Parks MGM Studios, c.1935-36 Studio Tour, Lots 1 & 2

Step right up, folks, for a ride never before offered in all of time:
Come take your classic realistic authentic Hollywood Studio Tram Tour through MGM Studios!

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Come see the MGM Studios in all their mid-1930's heydays!

The studio's Lot 1 complex dates back to 1915 when Thomas Ince, D.W. Griffith, and Mack Sennett were wooed by Harry Culver to create Triangle Studios for producing silent films. The lot changed hands and expanded as Goldwyn Studios in 1918, and finally being purchased by Marcus Loew in 1924 for merging into Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, growing to 44 acres total.

Lot 2 was a gravel pit, purchased from a Loew's co-founder in 1927, and MGM, who quickly filled the pit with the bulk of tarry sands of La Brea Tar Pit excavations and many of Triangle's and Goldwyn's older sets, and expanded its property lines through 1939, eventually holding 37 acres. They also had a much larger Lot 3 nearby, with an additional four other backlots for housing animals and transportation vehicles.

Our two lots sat east-west across Overland Boulevard from each other, however in my version, I used Culver Boulevard as a common road to fit them within a Planet Coaster square gamefield.

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Of all the lost old Hollywood studios, the most heart-breaking are the backlots of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer of Culver City as they were dismantled into 1970s housing subdivisions. However, over decades, they were also the most photographed and remembered. Based off the excellent history book "MGM: Hollywood's Greatest Backlot" by Steven Bingham, Stephen X Sylvester, and Michael Troyan, my Planet Coaster theme park includes a complete Lot 1 front office, soundstages, and small original backlot; and closely-accurate backlot Lot 2 tram tour - one never offered in real life - based off mid-1930s photographs, drawings, and movie sets, both from their tome and across the internet.

Parts of our studio are still under construction, but has proceeded far enough for public viewing.
Reminder that it is a Sandbox park, and is not yet balanced for guest nor employee comforts.
To follow and subscribe: Brett's MGM Studios Park

In time, I'll be detailing importance of many of the buildings, soundstages, and standing sets.
Or, putting my old cinema degree to good use. Cheers, brett

PS - The Trams are too wide.
They cannot fit through the historic studio gates. We apologize for the explosions.

PPS - Lot 1 of the original MGM Studios is currently owned
by Sony Pictures Entertainment, throughout the known universe. All rights reserved.
 
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The Roof Sign.
The Thomas Ince / Triangle Studios broadcast their location from atop their Wardrobe Building. The sign was built in 1915, changed to read Goldwyn Studios with his Leo the Lion logo from 1918 to 1924, then to Metro-Goldwyn Mayer.

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When Stage 6 was built, the sign was moved from the Wardrobe building's roof.
 
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The Thalberg Building.
The Irving Thalberg administration building was built and completed in 1937-1938. It is a prime example of flexibility in building a mid-1930s theme park of a working movie studio, as for the most part, I'm trying to stick to a 1935-1936 cut-off, however some soundstages may contain sets from excellent productions outside this era. The Thalberg building has been important to lot history.

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Built by L. B. Mayer for himself and his stable of producers, this gleaming white structure was noted for all of its many corner offices. His executive offices previously were in the front gate adjacent Lion Building which contained the historic columnated arcade along Washington Boulevard.

The Lion Building.
Dating from the very beginnings of Ince's constructions, named after Goldwyn's mascot, with Mayer on the first floor and Thalberg on the second, and later the Publicity department, it was a continuous power center of the studio from 1915 to being torn down in the 1990s.

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Today, the Lion Building is gone, but the columns and gate remain.

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The Casting department moved frequently and, might be closed to you right now, but beware! as the security office continuously patrols the gates from their shack upon the right side of the main gate. Occasionally one might see Thalberg or other producers racing across the skybridge from their offices to the executive screening rooms.

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This grand entrance was seldom used once larger production trucks no longer easily fit the older narrow streets.

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There were times when L.B. Mayer would pause on Thalberg's Bridge of Sighs, and contemplate the stars and the real power that came through his gates below.

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With the Casting and Security departments at the gate with the producers in the Lion building, then looking past the screening rooms and editing rooms, and across to the Wardrobe building, Purchasing, Accounting and finance departments that stretched down the block, and with the east gate just beyond and the cafeteria across, this was an elevated view into the nerve center to everything the studio produced.

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However, most studio workers would stay at street level their entire careers, like these...

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...as they pass a multitude of editing rooms on their way back to Wardrobe and Personnel.


(thank you, wowman! that's cool)
 
Once past the Security gate, if turning right, a endless row of stacked dressing rooms ran along Washington Boulevard facing what was three glass stages of Triangle Studios, or two combined stages during the Goldwyn years, all set amongst a small field of grass. By the mid 1930s, the stages were relocated as the Mill buildings, and the dressing rooms faced a interlocking complex that made up the studio's new audio facilities. They could dress hundreds or thousands in a day if needed.

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For the first time visitor, the front lot could be a confusing warren of activity without a map.

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Some buildings' and soundstages' roofs are being heavily renovated.
 
The Front Lot.
Comparison between the 1930s and 2020.

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Survivor buildings from the early studio years in Yellow and Purple.
(Happy to correct any tour information too, hoping i'm representing right, but very possible that structures were reskinned.)

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