Wednesday, March 29, 2023

The RKO Globe: Up close and (semi) personal

Any classic cinema fan worth their salt is familiar with the RKO Radio Picture trademark that was featured at the beginning of their films. Maybe you are familiar with “Citizen Kane,” “Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer,” and “It’s a Wonderful Life”? The globe and radio tower weren’t just part of celluloid; they actually existed at the corner of Melrose Avenue and Gower Street in Hollywood, on top of Stage 21.

Now a part of Paramount Studios, the radio tower is gone, but the globe remains, barely visible from below as cars and pedestrians pass by.

As fate would have it, I had the opportunity to see the globe at eye level recently, and fortunately I had my camera.

Could you get a better framed detail view? The Hollywood sign AND the globe!

The old RKO studios where bought out by Desilu (“I Love Lucy”) in 1957, then sold to Paramount ten years later. It appears that the Globe was threatened back in 2015. According to the Los Angeles Visionaries Association:

Paramount’s new Master Plan calls for demolition of eight stages and multiple other ancillary buildings. One of the stages intended for demolition is Stage 21 at the corner of Melrose and Gower. The historic RKO Radio Pictures Studio Globe that sits atop Stage 21 is currently slated for demolition.

I’m not sure of the behind-the-scenes status, but I am glad it’s still there!

See more photos at my main website.


Nanook said...

What a stunning shot of the globe and the Hollywood hills-!

Thanks so much for capturing and sharing it-!

Anonymous said...

Darned if there isn't some sort of 'tower and antenna' on the top today. Probably something useful than decorative...and a whole lot smaller to boot! KS

Anonymous said...

And I was doing a little Googling on Street View to realize that just further down Melrose from the Globe corner is the former location of KHJ studios where all of Boss Radio originated. Times of my youth. It is adjacent to the studio and is now owned by Paramount. KS

Kyle said...

Wow, very educational post today, Dave! I had no idea that the globe and radio tower actually existed. I, too, am glad that it still exists, albeit w/out the tower. I agree that the street view with the Hollywood sign in it is beautifully shot. Thank you Dave!

Melissa said...

I'm with Kyle on this one; I didn't know this was a thing until now! I love that they've kept the paint fresh and bright.

The RKO logo always makes me think I'm going to see Fred and Ginger.

Melissa said...

It also reminds me of the giant globe your ride vehicle would go through to enter If You Had Wings.