Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A melancholy note for older movie fans

Ed here: As I've said before, Mark Evanier's site News From Me is one of the best of them all. Here's Mark today talking about one of the great Hollywood least when the dreaded Harry Cohn was running it.

Mark Evanier:

So...what's about to happen to the Sunset Gower Studios in Hollywood?

Sunset Gower is what they call it today but once upon a time, it was Columbia Studios. The area was nicknamed "Gower Gulch" because back then, it housed a lot of cheap, low-budget studios that made B-Movies, many of them westerns. Columbia started out as one of those ratholes but through the tenacity of its president, Harry Cohn, and filmmakers like Frank Capra, it became a major player. A lot of wonderful movies were made on that lot.

Cohn died in '58. They held his funeral on two adjoining stages at the studio. That was where Red Skelton reportedly looked around at the huge mob scene that had showed up and made the famous remark, "That just proves what Harry always said. If you give the public what they want, they'll turn out for it." Mr. Cohn, obviously, was not well-liked...but his absence seemed to harm his studio. Throughout the sixties, its fortunes declined. Even with a couple of hit TV shows, it couldn't support that huge studio complex and between 1970 and 1972, Columbia began closing it down, step by step, moving their ongoing production to other facilities, primarily the Warner Brothers Burbank lot.

The operation at Sunset and Gower was almost a ghost town for a few years there. Around 1977 however, a producer named Nick Vanoff and some partners purchased the lot and began to run it as a rental facility. I worked on that lot for a few years in the eighties and it was a great, albeit seriously old place to produce shows. It's been upgraded a lot since then and has remained a busy place...but one wonders if that's going to continue. Or if something else is in the wind as an add-on.

For the rest go here

No comments: