Some of the first talkies were
produced at Hollywood Center Studios
in the 1920s.

HOLLYWOOD—The 1927 Warner Bros. film The
Jazz Singer
is widely credited with ushering in the era of movie sound.
Although not the first Hollywood picture to feature sound—that honor goes to
Don Juan, released a year earlier—it was the first to include synchronized
dialogue and its enormous success touched off a mad dash among movie studios
and production companies to jump on the talkie bandwagon.
Al and
Charles Christie, owners of Metropolitan Studios (now Hollywood Center Studios) were among
the early converts to the idea of sound and quickly had two of their stages
outfitted with Vitaphone equipment, the same system Warner Bros. used to
produce The Jazz Singer. They
promptly rechristened the lot Metropolitan Sound Studios.

The first sound feature produced at Metropolitan was Black Waters, a now lost 1929 crime
drama based on a Broadway play. Starring James Kirkwood and Mary Brian (who was
known as “the sweetest girl in pictures”), the film was also the first “all
talkie” produced by a British company; British and Dominions Film Corporation
brought the production to Hollywood because no suitable sound equipment could
be found in England. The film was directed by Marshall Nielan, who also wrote
the story for a much more famous talkie shot on the Metropolitan lot, the
Howard Hughes epic Hell’s Angels.
Vitaphone Demonstration
In the Vitaphone system, sound was recorded to 33 1/3 rpm
discs and played back on a turntable synchronized to a film projector. The
shortcomings of the system were famously satirized in the 1952 MGM musical Singin’ in the Rain. They were also the
reason that Vitaphone lost out in a format war with Movietone, a system where
sound was recorded on film. Within a few years, Vitaphone was no longer used
for movies.
Sound, of course, remained, as did the two sound stages.
Now known as Stage 1 and Stage 2 at Hollywood Center Studios, they continue to
be used virtually every day by television, commercial and film productions.
About Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood Center
Studios has a rich and colorful history that mirrors the development of
Hollywood and the growth of the entertainment industry.  The studio has
played host to some of the most notable productions of the past century,
including such iconic television shows as I Love Lucy, The Addams Family,
Jeopardy, Rockford Files
and Mad TV, and classic film productions
such as When Harry Met Sally and The Player. In recent years, Hollywood
Center Studios has continued to grow and modernize to support its large
television clientele which includes Disney, NBC, Comedy Central and MTV.  Hollywood Center
Studios remains a vital part of the Hollywood community and a place where
entertainment history continues to be made every day.
Hollywood Center Studios is located at 1040 N. Las Palmas
Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038. For more information, call (323)
860-0000 or visit www.HollywoodCenter.com.
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