Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ghosts of the Charles Mintz Studio


On a nondescript street just a short walk from the busy intersection of Western Avenue and Santa Monica Blvd. stands a building that's been there for more than eighty years. In those years it's been painted and painted over again. Its large arched windows, once complete with a decorative wrought iron fence have been sealed over.

(click on the images below for larger versions)

This building, not at all different from many others scattered across this city, sits in a state of quiet decay. Weeds, chewing gum, spray paint and goodness-knows-what-else are evident on the walls and sidewalk. One might wonder what things this building has witnessed in its eight decades....

Upon closer inspection it becomes clear....

In 1930 the staff of the nearby Charles Mintz Studio gathered there for a few group photographs.

Here are composer Joe DeNat, Manny Gould, Harry Love, Charles Mintz, George Winkler, Al Rose, Ben Harrison and Jack Carr.

In this photo are DeNat, Art Davis, Charles Mintz, Sid Marcus and Dick Huemer. The building is located at 5454 Virginia Avenue just around the corner from the Mintz Studio at 1154 N. Western Avenue.

Much of the 1920s era stucco work on the building is intact as shown in the photos below. It's a miracle these details exist, considering the amount of renovation (and layers of paint) this place has been subject to!

(click for larger image)

I experienced a mildly chilling moment when it confirmed without question that this is the exact location where these legends of the industry stood to be photographed over 75 years ago.

A few steps away at 5437 Virginia is the apartment building where George Winkler, Manny Gould, Joe DeNat and production manager James Bronis were living at the time. It is apparent that this building too has seen better days.

I'd like to thank Harry McCracken at for having posted the original photos of the Mintz Staff. If you haven't visited Scrappyland yet, I suggest you take a look -- it's a terrific retrospective on an often forgotten cartoon series and the people that created it! The middle group photo is from Leonard Maltin's Of Mice and Magic.


Michael Sporn said...

This is one of the most amazing photo research pieces I've seen on the internet. I've come back to this post over and over these past few days and just love the work you've done here. Your site is brilliant. Thank you for it. I also thank Hans Perk for initially calling my attention to it back when.

Anonymous said...

What a great post, Joe!
Wonderful pictures!Love the way you superimposed the crew on there, just where they would have been all those years ago.
I wonder what's slated to become of that poor old studio building..One can only hope that somehow it could be refurbished and resurrected back to(at least a hint of) it's former glory.

Ward Jenkins said...

Oh, I love stuff like this. Excellent job in recreating the photo shoots here -- and that little detail you point out in the stucco gives us a great connection to the past. Fantastic blog, by the way.

Anonymous said...

It was quite a surprise to return from Europe yesterday and find an email from "Scrappy" (a.k.a. Harry McCracken) about the Mintz Studio staff photos. Thanks for finding the bldg! While in Paris I visited a film archive and was treated to a showing of three "Toby the Pup" cartoons, also from Mintz/Winkler, c. 1930-31. Regarding the caricature of my father by T. Hee, posted May 3: there's a more stylized version at the bottom of .