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info on old studio lot/movies


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I was wondering if you could assist me or point me in the right direction. I am seeking information about a depression or pre-depression movie studio in Sun City, Florida. This area (currently a residential subdivision) is on the plat maps as an area designated for the 'second Hollywood'. It was platted in 1926, and I believe may possibly have been intended for use by First National Pictures, which was later acquired by Warner. Rumor has it that two movies were filmed there, one of which may have been a chaplin film/the other a tarzan, tho this is speculation. There was a studio area, and all the street names are after First National actors/actresses, examples are First National Dr., Griffith Ave, Sills, Pickford ave, Meighan, Negri Park, etc etc etc. Supposedly, when the depression hit, construction was abandoned and later lands were either foreclosed upon, or taken for taxes due. I would most particularly be interested in any documents referring to this area, the movies filmed there, and any other relevant history. I have been able to find nothing locally, and thought perhaps someone here may be able to reveal the area's true history before it is lost forever. Additionally, I would be happy to offer in return a copy of the plat map of the subdivision if anyone would like to have it, and reimbursement for copying costs of any documents. Thank You for your time and consideration. Sincerely, jacalera@prodigy.net

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Dear tracey65k, I looked at the ghosttowns site, it was cool,(thanks again), and I've actually been there. Unfortunately, that is not the part I'm looking for. That part is the Ross Addition to the Sun City Subdivision. Across the street is the $500,000 power plant that was built for the studio, but studio itself was farther down the highway some and on the other side. I did manage to find an out of print 2 volume doctoral thesis by Richard Alan Nelson which has a few references. Apparently, the studio was built and even had a tower. Land around was sold quickly, who wouldn't want to live next to Hollywood East? Either things didn't work out (or meant to be a land scam?) but 2 movies were made to prevent them from going to jail on fraud charges. Now, if I could only find out which two movies. Seems some famous folks lived out there too, like Ernest Shipman and David Hartford. Please let me know if you find anything else and thanks for any leads. :-))

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This has piqued my curiosity as well. I didn't find anything except a few mentions in the St. Petersburg Times newspaper that you've probably already seen. I did see a poster for a 1930 Lupe Valez movie called "Hell Harbor" that was filmed in Tampa-perhaps that was based out of the Sun City location? Since it would've been a silent studio-originally at least-maybe posting the info you do have to the Google group "alt.movies.silent" would help. The people there are very knowledgable. Worth a try anyway. Good luck.

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Back again-Googled "'J H Meyer'florida movie" and came up with this link:

http://www.hillsborough.wateratlas.usf.edu/upload/documents/HILLSBOROUGH_COUNTY_Historic_Resources_Excerpts_Sun%20City.pdf

If the link doesn't work the title that came up is "Sun City (Ross)Hillsborough County Historic Resources Survey Report" and it says that two short films featuring actresses Billie Moon and Bessie True were the only films made there. I checked IMDB and no listing at all for Billie Moon and three films for Bess True but none look like the ones you're seeking the titles for. No listing for a director named Harry Hiscox mentioned in the report either. If I come across anything else I'll post it here. Regards.

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Thank you so much for your reply. Hell Harbor isn't one of the two movies, it was actually filmed in tampa area which is about 45 minutes north of Sun City (formerly Ross), but I appreciate any tips and leads, I will try posting on that site you mentioned, hopefully something will turn up soon. Thanks!

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  • 1 month later...

I've consulted with richard alan nelson of LSU by email and he was very helpful, he says the two films made there were shorts and may not have been released. So, I'm not sure if this is a dead end now, or if there is a way to find out where they are at, assuming they still exist. At any rate, thank you all for your input and suggestions.

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