Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Feel free to discuss any topic related to the Mitchell Camera. Both 35 mm and 16 mm models are welcomed here. Also consider posting topics of other major motion picture cameras that you feel are important to the development of the Mitchell Camera. Feel free to upload a photo from the option on each new post.
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Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 10:03 am

Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by mitchellbnc » Tue Jul 29, 2014 2:11 pm

Hello Members. Many of you will remember this great series on TV back in the day called Industry on Parade. Each week they featured a 30 minute special featuring manufacturing in America. In this episode, they stop by the Mitchell Camera Corporation factory! This is a wonderful peek behind the scenes as we tour the factory floor.


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by Guest » Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:18 am

Dear administrator. I may be no genius with computers but I'm not bad. What ever I do, I can't get your video to play. I've tried different browsers and plug ins but to no avail. I would really like to see the Mitchell factory floor in this vid. Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong? - Randy

Posts: 57
Joined: Wed May 15, 2013 10:03 am

Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by mitchellbnc » Mon Aug 25, 2014 10:56 am

Hello members. My apologies to those who cannot view the video. The problem is that your browser must have the correct Java plug in to watch this movie embedded in this thread. The original video link appears below and does not require the special browser plug in. So feel free to click on it and have a look.

Just a warning regarding length however, it is 10 minutes longer because it covers additional topics other than the Mitchell Factory. Ours is the shorter version. So when you see the "test shot" of the family playing with the dog - you can stop watching unless you are enjoying watching the entire segment of the "Industry on Parade." I watched it very Sunday as there wasn't much else on back in the day when there was only 3 TV channels. ... 0_23_56_23

Theodore Wilhelm administrator


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by justinwizard » Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:18 am

Everyone: my favorite part of this historic movie is when they feature the guy at his workbench as he fine tunes the Mitchell movement. In a phone conversation with Martin Hill 4 or 5 years ago, who as I remember lived a few blocks away from the Mitchell factory. Martin told me he used to walk into the factory and hang out and subsequently got to know the machinists. He told me each machinist built a single Mitchell camera from start to finish and that person had his own assigned workbench with all his own tools. I don't know the name of the person in this shot but I can only imagine how many Mitchells he must of built.

Be well,


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by lolly » Wed Sep 03, 2014 2:02 pm

Gang, the story about Martin Hill hanging out at the Mitchell Factory is pure gold. Wish I could of walked the factory floors like he did. My research on the old Mitchell Factory shows that their first address was:

665 N. Robertson Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA

Here is a newspaper article and a photo of the original building:
factory-newspaper.jpg (30.31 KiB) Viewed 38604 times
mitchell factory 1930.jpg
I assume the clipping is correct and that the 1929 building was their first factory. Further research shows they added a new wing at that location in 1941. When they moved to their new facility referenced below, the old site became the Veteran Salvage Depot. It was damaged by fire in 1951 and then became a furniture factory. By the 1960's it was completely abandoned.

In 1946, they moved to:

666 W. Harvard St.
Glendale, CA

A brochure made the announcement:


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by Max128fps » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:40 pm

Hello lolly. A very nice little piece of detective work that you did there. I would of been incredible to see 20 or so Mitchells being assembled, each at their own workbench and more or less, custom made to order.

Your last photo from the brochure is indeed what we see on the Industry on Parade video. That brings a real big smile to my face.
There's no denying that it has the same roof line as the 666 W. Harvard St. brochure location reference. And there is no mistaking it for the less modern factory location in the first photo at 665 N. Robertson Boulevard.

I can almost make out the front door in the orange brochure and sync it with the video grab below. Heck, you can even see the 666 West Harvard address above the door in said video!
So Mr. Lolly, I have one more research challenge for you. Can you find the factory address and perhaps a photo of the location before 1929! Now there's some Mitchell research that might take you awhile.

With greatest respect,


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by oldprodp » Thu Sep 04, 2014 3:47 pm

Great work lolly, I enjoyed reading about the history of the factory locations and interesting photos too. I think Max may have set a pretty high bar for you regarding his research request.

Wilson, the oldprodp


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by 35mmKing » Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:52 am

Very interesting topic and great research here by our Mitchell crew.

I found that in 1942 (shortly after they moved into their new building) that the Mitchell Camera Corporation had 74 employees working at the factory. The majority were machinists who were 53 strong. I do not know of each one of them had their own workbench with a Mitchell being constructed at each station. More likely is that some of those 53 machinists may have been assigned to general parts machines. There were also 2 clerks, 3 draftsmen, 3 watchmen, 4 engineers, 3 foremen, 1 supervisor, 1 general manager and 1 repairman.

Now back to their former structure at 665 Robertson Boulevard that they moved into in 1929 and left in 1941. I found a picture of the fire that occurred in 1951 when it was the Veteran Salvage Depot. You can make out the familiar (and I must say somewhat unusual) roof line on the right.

That is all.

mitchell robertson salvage depot fire 1951.jpg


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by yoyo29_monica » Fri Sep 05, 2014 1:02 pm

Gentelman: Time marches on and I found this tid-bit while searching for more information on the 665 Robertson Boulevard address. Apparently, the 1929 location became a very popular gay nightclub named "The Factory." Reprinted here, is a story from the blog at
factory today 2.png
The Factory nightclub today
Gay history: West Hollywood’s The Factory Nightclub used to be a manufacturing facility

Today, crowds stream through the doors of Ultra Suede at 661 N. Robertson Dr. near Santa Monica and dance the floors of The Factory at 652 N. La Peer Dr. Both entrances are to a single building that West Hollywood knows simply as The Factory. But before it became known for manufacturing ecstatic nightlife, The Factory was an actual factory and used for a number of other things.

The building is a simple box with two small branches, one at Robertson and one in the middle. It is split into multiple floors on the inside and is basic, big, open and raw. It fronts on two streets with entrances on all sides, an unusual feature that has helped it remain viable through the years. That’s because this huge building with its blank exterior can be divided into a jigsaw puzzle of independent spaces and never needs to commit to being just one big thing.
This chopped up quality makes piecing together its story more complex. Parts of the building come alive and others die off independently of the others. Uses overlap, and hiding in every corner are rumors of what might have gone on. Some of these rumors are true, while others are fabrications accepted by many as common knowledge.

The Mitchell Camera Company built The Factory in 1929 to manufacture motion picture cameras. Mitchell cameras were the workhorses of Hollywood studios for decades. The company was owned by a Chicago group with Williams Fox, namesake of the Fox entertainment empire, holding a 50 percent stake. Mitchell Camera thus found itself in the middle of many of Fox’s legal and territorial battles with other studios and manufacturers.

Mitchell’s cameras were so popular that the company decided to increase its production capacity, adding a wing to its Robertson Boulevard factory in February 1941 that extended it to La Peer Drive on the opposite side of the block. In December of that year the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into World War II. Much of the country’s manufacturing resources were adapted to the war effort and some believe the Mitchell Camera factory was reconfigured to produce the notorious Norden bombsight. Members of the Norden Retirees Club raised doubt on whether bombsights were ever produced at The Factory.

One of the most closely guarded secrets of World War II and the most expensive after the Manhattan Project, a Norden was the bombsight used on the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the atomic bomb that annihilated Hiroshima. By 1945 the production of Norden bombsights was stopped, superseded by more accurate radar technologies.
It has been difficult to locate any evidence that Norden bombsights were produced at The Factory. Members of the Norden Retirees Club identified New York and Connecticut as the primary manufacturing areas and raised doubt about a West Hollywood bombsight factory. The timeline and context does not rule out the possibility, but the idea that Norden bombsights were manufactured in West Hollywood remains little more than rumor.

Mitchell Camera decided to move to Glendale after the war in 1946. The West Hollywood factory then became the Veteran Salvage Depot, a processor of military salvage. There is little on record about this facility, but it made the LA Times in 1951 when a fire damaged it and adjacent factories. The building subsequently became a furniture factory but was abandoned sometime in the 1960s. In 1967 the factory finally said goodbye to its life as a factory proper and became “The Factory,” a buzzing center of the Los Angeles club scene.

Turning the abandoned furniture factory into a nightclub was the brainchild of Ron Buck, a lawyer, architect and artist who bought the space in 1967 and transformed it into the most exclusive of invitation-only nightclubs. His investors, also club regulars, included Hollywood director Dick Donner (of “Salt and Pepper,” “Superman,” “Lethal Weapon” and “The Goonies”), Peter Lawford (of the Rat Pack), Anthony Newley, Paul Newman, Peter Bren, Jerry Orbach and Pierre Salinger. Some believe The Factory was owned by Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack, but a 1967 LA Times article titled “Swinging Shift Runs The Factory” clearly describes it as Buck’s venture and lists his investors with no mention of Sinatra or the Rat Pack beyond Lawford, whose presence likely sparked the rumor.


Monica of Tarzana


Re: Mitchell Factory Video Tour - Industry on Parade

Post by lolly » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:42 pm

Hello to everyone and thank you for pushing me harder with efforts to research the Mitchell Factory.

Also, thank you to new member Walter, who saw my post and sent me this clipping from the 1923 American Cinematographer magazine where they announced that they would be moving to a new factory! However, we have previously seen that the ground breaking did not occur until 1929 at the 665 N. Roberston location. I can only assume that the moved a little slower than the announcement indicated as it would of taken them 6 years to actually do it.
1923 announcement of new factory
But my big news is that according to another ad that Walter posted, they list a current address for 1923! That means, I think: that I have meet the challenge by Max128fps.

So the following address just may be their very first factory location (circa 1923):

6025 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA


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