Universal Studios is a famous movie studio located in Universal City, California, founded in 1912 by Carl Leammle. The company is known for its legacy of inventing the modern day horror film genre (beginning with its 1931 movie versions of the horror novels Dracula and Frankenstein), and has also produced numerous classic films such as Jaws, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, The Birds, The Blues Brothers and others. The studio is part of the media conglomerate NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast, and which also operates theme parks located in Hollywood, California, Orlando, Florida, Osaka, Japan and Sentosa Island, Singapore.
Universal's TV division, Universal Television, began operations in 1950 as Revue Productions (becoming Revue Studios in 1958) and has also been known as Universal Studios (after the parent company), Studios USA, Universal Network Television, NBC Universal Television and Universal Media Studios. It created many classic TV shows such as Leave It to Beaver, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bachelor Father, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Dragnet, Adam-12, Emergency!, Columbo, Battlestar Galactica, Magnum P.I., Knight Rider and The A-Team. Its TV syndication division, NBCUniversal Syndication Studios, originated in 1951 as MCA Television and also operated as Universal Television Enterprises, Universal Worldwide Television, Universal Domestic Television and NBCUniversal Television Distribution at various points.
On June 1, 2008, a fire which broke out in the backlot of the Universal Studios film studio and theme park destroyed more than three acres of the backlot (including the theme park attraction King Kong Encounter) and several studio buildings and led to the destruction of 40,000 to 50,000 archived copies of digital video and film in Universal's film and TV library (but not the master prints, which are kept elsewhere), as well as between 118,000 and 175,000 audio master tapes and discs owned or distributed by Universal Music Group (including the entire catalogue of AVI Records and portions of the catalogues of Chess Records, Decca Records, MCA Records, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, A&M Records, Impulse Records and their subsidiary labels, totaling as many as 500,000 individual tracks). The loss of the audio tracks was not disclosed until a 2019 New York Times article which reported that the damage from the 2008 fire was far worse than had been claimed by UMG, which went on to dispute the claims made by the Times and downplay the amount of damage from the fire, which led to a class action lawsuit filed against UMG by a number of artists affected by the fire.
- ↑ Universal Fire in 2008 Estimated to Have Destroyed 500,000 Iconic Master Recordings at Billboard.com
- ↑ When a fire destroyed a vault of song recordings 11 years ago, Universal Music Group went into crisis mode and downplayed what amounted to 'the biggest disaster in the history of the music business'