In January 1932, brothers, Dan, Joe, and Ike Greenberg, bought Western Costume out of bankruptcy. The Greenbergs streamlined the business by liquidating the furniture department and many of the larger props and set dressings. They moved the company to a single building at 5335 Melrose Avenue, a prime location adjacent to Paramount Studios. This would be Western’s home for the next 58 years. While the Greenbergs saved the company from obsolescence, the brothers were salvage operators and wanted out of the entertainment business in short order. In 1934 they sold Western to brothers Joe and Abe Schnitzer, who were veterans of the film industry. Joseph Schnitzer had actually been the first president of RKO, and Abe had been a manager.
Western again began to thrive.
In the mid 1930s, Western once again began to thrive. It contained over half a million costumes, 13,000 guns, a huge collection of military medals, suits of armor, and countless jewelry pieces. It also housed the largest research library in Hollywood, a fabric store, on-site laundry, a shipping department, dye works, multiple custom-made workrooms, an embroidery shop, a woodworking shop, a foundry, a paint shop, a leather shop, and various other manufacturing shops. Their sword room became known as the “Holy Smoke” room because of the response it elicited when visitors first entered. They claimed to have a shoe last and measurements for every major actor in the industry.
A new order was placed every thirty seconds.
A new order was placed roughly every thirty seconds, and they had a private connection directly to the Central Casting office so they could begin readying the costumes as soon as a call came in for background actors.
Western’s business was never limited to film.