Seeing Stars: The Movie Studios


5300 Melrose Ave. (at Bronson),
Hollywood, CA. / (323) 466-3111



This little-known studio is located directly across the street from the giant Paramount Studios. Raleigh may not be the most prestigious, but it is one of the oldest studios in Hollywood, dating back to February of 1915 (beating Paramount to the intersection of Melrose & Bronson by over a decade).

The studio never became a household name, and settled mainly for renting out its back lot and sound stages to other production companies.

What is now Raleigh was first known as Clune Studios back in the 1920's. Later, it was called California Studio, and later still, Producers Studios Inc.

It was the filming site for such classic movies as "In the Heat of the Night," with Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier (which won the Oscar for Best Picture of 1967), "The Best Years of Our Lives" (the Best Picture of 1946), "What Ever Happened to Baby Jane" (1962, with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford) and the original "A Star is Born" (1937) with Janet Gaynor.


The studio as it looked when it was known as Produceers Studio, c. 1976.


The studio as it looked in 1980,
the year it first became Raleigh Studios.
This is the 650 Bronson Entrance. The modern glass office center
seen in the (top right) photo above had not yet been built.


The Raleigh Studios backlot, c. 1980,
showing the facade of the soundstage with
the Mexican Cantina set used for the
Hopalong Cassidy films in the '30s. It was in
use then as the studio cafeteria.

They also filmed well-known TV series here, such as the first few years of "Gunsmoke" (with James Arness as marshal Matt Dillon),

"Death Valley Days" (starring future President Ronald Reagan) and

"Have Gun Will Travel" (with Richard Boone as "Paladin.")

         

Back when Kevin Costner was first getting started, he worked at Raleigh Studios as a grip, taking his free time to read scripts and audition for parts.

It became Raleigh Studios in 1980, and has since concentrated mainly on television programs, independent films, and commercials. But among the indies, it's the largest and most in demand. So much so that in 1998, Raleigh inked a deal to manage the new Manhattan Beach Studios (in addition to its Hollywood lot), which will make Raleigh "the area's largest independent studio group in terms of stages." MGM/UA also recently shot the sci-fi epic "Supernova" at Raleigh.

In 1998, Raleigh Studios was the site of an unexpected event: an actual celebrity wedding! Joely Fisher, who played Ellen's friend 'Paige' on the TV sitcom "Ellen" (and who is the daughter of Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher ) rented an entire sound stage for her wedding and built her perfect wedding set in which to stage her fantasy wedding.

The studio is not open to the public, and most of the filming there, such as for the TV show "Castle", is done on a closed set.

"Ugly Betty" also called Raleigh Studios home.

"The Larry Sanders Show" taped there recently, as did "The Closer" and the Saturday morning teen comedy "One World.

More recently, Raleigh has been the home to the popular TV series "Castle".

There are usually only a few TV shows, such as "America's Funniest Home Videos", offering public tickets to tapings.

"Check with "Audiences Unlimited" to see what is taping there now. That will give you a chance to catch a glimpse of what goes on behind the studio walls and also see a few celebrities in person.

The Studio is also right across the street from Lucy's El Adobe Cafe, a famous celeb hangout.

 Getting there: The studio is located on the south side of Melrose Avenue, between Bronson and Van Ness), across the street from the famous Paramount gate. (See directions for Paramount Studios.)

(Historical photos of the studio are compliments of O. Lytle Hoover.)

[For more information, you can go to the studio's official website at: www.raleighstudios.com.]



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Copyright  2014-Gary Wayne
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