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Keeping the movies moving

Laura Sturza

If the trucks stored at Desmond’s Studio Production Services could

talk, they would have plenty to tell.

Inside the 450 mobile dressing rooms, special-effects trucks and

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other industry vehicles stored on the company’s 13 acres, the world’s

biggest stars and crews have changed clothes, argued, slept and eaten

meals that ranged from fast food to five-star.

Company president Don Desmond does not own the vehicles and

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equipment stored on his lot, but leases space to business owners from

cities including Burbank and Glendale. Those businesses send out

their vehicles to location shoots in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“You’d think this was a studio lot some days, it’s so busy here,”

Desmond said.

Desmond, 78, left the Army in 1946 to work in the construction

department at Warner Bros. on films including “Giant.” He went on to

become a transportation coordinator for various TV series, such as

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“Roots.”

His business opened in 1976 and is the largest facility of its

kind in Los Angeles, Desmond said.

Jeff Renfro runs Burbank’s High Noon, which leases mobile dressing

rooms to production companies and studios. He said that most people

have no idea how dependent the industry is on vehicles -- which allow

shooting to move from one location to another.

“The facilities are next to none in the world,” Renfro said of

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Desmond’s lot and its proximity to the studios, airport and freeways.

Desmond’s will relocate later this year from the land it leases

from the Sun Valley side of the Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport to

other land owned by the airport in Burbank.

The company is expanding to 15 acres, and Desmond expects it will

continue to grow to 25 acres.

Sale of the Sun Valley property to Voit Development Company

precipitated the move and will benefit Burbank’s tax base --

airport-owned land generates tax revenue only when it is leased to an

outside vendor, Desmond said.


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