Raleigh Studios History
Over 100 Years of History
A living piece of Hollywood history. With humble beginnings in 1915 when much of LA was still open farmland and big dreams, Raleigh Studios remains one of the longest continually-operating studios in the world. Run under the banners of the Famous Players Film Corp., Clune Studios, California Studios among others, this 10-acre parcel of history has hosted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars since the Golden Age of film. Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mary Pickford have practiced their craft on these grounds. Two Academy Award winners for Best Picture (1946’s “The Best Years of Our Lives” and 1967’s “In The Heat of the Night”) were filmed on this very lot.
Today, Raleigh Studios is one of the most state-of-the-art studios in Hollywood, fully equipped with modern facilities, parking and heavy vehicle access, high-speed Internet and telecom, and high-end amenities and comforts for fast-paced productions. Whatever the next chapter of Hollywood’s history brings, we’ll be there to support the magic and the business of moviemaking.
Clune Studio Company
William H. Clune of the CLUNE Studio Company purchased the property from Adolph Zukor of Famous Players and began building proper studio technical support buildings and enlarging the main stage. William H. Clune, Los Angeles theatre owner, used his profits from investing in the Epoch Film Producing Corp., which produced with D.W. Griffith, the film, The Birth of a Nation. Clune also had the exhibition rights in Los Angeles for that film.
Production begun on Clune’s first feature production Ramona starring Monroe Salisbury and Directed by Allan Dwan.
Douglas Fairbanks Productions
Douglas Fairbanks takes an option of leasing a part of the Clune Studio lot.
Charles Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks (friends of William H. Clune) produce several WWI War Bond films at the Clune Studio lot, one with boxer Jack Dempsey. “Douglas Fairbanks recently entertained boxing champion Jack Dempsey and the Naval Reserve Band. These two celebrities were working for War Bond Sales under the auspices of the National War Camp Recreation fund”.
United Artists Corporation
Douglas Fairbanks signed a new contract for a long term lease of the entire Clune Studio lot for Douglas Fairbanks Productions at 5320 Melrose Avenue. Fairbanks releases a statement to the press: “I’m carrying the key to MY OWN studio now”.
The Mark of Zorro
Douglas Fairbanks production of The Mark of Zorro was co-written and produced by Fairbanks himself. The back lot included early California sets to be used for the production. Zorro sets were also built on location in Sun Valley (Town of Roscoe-NE San Fernando Valley)
The Three Musketeers
Douglas Fairbanks production of The Three Musketeers was the most ambitious film to date. Fairbanks co-produced the film and expended a large sum of money for the production. A new enclosed stage was built for large period settings which included the Court of Louis XVI. The outdoor European sets used in His Majesty The American were re-dressed for the Musketeer film. Edward M. Langley was the Fairbanks Art Director.
Walt Disney/RCA Photophone
Equipment is installed by Roy Disney in the newly constructed sound stages, one of the first such stages built in Hollywood. Disney sound (Photophone) plans to build in conjunction with Tec-Art a new sound department and screening theatre. RCA-Photophone mobile units are headquartered at Tec Art to be used for sound-location film production.
Harry Sherman Productions presented William Boyd as Hopalong Cassady, directed by Howard Bretherton. Other titles in 1936 included; Heart of the West, Three on a Trail, Call of the Prairie and Bar 20 Rides Again.
California Pictures Corporation
During WWII, one of Howard Hughes’s companies, with Preston Sturges as President. Production of Mad Wednesday shot on the California lot.
The Best Years of Our Lives
In this Academy Award winning picture three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.
Director: William Wyler, Writers: Robert E. Sherwood (screen play), MacKinlay Kantor (from a novel by) (as Mackinlay Kantor), Stars: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
It was announced in The Hollywood Reporter that Enterprise Productions premiered Ramrod starring Joel McCrea, Donald Crisp and Veronica Lake.
Stanley Kramer Productions
Producers Phil Krasne and Jack Gross leased the studio for their syndicated TV series,
Big Town, Life of Riley, and O’Henry. Other producers on the lot at this time included STANLEY KRAMER PRODUCTIONS and ZIV PRODUCTIONS. Albert Zugsmith Productions is also on the lot along with Stanley Kramer Productions and Horizon Productions either producing TV series shows and the occasional feature.
Adventures of Superman
SUPERMAN Productions, Adventures of Superman(made on the California Studio lot between 1953 and 1954). Superman productions were moved from the RKO-Pathe Studio in Culver City to the California Studio. George Blair and Tommy Carr alternated directing the series at the California studio produced by Whitney Ellsworth. Cisco Kid/ZIV Productions, Line-Up (1954), Gunsmoke (1955), Have Gun Will Travel (1957), Space Patrol, Ronald Reagan’s Death Valley Days and Perry Mason (1957).
CBS began production for Season One at the California Studio by Filmaster Productions. Matt Gets it, Hot Spell, Word of Honor, Home Surgery, Obie Tater, Night Incident,
Smoking Out the Nolans, Kite’s Reward, The Hunter, The Queue, General Parcley Smith, Magnus, Professor Lute Bone, No Handcuffs, Reward for Matt, Robin Hood, Yorky, 20-20, Reunion ’78, Helping Hand, Tap Day for Kitty, The Pest Hole, The Big Broad, Hack Prine, Helping Hand, Tap Day for Kitty, The Pest Hole, The Big Brood, Hack Prine, Cooter, The Killer, Doc’s Revenge, The Preacher, How to Die for Nothing, Dutch George, Prairie Happy, Chester’s Mail Order Bride, The Guitar, Cara, Mr. and Mrs. Amber, Unmarked Grave, Alarm at Pleasant Valley, Word of Honor.
United Artists Kent Productions Johnny Concho directed by Don McGuire with Frank Sinatra, Keenan Wynn, William Conrad. The existing pieces of the Western Town set was used for the film in part. The later Raleigh Studio Café was originally the ‘Cantina’ in the film.
Good Lord You’re Upside Down for Columbia Pictures using the Producers Studio lot.
Pit and the Pendulum
Directed by Roger Corman and starring Vincent Price. In the sixteenth century, Francis Barnard travels to Spain to clarify the strange circumstances of his sister’s death after she had married the son of a cruel Spanish Inquisitor.
What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Bette Davis and Joan Crawford star in this cult classic. A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.
Women of the Prehistoric Planet
Produced by Standard Club of California Productions with Wendell Corey, Keith Larson, John Agar and Adam Roarke. Directed by Arthur C. Pierce.
In the Heat of the Night starring Sidney Poitier & Rod Steiger
Ivan Tors Films and its entire Hollywood division will be moved onto the Producers Studio lot.
Erwin Tors, VP, and general manager, announced that he was taking over 12,000 square feet of office space to accommodate more than 50 executive and administrative personnel in addition to editing, dubbing, projection and other production facilities.
Raleigh Enterprises purchases the former Clune Studio in conjunction with Producers Studios Inc. and its owner Fred Jordan from the Clune Memorial Trust. At this time there were 12 Sound Stages, production facilities. When Raleigh purchased the lot they invested $40 million improving and expanding the lot and facilities. Three new stages were added along with other production facilities. Benny Montano, lot manager, security chief and general manager under Fred Jordan stays with the studio during the company transition.
The Modern Era
George Rosenthal, President has been revitalizing the studio lot that was deteriorating since the 1960s. The Raleigh Enterprises plan is to modernize and expand the current facilities with the guidance of former owner Fred Jordan.
Productions and stars on the Studio lot during 1986 included: CBS-Larry Hagman and Linda Gray in the TV series Dallas. Tyne Daly and Sharon Gless in Cagney and Lacy. Jane Curtin and Susan St. James in Kate and Alley. Bob Newhart in The Newhart Show and Bruce Boxleitner and Kate Jackson in Scarecrow and Mrs. King. American Cancer Society spots filmed with Sybil Shepherd and Eric Dickerson. Foster Lager Beer with Paul Hogan. Delphi Productions of Michael Mann shots scenes from the feature film Band of Hand with Stephen Lang and Lauren Holly.
Madonna, Tom Selleck, Gregory Hines
Gregory Hines shot his film Tap on the Raleigh lot. Tom Selleck was on hand to do a National Guard TV commercial. Stages 11&12 were used for the feature film I Love You To Death by director Larry Kasdan with William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Tracey Ullman and River Phoenix. Madonna leased stage 14 do produce her music video song “Like A Prayer”. Stage 14 was the site of the Church set complete with pews, altar and the saint figure.
Frankie and Johnny
Al Pacino & Michelle Pfeiffer star in feature film Frankie and Johnny.
The Larry Sanders Show
HBO Series “The Larry Sanders Show” starring Garry Shandling using stage 11 for taping
Music Videos & Commercials
Nirvana the rock band shot their most recent video for their song, “Heart Shaped Box”. Budweiser shot commercials to introduce their new product “Bud Ice”. Film star Angela Lansbury was on stage shooting an infomercial to promote a new video series of animated Beatrix Potter stories. Supermodel Cindy Crawford was on Stage 2. Tennis star John McEnroe was shooting a Nike commercial with Propaganda Films.
Americas Funniest Videos
One of the longest running television shows of all time.
Staring Nathan Lane and Lee Evans, an elaborate dilapidated house was constructed on set for this classic screwball comedy. (photo: DreamWorks)
This Emmy and Golden Globe award winning series was filmed on stages 11 & 12. Starring America Ferrera, Ana Ortiz and Vanessa Williams. (photo: ABC)
A spin-off of the ABC hit show “Grey’s Anatomy”. Shonda Rhymes’ drama centering on the life of neonatal surgeon Addison Montgomery.
Kyra Sedgwick, J.K. Simmons and G.W. Bailey solve the city’s toughest, most sensitive cases.
ABC’s hit series starring Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic. (photo: ABC)
This spinoff of The Closer stars Mary McDonnell and G.W. Bailey. (photo:TNT)
Pilot episode filmed at Raleigh Studios
Who’s Line is it Anyway?
Celebrity Name Game
Game show with live audience hosted by Craig Ferguson was recorded at Raleigh Studios stage 14. (photo: FremantleMedia)
Let’s Make a Deal
A look at the early days of the crack cocaine epidemic in Los Angeles during the beginning of the 1980s. Created by Eric Amadio & John Singleton. Stars: Sergio Peris-Mencheta, Amin Joseph, Isaiah John