Thursday, November 29, 2007

Disney Studios In the Wayback Machine

Click the thumbnail for a full-sized image

You know, like in a camera. Like in 1939.

I've never seen this shot of 500 S. Buena Vista Street before. It's looking west from an elevation (airplane?) above the studio, probably early fall of 1939. (Buena Vista would be off beyond the under-construction animation building. There are open fields visible beyond, since St. Joseph's Medical Center is several years away from initial construction...)

This photograph was given to me by a Disney TVA artist whose name I'm blanking out on. It was part of an article from a San Fernando Valley rag dated October, 1939:

San Fernando Valley -- Home of the Walt Disney studios! That's a statement thrilling to all resident of the Valley, and one that will become a reality about the first of the year, when the whole Disney organization will move into the new million dollar plant now being built on a fifty-one acre tract between Riverside and Alameda, in Burbank...

When the studio started "Snow White" in 1936, there were 300 people [at Walt Disney Productions.] In 1937, Walt leased a couple of old apartment houses next door, and into them he poured the story department, the casting office, comic strip, and miscellaneous people.

By summer of that year, the studio heads saw that, under the present set-up, it would be impossible to install the type pf studio organization they believed right, and it was then that dreams of a new studio began to crystalize. From around 600 employees in the summer of 1937, the organization had grown to almost 900 by the winter of 1938, and at the present time numbers over 1000.

In the new animation building alone, there will be room for 900 artists, and the animation building is but one of the twenty or so.

The new studio will be a regular little city, with paved streets, curbs, lights, storm drainage and sewage systems...


Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing us that, Steve!!

I just love seeing old pictures of 'the way things were' and comparing them to how the same place looks today!

Very nifty!

Christian Roman said...

just a guess, but the picture looks like it was taken around the same place the water tower is now. I don't know WHEN the water tower was built, but I'd say it was taken from there.

PaulBunyan said...

Steve those employment numbers are very interesting. Can you give more specifics on the newspaper article (Name, Date).

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