02 May 2012

A very special birthday for Universal: Queen Lizzy you better get on Moonpig

The 30th April 2012 marked the 100th birthday of Universal Studios. Universal have given us some amazing films and we've all spent many hours popcorn munching watching these beauties. Universal was started in 2012 by a man called Carl Laemmle. At the time the Edison Trust that was set up by Thomas Edison, pretty much controlled the film industry. The Edison Trust insisted that producers use it's patented equipment and every theatre had to pay $2 a week simply to hold a license to purchase and screen its films. The trust sued any pirates (we are not talking the Jack Sparrow kind here) who screened or made films without its permission. It also banned film credits for movie stars, because it feared that actors gaining celebrity status would demand more money. It banned films from other countries and set films to just 20 minutes, because it believed that Americans lacked attention spans for longer films. It was officially the control freak of the film world.

Edison hired detectives to un-earth non licensed equipment on production sets and got armed thugs to seize pirate films, evict audiences from outlaw theatres and smashed production equipment of rivals who defied him. Phil Mitchell wasn't a patch on The Edison Trust. Laemmle along with Adolph Zukor who went on to found Paramount Pictures envisioned a film industry with longer films. So on the 30th April, Laemmle along with a few other independent studios (who were eventually bought out by him) formed Universal Film Manufacturing Company, now known as Universal Pictures.

Logo's over the years
In 1915 Laemmle finished construction on his own Californian movie metropolis, Universal City, now home to a theme park and the largest film production facility in the world. Dragon's Den would have been a welcomed help, because Lamelle funded the films all by himself because he didn't want to owe any debt. I bet Duncan Bannatyne is kicking himself now that he wasn't around then to say 'I'm in' to Carl. His two biggest hits that started to get Universal on the map were The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) and The Phantom of the Opera (1925).

In 1928 Laemmle made his son Carl Jr, head of Universal Pictures as a 21st birthday present, wow that's just a tad bit better then getting a silver necklace. How do you write a thank you letter for that? The business was really a family one and it is reported that at one time 70 of Laemmle's relatives were on the payroll. Carl Jr, encouraged his old daddy to bring Universal up to date and his noticeable efforts include Edna Ferber's novel Show Boat, the lavish musical Broadway (1929) which included Technicolour sequences, the first all colour musical feature for Universal, King of Jazz (1930) and the famous All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). He also created a great horror niche for Universal Horror and produced some great movies including Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy and The Invisible Man. Let the screaming and eye covering commence.

During the war Universal continued to please the public with low-to-medium budget comedies, musicals, adventures, westerns and tv serials including the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. A man with a pipe and a Deerstalker hat solving mysteries is bound to raise the country's morale.
Now in 2012 Universal is world wide and is an extremely respected film company. They have also made a huge amount of struggling actors movie stars and if it wasn't for Universal we wouldn't have Marilyn Monroe's dresses to drool over or Elizabeth Taylor's jewellery to gaze in awe at. So that's two big reasons to thank them already. Plus they gave us not one, but TWO Bridget Jones's films. What we would do without that lady in our lives I do not know.
To celebrate being 100 Universal are restoring 13 classic movies, who were chosen by a team of historians, executives and archivists. They have picked films that span every decade, from 1931's Frankenstein to 1985's Out of Africa. Other films include 1930's All Quiet on the Western Front, 1933's Schindler's List, 1962's To Kill a Mockingbird, 1975's Jaws and two of my favourites 1973's The Sting and 1959's PillowTalk. Who doesn't like Paul Newman and Rock Hudson looking yummy in suits?

All restored films are being released on Blu-ray & DVD, with several of them being shown at UCLA'S Film & Television Archive's celebration of Universal, that begins on Friday at the Billy Wilder Theatre in LA and ends on the 24th June. So if you are lucky enough to live in the area, pop down there with a big bag of popcorn and go and cuddle up to your boyfriend to watch Jaws, just don't have a bath straight afterwards, it will scare the sh!t out of you.

Along with Universal making it OK to have the pleasure of staring at sexy men for 120 minutes without being arrested, they have given us some fabulous film posters. I adore old film posters and love looking through the archives of them ie. staring at a very yummy Cary Grant.
So let's all celebrate a hundred years of Universal and sing them a big happy birthday.
It's an excuse to snuggle down and watch one of your favourite Universal films, whether it's E.T. or Pride & Prejudice (Colin Firth in a wet t-shirt, no contest).
Although just having some chocolate cake and a bag of popcorn to yourself is allowed. Butterkist you beauty.

Second Hand Rose


  1. ohh Jurassic Park used to be one of my fav movies!!

  2. this post reminds me of how much i love visiting universal studios hollywood! ;)

    <3, Mimi

  3. Hi!
    In regard to the eBay dress I bought it from a seller, sorry! Thanks for the good luck :) xo

  4. So nice to know about a company who has brought us such lovely movies and given us infinite moments of laughter and happiness, and some tears as well!! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  5. This is such a lovely post! Definitely going to settle down with some Universal classics this weekend :)

  6. This is lovely, you've also encouraged me to spend hours this weekend having a serious perv over old Col in P&P and not feeling at all guilty- after all, it's all in honour of Universal! xxx

  7. Thank you for this post, I just learned something new :)

  8. Hi lovely,
    such great movies!
    I really like this post!
    Have a fab Sunday:)
    Fashion tea at 5

  9. This is so beautifuuuul! Check my blog and tell me if you wanna follow each other!! :X



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