Felix In Hollywood

A Blog for the Smart Set

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bowling With The Stars

My very first post on this blog mentioned the original Warner Bros. lot on the corner of Bronson Avenue and Sunset Blvd.  A couple of posts later, I talked about it again.  I realized yesterday, as this blog turned two months old (can it really only be that long!) that I've kinda neglected the subject of this little lot.  So it's time to reach into Felix's magic bag of 'Hollywood Stories Of Old':

So, this was the Admin. Building that fronts on Sunset back in the day:

And this is how it looks today:

Except for the tall iron fence fence around it, not much difference, right?  Ah, but there was another incarnation for over 15 years, starting in 1938.  Ya ready?  Okey Dokey:

What the....did you read what it said on the front?  Yes my darlings, it became the Sunset Bowling Center in 1938 and bloody well stayed that way until Paramount Television bought the lot in '54.  What's more, some of the sound stages became badminton and volleyball courts!

The story goes a little somethin' like this:
As early as 1924  The Bros. realized the leverage to be gained by the use of the new fad of radio as a promotional tool for their pictures, and started the first radio station affiliated with a film company.  In 1930, now the recognized leader in the Talkie revolution, and wanting to market recordings of music from their pictures, they bought the radio and records division of Brunswick.  This was also the year that the filming and executive functions had moved, pretty much lock stock and barrel, to the old First National lot in the Valley.  So by '38, outside of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies and maybe an occaisional industrial, not much was happening on the old Sunset lot.  Oh, by the by, in the interim, Warner sister Rose had married a guy who was an Exec with the Brunswick Billiards and Bowling equipment division.  And so you see, sometimes 2 and 2 really do equal 4.

The Sunset Bowling Center had 52 lanes; the largest in the world at the time.  It understandably became very popular with the film technicians' bowling leagues and in it's heyday it boasted 10,000 visitors through it's doors every day.


kabuki zero said...

Imagine the sound of 50 bowling balls simultaneously smacking the pins. Now envision the 200 or so bowling shirts, the snappy shoes AND WE ARE TALKING PARTY. I never get to have fun like that. I must get out more.

normadesmond said...

well i'll be.....

normadesmond said...

making me nostalgic for our candlepin bowling and little balls. and the beautiful monochromatic colors we all came to expect at out bowling centers! (at least i did).

MJ said...

I imagine a lot of folk have reached into Felix's magic bag.

mrpeenee said...

I think my head just exploded a little.

Mike, Studio city said...

My balls hurt. Bowling that is.

Pantheon Zeus said...

The bowling alley on that original large soundstage where Al Jolson made his first talkie. crazy
Now it's a soundstage again - and home to Hannah Montana's final season of shows.

By 1976, Mary Hartman was taping on stage 5 in the back (next to Fernwood Ave - where they got the name for the town).

The late great Debra Lee Scott would cruise Donny Osmond on the patio during breaks from taping Donny & Marie 1st season and try to get him flustered.