A&M RECORDS LOT HISTORY

Charlie Chaplin bought a five acre property at the corner of Sunset and LaBrea Avenues in late 1917. The property extended south to De Longpre. The northern part of the property included Chaplin's home, a guest house, tennis courts and riding stables. South of the gate, Chaplin built his movie studio. He opened the Charlie Chaplin Movie Studio in 1918. The stucco facades on La Brea Avenue, pictured below, were designed by the Milwaukee Building Company (Meyer & Holler) and were built in 1917-1918. 

The backlot of the Chaplin studio was in the center part of the property where movie sets were built. At the southern end of the property were two open-air stages, dressing rooms, film vault and carpentry shed. The stages were eventually enclosed.

In 1952, Chaplin sold the northern part of the property to Safeway Stores. The house, tennis courts, stable gave way to a grocery store. The following year, Chaplin sold his movie studio to Webb and Knapp. They leased it to King Studios for television productions.

In the 1950s, the television series "The Adventures of Superman" was filmed on the soundstages. In 1958, comedian Red Skelton purchased the property and used it for his weekly television show. In 1962, Skelton sold the facility to CBS and it became the home of the "Perry Mason" series from 1962-1966.

In November 1966, Herb Alpert, Jerry Moss and their 32 employees moved onto the lot and made it A&M Records headquarters for the next 33 years. They bought the property outright paying $1 million in cash. A&M inherited one large soundstage and two smaller ones that had been significantly upgraded by Skelton and CBS. A&M converted the two smaller soundstages into the A&M Studios.

You can see the changes to the property in the blue prints below.

As you look at A&M Records front gate, you see the corner of the Chaplin home under the A&M sign. The large brick building inside the gate became A&M Studios. The photo of the Executive Offices shows the exterior of Chaplin's home.

In Charlie Chaplin's day, Dave Alpert's Building served as the studio infirmary. A&M Records' Artist Development occupied the film cutting room for the "Perry Mason" television program, and A&M's Publicity Department was actress Barbara Hale's dressing room when she worked on "Perry Mason."

The Charlie Chaplin Soundstage carried on its legacy as a home for major film, television, video and music events under A&M Records. All of the Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass television specials were partially filmed on the soundstage. The carpenters with the 105-piece Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra recorded "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" on the soundstage before an audience of music journalists. The soundstage was also used for recording rehearsals and tour rehearsals, including the tour for Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen." Herb Alpert and Hugh Masekela recorded a concert on the soundstage that was simulcast on radio in Los Angeles.

Long before music videos rose to popularity in the 1980s, A&M artists were filmed on the soundstage for promotional films. Artists who filmed videos on the soundstage include Janet Jackson and The Police. The soundstage was also used for artist showcases, listening parties, promotional functions, A&M sales meetings, and A&M Christmas parties.