WHAT DOES ‘POVERTY ROW STUDIOS’ MEAN?

In the 1930s, parallel to Sunset Boulevard was Gower Street, which was where most of the small Hollywood’s studios were located. The budget for their films was so tiny that the street was nicknamed ‘Poverty Row’. Their producers used to sit in front of the entrance to major studios such as Warner, MGM, 20th Century Fox, Paramount or the Universal, and ask for alms from executives coming in and out. When they received an alms, they ran back to their studio and started shooting a movie with that money. A lot of movies where imagination made up for the scarcity of means were released this way. A success story was that of “I have three hands”, a drama film that attained to be screened in 460 theatres across the United States despite the fact that its budget amounted to just some pennies and its cast was entirely made up of relatives and acquaintances of the producer- director-main character, William P. Sowiduby. Sowiduby plays the role of a stockbroker who, as a result of a fall, get a bump on his forehead that gradually grows to become a hand. The unexpected success of this film allowed the studio to produce the musical “I dream of having a broom”, whose songs were all written by Sowiduby himself with the help of a tambourine, and whose dancers and singers were all relatives of him (his mother-in-law died during filming while dancing a foxtrot). The plot focuses on a vacuum cleaner salesman whose greatest ambition is to become a broom salesman and who somehow ends up presiding over a pharmaceutical multinational that he personally takes care of sweeping.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close