Saturday, October 22, 2016

Hollywood finally gets Echo Park film history right

The Mack Sennett plaque was restored and installed at the correct location | Council District 13

A dedication ceremony was held for the newly installed Mack Sennett plaque | Council District 13

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IMG_6505-002ECHO PARK – In 1954 the NBC show This Is Your Life honored film industry pioneer Mack Sennett with a plaque on the site of the Mack Sennett Studio, where such silent film stars as Charlie Chaplin, the Keystone Cops and Mabel Normand churned out slapstick comedies on what is now Glendale Boulevard. It was a nice tribute but for many decades the plaque that proclaims “THIS IS THE BIRTHPLACE OF MOTION PICTURE COMEDY” was installed at the wrong spot. Today, officials will re-dedicate the plaque at its proper location.

The Sennett plaque mounted on an obelisk stood behind a fence for many years outside a printing company building located where the southbound 2 Freeway empties on to Glendale Boulevard. The same site once served as the home to the city’s first permanent movie-making facility, Selig-Polyscope, but that was not Sennett’s place. After the printing building was knocked down several years ago, film buffs removed the plaque in 2007 to protect it from vandals and stored at the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

Sennett’s studio was actually located about two blocks south and on the other side of the street at Glendale Boulevard near Aaron Street in an area that 100 years ago was known as Edendale. The plaque, which was restored and returned to Echo Park by Hollywood Heritage and Council District 13, can now be viewed next to one of Sennett’s sound stages, which is now part of a Public Storage facility behind a Jack-in-the-Box.

The spot does not exactly reek of Hollywood glamour but at least it’s the right location.

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  1. I disagree. One can still see the occasional Tramp or Fatty today.


  2. Here’s a snippet of the studio’s Cyclorama in action: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FiZiLXDfgas.

  3. More footage of the Cyclorama and hijinks around the studio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnMiICAIM7Y

  4. There were no film buffs (plural) who saved the plaque, it was one film buff (singular) who arranged for the plaque to be saved. Many were involved with getting it relocated, but no one but me othered to save the plaque so it could eventually be relocated.

    Bob Birchard

  5. How could that building be one of Sennett’s soundstages if it was built in the ‘teens?

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