As well as the familiar soundstages, Paramount is home to a range of other historic buildings and facilities.
Bing Crosby Building / Scoring Stage
Date of Construction: 1922
Date of Demolition: The Scoring Stage was demolished in late 2008 to make room for the new Post Production Village (opened 2010). All of the Bing Crosby Building complex (including Stage 10, the Scoring Stage and associated offices and workshops was demolished.
Paramount was one of the last major Hollywood studios to dedicated a stage for scoring. So when pressure built to have a stage converted for recording music, sometime in late 1930, Paramount execs decided to allocate money to take over a small shooting stage turning it into a nice sized scoring stage. The area selected was inside a long building that at one end contained Stage 10, one of the first sound stages built on the Paramount lot. Eventually that building was named after Bing Crosby, and contained offices, a screening room for the music dept. and a looping stage. Rumor had it the entire structure had been moved from the Famous Players-Lasky Studio that was on the corner of Sunset and Vine. Another tall tale was it arrived on a wagon pulled by a team of mules from the corner of Sunset and Gower sometime in 1932. Problem is, there was no stage located on the corner of Sunset and Gower plus the building the scoring stage was eventually located in was built before 1932. I will admit with its V-shaped roof it did resemble the glass walled silent stages that were on the Sunset and Vine lot so who knows? It just might have been disassembled and rebuilt on the Paramount lot. Bit my guess is, both stories are more legend than fact.
The Paramount scoring stage had inside dimensions of 55′ x 90′ x 30′. As was the case with all the early sound stages designed by Western Electric engineers, a sound monitor booth was installed on the mezzanine level so the sound mixer could be isolated and could look down upon the scene being filmed. That booth was located against the north wall that divided the scoring stage from adjacent Stage 10.
This stage was demolished in late 2008 to be replaced by the new Post-Production facility under construction on the site. The last score to be recorded there was in August 2008 for Thomas Newman’s score for Pixar’s ‘WALL-E’.
Amongst many other recording sessions, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas was recorded here.
The stage was known only as ‘Scoring Stage’ until Glenn Glenn Sound took over operation of the facility in the late 1960s. It was then known as ‘Studio M’ (for ‘Music’). An adjacent stage was named ‘Studio L’.
Sometime in 1929 before Paramount converted the stage to full time scoring, a Wurlitzer pipe organ was installed, Opus 2035. It can be heard in the 1931 version of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. That organ was later sold to NBC where it resided in the studios of KNBC in San Francisco. It’s my belief the organ was originally installed to provide ‘mood’ music to the first six purposefully built sound stages on the lot. Fox Studios at their Movietone facility in West Los Angeles had installed a Wurlitzer (opus 1967) on Stage 1, also before it was converted for scoring. I have an old article describing how that organ could send sound to the first four sound stages built on the lot to provide ‘mood’ for the actors. I guess very quickly they realized that the need for total quiet on the set precluding such music. When Fox’s Stage 1 became the scoring stage, the organ came in handy. It remained at Fox until the late 1990s when it was sold to a private individual. That organ was heard on numerous Fox film scores including THE SOUND OF MUSIC and PATTON.
Very many thanks to Rich at theStudioTour.com forum for the above information.
This iconic gateway was the main entrance to the studio until 1978, and featured prominently in Sunset Boulevard (1950). It had a belfry on top of the gate until the 1936 earthquake, when it was removed for safety.
Gloria Swanson Building
The Gower Theater is a small screening room on the 2nd floor of the W.C. Fields Building.
It seats 124, and has screen dimensions of 10′ x 19’11” wide.
As well as standard 35mm film, the Theater has VistaVision projection equipment, as well as a range of video equipment.
Marx Brothers Building
This was formerly the rehearsal room used by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
Built in 1993, this is the flagship screening theater where a number of Paramount movies have been premiered. The comfortable seating was designed by an airline company.
It has a capacity of over 500 moviegoers.
It also featured in Clear and Present Danger (1994) as the hotel lobby.
In association with Technicolor. This new development has replaced Stage 10 and the Bing Crosby building (containing the Scoring Stage) which was all demolished in 2008.
More information coming soon.
Sumner Redstone Building
Until the 100th Anniversary of Paramount in 2012, this was known simply as the Administration Building, or more formally, Building 217.
It was renamed in honour of Sumner Redstone, the executive chairman of Viacom Inc., parent company of Paramount.
Gene Roddenberry Building
Sherry Lansing Theater
Originally known as the Paramount Theater, this screening room was named after the former head of Paramount Pictures in 2005. It was the largest screening room on the Paramount lot until the construction of the Paramount Theater in 1993. It’s still used for staff screenings, and has some beautiful 1920s murals behind the modern acoustic treatment.
Back in the RKO days, this theatre was the home to an acting workshop run by Lela Rogers (Ginger’s mother), which Lucille Ball was a part of. In 1959, after Desilu took over RKO, Lucy turned the theatre into the Desilu Workshop. She mentored young actors like Star Trek’s Majel Barrett, TCM’s Robert Osborne, and Lucy’s protege and future co-star Carol Cook (who did a bunch of movies like “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”).
There was an epsiode of The Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse called the Desilu Revue that was filmed in part in the theatre (parts of it were also done on one of the stages).
Film projection: 70mm, 35mm
Source: Data, DVD, Projector (Christie 2K), HD (D5), DVCam
Sound: SRD, DTS, SDDS, MAG 6 Trk, EX, 5.1, Red Readers, Stereo Optical
Screen size: 12’6″ x 24′ / 12′ x 28′
(Thanks to William French Jr. for historical information)
This former apartment building was originally known as Valentino Place Apartments, and was at address 716 Valentino Place. It has no connection to Rudolph Valentino, and was not constructed until after his death.
The building is now within the boundaries of Paramount Studios after the section of land between the Bronson Gate and Melrose Avenue was bought around 1990.
See also Backlot