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Friday, Jun 2, 2023

Taking Role In Hollywood History

When the cameras stop rolling and the sets are broken down on a feature film or television show, all those costumes and props have to go somewhere At Warner Bros. Studios that somewhere is the corporate archive, a 128,000-square-foot facility in Sun Valley housing the physical part of the company’s history. Barbara Hall is the new director of the archive, a position that puts her front and center to preserving the studio’s assets. She replaces Leith Adams, the archive’s executive director for 22 years. Before Adams retired on Oct. 31, Hall spent a month with him learning about the archive’s holdings and how it works with the various departments around the studio. “I am working with the team to familiarize myself with the collection and getting involved with the exhibits at the museum,” said Hall, 52, who lives in the Larchmont Village neighborhood of Los Angeles. Prior to joining Warner Bros. Hall had been a research archivist in the special collections library and oral historian for 25 years at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills. There she assisted researchers, worked on digitization projects and gave tours of the library’s holdings. The studio archive does more than preserve; it also assists in current productions. When Warner’s Home Entertainment division re-releases a classic film on DVD, the archive will provide supplemental material. Production of a sequel will prompt visits from costume designers and prop people. “They come to see what was used in the first film and may use those (props and costumes) again,” Hall said. Another big part of Hall’s job is curating the studio museum that is part of the VIP Studio Tour. During the summer months when the tour is at its busiest, the museum can host up to 2,000 visitors a day. The first floor contains costumes, props and other artifacts as part of a revolving exhibit on the history of Warner Bros. and its movies. The second floor is dedicated to one of the studio’s most famous characters – boy wizard Harry Potter and his friends (and enemies) from his adventures portrayed in eight feature films. Hall would like to install more visual material at the museum, such as posters, photos and film clips. She also wants to complete a project Adams was unable to finish. “One of the projects near and dear to him was an oral history with long-time employees to capture the history that way,” she said. – Mark R. Madler

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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