ACT II, SCENE I
MR. GROSH GOES TO HOLLYWOOD
Robert Louis Grosh was an exceptional man and a creative talent. Born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1891, Mr. Grosh enjoyed theater and its surroundings. He worked in vaudeville theaters as an assistant and a curtain boy. When he was 16, he worked for Armbruster's & Sons Scenic Studio as an assistant to the scenic artist. Here he worked his way up performing various duties, learning the intricacies of scenic designs and set construction. Armbruster's & Sons Scenic Studio holds the national distinction of being the first scenic design studio in the United States, founded by Mathias Armbruster. Along with his two sons, Armbruster's & Sons Scenic Studio's customers included many well known stage stars.During his time with Armbruster's Scenic Studio, Mr. Grosh earned his journeymen status professionally. In those days, it was necessary for an artist to mix his own paints (see History of Backdrops), which he did by heating the glue on the home stove when working on extra projects evenings and weekends. He would often set up frames in his garage and paint scenes for road shows and conventions. In 1915, he married and started a family. Over the years, the couple raised four sons, who would eventually join the family business. Mr. Grosh worked at Armbruster's Studio until 1926, when the owner of Los Angeles Scenic Studio offered him a five-year contract. Accepting the contract would mean moving to California, so he and his family embarked on their journey to Los Angeles.
ACT II, SCENE II
THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF R.L. GROSH & SONS SCENIC STUDIO
Mr. Grosh served his contract as the Vice President of Los Angeles Scenic Studio, and in 1932, started his business, R. L. Grosh & Sons Scenic Studio at 4114 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Mr. Grosh was an accomplished artisan, having painted backdrops and scenes for stage as well as nightclubs, restaurants, shows and conventions. The family also held great talents in metalworking. This would be a factor in yet another contribution to the industry that the Grosh Studio would make.Technological advancements in film, coupled with Americans with increased personal income and leisure time hungry for entertainment, fueled the fervor in Hollywood. The rising popularity of movies in the 1930's impacted both audiences and the entertainment business. As the industry changes took place, adding the screen to the evolving varieties of live theater and stage created an industrial-financial colossus. The eight major studios dominated the film industry throughout the world. They were MGM, Warner Brothers, Paramount, United Artists, Universal Film Manufacturing Co., 20th Century Fox, RKO and Columbia. R. L. Grosh & Sons Studio worked with them all.