History of the Chaplin / Henson Studios

1917

Charlie Chaplin began construction on his new studio.

1918

January 21 – The 5 acre ‘Charlie Chaplin Studio’ opens for business.
?date – Chaplin puts his footprints and signature of some wet concrete outside soundstage 3. This inscription is now at Red Skelton’s home in Palm Springs.

1918 – 1952

Classics such as Gold Rush (1925) and The Great Dictator (1939) are shot on the lot. The stages are also rented to other companies on occasion (Greta Garbo shot her final screen test at Chaplin Studios in May of 1949.)

1919

Chaplin formed United Artists along with Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and D.W.Griffith.

1929

During the summer, the studio buildings were moved back 15 feet for the widening of La Brea Avenue (see below).

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1950s

The Chaplin family home (formerly at the corner of La Brea and Sunset) and 2.8 acres of the 5 acre studio property is parcelled off and is now a shopping centre fronting Sunset. The remaining 2.2 acres is still the studio.(TO BE CONFIRMED)

1952

The final Chaplin film to be shot on the lot is Limelight (1952).

1953

Charlie Chaplin sold the studio to a New York real estate firm William Zeckendorf’s Webb & Knapp for $650,000. The plan was to tear down the studio, but instead it was leased out to a Chicago television production company.

1958

The studio is bought by Red Skelton, under the banner of Skelton and Luftig Productions, to film a TV show for CBS.

The lot became known as the Kling Studios, and such shows as the George Reeves The Adventures of Superman series, The Red Skelton Show, and the original Perry Mason (CBS) were produced there. Films such as Big Combo, Day of the Outlaw, Anna Lucasta and Roger Corman’s Bucket of Blood are shot on the lot.

1962

CBS purchased the studio to shoot the Paisano Productions Perry Mason series. During this time, Raymond Burr lived on the lot.

1966

CBS sold the studio to the A&M Record Company; Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss moved in on November 6, converting the swimming pool and two of the sound stages to recording studios.

1969

February 6th – Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board designated the studio a historical cultural monument.

1984

Exiled Russian artist Vladimir Granovsky painted a mural on the wall of one of the studio buildings, depicting Charlie Chaplin in many of his famed roles.

1985

We Are The World” was recorded at A&M Studios, a USA for Africa effort for raising money to aid the hungry in Africa.

1999

November – Property purchased by the Henson family.

2000

May 1st – After a remodelling by Loring Curz the Jim Henson Company moved into it’s new home.

2010

A group of current stars gathered in the same studio as in 1985 to re-record “We Are The World” in aid of the Haiti earthquake disaster.

2011

The studios appear on screen in The Muppets. There’s a little artistic licence – the Muppet Theater is not at the studio – the exterior seen in the movie is Disney’s El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. The interior is Stage 28 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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