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Universal's 1924 Phantom of the Opera Set is on the Move

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The huge expansion and redevelopment at Universal City and Universal Studios is moving right along and now comes news (and some outrage) that it's going to require the demolition of one of the oldest soundstages on the lot—Stage 28—but the studio plans to preserve the 90-year-old set inside, says Variety. Created for the original 1925 Phantom of the Opera, the gorgeous set built to look like the inside of a Parisian opera house has been used in several film and TV productions since, including Dracula with Bela Lugosi, The Sting, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and a very meta episode of Knight Rider in which David Hasselhoff investigates a phantom on Stage 28 that's messing up a film shoot—possibly in a nod to rumors that the real Stage 28 is haunted by the cape-wearing ghost of Lon Chaney, the original movie Phantom.

The preservation of the set will be a "multimillion-dollar" effort, according to Universal, which is in the process of trying to find a museum or like organization that will take and house the set—they've talked to people at AFI, Hollywood Heritage, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (about its future movie museum). However, they estimate that 50 percent or less of the set is the original 1920s construction work, as some sections were altered between the 1930s and 1960s. Regardless, it's still very impressive, as can be seen in some more modern pictures, taken in 2010. A demolition date for the soundstage hasn't been set yet and all the asbestos inside will have to be removed before it can begin.