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  • 1913 Heart of Screenland

    Harry Culver had a dream. The Nebraska-born real estate developer longed to establish his own thriving community and cultivate his interest in the budding movie industry. Culver got his chance in 1913, choosing a piece of land halfway between downtown Los Angeles and the sea. One day, Culver observed famous filmmaker Thomas Ince filming a western on the banks of Ballona Creek. Fascinated as he watched Ince direct, Culver soon persuaded him to move his successful studio from the beach to Washington Boulevard. Culver City, "The Heart of Screenland," was off to an auspicious beginning, as was the realization of Harry Culver’s dream.

  • 1915 The First Studio

    Culver City’s first studio began to take shape in 1915 with the construction of a colonnade, the impressive entrance to the newly formed Ince/Triangle Studios, facing Washington Boulevard today. 

  • 1918 Triangle Studios up for Sale

    Ince stayed just long enough at his namesake studio to construct stages and an administration building, then sold his shares to his partners and moved his operation down the street to what would later become The Culver Studios. By 1918, Triangle Studios was up for sale, attracting the attention of movie producer Samuel Goldwyn.

  • 1919 Goldwyn Pictures

    In 1919 Goldwyn took over the studio, added eight more stages and buildings, then was ousted before the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer merger took place in 1924, the same year Columbia Pictures was born in Hollywood.

  • 1924 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

    Under the reign of studio chief Louis B. Mayer, whose surname would be formally added to the studio in 1926, MGM rapidly grew to six working studio lots totalling more than 180 acres. The main lot resembled a city within a city with its own police and fire departments, telegraph and post office, and a 16,000-gallon water tower. All the backlot amenities necessary for moviemaking were on site: sawmill, electrical, paint and lock shops, wardrobe, make-up, property, lighting and camera departments.

  • 1924 Thalberg in charge of Studio

    Louis B. Mayer was close to his brilliant head of production, Irving Thalberg, who had been placed in charge of the studio at the age of 24. Called a “boy wonder” because of his studio success at such a young age, his sudden death in 1936 shocked the industry.  Two years later, a new million-dollar administration building built on the lot was named in his memory.

  • 1930 Stage 15

    During MGM’s expansion, the existing glass-walled stages, built to maximize the natural light required for early film technology, were replaced by sound stages -- 28 stages during Mayer’s tenure. Stage 15 was the largest in the world at that time, while Stage 30 featured a large, underground tank that was used for filming scenes in water, such as in Esther Williams’ famous aquatic movies.

  • 1936 MGM's Golden Age

    In its heyday, MGM released 50 films a year with a payroll of over 5,000 employees. The talent under contract to the studio included Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy and Joan Crawford, as well as an impressive list of child stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland.

  • 1950 MGM in the 1950's

    Mayer continued to manage the studio, making such notable movies as GRAND HOTEL, THE THIN MAN, MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY and The WIZARD OF OZ. Production Chief Dore Schary gradually assumed power, replacing Mayer in 1951. Even though MGM started producing television shows in the 1960s, the studio could not sustain the wild success it experienced during the “Golden Age of Hollywood.”

  • 1969 Auction of MGM Studio Lot

    The studio was sold to Kirk Kerkorian in 1969 and much of the studio was sold throughout the early 1970s. An auction was held on the spot where Dorothy had once skipped down the Yellow Brick Road. Lot #2, where SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, NATIONAL VELVET and GIGI were made, was dismantled. Lot #3 was sold as land for housing. The monkey farm, plant nursery and antique car lot were sold for commercial development.

  • 1980 MGM merges with United Artists

    MGM merged to form MGM/UA in the 1980’s. By 1986, Turner Broadcasting had purchased United Artists and its impressive film library. The main lot became Lorimar Telepictures. MGM moved across the street to the modern Filmland building until its move to Santa Monica in 1992.

  • 1990 Sony Purchases MGM Lot

    In 1990, Sony Corporation purchased Columbia Pictures Entertainment and the former MGM lot, later renaming the company Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) and the studio, Sony Pictures Studios. Soon major renovations were underway to turn the property into a state-of-the-art facility. SPE became known throughout the motion picture and television industry as a model for preserving the studio’s legacy.