History of Raleigh
Raleigh Studios History and Experience.
As the longest continuously operating studio in the country, Raleigh Studios has played a central role in creating and supporting the modern entertainment industry. Over the years, the studio has thrived because of its commitment to providing both the highest levels of studio service and the most advanced production technology.
In 1915, the studio commenced operations as Famous Players Fiction Studios, with a Mary Pickford production as one of the first features to be filmed on this historic Hollywood lot. Although the silent era was still in full swing, an early owner had the vision to build one of the world's first soundstages - complete with a glass top so light could enter without disrupting sound recording. This kind of innovation has marked Raleigh Studios throughout its history.
The studio passed through a number of hands and operated under several different names during its colorful history. Some of the industry's most influential leaders have called the lot home, including Douglas Fairbanks, Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Walt Disney, Bette Davis (the cult classic Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? was filmed at the lot) and Jim Henson and the Henson Companies.
As television swept the industry in the 1950s and 1960s, many of the original film studios faded. On the Raleigh Studios lot, however, television was not viewed as a threat, but rather as an opportunity. The studio adapted to the new technology of television shoots and became a popular venue for top television producers. Over its long history, some of televisions' most famous early shows and pilots were filmed at the studio, including Superman, Gunsmoke and Perry Mason.
Raleigh Enterprises purchased the studio in 1979 and immediately launched a comprehensive renovation of its historic buildings. As part of an extensive five-year master plan that added modern new soundstages, support facilities and offices to the lot, the refurbishment of the studio ensured the preservation of the best of its Hollywood traditions. As part of this process, Raleigh Enterprises virtually reinvented the art of soundstage construction as no new facilities had been built in nearly three decades.
In 1998, Raleigh Studios furthered its growth with the opening of its Manhattan Beach facility. This state-of-the-art lot with nearly 600,000 square feet of stage, support and office space solidified Raleigh Studios’ position as the industry’s premier independent production studio. With three locations and including studio and production support space, Raleigh Studios is the largest independent studio operator in the country. In addition, Raleigh’s parent company, Raleigh Enterprises, purchased an interest in Hollywood Rentals in 2001 and fully acquired the grip and electric company in 2004, bringing one of the industry’s largest equipment providers into its fold and making Raleigh a full service provider of nearly every facet of production services for the entertainment industry.
Although Raleigh Studios has seen many changes over the years, one thing has remained constant, its commitment to assisting visionary leaders in commercial, film and television production.
Raleigh’s long operating history and role as a leader in production service, studio development and management provide a sense of its capabilities as a manager and or equipment provider.