Who can forget the indelible image of Charlie Chaplin, dressed as his "Little Tramp" character, sauntering down the street, cane in hand? Or the famous scene from "The Gold Rush" where a hungry Charlie eats a leather shoe with a knife and fork? Or "The Great Dictator," in which the 5'4" comedian mocks Hitler, dancing with a globe of the world as if he were a bubble dancer?
Chaplin was a Hollywood immortal, perhaps the greatest
comic genius of our time. He was the first actor to appear on the cover
of Time Magazine (in 1925), and his life story was retold
in the 1992 movie "Chaplin" (starring Robert
Along with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, he founded United Artists studio to distribute the films they made, after which he left this studio for that nearby Sunset lot.
But his original historic studio still stands today, albeit reduced in size from 5 acres down to the present 2.2 acres.. After Chaplin departed the studio in 1953, CBS filmed several well-known TV Series there, including "The Adventures of Superman," The Red Skelton Show," and "Perry Mason."
1999, it was the headquarters of A&M Records, which was created
by trumpet player Herb Alpert (the
"A" in "A&M") and Jerry Moss. (You'll
remember trumpeter Herb Alpert from his days with the Tijuana Brass).
25 years later, in 2010, another group of stars met in this same studio to record a new version of "We Are the World", this time to benefit victims of the Haiti earthqake; included were Celine Dion, Usher, Pink, Snoop Dogg, Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, Tony Bennett, The Jonas Brothers, Jamie Foxx, Josh Groban, LL Cool J, Harry Connick Jr., Lil Wayne, Brian Wilson, Natalie Cole, Carlos Santana, Jennifer Hudson, Will.i.am, Toni Braxton, and others.
Other artists A&M has had under contract include Sting and the Police, Amy Grant, the Moody Blues, Eric Clapton, Supertramp, ABBA, Bryan Adams, the Bee Gees, Van Morrison, Oingo Boingo, Styx, Quincy Jones, The Carpenters, Joe Cocker, Bryan Adams, Joe Jackson, Blues Traveler, Sheryl Crow, Dishwalla, The Gin Blossoms, Aaron Neville, Soundgarden, and Janet Jackson.
Recently, the studio was purchased by Jim Henson Productions, the company that gave us Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the other "Muppets." In fact, they have added a wonderful statue of Kermit, dressed like Chaplin's "Littlke Tramp", standing above the main studio gate! A nice touch. And a literal tip of the hat to the studio's history.
of Dramatic Arts has moved right next door, just to the south of the
Charlie also built his family home on the property, up at the corner of La Brea & Sunset. (In fact, both his mother and his son are buried at the nearby Hollywood Memorial Cemetery). But after he left the country in the early 50's, that part of the property was parcelled off (a shopping center now occupies the spot where his home fronted Sunset Blvd. Fortunately, though, the studio itself has been preserved - a plaque near the entrance notes that the studio has been designated as Historic Monument #58.
Alas, the lone entrance gate to the studio is guarded, and there are no public tours offered. So there is nothing here for the casual visitor to do except read the historical plaque or shoot a photo, and admire the eccentric Peter Pan architecture.
Getting there: The studio is located on the east side of La Brea Avenue, at the southeast corner of Sunset and La Brea, bordered by De Longpre Avenue on the south, about one half mile north of Hollywood Blvd. / From Hollywood & Vine, take Vine Street south (two blocks) to Sunset Blvd. Turn right (west) on Sunset, and go west (about one mile) to La Brea Avenue. Turn left (south) on La Brea, and the studio will be on your left (east) side. The public is not admitted into the studio.
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Copyright © 2013-Gary Wayne
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