name comes from the first initial of each of the founders last names: K-L-M (with vowels slipped in between).

While most film companies had a studio for their filming, Kalem began its life without one, doing most of its filming on location. It wasn't until the latter part of 1908 (as near as I can tell from available information) that Kalem opened its first permanent studio in Jacksonville, Florida, and then only using it during the winter when the sun didn't shine elsewhere.  Eventually it became their primary base operating year-round.

Jacksonville was known for being the winter home for most of the original movie companies. They would travel south for the winter from their bases of operation so they could shoot year-round and enjoy the sunshine and beautiful locations that Jacksonville had to offer. In 1908, when Kalem settled here, it was the first and remained the largest of all of Jacksonville’s winter resident studios (until Lubin arrived).

Kalem Moving Picture Company’s Jacksonville studio was an old luxury hotel and estate, the Roseland Hotel built in 1873, which they leased beginning in late 1908 until they went out of business in at the end of 1917. The Roseland Hotel is no longer here.

By 1914 Kalem had outgrown the hotel as a shooting venue and built a large enclosed glass stage on the property, measuring 54x60 feet, as well as an outdoor stage with the ability to shoot 3 scenes simultaneously.

It was here, in Jacksonville, that Kalem shot their most popular movies and serials, the “Ham and Bud” comedies, and the “Sis Hopkins” series starring Rose Melville and a series starring British actress, Ivy Close.

Kalem was the first American company to shoot outside the boundaries of the United States. They filmed at locations all over the world, including, Palestine, Germany, Ireland, and Egypt. They were the first American movie company to venture outside the national boundaries, always returning to this home base in Jacksonville.

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In 1910 Kalem began establishing studios in other locations, first in Glendale (first at Olive and Main, then in Verdugo Canyon in 1919), and Santa Monica (1911) in California, then in Fort Lee, New Jersey (1913). Kalem’s last studio was the 1913 takeover of the former Essanay plant in East Hollywood, at what later became the iconic Monogram Pictures and later KCET, the Los Angeles PBS station.  Kalem sold its assets to the Vitagraph Company in 1917, which was, in turn, bought by Warner Bros. in 1925.

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