Saturday, September 07, 2013

MGM Studio Backlot, 1970

Today I am sharing a second reel of photos featuring the long-gone MGM backlot in Culver City! To see the first reel (and get caught up on some history), click HERE.

Here's a charming house near a picturesque bridge (known as "Waterloo Bridge"). I'm sure that matte paintings turned that pond into a convincing river in many movies.

This is an interesting angle on what might be some old city fa├žades; they look so good from the front, but from any other direction they are a mess! This structure seems to be deeper than necessary; perhaps on occasion, actors needed to get up to the third story (maybe to wave out of a window).

It's so interesting to me to see these strange little structures, it's hard to believe that they would convincingly represent the Old West (or whatever), but I'm sure that when they were seen on film, the effect was perfect.

This looks like a royal courtyard in France, or maybe Austria. Again, matte paintings could fill in the upper portions of the buildings, although the encroaching trees might make that more difficult.

The detritus of countless movies and television programs, all in pretty rough shape. Not that it mattered at this point, as it was all going to be bulldozed.

More ruins. Imagine being able to explore this place when it was completely deserted! That would be amazing. And spooky.

It's hard to see anything through the trees and shrubs, but it looks like there is a grand suburban house near that stone wall.

There are more reels of the final days of the MGM studio lot if you are interested!


Nanook said...


Thanks for sharing these great color images from Hollywood's finest backlot(s). Again, for those who want the total low-down on this great studio, I can't recommend highly enough: MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot, by Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester, Michael Troyan. It's chock-full of B&W images, maps and great descriptive text.

K. Martinez said...

It's great to see more of your MGM Studio Backlot collection. I absolutely love these. Being a big fan of old Hollywood, these are thrill to see. I'm most definitely interested in seeing those other reels you mentioned. Thanks for posting these Major.

Nanook -

I back your recommendation. I have that book as well and still look through it from time to time. A great book!

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I bought a copy of that book after your recommendation. It's very good, though I still have trouble matching most locations to my photos!

K. Martinez, stay tuned for more!

Nanook said...


I hear ya. I was trying to match your photos with those in the book, and other than "Waterloo Bridge", which you already named, I couldn't figure out the rest, either. (Maybe the next batch-?).

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I wouldn't have known Waterloo Bridge if it wasn't for the book, so it has already come in handy! Imagine being able to explore the backlots back in the 1940's and 1950's when the studio was really going strong.

Nanook said...


Glad the book was a help.

And, yes, I can only imagine how great the lots must have looked back in their heyday. I was pretty overwhelmed when I was able to explore them in 1969/70, when they were fairly close to not 'being' anymore.

outsidetheberm said...

These are great, David. I'd sure enjoy seeing more.

Thanks for the great posts. Still trying to catch up...

Unknown said...

These photos are fabulous, plese do post what others you might have. If you watch the twilight zone you may see a lot of the MGM backlot in the early 60's.
Thank you so much for posting these.
Brett Ray