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Thursday, Sep 28, 2023

Calabasas Auction House Relocates, Trades Up

Profiles in History has relocated to a new space in Calabasas that is much more conducive to its business of auctioning Hollywood memorabilia. The Calabasas business didn’t move far – just across Agoura Road – but the change was dramatic for founder and Chief Executive Joe Maddalena. The company has gone from a traditional office setting with shallow 10-foot ceilings to a spacious warehouse space with roomy 40-foot ceilings. “We can process more items and have more items on hand especially when it comes to the larger pieces,” Maddalena said. Previously, Maddalena or a staffer had to take interested buyers to a warehouse in Moorpark to see larger items. Profiles will keep that warehouse for storage. The move coincides with Profiles starting a new division, Hollywood Prime, which will work directly with the major studios to dispose of physical assets – costumes, props, background dressing, etc. – on the secondary market. Hollywood Prime will significantly grow Profile’s inventory from 6,000 items a year to more than 20,000 items. That in turn means more objects that are affordable to the everyday buyer. “We will be selling items in the under $200 range in vast quantities,” he said. At an upcoming auction May 17-18 the company will sell items from the personal collection of actress and singer Debbie Reynolds, the third such auction Profiles has curated. The previous two auctions in 2011 brought in a combined $25 million. The items up for sale in May won’t bring in nearly that amount but do represent a cross-section of Hollywood history that Reynolds picked up during her storied career dating back to the late 1940s. Among the pieces are clothing worn by Ingrid Bergman, Mae West, Vivien Leigh and Gregory Peck; a wig and hat that belonged to Harpo Marx; the VistaVision movie camera used on “Mary Poppins” and other Disney films; and tuxedos worn by members of the Rat Pack, including one that Reynolds personally picked from Frank Sinatra’s closet, Maddalena said. Disney’s Maker Walt Disney Co.’s acquisition of Maker Studios was the most viable way to get a YouTube audience – even with the deal’s $500 million price tag. The move late last month by the Burbank entertainment and media company represents one of the largest YouTube network purchases to date. Maker Studio, founded in 2009 and headquartered in Culver City, has more than 340 million subscribers for its lifestyle, music, and entertainment programming. Disney’s acquisition was a smart one in that short-form content viewed over the Internet in small doses of three to 10 minutes is popular with younger audiences, said Marty Shindler, an entertainment technology consultant at Shindler Perspective in Encino. Large entertainment companies face a “make or buy” decision, and in this case Disney opted to buy an existing short-form network rather than create their own, Shindler said. “Maker Studios was already well established in terms of its studio and in terms of the audience they have been able to attract,” he added. “If Disney started this on their own, they might get the content right but not get the audience.” The acquisition is in the same vein as the one done last year by DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. which bought AwesomenessTV of Los Angeles as a platform for a DreamWorks Animation channel. The Glendale studio paid $33 million upfront, with additional payments totaling more than $100 million if certain earnings targets are met in the following two years. Both Maker Studios and AwesomenessTV target similar teenage audiences with similar types of content, Shindler said. “DreamWorks does animation and Disney does some animation and they have to have multiple revenue streams,” he added. Animators Outdoors The Downtown Burbank Arts Festival April 19-20 will feature for a second year a group of animators, visual effects and video game artists among its exhibitors. The display by up to 50 artists, many employed at nearby Hollywood studios, was put together by Creative Talent Network, a community for creators of traditional and digital animated films. The exhibit will be set up along San Fernando Boulevard between Olive Avenue and Angeleno Avenue. The network will have a shuttle operating between the fair and Center Stage Gallery at 847 Hollywood Way, owned by talent network founder Tina Price. Visitors can view artwork, purchase books and take drawing lessons. Students can have their portfolios reviewed by professionals from DreamWorks, Disney, Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, and other studios. Staff Reporter Mark R. Madler can be reached at (818) 316-3126 or mmadler@sfvbj.com.

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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