Kennedy-Solow Residence

Kennedy-Solow Residence
Kennedy-Solow Residence, photo by Charles J. Fisher, 2007

Kennedy-Solow Residence, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #923

Built: 1926  Declared: 07/02/2008

This residence is a two-story Monterey Style structure that was designed and built by H. Cedric Roberts, who was to become one of the major developers in the Post World War II housing boom that transformed Southern California into the megalopolis that it is today. Roberts was to bring many innovations into the housing business that were to transform the building of homes into the mass market that it is today. Sidney Solow, a major behind-the-scenes player in Hollywood in his roles as president of Consolidated Film Industries and Vice President of Republic Pictures, owned and lived in the house from 1944 until 1955. Solow was important as both an innovator on developing the fast turnaround on film processing that helped to make television work in the early days. He was also known for giving breaks to new producers who were working on shoestring budgets, which resulted in the rise of such independent producers as David Wolper, who later produced both the miniseries “Roots” as well as the spectacular pageantry for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

The house is an early work by the contractor Hugh Cedric Roberts, who was to become one of the most influential home builders during the construction boom that came to Southern California after World War II. Roberts was responsible for many innovations, including the first all-electric model home. Roberts was also active in the various contractors’ organizations, serving as President of the Building Contractors Association of Southern California in 1939, which was the first of a number of positions held in the industry over the next 3 decades. Although the first owner-occupant of the home, Louis H. Kennedy, was there for 18 years, between 1926 and 1944, there does not appear to be much information available on him. However, the second owner, Sidney P. Solow, had a major part in the behind the scenes of Hollywood movie-making as well as the coming of age of the television industry. Born in Jersey City, NJ on September 15, 1910, Sidney Paul Solow was trained as a chemist at New York University. He went to work with “Consolidated Film Industries” 1932 and relocated to Los Angeles in 1936, as the firm’s chief chemist. In 1940, he co-produced a short documentary on the processing of movie film called “The Alchemist of Hollywood”. Today the movie is important as a historical source of how film was produced at the time, as well as the earlier, slower techniques. By 1942, Solow was named general manager of Consolidated in 1942 and went on to become the company president years later. Under Solow’s watch, Consolidated was the major innovator of film production, with the development of a quick turnaround film processing that made production of “dailies” possible. This innovation enabled studios to considerably shorten their production time, which became even more critical in the early years of television. Solow was the recipient of two Academy Awards for his innovations, in 1964 and 1977. He also taught a whole new generation of cinema processors as an instructor at USC. Solow’s innovations were much of the foundation for the growth of the modern film industry After World War II. Under Solow, Consolidated Film Industries was at the cutting edge of the movie industry. Solow passed away suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 74 on January 2, 1985.