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Red Studios Hollywood – aka Kinograph Studios from “The Artist”

Mar 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Movie Locations


In early March, my friend Tony, the fellow stalker who has the amazeballs On Location in Los Angeles Flickr photostream, wrote a comment on my post about the duplex where George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) lived in The Artist alerting me to a blog named Silent Locations.  The blog, which is authored by business lawyer/film historian John Bengtson, features a six-part column chronicling several locales that appeared in The Artist and their connection with various silent films made during Hollywood’s heyday.  I highly recommend checking out the feature and the site in general.  It is fabulous!  Anyway, one of the places mentioned in the column was Red Studios Hollywood, the exterior of which stood in for both the exterior of Kinograph Studios in The Artist and Maroon Cartoons in 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  So I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out to stalk the place on a very windy Sunday afternoon two weekends ago.

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The site where Red Studios Hollywood now stands was originally founded as Metro Pictures Back Lot #3 in 1915, long before the company joined forces with Goldwyn Pictures and became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  During its Metro heyday, such films as Scaramouche, Little Robinson Crusoe and The Champ were filmed on the premises.  Beginning in May 1946, the lot went through a series of different owners, the most prominent of whom were Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.  The showbiz powerhouse couple leased the property in 1953 and turned it into the very first Desilu Studios, where they shot seasons 3 through 6 of I Love Lucy.  In 1974, the lot became known as Ren-Mar Studios, an independently owned and operated facility where various production companies were able to rent out studio space.  Legendary television producer David E. Kelley made his home there in the 80s and shot Picket Fences (one of my faves!), Chicago Hope, The Practice and the first two seasons of Ally McBeal.  In January 2010, the lot was sold yet again, this time to Red Digital Camera Company, who renamed the place Red Studios Hollywood.

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A few of the countless other productions that have been filmed on the premises over the years include The Golden Girls, The Dick Van Dyke Show, the first four episodes of Seinfeld, The Andy Griffith Show, Make Room for Daddy, Lizzie McGuire, NewsRadio, Empty Nest, Monk, and, most recently, True Blood. The series Weeds was also filmed on the lot, back when it was Ren-Mar, and during Season 4, after Agrestic burned down, producers had Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) move to a fictional seaside town named “Ren Mar” in honor of the historic studio.  Love it!

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In The Artist, the back entrance of Red was used as the main entrance of Kinograph Studios, where George Valentin worked at the beginning of the flick.

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As you can see above, that area was changed drastically for the movie – so much so that it is virtually unrecognizable today.  A huge false front was built over the actual studio entrance for the filming and the Hollywood Rounder blog was lucky enough to get to watch it being constructed.  You can check out some very cool pics of the construction here and here, the fake security guard kiosk here, and the finished product here.

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Interestingly enough, when Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) is shown being dropped off at a location that is supposedly directly across the street from the Kinograph entrance, she is actually on New York Street at Paramount Studios, in front of the building that is used regularly as the Boston police station on Rizzoli & Isles.

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At one point in The Artist, George is also shown walking in between some of the Red Studios Hollywood soundstages.

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The area where he walked is denoted with a pink circle above.

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In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Red’s main entrance on Cahuenga Boulevard stood in for the entrance to Maroon Cartoons, where the famous animated hare worked.

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The courtyard just beyond that entrance was also used in the filming.

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That area is denoted with a pink circle above.


On a Who Framed Roger Rabbit side-note – while doing research prior to writing this post, I came across a blurb in The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations book which, in reference to the flick’s title, stated, “No, there is no question mark, as it’s considered bad luck in a film title.”  I had never before heard that bit of trivia and found it interesting, especially since my good friend Owen, of the When Write Is Wrong grammatical errors blog, had recently written a post which mentioned WFRR’s punctuation error.  Superstition or not, I think the flick really needed the mark in its title and I found myself inadvertently adding one each time I typed “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” in this post.  I guess some habits are hard to break.

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The music video for Britney Spears’ hit 2000 song “Lucky” was also shot at Ren-Mar and the exterior of the studio is visible in the MTV Making the Video special about the production.

You can watch Part I of the Making the Video of “Lucky” by clicking above.

Until next time, Happy Stalking!  Smile

Big THANK YOU to fellow stalker John Bengtson, from the Silent Locations blog, for finding this location and to fellow stalker Tony, from the fantastic On Location in Los Angeles Flickr photostream, for pointing me to John’s site!  Smile

Stalk It: Red Studios Hollywood, aka Kinograph Studios from The Artist, is located at 846 North Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood.  You can visit the official Red Studios Hollywood website here.  The area of the studio used in The Artist can be found on Lillian Way, in between Willoughby and Waring Avenues.  The studio’s main entrance on Cahuenga Boulevard is the entrance that stood in for Maroon Cartoons in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.  Red Studios Hollywood is not open to the public and does not currently offer a tour.



Leave a comment »

  1. Paul says:

    I just noticed in the credits at the end of Byron Allen’s, “Comics Unleashed,” which he produced and hosted in 2006 and 2007 he thanked Ren-Mar Studios, Hollywood, the most recent predecessor to Red Studios Hollywood. Seems like he filmed his shows in one of their sound stages. Can anybody else confirm this?

  2. Davidete says:

    Oh my god, you won’t believe it… but THERE, specifically at Stage 7 (the very same one with the Hollywood paiting that can be seen from street), was where Michael Jackson himself recorded his Billie Jean short film!!!!! and not just that, but Who Is It video too! Even Madonna’s Like a Virgin and Phil Collins’ Against All Odd’s videoclips… take a look at this!:

  3. Ashley says:

    Yeah it’s instantly recognizable from Roger Rabbit, too cool! Kinda love that it was “Maroon” in the movie and “Red” in real life now 😉

  4. Frances says:

    another Old Hollywood fan over here… great post!!!

  5. Lavonna says:

    You know how I LOVE old hollywood!! Seeing the studios and what was filmed there is great! Thanks for another informative post!!!!

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. […] in The Artist, as does Lindsay Blake’s ImNotAStalker.Com; including George’s duplex apartment; the history of the Red Studios where much of The Artist was filmed; and of the AFI “hospital” and the Wilshire Ebell where […]

  2. […] a set that was built inside of a soundstage at Ren-Mar Studios (now Red Studios Hollywood, which I blogged about here).  The set was so incredibly realistic, though, that, before reading through the movie’s […]

  3. […] 2009 – were sets built on a soundstage at Ren-Mar Studios (now Red Studios Hollywood, which I blogged about this past March).  All I can say is that production designer Shepherd Frankel (who has a Masters Degree in […]

  4. […] stalker John Bengtson, from the SIlent Locations blog, sent me an email last week after reading my post on Red Studios Hollywood from The Artist (a location that I had learned about from his website) informing me that he had tracked down some […]

  5. […] Another locale from The Artist that I found thanks to John Bengtson’s fabulous Silent Locations blog was the Warner Bros. Building on the American Film Institute campus in Los Feliz, which stood in for the exterior of the hospital where George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) was admitted after being injured in a fire towards the end of the Academy Award-winning flick.  Amazingly enough, despite the fact that I have lived in Southern California for over twelve years now, for whatever reason, while I had heard of the legendary film school, I had never before visited it.  So I dragged the Grim Cheaper right on out there to stalk the place two weekends ago, shortly after we stopped by Red Studios Hollywood, aka Kinograph Studios from The Artist which I blogged about yesterday. […]

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