Studio City is one of 24 named communities in the San Fernando Valley, which are part of the incorporated City of Los Angeles. Only 12 miles northwest of the Los Angeles Civic Center, Studio City is nestled in the foothills of the north slope of the Santa Monica mountains, a prime location for easy access to employment centers in Hollywood, Downtown, the Valley and Beverly Hills. The Ventura Freeway from Los Angeles and the San Diego Freeway from the coastal cities gives easy access to all of Southern California. Studio City is ideally situated for living, working or relaxing in Southern California.
Studio City received its name as a result of the filming activities of Mack Sennett during the silent film era in the 1920's. The sound stages Sennett built have been in continuous use by CBS Television. Until then, Studio City was a large parcel of rural land. Ventura Boulevard was only a country road and the Studio City Business District consisted of nothing more than a drug store, a grocery store, a small bank, a couple of hamburger stands and a few businesses.
On June 21, 1927, the Lankershim Press broke the news that the Central Motion Picture District, a corporation set up to develop movie company sites, had arranged for the construction of a $20 million film center named Studio City. The development was planned for the NE corner of Ventura Highway and Prospect Street ( now Laurel Canyon Boulevard). The first phase of the project was the construction of the 200-acre Mack Sennett Studio. The mission-style administration building was two stories, one of the tallest structures in the Valley. In 1935 it became Republic Pictures Studio and later CBS Studio Center.
The name Studio City would become official in 1928, when the Mack Sennett Studios began shooting a two reeler, "The Keystone Cops" and the "Oh-You-Kid Bathing Beauties" along the hillsides of this beautiful area. At the time, the city considered building an airfield in the east Valley to serve Los Angeles. A private field was established at Ventura Boulevard and Fulton Avenue, and the city took control of Ventura Boulevard from the state of California. The first traffic signal in the Valley was placed at Ventura and Lankershim Boulevards. Thus, both the first airstrip and the first traffic light were built in Studio City.
Many famous movie stars got their start in the "Republic Days" including, President Ronald Regan, James Stewart, Bette Davis, Jack Benny, Tony Curtis, Jack Webb, Joan Fontaine, Jane Wyman, Peter Lawford, Ray Milland, Alfred Hitchcock, Roy Rogers, and John Wayne.
Republic made a score of great and memorable pictures. Among them, Flying Tigers, Fighting Seabees, The Red Pony, Wake of the Red Witch, Sands of Iwo Jima, The quiet Man, Jubilee Trail, Johnny Guitar, Lisbon and many others.
And it's no wonder that after working for Republic, many stars, and movie industry employees made this charming and conveniently located community of Studio City their home.
Famous names that have worked at these studios over the years include the following: D.W. Griffith, Mabel Norman, Ben Turpin, Charlie Chaplin, Slim Summerville, Harry Langdon, Edward Everett Horton, W.C. Fields, Gloria Swanson, Marie Prevost, Carole Lombard, Gene Autry, Vaughn Monroe, Barbara Stanwyck, Rory Calhoun, Ward Bond, and Joan Crawford.
Studio City was created by the movie industry. In 1935, 400 employees drew their paychecks each week at Republic Studios. Today, thousands are employed at the various studios and entertainment-related businesses that operate in Studio City. Ventura Boulevard contains miles of thriving mom-and-pop businesses, boutiques, restaurants, banks, and offices.
Growing up the area in the late 1940's and the early 1950's, Studio City was a magical place. In addition to movies being made right in Studio City, actors such as Errol Flynn walked the streets along with countless others, especially the Hollywood Cowboys. Indeed, a large number of the residents kept their own horses, and there was still room in the Santa Monica Mountains in which to ride. It was and still is, an area where people go for walks at night. It was a safe, healthy place to raise children and was considered by many to be the "Jewel of the Valley". Studio City was destined to become the Valley's closest approximation of a "bohemian" neighborhood, an area that attracted musicians, writers, movie-hopefuls, and other artists.
By the 1980's, Studio City contained about 25,000 people, and the only studio was the CBS Studio Center, a hundred feet or so north of Ventura Boulevard.
In January of 1985, a CBS/MTM Studios sign went up at the main gate. Since that time, some of the shows produced at the Studio include: Newhart, Thirtysomething, Dinosaurs, Roseanne, A Different World, My Two Dads, Evening Shade, Twilight Zone, and full-length features including, Father of the Bride and The Addams Family.
... In 1992, CBS acquired MTM's interest in the studio, and once again the sign CBS Studio Center went up at the main gate. Since that time, the Studio has been home to several series: Grace Under Fire, Roseanne, Men Behaving Badly, Dave's World, Love and War, Double Rush, Hearts Afire, The Larry Sanders Show, Cybill, Seinfeld, Unhappily Ever After, American Gladiators, A.J.'s Time Travelers, Round House, Adventures in Wonderland, and the feature films Addams Family Values, I Love Trouble, Mr. Wrong, Boys on the Side, House Arrest, Desperate Measures, and Dr. Doolittle. Throughout the 1990's, Studio City has continued to be the "Jewel of the Valley" with a Strong partnership between the commercial and residential community. Studio City represents a destination place for thousands of people.
As the new century began, Studio City had emerged as the true hub of the San Fernando Valley. With the Cahuenga Pass on the east leading to Hollywood, and both Laurel Canyon and Coldwater Canyon feeding into Studio City from the Westside, Studio City represented the gateway to the Valley and still does. The different local organizations including; Studio City Chamber of Commerce, Studio City Residents Association, Studio City Improvement Association, Studio City Beautification Association, Studio City Civic Organization, Studio City/Sherman Oaks Rotary and others began to work closely together toward a common vision - improving the quality of life in Studio City.
The Chamber of Commerce and the Residents Association established the Studio City Farmer's Market on Ventura Place every Sunday that has over the years become an international tourist attraction and is one of the most successful markets in the Southland. The Improvement Association has repaired alleys and created a new beautiful median on Ventura Boulevard, and with the help of the Chamber has developed a brand new, much-needed parking structure behind the Bank of America that allows 400 more cars to park, while the Beautification Association continues to plant trees and provide landscape and maintenance throughout the community. This type of effort continues today and as a result, Studio City is on the march and the future looks bright. As we move into the year 2005, Studio City remains THE place to be!