URGENT!!! Your Help is Needed NOW to Save the Historic Pickford/Fairbanks Studios!!!

As some of you may have heard, much of the historic old Pickford/Fairbanks/Goldwyn/United Artists/Warner Hollywood Studios (a/k/a The Lot) at Santa Monica Boulevards and Formosa Avenue is threatened with demolitionimmediate demolition of some structures unless something is done to stop it – and quickly. We are out of time. Action must be taken NOW or it will be too late.

It can be said without fear of hyperbole that the old studio at 1041 Formosa in West Hollywood, which dates back to the late 1910′s, is one of the most historic properties related to the history of Hollywood with a staggering list of legendary stars, producers, directors and films associated with it from its very beginnings through today not the least being Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Samuel Goldwyn, Billy Wilder, among others.

CIM Group, current owners of the property, have announced plans to demolish Mary Pickford’s wooden office building; Sam Goldwyn’s sound building where the great sound designer Gordon Sawyer worked for decades; the Writer’s Building; The Editorial Building, and Douglas Fairbanks’ own building.  As if this wasn’t enough, this plan also includes tearing down the historic offices lining Santa Monica Boulevard. If these plans go through – and they are going through now – there will be virtually nothing left of the studio where such classics as Robin Hood (1922); Wuthering Heights; Some Like it Hot; Guys and Dolls; West Side Story and countless others were shot.

If you aren’t outraged by this wanton destruction of something so precious to our history then you should be.  Once it’s gone it’s gone and there will be no time to reconsider. Since this news has come out there is a growing number of preservation-minded individuals (hopefully like you) who want to do what they can to stop this. A major grassroots effort is underway and you can go directly to the Save the Pickfair Studios! site here for much information and a list of things you can do And there is much you CAN do. Simple things that will help. Such as:

(1) Sign the petition. Takes just a moment.

(2) Contact CIM directly and tell them not to do this! (Be polite and professional, but let them know how you feel)

(3) Contact West Hollywood City Hall and tell them not to do this either! (Be polite and professional to them too, but make it clear this is no good for anybody. AND you vote.)

(4) GO TO THE PROTEST RALLY. It’s this Sunday April 1st at 1:00 and info is on it right here. Everyone is meeting at Santa Monica and Formosa. Bring Banners! Bring signs! Tell ALL of your friends! Show them all we mean business. MAKE A DIFFERENCE and, believe me, you sure will feel good afterwards. And if you see Allison Anders – go up and please THANK HER for the stupendous effort she’s been putting out and getting the word out on this critical preservation battle. And thank yourself too with maybe a drink at the Formosa afterwards! It’s a historic spot too!

PS: Allison has sent out a list of the growing number of notables joining the cause in solidarity. They include:

Actor Jason Schwartzman
Actor Eric Stoltz
Actor Gabriel Byrne
Actor Shawn Hatosy
Actress/Painter Brooke Adams
Actor Tony Shalhoub
Actress Mamie Van Doren
Actress/Film Director Rosanna Arquette
Film Director Guy Maddin
Film Director Joe Dante
Film Director Mary Harron
Film Director Kurt Voss
Film Director Allison Anders
Film Director Nancy Savoca
Film Director Monte Hellman
Film Director Edgar Wright
Film Producer Dominick Fairbanks, great grandson of Douglas Fairbanks
Co-President Roadside Attractions Howard Cohen
Executive Producer “The Artist” Antoine de Cazotte
Film Producer Shana Eddy
Film Producer Elizabeth Stanley
Screenwriter Etan Frankel
Screenwriter Vice President WGAW Howard Rodman
Screenwriters Joey Syracuse and Lisa Adario
Screenwriter Lucy Dahl
Film Critic Roger Ebert
Film Historian Kim Morgan
Film Critic David Ansen
Film Activist Christa Fuller (Mrs. Samuel Fuller) American Cinematheque Programmer Margot Gerber
Los Angeles Historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave
Criterion Collection Producer Susan Arostoguy
Songwriter Allie Willis
Musician Maria McKee
Musician John Doe
Documentary Filmmaker /Mary Pickford Institute Hugh Neely
Documentary Filmmaker Elaina Archer
Fairbanks Heir Daphne Fairbanks
Fairbanks Heir Vera Fairbanks
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10 Responses to URGENT!!! Your Help is Needed NOW to Save the Historic Pickford/Fairbanks Studios!!!

  1. I’m a huge fan of silent movies and an avid researcher of L.A. history, but, having worked on this backlot, I can say that it’s in need of an overhaul and modernization. If tearing down a few forgotten buildings will help keep more work in Los Angeles, I can’t say that I oppose the plan. This lot is not open to the public and the buildings are barely architecturally interesting, so let’s go with what will have a greater economic boost for this region.

  2. Lance says:

    Thanks for the update, Steve. Will pass this along to Film Gab readers in the hopes that this special place can be preserved.

  3. Dee says:

    Thank you Steve. I read this article and appreciate the information about protesting against it.

  4. Dee says:

    By the way, I posted your blog to my FaceBook page (didn’t use the WordPress link to FB because they want WAY too much access to my information!).

  5. TheArtist says:

    Absolutely, done, thanks for posting, I never would have know.
    And I have been on that lot as well, and it is true, I don’t think any of those structures, except maybe(?) the front offices have even been updated, a serious need for restoration. I could imagine someone looking at them and saying tear them down and build new modern structures, maybe without knowing the historic precedence!

  6. Marisa says:

    Thanks so much for posting! I’ve been hearing about this and am just heartbroken. Will pass along on my blog as well!

  7. Pingback: Save Samuel Goldwyn Studio (The Lot). Or is it too late? « 50 Westerns From The 50s.

  8. I thought the protest today went extremely well, and for such a short lead time I was surprised at the turnout and the media presence.

    Restoration certainly costs more than demolition but it is always the right way to go. I moved here 25 years ago and so much has disappeared in that time. I came from Washington DC and I honestly can’t imagine anyone saying “you know we could put up a much taller building if we just demo that lousy old Fords Theater.”

  9. Mary Mallory says:

    Steve,
    Check out Hollywood Heritage’s website as well as the West Hollywood Comment on the LA times story. The whole lot is not coming down, the whole facade along Santa Monica Blvd. isn’t coming down, buildings that were remodeled are coming down.

  10. Pingback: New Sound Editing Company Sets Up Shop at ‘The Lot’ in West Hollywood | WEHOville

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