Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol

A blog dedicated to the making of the first animated Christmas special, Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol.

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Recording of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Pt. 1

In readying the 50th anniversary edition of the book, I did a little more research into the facilities where Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol was recorded-the dialogue, the songs and the score.  In the first edition, I had chased all that information down, even to looking for the vaults where the recorded material might have been stored.  This time I was more interested in the recording facilities themselves and briefly considered adding images of the studios to the book while providing a little more history on the places.  Unfortunately, inserting this material proved disruptive to the narrative flow of the book so I decided to post it on the blog.

Altec Lansing crew, ca. 1944
The dialogue recording sessions were done at 1161 Vine Street in Hollywood at Ryder Sound Services.  Prior to serving as a recording and post-production studio for Ryder, the facility was the Hollywood headquarters of Altec Lansing, a pioneer in the field of recorded sound with an impressive list of accomplishments in the industry.  However, they were best known for providing and servicing sound systems for motion picture theaters.  They also helped promote professional quality sound systems for home use or, as it was known during the 50s, hi-fi.

Photo from 2009, facade has since been covered by vegetation.
Loren Ryder took over the facility after leaving his job at Paramount after a 20 year association.  Ryder, was a true engineering pioneer in the field of motion picture sound, helping to develop and usher in the era of magnetic tape.  Along the way, he won 5 Academy Awards for his work in motion pictures.  He had started his own business in 1948 but continued to work for Paramount until 1957 when he left for good.  Ryder’s reputation made the facility a highly regarded one, and his operation was kept busy by the then burgeoning business of TV production.  For decades, this building was home to entertainment sound engineering history.

Although UPA had a recording studio, as with many of the pre-production aspects of Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol, Orgel went for the best, booking his dialogue sessions at Ryder Sound Services.  The late Laura Olsher recalled that between the day's sessions, the actors went upstairs for lunch at a place called The Grapevine.  I have not been able to find corroborating information regarding the restaurant but I have no reason to doubt her memory.  A real estate listing from a few years ago shows a loft, which would have been the eatery in its heyday.

At the time of the recording sessions, the building still retained its old LA charm.  Since then, it has seen a a variety of uses, and has lost some of its original appeal, being painted a deep red with vegetation allowed to obscure its fa├žade.  It’s currently home to Stereo D, a provider of 3D conversion services to the motion picture industry.

4 comments:

Joe R. Frinzi said...

Great piece of history. I wonder how many MMCC fans drove past that building, never realizing it once served as the recording facility for the cartoon. Thanks Darrell!

Joe

Anthony D. said...

A new edition of the book!? Wow, I better add this on my Christmas list and give the 2nd edition to the library. I have some questions:

-Will the new edition of the book cover the recent Collector's Edition Blu-ray and DVD?

-Has there been any luck in getting the special to air on one of the major networks (with the 2010 transfer) in honor of its 50th birthday?

Anthony D. said...

A new edition of the book!? Wow, I better add this on my Christmas list and give the 2nd edition to the library. I have some questions:

-Will the new edition of the book cover the recent Collector's Edition Blu-ray and DVD?

-Has there been any luck in getting the special to air on one of the major networks (with the 2010 transfer) in honor of its 50th birthday?

Darrell said...

It does mention the remastering. There are rumors of the special airing this holiday season but I haven't heard any confirmation yet. I'll post it on the blog once I do.