Piccadilly Pictures Limited
By the mid 1920s, Michael Balcon's Gainsborough Pictures was increasing its production schedule but lacked dedicated studio space. In June 1926, Balcon announced a corporate restructuring of Gainsborough and Piccadilly Studios Ltd was set up primarily to help facilitate the purchase of the Islington Studios from Famous Players-Lasky.
At the same time, Piccadilly Pictures Limited was founded by Balcon and American actor/producer Carlyle Blackwell. They became the joint managing directors of the company, with C.M. Woolf becoming the chairman.
According to Balcon, the negotiations to purchase the studios took place between Famous Players-Lasky's J.C. Graham and Balcon's accountant, Reginald Baker, and had a surreal quality:
- Graham: Yes, I am willing to sell the studio. I want £100,000.
- Baker: We have a surprise for you, Mr Graham. We can only raise £14,000.
- Graham: Well, I have an even bigger surprise for you ... I am going to accept your offer.
- Baker: Today is full of surprises, Mr Graham. We shall have to spread our payments — £2,000 a year for seven years.
Notes & References
- London's Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years (2014) by Gary Chapman, chapter 10
- Michael Balcon Presents a Lifetime of Films (1976) by Michael Balcon