Friday, January 30, 2009

Warner Bros. Stage 16

Business was good at Warner Bros. during the 1930s. In this decade Warner Bros. was best known for their gangster pictures such as Little Ceasar, Bullets or Ballots and Public Enemy as well as socially conscious films that found interest from an audience dealing with a major economic depression.

With the profits Warner Bros. made from these films they invested right back into the studio. During the 30s, nine new soundstages, the Mill Building and one exterior set, Midwest Street were built during this time. One notable building constructed was soundstage 16.

Stage 16 is one of the tallest soundstages in the world and is the tallest soundstage on the Warner Bros. lot. The building was completed in 1935 but that same year the entire structure was raised 30 feet to accommodate a colossal musical number from the Marion Davies and Clarke Gable film, Cain and Mabel. William Hearst, the American newspaper mogul and Davies' sugar daddy paid $100,000 to have the roof raised.
The movie's grand finale featured the tune "I'll sing You a Thousand Love Songs," was nine minutes long and cost $400,000 to shoot. The scenes shifted from the canals of Venice to the palace of Versailles. This all built up to a scene with a ninety-foot pipe organ in the background that opened to feature 160 chorus girls dressed as bridesmaids.
Each of the Warner Bros. soundstages feature a plaque like the one above listing some, but not all (Cain and Mable is surprisingly left off the list) of the films that were shot in here. Some of these include Yankee Doodle Dandy, The Big Sleep, My Fair Lady, Ghostbusters, Goonies (remember the pirate ship?), and most recently the latest Indian Jones film. Below is a picture of Jurrassic Park being filmed inside Stage 16. Check out the great website Jurassic Park Legacy for more photos.

Photo from Jurrasic Park Legacy

Above is one of the "elephant doors" to the soundstage.

Soundstage 16 is the last building on the right. You can see that it is taller than the other soundstages.

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