The search for Tim Burton took us to four Hollywood studio archives, five independent production company collections, and four private lenders, exposing us to an interesting variety of archival situations. Studio archives are traditionally housed on the lots where their films and television programs are shot, or, if their collections are large enough and the demand great enough, in off-lot research centers and warehouses. When we visited Twentieth Century Fox and the Disney Corporate archives, we got to stroll the studio grounds, and we were hoping for a glimpse of a production in progress through the open door of a soundstage—readers who can recall Paul Reubens on a bicycle being chased around the Warner Bros lot at the end of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure (1985) will have a picture of the craziness we were expecting. But as it turned out, the lots were as quiet as an empty office park on summer weekends. Disney’s Animation Research Library is a sleek facility away from the studio, and the Warner Bros storage site is located in an industrial area. At each we were assigned teams of archive specialists who showed us carefully preserved art and film props. Half of the Los Angeles area sites we visited were in Tim’s hometown of Burbank, CA, which he used as a muse for such early films as Edward Scissorhands (1990) and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), so we made a particular point of soaking up the atmosphere of that city. Read more
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