Thursday, September 03, 2015

Where the Cartoon Productions Live

The Hat Building. Outdated photo, but it's eye candy.

So as a kind of companion piece to the ever-popular (and ever changing) The Animated Productions Among Us, allow us to describe where the animation studios creating the magic are housed in Southern California.

The links below will lead to photographs! ...

Some of the significant cartoon makers:

Bento Box

They have a studios outside of L.A., but in California's San Fernando Valley there are two, one in Burbank and one in North Hollywood. Both front Magnolia Boulevard.

Cartoon Network

Cartoon Network lives under the Time-Warner umbrella, but reports to Turner headquarters in Atlanta. (There is also a second cartoon studio in that Southern city.) But CN's west coast studio sits on Third Street in Burbank, directly across from the Burbank Police Department. The studio also occupies several floors of an adjacent skyscraper.

Disney Television Animation

Invented in the mid 1980s, Disney TVA (or Walt Disney Television Animaion) has occupied numerous sites in the course of its existence. In the '90s it filled up several floors of the TV Academy's North Hollysood facility, but today it occupies two floors of a Disney-owned building on Sonora Avenue in Glendale, within blocks of the long-gone Grand Central Airport, also Marvel Animation ... Rough Draft Animation ... and DreamWorks Animation (feature division). Right next door sits the Disney Toon Studios building, which now houses units of Walt Disney Animation Studios.

(The studio also occupies one of the buildings of Burbank Media Center North, up near the Burbank/Bop Hope Airport on Hollywood Way.)

DreamWorks Animation

DreamWorks Animation started life on the Universal City Studios lot in Los Angeles, in a building that had splendid views of the L.A. River, the Smokehouse Restaurant, and Warner Bros. Studio.

Today the studio occupies a site that's a few miles downstream, the river's wide concrete channel on one flank, and Flower Street on the other. Jeffrey Katzenberg's independent studio is two blocks from where Disney's Flower Street Studio used to be in the late 1980s and early 1990s, where Little Mermaid, Rescuers Down Under, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin were all made, supervised by Jeffrey Katzenberg.

(The television unit is housed in a skyscraper in another part of Glendale.)

Film Roman - Starz

Film Roman -- a play on founder Phil Roman's name -- started life in Toluca Lake (an upscale neighborhood on the southern edge of the San Fernando Valley) thirty years ago. Uncle Phil is long gone, and the studio now sits just north of Burbank/Hob Hope Airport on Hollywood Way. It's known for The Simpsons, their longest continuous project, although it ain't the first studio to work on The Yellow Family. That honor goes to Klasky-Csupo. (Hasbro's cartoon studio occupies the same building.)

Fox Television Animation

Fox TV Animation has studios on Wilshire Boulevard, cheek by jowl to the La Brea tar pits, where they produce Family Guy and American Dad. (In FG's early days, the studio existed in the Valley across from Gelson's supermarket. Before that, it was briefly at Film Roman -- see above.)

Marvel Animation

The newest member of the Disney animation family, Marvel Animation is yet another cartoon studio residing on Flower Street in Glendale, although its front door faces Circle 7 Drive, at the end of which squats a large building that for a brief moment contained Disney's Pixar sequels. (None were ever made, because Michael Eisner retired and his successor Robert Iger made nice with Pixar by purchasing the northern California company for $7.2 billion.)

(Marvel Animation can be found at two sites: Prospect Studios in East Hollywood and the Glendale building. We show Prospect Studios at the link above.)

Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Nick's animation studios are located on Olive Avenue in beautiful Burbank, across the street from Community Chevrolet. The company is now building a large five-story building right next door; the structure will end up the home for Nick units nowin Glendale, north Burbank and Santa Monica.

Paramount Animation

Paramount Animation Studio is housed in various buildings and trailer on the Paramount lot in downtown Hollywood. (Paramount Pictures, interestingly enough, has been in and out of the cartoon biz for over seventy years. In the 1930s and early 1940s, they were partnered with the Fleischer brothers who produced Popeye cartoons in New York and then Florida. Gulliver's Travels and Mr. Bug Goes to Town were both made in Florida.)

Sony Pictures Animation

Sony Pictures Animation (or SPA, as it's sometimes called) occupies a corner of the Sony Pictures ImageWorks campus in Culver City. A block from Culver Studios (where Gone With the Wind was made), the place is a shadow of its former self, because ImageWorks, which took up the lion's share of the campus, has departed for the Free Money of British Columbia.

Walt Disney Animation Studios

WDAS just now is spread out in three different buildings -- one near the end of an airport runway on Tujumba Boulevard, the Disney Toons building in Glendale, and the Hat Building on Riverside Drive displayed at the link directly above. See the light blue boards with the painted figures at the base of the structure? That wall is there because construction workers are gutting the place and rebuilding the interior so it won't be as gloomy and dungeon-like.

Warner Bros. Animation

WB Animatin has had many homes, snaking all the way back to the 1930s. It's been in Hollywood, it's been on the main Warner Bros. lot.

The studio has existed in Sherman Oaks and Toluca Lake and for a while didn't exist at all. But at present it occupies six different buildings on the Warner Ranch (pictured at the link just above) and a seventh on what used to be the NBC studios in Burbank, a block from St. Joseph's hospital, and two blocks from Disney.

And now there is a newer animation studio living under the Warner Bros. banner. It's called Warner Animatin Group (WAG), and it occupies a large, multi-story building on the main WB lot.

There. I think I've covered most of the fun factories. I hope you're more enlightened.


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