Fox Archives: From horse barn to armory props storage to sound effects studio, history lives on the Fox lot


The unassuming Building #41, one of the oldest buildings on the 20th Century Fox Film lot, has been in the same location since the 1920s. It was originally a barn used by actor, director and writer Tom Mix for his horses when he was allowed to come out to the country and ride around the newly purchased Fox property when it was just acres of rolling hills. Towering in the distance is the Fox Plaza tower, known to movie audiences as Nakatomi Plaza from “Die Hard” (1988).

This is Tom, who was one of 20th Century Fox Film’s biggest stars of the 1910s-1920s and made over 80 films for Fox.

Tom died in a car accident in 1940. Although he had left Fox many years earlier, the barn was dedicated to his memory. The plaque reads “IN MEMORIAM/TOM MIX 1880-1940/Thru You Posterity Shall Glimpse the Glory of the West That Was.” On the left of the plaque is producer Sol Wurtzel. Actor Cesar Romero can be seen to the right of the woman pulling the cord.
This is the Tom Mix barn as it appeared in the late 1920s and early 1930s.

For many years, Bldg. #41 housed the studio’s extensive armory. Cannon, rifles and bayonets – 20th Century Fox Film could outfit an entire army (and often did, at least in the movies; mid-1930s).

Bldg. #41 also housed the Sound Effects Department (mid-1930s).

A sound man demonstrates making sound effects on a special set of horns (mid-1930s).

Bldg. #41 was transformed into a train station in the mid-1960s for the pilot episode of the “Peyton Place” TV show. It was also used in various other productions, including “Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964), as seen here with actor Cecil Kellaway.

Look for more photos of Fox’s historic lot buildings in the upcoming book “20th Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment,” which will be published later this year.

The Fox Archives is mandated to collect, catalog, preserve and make accessible the following assets of the 20th Century Fox studios: props, set decoration, photographs, art department and publicity materials from our film and television productions, and from the 20th Century Fox studio itself. We work primarily with internal Fox groups but also from time to time with outside organizations such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.