Archive for August, 2014

Stage 28: A different kind of theatre preservation

Stage28-1Much has been written in this blog about the loss of older movie theatres, despite attempts to preserve them. Many movie palaces of the twenties, representing the finest period of construction, have been lost. Now a different kind of theatre is in danger of being destroyed, one with a long movie history… and it’s not even real.

Stage 28, at Universal Studios in California, is under threat of being torn down. Most people know it as the Phantom Stage. The building was constructed as a permanent stage in 1924 for the Lon Chaney vehicle, The Phantom of the Opera. Key to the interior was a full-size opera house. The opera set remains, much as it did in 1924, and has been used in countless other movies such as The Sting, Psycho, Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera (both 1925 and 1943 versions), Jurassic Park, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, Charade, and many others. It was last seen as the theatre in The Muppets.

Stage28-2aPlans were announced to tear down the stage for theme park expansion. The response so far indicates that the Phantom Stage is an icon to the lot, with two petitions already in place to save the structure.
Below are links to additional articles about the stage and what can be done. Most importantly, here are the links to two petitions to halt the destruction of Stage 28. The first is a request for National Historic Landmark status through with the goal of 100,000 signatures by September 25. The second, a Care2 petition, aims for 10,000 signatures with a less specific goal to “save the historic Phantom Stage from demolition.

Please sign up if you feel any passion for the movies. Few structures have lasted this long and have this much history behind them.


Please sign: National Historic Landmark status for Stage 28

Care2 petition to save the Phantom Stage from demolition


Here are additional articles and blogs about Stage 28:

Stage28-4The Studio Tour: Universal Studios Hollywood Stage 28 – The Phantom Stage

Inside Universal: Historic Soundstage 28 Set To Close

Variety: Universal to Demolish ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Soundstage, But Preserve Silent Film’s Set

The Nitrate Diva blog: Save the Phantom Stage!







Cinema Houston celebrates a vibrant century of movie theatres and moviegoing in Texas’s largest city. This weblog is a companion to the Book, Cinema Houston: From Nickelodeon to Megaplex (University of Texas Press, 2007), and website,

David Welling is a Houston-based writer, artist, and graphic designer. His lifelong interest in movies (and the places that show them) led to the writing of Cinema Houston, which included fifteen years of research, and its subsequent website.