We Lived In The Poor Man's Hollywood

God gave us memories that we might have roses in December. ~J.M. Barrie

Growing Up In Movie Land!

I grew up within a mile of where some of the biggest movies of all time were made! Our next door neighbor was a head cameraman for MGM and later DESILU so we got to see a lot of the inside workings of the studios!

The exteriors of most Hollywoodstudios are notoriously plain, typically resembling large industrial plants. CulverStudios is the exception to that rule; its exterior facade is a grand colonial mansion, a virtual copy of George Washington's Mount Vernon, fronted by sweeping green lawns, sculpted hedges, flowering rose bushes, and the picturesque white "mansion" itself. Without doubt, this is the most attractive of all moviestudios, and one that is clearly visible to everyone driving down Culver City's Washington Boulevard.

King Kong   Rebecca   Zenda   Since You Went Away   Notorious

MGM Was Blocks From My Childhood Home

MGM In 1924, theater magnate Marcus Loew had a problem. He'd bought Metro Pictures (founded in 1916) and Goldwyn Pictures (founded in 1917) to provide a steady supply of films for his large theater chain, Loews, Inc. However, these purchases created a need for someone to oversee his new Hollywood operations, since longtime assistant Nicholas Schenck was needed in New York to oversee the theaters.

Loew addressed the situation by buying Mayer Pictures on April 16, 1924. Because of his decade-long success as a producer, Louis B. Mayer was made a vice-president of Loews and head of studio operations in California, with Harry Rapf and the twenty-five year old "boy wonder" Irving Thalberg as heads of production. For decades, MGM's legal name was "Loews, Inc."

The Original Stages Were Started In 1922

Culver City 1922 Originally, the new studio's films were presented in the following manner: Louis B. Mayer presents a Metro-Goldwyn picture, but Mayer soon added his name to the studio. Though Loew's Metro was the dominant partner, the new studio inherited Goldwyn's studios in Culver City, California, the former Goldwyn mascot Leo the Lion (which replaced Metro's parrot symbol), and the corporate motto Ars Gratia Artis ("Art for Art's Sake").

Also inherited from Goldwyn was a runaway production, Ben-Hur, which had been filming in Rome for months without producing much usable film. Mayer took charge of the situation by scrapping most of what had been shot and bringing production back to Culver City. Though Ben-Hur was the most costly film made up to its time, it became MGM's first great public-relations triumph, establishing an image for the company that persisted for years. Also in 1925, MGM passed Universal Studios as the largest studio in Hollywood—a lead it kept for most of the next quarter-century.

Culver City

Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 38,816. The community is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles but also has a border with unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The current mayor is Alan Corlin.

Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a significant center for motion picture and later television production, in part because it was the home of MGM Studios. It also was the headquarters for the Hughes Aircraft Company from 1932 to 1985. National Public Radio West and Sony Pictures Entertainment now have headquarters in the city.




Everything Must Change; My Stomping Grounds Are Gone!

In the late 1960s, much of the MGM back lot, 28 acres (113,000 m²) of the "back forty" was sold. In 1976, the film sets on the property were razed to the ground to make way for re-development. Today it is known as the southern expansion of the Hayden Industrial Tract.