These are a couple of old clips from Stembridge Gun Rentals. Enjoy!
Cory Zamora was kind enough to let me know that her book: Gunsmith to the Stars will be released next month. We have had several articles about her Father, Manuel Zamora, who worked for Stembridge Gun Rentals in the early days. I hope to get a copy, and learn a little more about a somewhat connected history.Â Here’s the link via Amazon
A gentleman by the name of Jim Ferguson wrote me last year:
“I was cleaning out a home today and found a box of letters and photos dated in the 1940’s. They were letters to a Frederick T. Dickie at Stembridge gun rentals at Paramount Studios in Hollywood. The photos were of lots of neat guns and of some people whom I asume are related to the gun shop. I guess I’m wondering if anyone is interested in seeing this stuff.”
I wrote back of course, and said yes! Here’s what Jim found!
SHORTLY AFTER THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR, James Stembridge left his East Coast home and went to Los Angeles to seek his fortune. Somewhere around 1913 he met up with Cecil B. DeMille and landed a job helping him make a war movie. Mr. DeMille wanted James to coach the actors on how to act like soldiers and emulate their habits. This led to some steady work and sometime between 1916 and 1920 they recognized the need to accumulate a stock of firearms that could be used as movie props. Thus was the beginning of the Stembridge gun arsenal.
Over the years, James continued looking for and purchasing guns of all make and style and he became the leading armorer for the movie industry. Even though they rented firearms to all the studios, Stembridge Gun Rental was housed in a secure warehouse on the Paramount lot until 1979. The backbone of the business was its manager Fritz Dickie, who reigned from 1927 until 1974.
On Dec. 7, 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbor underway, there was an immediate shoring up of the coastal defenses. On that same day the commander of Ft. MacArthur in Los Angeles called Stembridge and told him that he didnt think there were enough firearms at the fort. Stembridge immediately sent over several hundred rifles and more than 50 Thompson sub-machine guns.
Amazingly, when the war was over, all of the weapons were returned. Can you imagine a government agency being that reliable today? Stembridges contacts with the War Dept. paid off because with demobilization came the disposal of thousands of military firearms and Stembridge acquired enough to stock a movie army at scrap-metal prices.
By the 1980s, Stembridge had more than 10,000 guns in their armory. Unfortunately, the settlement of a family estate forced the sale of 400 of their historic guns, those used by legendary actors. Publishing magnate Robert Petersen bought them for his personal collection. Now his estate is auctioning them as noted in the article preceding this one.
The Stembridge Gun Rental is still in business and is operated by Syd Stembridge, grand-nephew of the founder. But times have changed. Many studios are using model guns now that can fire blanks designed to give a cinematic flash. Providing customized blank cartridges has long been a big facet of Stembridges business.
Most of this information was provided to Firegeezer in a personal interview with Syd Stembridge.
(article from Bill Schumm’s website: http://firegeezer.com/2007/06/04/stembridge-gun-rental/#more-274/)
* Received some new items from CorlettÂ Zamora this evening, who is looking for information on her Father, Manuel Zamora. Here’s a card that had her fathers name mentioned. If you have any information about Manuel Zamora, please leave a comment below so we can be in touch! Thanks!!!
a collection from their PAST…
Stembridge Gun rentals of Hollywood, California, was formed in about 1920 by James Stembridge and Cecil B. DeMille to supply guns to the movie industry.
The company is still in existence and is currently being run by Syd Stembridge whose father was the nephew of the founder. (Contact information BELOW)
Make A Wish A few months back a friend of mine, Scott Hodges, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Scott, a gun collector and enthusiast, had read with enthusiasm an article in GUNS Magazine, about Stembridge Gun Rental (Oct. ’98). He was hopeful that he could regain his health and make the trek to Southern California to tour the facility.I subsequently contacted Harry Lu at Stembridge. What happened next was truly amazing. Just two weeks before his death, Scott had the thrill of his life. With assistance from Hospice of the Valley, Harry Lu, along with his wife and three children, loaded an RV with his collection and drove to Phoenix..On a lovely Saturday afternoon, Scott and several of his fellow volunteers from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department,
were treated to a rare showing of weapons that have graced the silver screen. The day Scott spent with Harry Lu brought his family many happy memories they will always cherish.Chrystie HeimertPhoenix, Ariz.
A good resource for learning about how some of the Hollywood Blanks made by Stembridge Gun Rentals were used!
10007 .30-06 BY CHRIS PUNNETT – Superb reference for anyone interested in any type of cartridges. 384 pages, hardbound loaded with illustrations of cartridges, and boxes from makers all over the world. Great information including much historical data on the companies that made the cartridges. as well as details on the unbelievable number of variations that exist in this popular collecting specialty. Extensive coverage of U.S. military variations alone is worth the very modest price of this great book.
Title page autographed by the author.
FREE SHIPPING IN U.S.! $59.00
If you would like information on a Stembridge Gun Rental Gun… or anything related to Stembridge Gun Rentals,Please write or call Sydney at the following:
also, here’s a neat article written by Bill Schumm about Stembridge Gun Rentals, and it’s history.