Keystone Studios

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Coordinates: 34°05′10.37″N 118°15′34.80″W / 34.0862139°N 118.2596667°W / 34.0862139; -118.2596667

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

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 Company, 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]

The name Keystone was taken from the side of one of the cars of a passing Pennsylvania Railroad train (Keystone State being the nickname of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania) during the initial meeting of Sennett, Kessel and Baumann in New York.[5]

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.[6]


The "Sennett Bathing Beauties"

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.[citation needed]

Movie theatre audience members Roscoe Arbuckle and Mack Sennett square off while watching Mabel Normand onscreen in Mabel's Dramatic Career (1913)
Silent animal comedy A Little Hero (1913) directed by George Nichols for Keystone Studios. A dog saves a parakeet from a cat. Running time: 04:32.

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.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed]

"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.[7]

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[edit]


  1. ^ Internet Movie Databse
  2. ^ Silent
  3. ^ "". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved August 10, 2014.
  4. ^ Mutual Film Corporation at Silent Era. Retrieved 2012-01-30.
  5. ^ "HOW KEYSTONE GOT ITS NAME". LA Times. January 7, 1917. p. 24 (of Part 3).
  6. ^ Bengtson, John (2010). Silent Traces: Discovering Early Hollywood Through the Films of Charlie Chaplin. Lobster Films [fr]. 11:30 minutes in.
  7. ^ Robertson, Willa (2007-07-18). "Cineville, Westlake create Keystone". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-15.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]

Media related to Keystone Studios at Wikimedia Commons