Warner Bros Studios History


Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack, the four founding Warner brothers emigrated from Poland to Ontario in Canada. The three elder brothers opened their first movie theater in New Castle, Pennsylvania.


The Warner brothers founded the Duquesne Amusement & Supply company to distribute films (based in Pittsburgh).


Harry Warner hired an auditor named Paul Chase to look after the accounts.


Warner Bros, the 3rd oldest Hollywood studio (after Paramount and Universal, both founded in 1912), was founded by Jewish immigrants from Poland, originally based on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.


April 4th – Warner Brothers Pictures, Incorporated is formally setup.
Rin Tin Tin makes his debut in a short called Where the North Begins. The dog was the first Warner Bros. ‘star’ and was very successful for the studio.


First National Pictures built a studio on a plot of farmland in Burbank.


Warner Bros acquires the studio following the financial and critical success of ‘The Jazz Singer’. Two of the most popular backlot sets Brownstone Street (renamed Ashley Boulevard in 2002) and New York Street were built shortly after.


The new Burbank facility enables Warner Bros to produce movies rapidly – over 86 features in 1929 alone!


Darryl F.Zanuck is employed as production chief working directly under Jack Warner.
With business booming, nine new soundstages were constructed (all still in use today). Meanwhile over on the Warner Hollywood lot, a small administration building was allocated to the animation unit headed by Tex Avery, and named ‘Termite Terrace’. The name stuck, and any future building used to house the Warner Bros Animation Division was given the same affectionate name.


A large fire destroyed most of the Studio’s backlot. 


Stage 16 is completed – the largest soundstage at Warner Bros and one of the tallest in the world. That same year, the entire structure was raised 30 feet, using hand jacks and a lot of labor, to accommodate an elephantine musical, ‘Cain and Mabel’. Since then, in addition to housing some of the grandest sets in Studio history, it has been fitted with a tank that holds over two million gallons of water.


The Mill Building, with its myriad crafts departments from the metal shop to scenic art, was constructed in 1937 and still houses these same departments today.


Kings Row is created by moving existing house sets from Midvale Street.
A popular outdoor set, Midwest Street, with its store fronts, grass lawns, church and central gazebo, is perhaps most recognizable as River City in The Music Man.


During the 1940s three additional soundstages are built on the lot.


Successes in this decade include ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’, ‘A Star Is Born’ and ‘The Searchers’ as well as launching the career of James Dean with ‘East of Eden’, ‘Giant’ and ‘Rebel Without A Cause’.


Large fire destroyed much of the backlot. 


The Studio makes a bold move into the new arena of television. Warner Bros. Television was born with the debut of the western adventure ‘Cheyenne’. Also launched that decade were now-classic series ‘Maverick’, ’77 Sunset Strip’, ‘Colt .45′ and Hawaiian Eye’ many of which were filmed on the Studios’s former Western backlot, Laramie Street.


The Studio Jungle set is constructed for ‘Santiago’ with Alan Ladd. It’s designed to simulate any wooded area and is complemented by a lagoon that holds over 250,000 gallons of water.


Stage 6/9 roof destroyed in large fire. 


An aging Jack Warner sells the Studio to Elliot and Ken Hyman, who rename it Warner Bros.- Seven Arts


Warner Bros.- Seven Arts was purchased by Steve Ross and his Kinney Corporation, and the company became Warner Communications, Inc.

DC Comics, which Ross had purchased along with its characters in 1968, was folded into the WCI family.


Warner Communications and Columbia Pictures joined forces to create a single production facility called The Burbank Studios. Serving two of Hollywood’s entertainment giants, the studio resembled more than ever before a small city with its own fire department, mail services, bank, restaurant and bicycle shop. Also at this time, The Burbank Studios acquired what is now the Warner Bros. Ranch. Adjacent to the Main lot, the 32-acre facility houses five sound stages and exterior sets, including Park Boulevard and Blondie Street, a circle of residential houses which have hosted such beloved television classics as “Bewitched”, “The Partridge Family”, “Dennis the Menace” and “I Dream of Jeannie”.


In 1989, Warner Communications, Inc. acquired entertainment powerhouse Lorimar Telepictures, bringing the rich Lorimar library as well as its quality and creative television production arm under the Warner umbrella.


Merger of Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc. to form Time Warner, Inc., one of the world’s largest communications and entertainment companies. In June of that year, the company acquired the entire studio lot and celebrated its rededication as Warner Bros. Studios with a star-studded extravaganza entitled The Celebration of Tradition.


Warner Bros., parent company Time Warner Inc. merged with America Online, Inc. to form the world’s foremost media and communications company, with industry-leading businesses including cable networks, cable systems, interactive services, music, publishing and filmed entertainment.


Laramie Street is demolished and replaced by Warner Village, a complex of residential buildings backed by production offices.

2007, July

Park Place is completed consisting of four-story commercial and residential exteriors with brick and stone finishes, paved sidewalks and a single lane street, all circling a grassy park.


Stage 23 rebuilt


Kings Row set reduced in length to accommodate new Studio Tour facilities. 


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Warner Bros Studios