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Research Library, 1950s
Following the stock market crash, Western Costume was sold to the Greenberg brothers who streamlined the operation. They moved the business from downtown Los Angeles to Hollywood, directly adjacent to Paramount Pictures. In 1934, veteran filmmakers Joe and Abe Schnitzer purchased Western, and business boomed.
Western employed some of the best artisans from Europe in its workrooms. Boasting an overall staff of around 250, a new order came in every 30 seconds. Western had become such an indispensable resource in the industry that in 1943, six major film studios jointly bought the company, keeping the Schnitzer's as managers.
The shift to a more realistic style of filmmaking in the post-studio era meant that Western was no longer making as many extravagant gowns or period costumes. As the studios began to sell their wardrobe departments, Western bought them, ensuring that they would remain a critical resource for customers in the decades to come.
Business slowed as tastes changed, but Western remained a major player in the costuming industry. Wanting to expand its lot, Paramount purchased the company in 1988, then sold the business—but not the land—to the AHS Trinity Group. The new owners had a month to move the massive enterprise to a new location in North Hollywood.
In the past 30 years, Western has adapted to the changing and modernizing film industry. President Eddie Marks implemented a barcode system to quickly and easily track rentals, and he has purchased eight private collections of vintage clothing to enhance the already extensive rental stock.
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