Wednesday, November 22, 2017

When a Wrong Makes a Right

As I was driving home from Venice Beach, I thought I knew which way to go and rather than rely on any navigation, I went with intuition. It wasn't long before I realized I had probably gone the wrong way. Still, my intuition was spot on, as I realized I was approaching the former MGM studio gates! I had never been through Culver City so this was a first. Of course I had to park the car and get out the camera.

Yes, yes, I know that it's no longer MGM but rather Sony Studios. Still, the building definitely bears the hallmark of its original occupant. Check out those lions on the light fixtures!

I have no idea what the rainbow beyond the gate was, but I can guess it must have had something to do with "The Wizard of Oz" which was shot here back in 1938.

Back in the car, I next found myself in front of the former Selznick Studios. This iconic building can be seen at the beginning of every Selznick picture, including "Gone with the Wind." Many have mistaken this as the fa├žade for Tara.

Then I saw signs for the Culver Hotel, where the Munchkins (according to myth/legend) ran rampant during the filming of "The Wizard of Oz."

How about this marquee for the Kirk Douglas Theatre?

Obviously, I need to come back!

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Major Pepperidge said...

The Helms Bakery sign at night is a neat, historic L.A. artifact... it would make a good photo on your next visit!

Chuck said...

I had a similar experience 20+ years ago - took a wrong turn, stuck in traffic, looked over and unexpectedly found myself staring at the former Selznick Studios. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera and never made the effort to go back.

Thankfully, you had yours with you...and you're willing to share. Thanks again for your generosity!

Anonymous said...

Nice photos, Dave. :)

Regarding the rainbow art installation at Sony, it was the long-delayed result of the studio’s 1988 agreement to comply with a Culver City public arts program. Sony had promised to join the program as part of the switch-over from MGM. The rainbow was unveiled in October of 2012 with the claim that the artist, Tony Tasset, was paying homage to "The Wizard of Oz."

A fair amount of derision was directed toward Tasset as his rainbow’s arc of coloration is the opposite of an actual rainbow (red on top; violet on bottom). I have little doubt Tasset collected his commission from the $1.6M project and cried all the way to the bank!

The rainbow makes shooting some exteriors on the lot more difficult as it often needs to be painted out of the sky—and its shadow can cause problems at certain times of day. Oh, well…

Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for putting so much effort into the site!

Anonymous said...

Now that I look more closely, I see the colors have been reversed since the 2012 unveiling and the rainbow now depicts the correct arc coloration. Score one for physics! ;)

Daveland said...

Major - I will be back and check out Helms!

Chuck - There is no parking near by; I had to take the shot from my car!

Anonymous - Many thanks for the info on the rainbow!

Anonymous said...

Dave, these are amazing. Things I had no inkling still existed. Put me down as one more who thought that the studio headquarters was the plantation. Great information.