Studios based at 740-750 Riverside Ave.
Lubin Manufacturing Company
and Ocean Film Co., Vim Comedies, Vitagraph, King-Bee, Amber Star
Lubin's Jacksonville Studio
Lubin Manufacturing Company
740-750 Riverside Ave. Jacksonville, Florida.
Studio Active under various ownerships from 1912-1922
Occupied by Lubin 1912-1915
Sigmund "Pop" Lubin was one of the first movie moguls, operating from 1896-1917. He built the second ever American movie studio and was second in renown only to Thomas Edison.
The Lubin Manufacturing Company was based in Philadelphia. He also established satellite studios throughout the country. In 1909 Lubin came to look at Jacksonville as soon as he heard that Kalem had built Jacksonville’s first studio. He shot in and around Jacksonville and finally built this studio in 1912 on the 100 x 450 foot lot formerly occupied by the Florida Yacht Club at 740-750 Riverside Ave. (new numbering is roughly 600 Riverside). He took over the Yacht Club building for offices and dressing rooms and use the remainder of the half acre site to build outdoor stages and using his river front and greater Jacksonville for location shooting.
Once “Pop” discovered Jacksonville, he wintered here ever year, moving his operation back to Pennsylvania in the spring, then relocating northward throughout the summer. Then as fall came he reversed path eventually coming back to Jacksonville. In this way he could shoot movies year round in mild weather. He continued this pattern until moving to Hollywood, and then permanently to Coronado, California.
One of Lubin’s claims to fame in Jacksonville was giving Oliver Hardy (known at the time as “Babe” Hardy) his start in the movies in 1914. Hardy worked in for Lubin and then Vim Comedies Jacksonville until 1917, when he left for Hollywood. He fondly remembered his time in Jacksonville.
Lubin ceased production in Jacksonville on February 13, 1915. The studio was briefly occupied by Ocean Film Company before it was bought by Vitagraph and leased to King Bee (who shortly thereafter relocated to Bayonne, NJ and then to Hollywood at 1329 Gordon St.) The short-lived Vim Comedy Company, run by Mark Dintenfass and Louis Burstein, was the next tenant from 1916-1917. After a squabble between Vim’s owners and financial mismanagement, the lot was bought by Amber Star Film Co. in 1917 and the studio finally closed in 1922.
Note: Others have misidentified the location of the studio by identifying its location by the current numbering system. By closely examining the 1913 Sanborn insurance map, the studio can be clearly seen by name at (original numbering system) 750 Riverside Ave. between Roselle and Edison St. (Edison Street’s original name was Date Street). Note that the studio originally fronted on the St. John River, but over the decades Jacksonville has increased its land mass by filling in and building on it. See the map views.
Vim Comedy Company
740-750 Riverside Ave.
Mark Dintenfass was an early movie mogul and one of the founding partners of Universal Pictures. After merging his Champion Studio (Fort Lee, NJ) into Universal his next venture was a partnership with Louis Burnstein, an established movie man, in the Vim Comedy Company on the lot of the defunct Lubin Studio. Burnstein ran the Jacksonville production operation while Dintenfass ran the business from New York.
Initially Vim shot their films at the Centaur Studio in Bayonne, NJ, and in November of 1915 moved to Lubin's abandoned Jacksonville lot for what started out to be just one winter. Instead, by early 1916 it became clear that their success could allow for a year round production schedule and they stayed for 2 years, with tremendous success.
The addition of their new star, Oliver Hardy, in their "Plump and Runt" series was a success. Hardy, know by the nickname "Babe" proved to be very popular and brought Vim a great national recognition. It was the launching pad for Hardy to go on to bigger and better things.
The Vim company of players had three units, the Plump and Runt comedies, Pokes and Jabs, and Mr. Bungles. During their two year stay, Vim produced over 150 known short comedies.
From its founding in Nov., 1915, the Dintenfass-Burnstein team seemed ill-fated. The owners fought among themselves and it seems that Burnstein accused Dintenfass of financial mismanagement (or theft). The company was unable to pay its bills and, according to Oliver Hardy, could not make its payroll. The owners agreed to split.
The assets of Vim were divided between the owners. Burnstein called his new venture King-Bee Comedies and Dintenfass reorganized as Amber Star Films. After sharing the Lubin lot for a brief time King Bee moved to Hollywood and Amber Star moved across the river to take up residence at the Garrick Studio in Dixieland Park. Some of the players and crew went with Burnstein (including Hardy) and other went with Dintenfass, while still others went their own way.
Both companies were out of business in short order.
Later Tenants at Lubin's Jacksonville Studio
Quickly out of business
Bought the lot to lease out
Moved across the river to Garrick
Sought greener pastures in H'wood