Legendary actor/dancer/singer starred in a television series filmed on the historic lot in the 1950s.
Hollywood— Construction workers upgrading courtyard office space at Hollywood Center Studios have uncovered a memento from the early days of television. Scratched into a concrete floor are several signatures including those of Singing in the Rain star Donald O’Connor and his frequent co-star and dance partner, Mitzi Gaynor. The signatures are dated November 6, 1954.
Careful sleuthing on the part of Hollywood Center Studios Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jerry Cole suggest that the signatures are related to the production of The Donald O’Connor Show, a short-lived television comedy that ran on NBC as part of the Texaco Star Theater from 1954 to 1955. Along with O’Connor and Gaynor, other signatures belong to Sidney Miller, O’Connor’s co-star, co-director and longtime friend, editor Stanley Frazen and sound editor Bill Martin. Gaynor appeared as a guest star in two episodes of the show in which O’Connor and Miller played young songwriters.
Cole speculates that the show was shot on Hollywood Center Studios’ Stage Two. Next door on Stage One, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show was in the midst of an eight-year run. Many of the same production talent were involved in both shows. “George’s brother William made a deal for both stages,” Cole explains. “My guess is they kept Stage One for themselves and rotated other shows through Stage Two. Only 19 episodes of The Donald O’Connor Show were produced, so, apparently, it failed to gain traction.”
Originally built in 1919, Hollywood Center Studios became a hotbed for early television. A few years before O’Connor set up shop on Stage Two, the stage hosted I Love Lucy, the first television series to be produced before a live studio audience on the West Coast. The studio went on to host many of the most popular shows of television’s Golden Age in the 1950s and 1960s, including The Bob Cummings Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, The Addams Family, Petticoat Junction and Mr. Ed.
Hollywood Center Studios plans to preserve the signatures of O’Connor and his cohorts. Cole notes that they can be viewed by anyone working on or visiting the lot.
About Hollywood Center Studios
Hollywood Center Studios has a rich and colorful history that mirrors the development of Hollywood and the growth of the entertainment industry. The studio has played host to some of the most notable productions of the past century, including such iconic television shows as I Love Lucy, The Addams Family, Jeopardy, Rockford Files and Mad TV, and classic film productions such as When Harry Met Sally and The Player. In recent years, Hollywood Center Studios has continued to grow and modernize to support its large television clientele which includes Disney, NBC, Comedy Central and MTV. Hollywood Center Studios remains a vital part of the Hollywood community and a place where entertainment history continues to be made every day.
Hollywood Center Studios is located at 1040 N. Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90038. For more information, call (323) 860-0000 or visit www.HollywoodCenter.com.