Universal Studios’ Stage 28 holds a lot of memories. Some of the most iconic American films, including The Bride of Frankenstein, Psycho, and The Sting were shot there, to name only a few.
Built in 1924 for the silent Phantom of the Opera, starring Lon Chaney, the vast soundstage still houses the 90-year-old opera set. Designed by Ben Carré, this recreation of the Paris original practically deserves its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, having appeared in movies ranging from Dracula to The Muppets.
Throughout the years, the so-called “Phantom Stage,” nicknamed for the first film made there, has earned its title in another sense. Legend has it that the soundstage is haunted. However, those ghosts might be homeless soon.
The website Inside Universal recently broke the news that the studio would close Stage 28 and probably demolish it. According to their article, “Phantom’s set pieces are rumored to be removed and preserved… While unconfirmed, the site is likely to be used for future theme park development.”
Okay, so up to this point, I’ve been pretty cool, calm, and collected, but now I’m going to express myself quite frankly. WHAT THE &*#$@!?!?! Are you kidding me, Universal? You want to demolish a peerless piece of Hollywood history to make more room for your theme park? Even as you prepare to cash in on your horror icons with a new shared-universe franchise reboot, you’ve decided to dismantle your strongest physical link to the genesis of those celluloid myths?
Dear reader, this is where you come in. Two petitions have sprung up to halt the closing and destruction of Stage 28. The first, a petition on whitehouse.gov, requests that the government accord a National Historic Landmark designation to Stage 28 and aims for 100,000 signatures by September 25. The second, a Care2 petition, establishes a less specific goal, “save the historic Phantom Stage from demolition”, and hopes to collect 10,000 signatures.
I urge you to sign both of these petitions. And I’ll make this really easy…
Please sign now. Don’t tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow. Don’t go get a cup of coffee. Don’t check your Twitter feed. It will take you all of 60 seconds to put your name down for both. You will feel much better once you have. And Lon Chaney might come and get you if you don’t.
Plus, if you really care about Stage 28 and/or film history and/or horror movies and/or me not crying, please tweet about this, blog about it, tell everyone you know. Encourage your friends and family to sign the petitions. If you have pull, use it. Harass Universal Studios in any (legal and respectful) way you can think of.
Sadly, the film industry tends to realize the value of its history only when it’s too late. This is the business, after all, that destroyed God only knows how many silent movie prints to reclaim the silver from the emulsion.
Come on, people, let’s save Stage 28. Let’s preserve film history. Let’s show the studio once and for all not to mess with movie geeks and our hallowed ground. And let’s do it now.
Because, if we don’t, the Phantom Stage might disappear forever.
Signed and added plea to Universal that this landmark is an important example of American cinema art and history.
How incredible short sighted of them to not use this landmark as part of the theme park. Why not play up the haunted sound stage angle? Bring in players to act as Cheney, Philbin and various other Hollywood icons?
I am gutted! So much friggin bad news this month and now this??
Thanks for sharing and giving us a chance, however small, to help.
My family and I signed the petition.
It is amazing how much greed and money will take over any sense of pride or morality.Isn’t Universal and CEO Ron Meyer making enough money all ready? Transformers and Harry Potter rides will long be passe but THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA will forever be an icon of film history.
This move would truly have broken the late Carla Laemmle’s heart.
Why not use the space for weddings or corporate events? How cool would that be to have an event like that held in a historic movie studio with that beautiful Paris Opera set!
Shame on Universal if they go through with this. Shame on Ron Meyer,who is making millions of dollars already.