On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

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On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:19 pm

ralphm1999:35344 wrote:Ever hear of a studio called "The Lot"?
It's next door to the famous Formosa Cafe.  
I worked there many times.   It is a strange name and so called for lack of knowing a better name for it.   Through the years it has had many names:

http://www.seeing-stars.com/studios/war ... dios.shtml

It's a very small studio yet catered to the biggest stars.   My first booking on the lot was when it was called "Samuel Goldwyn Studios" in the 1950s.  I was one of the office workers in the movie "The Apartment".   I will write about it next on my blog and put up a clip in which you can see me briefly as Jack Lemon walks down the aisle going to a bigger office.  

As I may have already explained, most big sound stages have a floor to ceiling folding or sliding door that can separate the stage into two stages.   It is very rare that a movie needs both stage sections.   The Golden Calf set in The 10 Commandments required the full length of both sides at Paramount for example.  

As you can see in the movie there were about 200 extras in the office set.
Were do you put so many extras between scenes?  Why on the other half of the stage of course   :roll: .    And what do so many extras do to pass the time for the two or so weeks we worked in the office and Christmas party scenes?  Poker for sure, nope no pitch - no cowboys, chess... one enterprising extra bought a radio and other things then held a raffle to pocket some extra money.   Another extra bought his saxophone and began playing for us.   He was obviously professional.  In addition there was a beat up old upright piano.   After a couple of days when the door separating the stages was about halfway open, the saxophone player was enjoying himself and us with some 50s pop music.   Jack Lemmon was idly walking around and apparently hearing the music came over into our area.  

For a few minutes he listened to the sax player.   Then without a word he sat down at the beat up old piano and began playing in perfect harmony and rythem with the sax player.     And a few minutes later Shirley MacLaine wandered in and watched our little jaz combo.   After a while she went into a little improv dance.   At the height of this the AD called the principals in for rehearsal for the next scene.  

From that time on, every time Jack and Shirley were not busy they came to our area and our little jaz ensemble resumed.   They were having the best time ever and for us extras..... zowie getting this marvelous entertainment for free... wait not free.... we were getting paid to be there.

  :grin:
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:20 pm

I have head of "The Lot" reminds me of James Cagney.  Am I getting this mixed up with something else.  

What great memories you have!  It is so neat that you are sharing these with us.  It sounds more like fun then work!
Last edited by cowgirl on Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:20 pm

ralphm1999:38905 wrote:
cowgirl:38895 wrote:I have head of "The Lot" reminds me of James Cagney.  Am I getting this mixed up with something else.  

What great memories you have!  It is so neat that you are sharing these with us.  It sounds more like fun then work!
I think you may be mixed up.  I don't think "the lot" would have anything to do with James Cagney.   I'm quite certain that the term "The Lot" did not exist during his lifetime.   The Lot would have been called Samuel Goldwyn Studios during that era.  

The Lot is a fairly recent term because that real estate changed hands so often no one could think what to call it anymore.   :lol:
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:22 pm

cowgirl:38907 wrote:Ok, I must be thinking of something else.

I thought they did something on "The Lot" some time ago.  Maybe a documentary?  

Thanks!
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 pm

ralphm1999:38911 wrote:
cowgirl:38907 wrote:Ok, I must be thinking of something else.

I thought they did something on "The Lot" some time ago.  Maybe a documentary?  

Thanks!
You may be right.  Nearly every big star worked there at one time or another:
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 pm

rooster davis:38949 wrote:I'm not familiar with 'the Lot' but I've looked online quite a bit at the Columbia Ranch, and also the former location where they shot everything from Andy Griffith to Superman. (In fact, the Mayberry sheriff's office is visible in many scenes of Superman, as amazingly they used the same exact town for dinky Mayberry as for big Metropolis.) That studio 'ranch' has been sold and is now used for something else. Perhaps the exact spot were Andy Griffith sat behind his desk now has a car parked there.

I've seen 'The Apartment' too - sort of a dark movie for Fred MacMurray and Jack Lemmon, I think. Guess it would be considered a drama of sorts. Would they have let you take some photos of Lemmon and McLain 'performing' or would that have been frowned upon?
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:23 pm

ralphm1999:38951 wrote:
rooster davis:38949 wrote:I'm not familiar with 'the Lot' but I've looked online quite a bit at the Columbia Ranch, and also the former location where they shot everything from Andy Griffith to Superman. (In fact, the Mayberry sheriff's office is visible in many scenes of Superman, as amazingly they used the same exact town for dinky Mayberry as for big Metropolis.) That studio 'ranch' has been sold and is now used for something else. Perhaps the exact spot were Andy Griffith sat behind his desk now has a car parked there.

I've seen 'The Apartment' too - sort of a dark movie for Fred MacMurray and Jack Lemmon, I think. Guess it would be considered a drama of sorts. Would they have let you take some photos of Lemmon and McLain 'performing' or would that have been frowned upon?
Bringing a camera on set is absolutely forbidden.  OF course we sneak them in.   But you never take a photo of a star.  

I've worked on the Columbia Ranch many times.  I worked there in the stip tease scene with Kim Novak in the carnival set from Jeanne Eagles.   Most recently I worked there in the Elizabeth Taylor TV special:
http://ralphm1999.wordpress.com/2011/06 ... lor-story/
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Re: On the set in Hollywood - The Apartment

Post by cowgirl » Mon Apr 24, 2017 6:24 pm

rooster davis:38975 wrote:I had an acquaintance long ago who was absolutely fascinated by the Columbia Ranch and particularly the Stephens' residence ("Bewitched") as well as the show, but mostly it was because he liked the house so much. He actually drew up different sets of blueprints and 3d computer generated views of the rooms we saw and the ones we didn't see. He went once and got to go inside the house itself, which is just a shell, and he posted photos of the inside which was mostly just 2x4's and a couple ladders so someone could appear in an upstairs window.

Re the Liz Taylor thing, first I have to say nobody they could pick for that role could match her looks. She was not only gorgeous but a truly great actress. What I wanted to ask though was when you do a scene where everyone sits down to eat, what if things need to be done over and over? Do you actually eat the food? Do you have to choke down cold vegetables or tough meat or do you mostly just take tiny little bites? Just curious. I've no end to the dumb little things I wonder about sometimes.
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