Seeing Stars: The Movie Studios


846 N. Cahuenga Blvd.,
Hollywood, CA. / (323) 463-0808


Chances are you never heard of Ren-Mar Studios. But you've probably heard of some of the shows they've shot there.


Once upon a time, this was the first DesiLu Studios, where they filmed most of the "I Love Lucy" episodes. They also filmed the classic sitcom "Make Room For Daddy" (starring Danny Thomas) on this lot, as well as interior shots for "The Andy Griffith Show" (the exterior Mayberry sets were at Culver Studios). Other older shows that were shot here over the years include “The Jack Benny Show,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Real McCoys,” “I Spy,” “Hogan’s Heroes,” “That Girl” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show”.

Later, they shot the sitcoms "Empty Nest" and "Golden Girls" here, as well as the popular fantasy drama "Beauty & the Beast" (the subterranean caverns where 'Vicent' lived were sets at this studio).

The first four episodes of "Seinfeld" were filmed at Ren-Mar, before they moved the production to CBS Studio center. And episodes of "Monk" were also shot at this studio.

They shot scenes from some classic movies here as well, from 1931's "The Champ" (with Wallace Beery) to 1952's "High Noon" (with Gary Cooper). And the Toontown trolley scenes from Disney's "Who Shot Roger Rabbit?" were filmed in front of the studio.

Recently, the studio lot was used to make the comedy "Mother" (with Albert Brooks & Debbie Reynolds), and part of "The Birdcage" (with Robin Williams & Gene Hackman). They also built those eerie underground tunnels for the horror flick "The Relic" here on the lot. Britney Spears shot her video "Lucky" here.

Up until mid-1998, the studio was the headquarters of David E. Kelley Productions, the Emmy Award-winning creator of "Chicago Hope," "Picket Fences," "The Practice" and "Ally McBeal," all of which were filmed here at Ren-Mar. However, in June of 1998, Kelly Productions moved to the brand new Manhattan Beach Studios.

Disney filmed the TV series "Lizzie McGuire" (with Hilary Duff) here.

Unlike the big studios (such as Warner Bros. or Disney) Ren-Mar doesn't produce films under its own banner; Ren-Mar is a rental studio, leasing out their lot and sound stages to other studios, indie film-makers, TV shows, commercials and even video games.

"Titanic" director James Cameron shot scenes from his "Terminator 2: 3D" here, with Arnold Schwarzenegger (a film/ride now playing at Universal Studios Florida.)

Fitness guru Richard Simmons taped a workout video here, called "Sweatin' To The Oldies," which required a special set for a "Saturday Night Fever" disco parody. And scenes for the popular video game "Wing Commander IV" were created here.

Back in 1915, when the studio was founded, Ren-Mar's lot was originally home to Metro Studios, before that company merged into the giant Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Later, in the 1940's, it was known simply as "Motion Pictures Studios".

They don't offer a tour, but they do tape an occasional sit-com here (past ones included "NewsRadio"), so contact Audiences Unlimited to see if anything's taping there right now. If it is, you may be able to get free tickets to the taping, and you can visit the studio long enough to watch the show being made.

Update:  In 2010, Rem-Mar Studios was bought by RED Digital Cinema Camera Company, which makes one of the most popular brands of professional digital movie cameras used in Hollywood. They have renamed it "RED Studios".  For the moment, it seems unclear exactly what they plan to do with the studio, although they currently offer a "Camp Red", in which young people (9 to 16) can work with RED cameras under studio conditions.  According to their website, "True Blood" and "Weeds" have filmed there recently, so it looks like they are going to keep it as a working studio.  Time will tell...

Getting there: Ren-Mar studios are located in the heart of Hollywood, just four blocks west of giant Paramount Studios, between Melrose Ave (on the south) and Santa Monica Blvd (on the north). It's on Cahuenga Blvd., between Willoughby Ave on the north and Waring Ave on the south. From Hollywood & Vine, just head south down Vine Street, three blocks past Santa Monica Blvd, to Willoughby Ave, and turn right (west) on Willoughby and go two blocks west to Cahuenga Blvd. Turn left (south) on Cahuenga. The studio will be on your left (east) side.


[You can access the studio's official website at http://www.renmarstudios.com.]



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