History - written by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Studios is a 110-acre facility that is home to 30 sound stages and a 20-acre backlot that can double as almost anywhere, be it a bustling metropolitan city, a jungle in the rainforest, or Main Street, USA. The Studio was originally built on a plot of farmland in 1926 by First National Pictures, which Warner Bros. acquired in 1928 following the financial success of The Jazz Singer, the historic first "talking picture".
By the late 1930s, business was booming, and Warner Bros. Studios had constructed nine new soundstages, all of which are still in use today. Stage 16, the largest sound stage at Warner Bros. and one of the tallest in the world, was completed in 1936. That same year, the entire structure was raised to its current height of 98 feet (65 feet to the permanents), using hand jacks and a lot of labor, to accommodate the Marion Davies/Clark Gable musical, Cain and Mabel. In addition to housing some of the grandest sets in the Studio's history, it has been fitted with a tank that holds over two million gallons of water.
In 1967, an aging Jack Warner sold the Studio to Elliot and Ken Hyman, who renamed it Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. Two years later, in 1969, Warner Bros.-Seven Arts was purchased by Steve Ross and his Kinney Corporation, and the company became Warner Communications, Inc. In 1972, Warner Communications and Columbia Pictures joined forces to create a single production facility called The Burbank Studios. Serving two of Hollywood's entertainment giants, the studio resembled, more than ever before, a small city with its own fire department, mail services, bank, restaurant and bicycle shop. Also at this time, The Burbank Studios acquired what is now the Warner Bros. Ranch. Adjacent to the Main Lot, the 32-acre facility houses five sound stages and exterior sets, including Park Boulevard and Blondie Street, a circle of residential houses which have hosted such beloved television classics as Bewitched, The Partridge Family, Dennis the Menace, and I Dream of Jeannie.
The 1990s were a seminal decade for the Studio, starting with the 1990 merger of Warner Communications, Inc. and Time Inc. to form TimeWarner, Inc. - one of the world's largest communications and entertainment companies. In June of that year, the company acquired the entire studio lot when Columbia Pictures moved into the former MGM studio lot in Culver City, and celebrated its rededication as Warner Bros. Studios.
- Please note: If you are interested in visiting the studio lot, check out the Warner Bros. VIP Studio Tour website for more information.
- If you're interested in knowing what the layout of the studio lot is, click here to view a map that is accurate as of Sept. 15, 2011. (The map image was uploaded by David August of TheyAct.com.) You'll notice that there is no Stage 13, but there is a 27 & 27A and a 28 & 28A.
- All of the Soundstages at Warner Bros. Studios have plaques outside them listing selected films and TV shows that were shot there. The plaques were created in 2005 by the Warner Bros sign shop. (source: TheStudioTour.com)
- In addition to both movies having been filmed on Stage 16, the 1990 Earth Day Special, in which Harold Ramis plays Egon's so-called brother Elon, was also filmed there.
- Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters" says that the set used in the hallway sequences of the Sedgewick Hotel were originally built for and used in the film Rich and Famous (1981) and were patterned after the Algonquin Hotel in New York. I watched the film Rich and Famous and did not see the hallway set at all.
- The sprawling apartment interiors - two key apartments and the hallway between them - extended over two adjoining soundstages (stages 12 and 18) on the Burbank Studios lot. Louis' apartment is actually behind the door that Louis comes out of, and Dana's apartment is actually on the other side of the door she enters - which is unusual in filmmaking. (source: Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters")
- The Single Officers' Quarters at Fort Detmerring, where Ray has his encounter with the Dream Ghost, is really a small set adjacent to Dana's apartment on Stage 12. (source: Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters")
- The scene in which the wall blows off in front of Sigourney Weaver was actually shot live. This shot could have been accomplished using special effects, but Sigourney Weaver loves danger and went for the more authentic shot. (source: Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters")
- Production designer John De Cuir said the temple set was the most expensive and technical set ever constructed. Dan Aykroyd called it, "... your average Pre-Sumerian temple." (source: Don Shay's book "Making Ghostbusters")
- All of the following Ghostbusters II sets were built on Stage 16, which also hosted the Gozer temple set: Peter's apartment, which includes two exterior walls and a ledge that stood 10 feet above the stage floor; the art restoration room; and the subway tunnel river of slime. Peter's apartment and the art restoration room co-existed on the stage. (sources: Cinefex #40, "Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History" by Daniel Wallace, swing gang member Randy Severino's now-defunct website)
- The interior of Ray's Occult Books and the World of the Psychic set were both on Stage 15. (source: "Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History" by Daniel Wallace)
- The Ghostbusters II interiors of Dana's apartment and the courtroom were also on soundstages; probably Stage 15. The courtroom set was originally used in Ivan Reitman's 1986 film Legal Eagles. The glass partition was added because Ivan wanted glass to blow up. (source: "Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History" by Daniel Wallace)
- A full scale replica of part of the GB2 museum was constructed on a sound stage for those exterior close ups when the slime covers the building. (source: Cinefex #40)
- As the Studio was shared for almost 20 years by Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros., this explains why Ghostbusters movie props sometimes show up with Certificates of Authenticity from Warner Bros.
Real World Photos