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Metro Goldwyn Mayer


lknowlen
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Hudson,

 

What were the boundaries for Lot 2?

 

From Kyle's latest photo, it looks like Lot 2 was behind the studio on the south side. It's been awhile since I have been down to Culver City.

 

When I first got to the City of Angels back in the mid-70s, some of the Lot 2 (I think it was Lot 2) was still there. There was a huge frame that had torn bits of canvas flapping in the breeze that you could see as you approached.

 

I do remember the condos and such around Jefferson Blvd where the streets are named for MGM movies.

 

That's a great developers ploy. Yeah, we're going to tear it all down for housing and it won't ever look the same but we'll pay tribute to it by naming streets after it.

 

Seems to work more often than not.

 

I wish TCM would do a comprehensive documentary on the destruction of MGM studios and the infamous auction and selling of the back lots. It's touched upon in *When the Lion Roared* but it really deserves it's own documentary.

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Just For Fun -

 

Selznick / Culver Studios Administration Bldg.

SelznickPictures1935

 

Culver Studios Lot

Labelled ca. 1925

CulverStudios_ca1925

 

*Accompanying Description from the LAPL* -

Aerial view of Ince Studios or the Pathe Exchange Studios (also known as Culver Studios) located on 9336 Washington Blvd. in Culver City. An elegant convertible is parked in front of the Colonial style building. Less elegant cars are in the street. Formal gardens front the Colonial Revival building that houses the offices, behind which are the actual studios. Culver City is still rural at this time; an orchard faces the studio on the left.

 

The Selznick Studio was part of the Thomas Ince Studio and which Ince actually used as a movie set. It was then converted into an office building by Cecil B. DeMille during his independent years, and in 1935 it became the Selznick International Studio. In the 1950s, the lot was sold to Desilu productions. The studio was planned by Meyer and Holler of the Milwaukee Building Company and completed ca. 1918.

 

Name changes: 1919-1924, The Ince Studios; 1925-1928, Path? Exchange Studios; 1928-1935, RKO Studios; 1935-1948, Selznick International Pictures; 1948-1955, Howard Hughes Studio; 1955-1957, General Tire and Rubber Company; 1957-1968, Desilu Studios; 1968-1969, Perfect Film and Chemical; 1969-1977, Culver City Studios; 1977-1986, Laird International Studios; 1986-1991, The Culver Studios; 1986-, Sony Corporation.

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Chief,

 

One of the last glass-roofed stages from the silent days is said to still exist on the old Selznick lot.

 

In the 1980s, it was home to Grant Tinker Productions.

 

If I recall one of CK's many, many infomercials, it is now for sale.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> Hudson,

>

> What were the boundaries for Lot 2?

>

> From Kyle's latest photo, it looks like Lot 2 was behind the studio on the south side. It's been awhile since I have been down to Culver City.

 

Lot 2 was immediately to the west of the main lot, across Overland Ave. It didn't have frontage on Washington Boulevard, but began immediately behind the commercial buildings on that street. It was the last of the backlots to be sold off and, during my first trip to L.A., I spent a couple of lovely afternoons in the summer of 1978 on the Andy Hardy Carvel Street/New York Streets (there were many of those)/London Street/Small Town, USA/English Village Sets. I had the whole place to myself, making it kind of agreeably spooky (one of my favorite "discoveries" was the facade that had housed "del Floria's" Cleaners that served as the secret entrance to U.N.C.L.E. headquarters in the classic 1960s spy TV series).

 

> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> Anybody know why they needed glass-roofed stages in the silent days?

 

It should be obvious: without need for the soundproofing that would come with the application of the microphone's tyranny to the art and craft of picture-making, in the early-mid silent era, films usually used natural sunlight for illumination, even for indoor sets; it was only later that artificial lighting gradually took over as producers, directors and cinematographers began to understand the dramatic possibilities inherent in controlled, artificicial lighting. That change-over resulted in the various studios having to construct their own electrical power substations, as the local utilities couldn't supply power in the amounts, and amperages, that all that arc lighting required. Even though stage illumination is a lot cooler and more efficient than it was back in those days, those substations endure and can still be seen on the studios' lots.

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> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote}

> Anybody know why they needed glass-roofed stages in the silent days?

 

Probably to let a lot of light in. Film was very in-sensitive back in the early days, and they needed so much light in the 1910-1920 era, they shot many ?indoor? scenes outdoors, on stages that had a floor and three walls but no ceiling or roof and no front.

 

A few years ago TCM aired an old Western from around 1918 that showed the inside of the headquarters office of a Cavalry post, with an officer working at a desk, and we could see wind blowing paper around on the desk. Finally the officer placed a bottle or something on some of his papers to keep them from blowing off the desk. The desk was supposed to be indoors.

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> {quote:title=Hudson_Hawk wrote:}{quote}

> It should be obvious: without need for the soundproofing that would come with the application of the microphone's tyranny to the art and craft of picture-making, in the early-mid silent era, films usually used natural sunlight for illumination, even for indoor sets; it was only later that artificial lighting gradually took over as producers, directors and cinematographers began to understand the dramatic possibilities inherent in controlled, artificicial lighting. That change-over resulted in the various studios having to construct their own electrical power substations, as the local utilities couldn't supply power in the amounts, and amperages, that all that arc lighting required. Even though stage illumination is a lot cooler and more efficient than it was back in those days, those substations endure and can be seen on the studios' lots.

 

Yup. That's more or less what I guessed, but I was hoping someone more knowledgeable than I could help me confirm it.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> Also, too, wouldn't the glass roofed stage provide a softer, filtered type of light (sort of like a sky-light does today) rather than direct, harsh sun-light

 

If the glass was white-washed, which it probably was.

 

There were other ways to let a lot of natural light in, without the light being direct sunlight, such as large north-facing ceiling windows.

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Hudson Hawk wrote:

<< That change-over resulted in the various studios having to construct their own electrical power substations, as the local utilities couldn't supply power in the amounts, and amperages, that all that arc lighting required. Even though stage illumination is a lot cooler and more efficient than it was back in those days, those substations endure and can still be seen on the studios' lots.>>

 

Wasn't that *expensive?* I keep wondering about the present day windmill power generators and said to myself, couldn't this have been done back then? Its one of those simple ideas that stares you straight in the face and one could say, "why didn't we thought of that before?". After all the Dutch have been using windmills for centuries.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Here is one great example, the image below: On a hilltop in Rutland, Vermont, "Grandpa's Knob" wind generator supplied power to the local grid for several months during World War II. The Smith- Putnam machine was rated at 1.25 megawatts in winds of about 30 miles per hour. It was removed from service in 1945.

 

*Smart IDEA !!*

wind-tower-circa-1940.jpg

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> Wasn't that *expensive?* I keep wondering about the present day windmill power generators and said to myself, couldn't this have been done back then? Its one of those simple ideas that stares you straight in the face and one could say, "why didn't we thought of that before?". After all the Dutch have been using windmills for centuries.

 

Making movies is expensive. And the idea of erecting giant windmills anywhere inside a major metropolitan area would meet with a deafening outcry of unmovable opposition now, just as it would have decades ago.

 

Too bad, really, as the Warner Bros. lot is perfect for them, since the wind flowing up the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood into the San Fernando Valley creates a perpetual gale on the southern half of the property, especially right by that big concrete ditch laughingly called the L.A. River (as the line in one of the studio's best '50s movies, THEM!, goes, "I remember when it had water in it...once").

 

They could even re-paint the water tower to read, "Windmill Bros."

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> {quote:title=Hudson_Hawk wrote:}{quote}

> Making movies is expensive.

 

Making movies _the Hollywood way_ is expensive, no doubt. But that's because Hollywood moguls also want to make money, and it takes money to make money.

 

Inexpensive, independent filmmaking has been around for a long time, but more often than not, those who make inexpensive movies get caught up in the system to one extent or another. Just like Robert Rodriguez, whose first movie reportedly cost $15,000 to make, and was just as entertaining (maybe more) than many of Tinseltown's multi-million dollar extravaganzas.

 

In other countries, the government sometimes subsidizes film production - but we all know that would never happen in America.

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Hey Chief,

 

Having fun at the Library? I surely do appreciate your "rummaging through the stacks".

 

I love the WBros lot pictures. Looks they tore up most of their backlot (as HH said) in the 1950s to expand the studio.

 

I'm wondering if what looks like some sort of tree line at the back of the property in the 1958 picture is where Columbia was housed when it shared the lot with WBros in the 1970s?

 

The Burbank Studios! Hah! We always just called it Warners even though a friend of mine worked for Columbia at the time.

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Here is a link to some great photos of MGM's backlots.

 

Link: http://travel.webshots.com/album/551635824cCiQUB?start=0

 

Enjoy

 

Also does anyone know what happened to the large sign on top of one of the stages that said

"METRO GOLDWYN MAYER" in 1988 it was moved to the new admin building across the street but that's the last I know of the large sign.

 

Message was edited by: lknowlen

 

Message was edited by: lknowlen

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*"The Burbank Studios! Hah! We always just called it Warners even though a friend of mine worked for Columbia at the time."* - lzcutter

 

Well, I wasn't trying to be cute or amusing. I was only trying to differentiate between the studios in Burbank and the WB studios in Hollywood because WB had studios in Hollywood proper too, right?

 

Funny thing to note. The Logo'ed Warner Brothers photo proclaims "The World's Largest Motion Picture Studios". I think there is a photo of Paramount Studios from the 50s that announces it to be "Hollywood's Largest Motion Picture Studio".

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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*Well, I wasn't trying to be cute or amusing. I was only trying to differentiate between the studios in Burbank and the WB studios in Hollywood because WB had studios in Hollywood proper too, right?*

 

No worries, I didn't think you were being cute or amusing, I usually know when you are. :)

 

Some people may not realize that Columbia and WBros shared a lot together in the 1970s.

 

And yes, Warners had a presence in Hollywood as well at the old Samuel Goldwyn/UA lot where the Formosa Cafe still stands today. That was called Warners Hollywood so you couldn't confuse it with the main lot in Burbank.

 

The brothers Warner originally started out in Hollywood in the old KTLA building on the east end of Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. That original building was torn down about 15 years ago I think.

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> Too bad, really, as the Warner Bros. lot is perfect for them, since the wind flowing up the Cahuenga Pass from Hollywood into the San Fernando Valley creates a perpetual gale on the southern half of the property, especially right by that big concrete ditch laughingly called the L.A. River (as the line in one of the studio's best '50s movies, THEM!, goes, "I remember when it had water in it...once").

 

Wasn't there a bit of water in it in the car chase scene at the end of *Roadblock* ?

 

Although, my favorite quote about old LA would probably be from the Traveltalks short "Around the World in California", where the sonorous tones of James FitzPatrick inform us that Los Angeles has a population of "several thousand Mexicans". There's also the complete lack of traffic.... :-)

 

null

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}

> Hey Chief,

> I'm wondering if what looks like some sort of tree line at the back of the property in the 1958 picture is where Columbia was housed when it shared the lot with WBros in the 1970s?

 

There's an area at the east end of the studio, fronting on Lima Street, that's called "The Jungle," filled with dense vegitation -- glades, trees, brush, dirt roads and a few artificial ponds. It's been used for all sorts of productions, including TV series such as Fantasy Island and The Waltons. While some newer construction has encroached on it a bit, Warner's should be credited for allowing such valuable acreage to be underused like this (although they did tear down Laramie Street, the last really good western set left in Hollywood, six years ago).

 

 

> {quote:title=Fedya wrote:}{quote}

> Although, my favorite quote about old LA would probably be from the Traveltalks short "Around the World in California", where the sonorous tones of James FitzPatrick inform us that Los Angeles has a population of "several thousand Mexicans". There's also the complete lack of traffic....

 

All those "Mexicans" had probably been imported to serve as extras in VIVA VILLA!. At the end of the day, please return all sombreros and serapes to the Wardrobe Department.

 

Message was edited by: Hudson_Hawk

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