Before Hollywood was an area once know as Edendale which was home to the studios of the silent film era and some of the greatest creatives in history including Walt Disney. Edendale is now nothing more than a historical name, but it covered the area currently known as Los Feliz, Echo Park and Silver Lake.
One of the earliest and still surviving studios from that era are what is currently The Prospect Studios, also known as ABC Television Center West. It’s located in Los Feliz on the corner of Prospect Ave and Talamadge (after silent screen star Norma Talamadge) at 4151 Prospect Ave.
Prospect Studios opened in 1915 as The Vitagraph Studio. It produced silent films with 2 daylight film stages, support buildings and exterior film sets. It’s founder, Albert Smith, sold it to Warner Brothers in 1927.
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It became known as the Warner East Hollywood Annex and was used to produce large scale films. It was here the first sound film, The Jazz Singer, was produced. It was sold to ABC in 1948 and transformed into the ABC Television Center. Land breaking television shows were produced for both ABC and other networks in the studios including: American Bandstand, ABC’s longest running program, General Hospital, now in its 49th year on the air, has been taped at this location since the mid-1980s, The Lawrence Welk Show, Barney Miller, Fridays, Mr. Belvedere, Welcome Back, Kotter, Benson, and Soap.
In a world where Reality TV shows seem everywhere, it’s noteworthy that the first reality TV show was produced here. John Davidson (who also hosted Hollywood Squares), along with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton and Cathy Lee Crosby co-hosted That’s Incredible!, an ABC show that ran from 1980–84, considered the first reality TV show.
It was also home to four of the best known game shows: Family Feud (1976–85, hosted by Richard Dawson), Let’s Make a Deal (1968–76, hosted by Monty Hall), The Dating Game (1965–74, hosted by Jim Lange), and The Newlywed Game (1966–74, hosted by Bob Eubanks).
A little known fact about the studios is that the gay publication, The Advocate, printed issues in the basement print shop at ABC Television West Studios when it began operations in 1967. Though it has long since moved its operations, it has gone on to become the longest running gay publication in the United States.
In 1996, ABC became part of The Walt Disney Company, which originated in Los Feliz where most of Walt Disney’s homes and first two studios were located. The studios were given their current name in 2002, and the property underwent extensive renovations.
Prospect Studios are currently still under the ownership of the Walt Disney Company and contain several television studios. From everything I can find, General Hospital and Grey’s Anatomy are still being filmed there as well as other productions and some of the studios are available for rental, as well as providing post production services. The studios are a significant part of Los Feliz’s rich history in the motion picture business.
For more information about Prospect Studios call: (323) 671-5000.
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A partial list of shows produced at the Prospect Studios over the years:
- 1984 Summer Olympic Games
- ABC World News Tonight (periodically anchored out of Los Angeles; segments also produced here)
- All-Star Blitz (1985)
- American Bandstand (1963-1989)
- America’s Funniest Home Videos (1990–1993, 1996-1997)
- America’s Funniest People (1990–1992)
- Animal Crack-Ups (1987–90)
- American Journal (1993-94)
- AM Los Angeles (shown locally on KABC-TV)
- Barney Miller
- The Better Sex
- Break the Bank (1976 on ABC Daytime; 1976–77, syndicated nighttime version)
- Bruce Forsyth’s Hot Streak (1986)
- The Dating Game (1965–73)
- The Dick Cavett Show
- Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (musical performances)
- Diff’rent Strokes (final season, 1985–86)
- The Dolly Parton Show
- Double Talk (1986)
- The Ernie Kovacs Show
- Eyewitness News (KABC-TV edition)
- Family Feud (1977–1985)
- General Hospital
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Hail to the Chief
- Hollywood Squares (1987)
- Hot Seat
- It’s Garry Shandling’s Show (first two seasons)
- The Krypton Factor (1981 US Version)
- Let’s Make a Deal (1968–76 seasons)
- The Lawrence Welk Show (some seasons; others were at the Hollywood Palladium)
- Live with Regis & Kelly (a week of shows in Los Angeles, March 2007)
- Love Connection (1983–87)
- Married… with Children (1987-88 episodes only)
- Match Game (1990–1991)
- Mr. Belvedere (1985–1990)
- The Newlywed Game (1966–74)
- The Oprah Winfrey Show (periodic West Coast shows)
- Password (1971–75)
- Port Charles
- Rhyme and Reason
- The Shield
- Soap Talk
- The Sonny and Cher Show (1976–1977)
- Space Patrol (1950–1955)
- Split Second (1972-75)
- That’s Incredible!
- That’s My Mama
- Three’s a Crowd
- Trivia Trap
- The View (periodic West Coast shows)
- Welcome Back, Kotter
- What’s Happening!!
- Who’s The Boss?
- You Asked for It