Original Phantom of the Opera pre-release ad from Universal Weekly, January 1925

Original Phantom of the Opera pre-release ad from Universal Weekly, January 1925

Following on from yesterday's post, here's an update from Variety about the plans to demolish Stage 28 on the Universal lot, built to house Rupert's Phantom Of The Opera production in 1924...

"Universal said that it was in the midst of a multimillion-dollar preservation effort to save the set from “Phantom of the Opera,” above, and move it to another location. The studio is in discussions with museums and institutions, hoping that it will be accessible for public view wherever it ends up. Universal says that 50% or less of the set is from its original construction, with sections altered from the ’30s to the ’60s."

And here's a photo of Sir Ian McKellen visiting the set, a year or so ago.  (He seems impressed, I have to say!)

A quote from Carl Laemmle at the time: 

"Today parts of that beautiful Paris Opera House have been reproduced, column for column, even to its great statues and decorations, at the Universal studios.  I have put to work every resource at my command to make this my masterpiece production.  I am making Phantom Of The Opera for music-lovers and movie fans throughout the world. I believe the motion picture owes this as a tribute to Music, the medium which helped so much in it's success.  Five thousand people are now engaged in its making, so you can well imagine its magnitude..."

On the one hand, it's a shame for it to remain out of site on the lot, occasionally surfacing on screen when a production happens to need it; but you can visit it, if you're on the lot tour and it doesn't happen to be in use at the time.  It's a tough one - but personally, I think the building is as historic as the set in a lot of ways, so it's a shame to separate them.  We'll see what happens, I suppose!

(Do feel free to sign the petition anyway, just to make sure...)