On Oct. 28, 1928, the Fox Studio Lot (then known as Movietone City) officially opened its doors with a commemorative dedication ceremony. At the time, the film industry was facing many changes as it shifted its focus toward including sound in motion pictures. William Fox, 20th Century Fox’s founding father, along with studio execs Winfield Sheehan and Sol Wurtzel, understood the potential of marrying sound and motion picture film. So they decided that Movietone City was to be the first facility built specifically to embrace the new sound-based technologies.
While the northern backlot of the studio (then Fox Hills Studio) had already been up and running since 1926 laying the backdrop for many silent films, the opening of Movietone City solidified Fox’s efforts to bring sound pictures to theaters. New soundproof stages were constructed, specially designed with the help of motion picture expert G.H. Mulldorfer, to keep outside noise from interfering with the filming inside the stages. Additionally, new structures were built to help support the latest film-making efforts, including an administration building, film storage vault, projection rooms, wardrobe and dressing rooms, and a power plant.
Below are images from the Fox Archives photography collection taken on this day in 1928. Many of the buildings and stages seen in these images still stand on the Fox Studio Lot today.
For a further look into the Fox Studio Lot’s rich history, check out these previous blogs from the Fox Archives:
- Building 69: The Shirley Temple Bungalow
- Building 41: The Tom Mix Building
- Stage 1: The Newman Scoring Stage
- Building 57: The Fox Commissary (Café de Paris)
- Building 86: The Dressing Room to the Stars
- Aerial Photos of the Lot
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.