The Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States, serve as the international headquarters for media conglomerate The Walt Disney Company.
Disney staff began the move from the old Disney studio at Hyperion Avenue in Silver Lake on December 24, 1939. Designed primarily by Kem Weber under the supervision of Walt Disney and his brother Roy, the Burbank Disney Studio buildings are the only studios to survive from the Golden Age of filming. The Walt Disney Company is the last remaining Big Ten company to remain independent from a mother company. The Studios are also the only major film/animation studio not to run backlot tours.
The Walt Disney Studios was originally designed around the animation process, with the large animation building in the center of the campus, and adjacent buildings for the story department, the music department, the ink-and-paint departments, and the other various functions of the studio. Both above-ground walkways and tunnels connected the buildings, and the campus also included a movie theatre and a number of soundstages. The Disney feature The Reluctant Dragon, starring Robert Benchley, served as a tour of the then-new studio, which was also frequently seen and toured on the various Walt Disney television programs.
In the late 1940s, the studio began regular work on live-action features, as they needed the money. Though their first films were shot in England, the necessity to build live-action facilities still arose. Lacking the capital to do it themselves, Jack Webb offered to put up some of the money to build live-action stages in exchange for their use (Webb used it to shoot much of the Dragnet TV series). During this time, back lots were also built and remained standing at the studios until the management change of the mid-1980s.
In 1986, after the corporate restructuring of Walt Disney Productions into The Walt Disney Company, the buildings were remodeled to accommodate more live-action production space and administrative offices. The Studios are now made up of multiple office and administration buildings and ten soundstages. The primary building is the commanding Team Disney Burbank building, completed in 1990 and designed by Michael Graves. The Team Disney Burbank building contains the office of President and CEO Robert A. Iger, as well as the boardroom for the Board of Directors. It also houses offices for members of Senior Management, such as Andy Bird, head of Walt Disney International, Thomas O. Staggs, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and Robert Iger, Chairman of Walt Disney Studio Entertainment. The building is sometimes called the "Seven Dwarfs Building"; it has a stunning fascia of the seven dwarfs holding up the roof of the building, an homage to the animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which provided Walt Disney with the revenue to purchase the Burbank lot.
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