The Monster in Our Midst – Monster City Studios

Feb 13, 2016 | 2016 Articles, Arts & Entertainment, Laura Sidsworth

by Laura Sidsworth


Stage set

Visiting the huge warehouse complex that makes up Monster City Studios in Fresno was like being on a Universal Studio’s tour. Immediately upon entering the 20K square-foot building, I felt as if I was on a movie set. A jungle-like Indiana Jones theme greets visitors, with a large realistically created elephant’s head emerging from grass and plants against one wall. A scene conjuring up an archaeologist’s work bungalow is staged with two big-as-life cartoon character bad guys. There are offices segregated within the vast warehouse space which look like they too belong to some outback radiating a rustic look and showcasing just a bit of what the studio creates: woodwork hangs as tribal masks, and metal work depicts safari scenes.

The space is neatly divided into six separate work shop areas: metal, wood, molds, foam, sculpting/costumes/props, and a paint shop. The paints, I was told, are the same as used by Disney and cost anywhere from $160 to $300 per gallon! A special piece of equipment bought from a Calgary, Canada company does the 3-D foam sculpting. On the day I was visiting, it was busy tracing out a cobble-stoned pattern that would become the exterior wall for a large castle installment Monster City is creating for a park in Pennsylvania. monster

They were also testing new designs in their animatronics department, and one, a dragon, will be part of the castle scene at the Pennsylvania park. ‘Duke’ will talk and encourage children to take part in drawing out King Arthur’s sword in the display. Along with mechanically and electronically bringing their creations to life, like talking and singing cows for farm tableaus (here, I am thinking Frankenstein), they also add even deeper dimensions by creating game components for their customer’s projects.

In sitting and chatting with President of the company, Richard Deaver, I learned the company motto: “It’s your story…we help you tell it.” Twenty-five talented employees bring stories to fruition, adding fun and excitement to projects as diverse as:


Themed Restaurant Decor

* Restaurant work – both interiors and exteriors.
* All types of retail – such as having the honor of creating Kobe Bryant’s display in Nike’s flagship store in Manhattan, N.Y. Besides showcasing the shoes, the unveiling of Kobe’s entire new line was flanked by M.C.S.’s 12-foot tall winged Nike goddesses.
* Water parks, indoor swim clubs, and family parks – they have done work at our local Playland and Storyland,and are currently working on the new railroad entrance.


At Flagship Nike store, Manhattan NY

The company has done work for the Madera Fair and extensive work for the Fresno Fair, which just received a slew of awards this past year, no doubt related to M.C.S.’s fine work. A past project included building a Queen Victorian inside a children’s discovery center in an indoor mall in Abu Dhabi – in the Middle East!


Swim America
Willow Avenue, Clovis, California

I asked Richard how he gets business and clients from all over the United States and other parts of the world, and he said one key component is attending the International Association of American Parks and Attractions in Orlando, Florida. For the last three years that Monster City Studios has been operating, they have attended this convention, and this past year won first place, ‘The Brass Ring,’ for their children’s farm exhibit. Another way M.C.S. attracts business is via the Internet. This last week alone, Richard traveled to Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and others just to meet and consult with clients/possible future clients about their projects!

I could go on and on about their many fabulously interesting projects, but they will have to be saved for next month’s Part Two: a million-dollar man cave, tree houses, and museum installations!

Monster City Studios
411 S West Ave, Fresno, CA 93706
(559) 498-0540

Laura Sidsworth has published two children’s picture books, Spoiled Pink, & The Treehouse Treasury; both of which can be found in the Fresno Library system, and are available for direct purchase at /


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.