Batmobiles, Gremlins and 'Matrix' Villains: Inside Warner Bros.' Chamber of Secrets (Video)
An exclusive peek into the studio's warehouse where "Corpse Bride" puppets and letters from Bruce Lee are minded by archivist Leith Adams, who is retiring after preserving Hollywood history for nearly 40 years.
This story first appeared in the Oct. 25 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Welcome to Warner Bros.' very own Batcave. The 128,000-square-foot facility, hidden in a faceless Sun Valley, Calif., corporate park, is home to the Warner Bros. Corporate Archive, which houses decades' worth of costumes, props, scripts, correspondence, memos and animation art -- almost anything to do with a Warners movie and, more recently, a Warners-made television show, is saved and stored here.
The man behind this chamber of secrets is Leith Adams. For the past 22 years as the Corporate Archive's executive director and, for 14 years before, manager of the Warner Bros. Archive at USC, Adams and his team of eight have been collecting and preserving everything from letters between William Faulkner and Jack Warner to costumes from such movies as The Matrix and, yes, The Adventures of Pluto Nash.
Adams visits active productions and looks for important objects that he deems worth saving, based on years of experience. About to gut a building on the lot? Call Leith. Tearing down a set? Call Leith.
But on Halloween, Adams, 66, will retire. "What he leaves behind is a culture that values our history; that values how we will be seen 100 years from now," says Barry Meyer, Warners' outgoing chairman. So on a crisp October day, as he prepared to hand the reins over to Barbara Hall, a 14-year veteran of the Academy, Adams invited THR inside his rarely seen vault.