First the bad news… The Phantom Stage is gone

phantom-of-the-opera-setphoto courtesy of Variety

Joni Mitchell sang

Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot

In 1924, Universal Studios was preparing to film the Phantom of the Opera and needed a new stage to house the massive sets of the Paris Opera.   It was inside Stage 28 that Lon Chaney would portray the Phantom.    For 90 years, parts of the opera house set withstood the test of time.   The stage was used in many movies through the years – the 1925 and 1943 versions of The Phantom of the Opera, Man of a Thousand Faces in 1957, and even The Muppets in 2011.   Countless movies were filmed here.  The Phantom, Dracula in 1931, Bride of Frankenstein in 1935, Psycho in 1960, three Jurassic Park movies.   SeaQuest was filmed here.  Two of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies.

Last week they tore it down.

15300387625_4a0d1cdfb7_ccourtesy of Inside Universal

Reportedly, there were plans to save at least part of the Phantom set.    At this time, I haven’t seen any further information about the fate of the set.

Antonia Carlotta is the niece of Carl Laemmle, who founded Universal.    She put together this little video about the history of the stage, featuring her aunt Carla Laemmle, who was one of the ballet dancers in the 1925 Phantom.

 

You can read all about the Phantom Stage on the following websites:

 

And you can even watch a beat up copy of the original movie on YouTube

 

 

90 years is a good run by any standards these days.   I tried for years to get inside and see the set, but never had the honor of visiting it.  Stage 28 was next to the new Transformers ride, and a few steps from The Mummy roller coaster.   I guess it was inevitable that the theme park would overtake the legacy of the Universal horrors.    It is sad to see this day has come.   It is going to be hard to return there.

I started with a song and I will end with a song.  Billy Joel sang:

Life is a series of hellos and goodbyes
I’m afraid it’s time for goodbye again
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye my baby
Say goodbye to Hollywood
Say goodbye my baby

 

And so not to ruin your day totally, I have posted a little bit of good news…

 

And now a little good news: Details on the Enterprise restoration
On The Bench 264: Massimo Sora's large X-Wing