Keystone Studios

Keystone Studios was an early film studio founded in Edendale, California (which is now a part of Echo Park) on July 4, 1912 as the Keystone Pictures Studio by Mack Sennett with backing from actor-writer Adam Kessel (1866–1946)[1] and Charles O. Baumann (1874–1931), owners of the New York Motion Picture Company (founded 1909).[2][3] The company, referred to at its office as The Keystone Film Co., filmed in and around Glendale and Silver Lake, Los Angeles for several years, and its films were distributed by the Mutual Film Corporation between 1912 and 1915.[4]

Keystone Studios
film studio 
IndustryFilm studio
Founded1912 (as Keystone Pictures Studio)
FounderMack Sennett 
HeadquartersEdendale, Los Angeles
Key people
Mack Sennett

The original main building, the first totally enclosed film stage and studio in history, is still standing. It is located at 1712 Glendale Blvd in Echo Park, Los Angeles and is now being used as a storage facility.[5]


The studio is perhaps best remembered for the era under Mack Sennett when he created the slapstick antics of the Keystone Cops, from 1912, and for the Sennett Bathing Beauties, beginning in 1915. Charlie Chaplin got his start at Keystone when Sennett hired him fresh from his vaudeville career to make silent films. Charlie Chaplin at Keystone Studios is a 1993 compilation of some of the most notable films Chaplin made at Keystone, documenting his transition from vaudeville player to true comic film actor to director. In 1915, Keystone Studios became an autonomous production unit of the Triangle Film Corporation with D. W. Griffith and Thomas Ince. In 1917, Sennett gave up the Keystone trademark and organized his own company.

Many other important actors also worked at Keystone toward the beginning of their film careers, including Marie Dressler, Harold Lloyd, Mabel Normand, Roscoe Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson, Louise Fazenda, Raymond Griffith, Ford Sterling, Ben Turpin, Harry Langdon, Al St. John and Chester Conklin.

Sennett, by then a celebrity, departed the studio in 1917 to produce his own independent films (eventually distributed through Paramount). Keystone's business decreased after his departure, and finally closed after bankruptcy in 1935.


Much of the lighting and studio equipment from Keystone was bought by Reymond King, who started the "Award Cinema Movie Equipment" company in Venice, CA in November, 1935.

"Keystone Studios" is the fictional studio in the film Swimming With Sharks (1994).

A new indie film company named Keystone Studios began in 2007, formed by a merger of Cineville films and Westlake Entertainment.[6]

The original Keystone Studios lot was an explorable location, as well as a major plot element, in the 2011 video game L.A. Noire, published by Rockstar Games.

See also

  • Category:Keystone Studios films


  1. Internet Movie Databse
  2. Silent
  4. Mutual Film Corporation at Silent Era. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  5. Bengtson, John (2010). Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin. Lobster Films. 11:30 minutes in.
  6. Robertson, Willa (2007-07-18). "Cineville, Westlake create Keystone". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-15.

Further reading

  • Lahue, Kalton (1971); Mack Sennett's Keystone: The man, the myth and the comedies; New York: Barnes; ISBN 978-0-498-07461-5
  • Neibaur, James L. (2011); Early Charlie Chaplin: The Artist as Apprentice at Keystone Studios; Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press; ISBN 978-0-8108-8242-3
  • Walker, Brent (2009); Mack Sennett's Fun Factory Jefferson, NC: McFarland and Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-3610-1

Media related to Keystone Studios at Wikimedia Commons

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