Nestor Studios

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Coordinates: 34°05′54″N 118°19′21″W / 34.098280°N 118.322558°W / 34.098280; -118.322558

Nestor Studios
Industry Movie studio
Founded 1911
Defunct 1919
Headquarters Bayonne, New Jersey
Hollywood, California
Key people
David Horsley
William Horsley
Nestor studio, 1911

The Nestor Motion Picture Company or Nestor Film Company was a motion picture studio/production company located in Bayonne, New Jersey, and Hollywood, California, which was owned and operated by David Horsley and his brother, William Horsley. On October 27, 1911,[1] Nestor opened the first movie studio actually located in the Hollywood area of Los Angeles. It was at the Blondeau Tavern building on the northwest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. The first motion picture stage in Hollywood was built behind the tavern.

Other East Coast studios had moved production to Los Angeles, prior to Nestor's move west. The California weather allowed for year-round filming and the ambitious studio operated three principal divisions under its Canadian-born general manager, Al Christie.

The Horsley brothers remained in New Jersey, where their laboratory and offices handled the Hollywood studio's film processing and distribution. Al Christie moved permanently from the East, where he had been working with the Horsleys creating the extremely popular silent-era Mutt and Jeff comedy shorts, to Southern California.

One division at the Hollywood location, under director Milton H. Fahrney, made a one-reel western picture every week while the second division, under director Tom Ricketts, turned out a one-reel drama every week. In addition to running the operation, Christie oversaw a weekly production of a one-reel Mutt and Jeff episode.

Other filmmakers began opening studios in the Hollywood area. The Horsleys operated the Nestor Studios at the Sunset and Gower location until May 20, 1912, when the Universal Film Company was formed,[1] headed by Carl Laemmle. Nestor, along with several other motion picture companies, including Laemmle's Independent Moving Pictures (IMP), was merged with Universal.

Various motion picture interests owned and operated studios on the site from 1912 until 1935, when the property was purchased by the Columbia Broadcasting System,[1] which immediately demolished the Nestor stages and buildings and began construction of its new West Coast radio and pioneering television[2] headquarters on the corner. The new building, completed at a cost of $2,000,000, was opened with major fanfare on April 30, 1938, with motion picture people from the silent and sound eras on hand for the dedication ceremonies.[3]

San Fernando Valley Movie Making 1912 to 1915[edit]

  1. "San Fernando Valley" By Marc Wanamaker (2011) Page 97, 103, and 106
  2. "Oak Crest, a film city by itself" The New York Dramatic Mirror - January 15, 1913 page 49.
  3. "Universal City Visit" Rotarian February 1914
  4. "Early Universal City"; by Robert S. Birchard
  5. "A Motion Picture City... " Daily Advocate, October 2, 1914 Page 6
  6. "Scrap it" the Old Universal - 1915 Universal Tour Brochure
  7. The Cowboys, Indians and zoo 1914 first assets to be moved to the new Universal City. [Motion Picture World]
  8. "The Theatre of Science; a volume of progress and achievement in the motion picture industry" by Robert Grau : Page 287 - 1914 Broadway Pub. Co. New York
  9. The Life & Adventures of Karl Laemmle; by John Drinkwater (Karl Laemmle views Nestor ranch and names the area Universal City))

Universal History 1912 to 1915 - "Frickr Universal Image collection" by Dennis Dickens [5]

Universal City - Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills - Nestor Studios Company Photographs[edit]

Silent movie Operating on Cupid (1915) by Horace Davey for Universal Nestor. Running time: 10:35. A short comic film in which a young man has himself admitted to the hospital so as to see more of his girlfriend who is a nurse there.
Burbank as envisioned by Providencia

Property in the San Fernando Valley that was owned by the Providencia Land and Water Development Company was used as a location for some early motion pictures. In particular, battle scenes for D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation were shot in the area.

In 1914,[6] the Universal Film Company, which had acquired Nestor, bought 230 acres (1 km2) (.36 sq mi) of land for a studio and Carl Laemmle named the area Universal City. Photographs of the area can be seen in Los Angeles Library archives: "A Birds Eye View of Universal City."


  1. ^ a b c "Bronze Memorial Will Mark First Hollywood Studio Site." Los Angeles Times. Sep. 25, 1940. p. A 1.
  2. ^ "Telecasting To Start In Hollywood Within Year." Los Angeles Times. Aug 23, 1937. p. A 13.
  3. ^ "Columbia Broadcasting System Opens New Hollywood Headquarters Today." Los Angeles Times. Apr. 30, 1938. p. 8.
  4. ^ Daily Advocate, October 2, 1914 Page 6
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Film History Before 1920 Part 3". AMC FilmSite. Retrieved 2010-03-13.