Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Culver City, California
Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a major center for motion picture and later television production, in part because it was the home of MGM Studios. The city is now home to the headquarters facilities for National Public Radio West and for Sony Pictures Entertainment.
Culver City was founded by Harry Culver in 1913 and the city was incorporated in 1917. The first film studio in Culver City was built by Thomas Ince in 1918. In the 1920s, silent film comedy producer Hal Roach and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) would build studios in Culver City. During Prohibition, speakeasies and nightclubs such as the Cotton Club lined Washington Boulevard near the studios; as with West Hollywood to the north, their presence was a major factor in the city's resistance of annexation by Los Angeles.
The Heart of Screenland
Hundreds of movies and TV shows have been filmed on the lots of Culver City's movie studios. The Wizard of Oz (In fact, the "Yellow Brick Road" is still inside the lot on Stage 27 of Sony Studios), The Thin Man, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Rebecca, the Tarzan series, and the original King Kong all had extensive filming in Culver City. More recent films made in Culver City include Grease (The "Stranded at the Drive-In" sequence with John Travolta was filmed at the Studio Drive-In on the corner of Jefferson and Sepulveda, the first Drive-in Theatre built in California. It served as a set for many other films, including Pee-wee's Big Adventure. The Drive-in was closed in 1993, and was demolished in 1998.) Raging Bull, ET, City Slickers, Air Force One, Wag the Dog, and Contact. Among TV shows filmed on Culver City sets, Mad About You, Lassie, Batman, The Andy Griffith Show, and the Alex Trebek TV game show Jeopardy.
Although the city is mostly unremarkable, its streets should be very familiar to most Americans. Due to its proximity to the movie studios, the city's streets have been featured in countless films and TV shows. Since much of the architecture of the residential areas of the town have not changed in decades, the nostalgic sitcom "The Wonder Years" filmed many of their outdoor scenes in the neighborhoods of Culver City which easily passed for the 1960s. The 1970's show "CHiPs" also featured many non-contiguous chase scenes through the streets. The Nicholas Cage film "Matchstick Men" featured many scenes at Culver City's Veterans Memorial Park (which was also featured in the opening scenes of the sitcom "Valerie"/"Valerie's Family"/"The Hogan Family").
The history of the town is beginning to be recognized. 2004s "The Aviator" featured several mentions of Culver City which has a long history with the eccentric Howard Hughes, including housing Hughes Airfield.
Bing Crosby, Jimmy Durante, John Ford, Rita Hayworth, Bela Lugosi, "My Three Sons" Fred MacMurray, "Honeymooners" star Audrey Meadows, former Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley, Gia Scala , Sharon Tate, and Lawrence Welk are among the celebrities buried at Holy Cross Cemetery. http://www.hollywood-underground.com/holycross.htm
Jack Benny, Max Factor, singer of "When a Man Loves a Woman" Percy Faith, Detroit Tigers baseball legend Hank Greenberg, Lorne Greene, Al Jolson, Michael Landon, Vic Morrow, yippie Jerry Rubin, and Dinah Shore are buried at Hillside Memorial Park. http://www.hollywood-underground.com/hillside.htm
Decline of the Studios (1960s & 1970s)
In the 1960s, much of the MGM back lot (28 acres of the "back forty") was sold off to build condominiums and gated townhouse communities. The decline of neighboring South Central Los Angeles brought gang and narcotics problems to Culver City in the 1970s, and for some time Culver City (especially the city's eastern end) was considered a relatively undesirable area.
Rebirth of Downtown (1990s & 2000s)
However, in the 1990s, it launched a successful revitalization program in which it renovated its downtown as well as several shopping centers in the Sepulveda Boulevard corridor near Fox Hills Mall. Around the same time, the relocation of Sony's motion picture operations to the former MGM studios at Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue also brought much-needed jobs to the city. Although property crime is still an issue (as in most areas of Los Angeles), Culver City is now a diverse, prosperous middle-class community.
The influx of multiple art galleries to downtown, all within walking distance of one another, prompted the New York Times in 2005 to praise the new art scene and call Culver City a "nascent Chelsea."
Since the early 1980s, plans had been in the works to begin light rail service from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City on the former Pacific Electric Railroad right-of-way along Exposition and National Boulevards, but lawsuits by Cheviot Hills residents over noise issues had delayed the project for a quarter-century.
Groundbreaking is planned to finally begin in 2006, with the rail line completed to Culver City by 2010. Current plans call for a 9.6-mile line serving the University of Southern California and Exposition Park, and extending along the Metro-owned Exposition right-of-way from the existing Metro Rail station at 7th/Metro Center in downtown Los Angeles to Venice/Washington in downtown Culver City. http://www.mta.net/projects_plans/exposition/default.htm
- Sunkist Park
- Federal Park
- Carlson Park
- Hayden Tract
- Culver Crest
- Rancho Higuera
Points of Interest
Museum of Jurassic Technology - An offbeat museum that is home to many bizarre relics and strange exhibits. Described by AOL City Guide as "what might have happened if Edgar Allen Poe and P.T. Barnum decided to have a garage sale, but then decided to call it a museum"
Tito's Tacos - This mexican fast food location is perhaps the most well-known place to eat in Culver City
Culver Hotel - A 1924 landmark pie slice-shaped hotel in downtown. Much of the cast of The Wizard of Oz stayed here during filming of the movie in 1939. The hijinks of that period including the hotel being taken over by the "munchkins" was featured in the 1981 movie Under the Rainbow. Formerly owned by John Wayne, the hotel has housed many stars including Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Red Skelton, Buster Keaton and Ronald Reagan.
Sony Pictures Plaza - This unusual, cantilevered building was featured as the headquarters of Wolfram & Hart, the demonic law firm that was the chief nemesis in the TV Show "Angel". The building is located right across the street from the main gate of Sony Studios. at 10202 W. Washington Blvd.
The city is surrounded by the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Mar Vista, West Los Angeles, Palms and Beverlywood to the north; Westchester to the south; the Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights unincorporated areas to the east; and the L.A. neighborhoods of Venice and Playa Vista to the west, along with the unincorporated area of Marina Del Rey.
The major geographic feature of Culver City is Ballona Creek , which runs northeast to southwest through most of the city before it drains into Santa Monica Bay in Marina Del Rey.
Culver City is located at 34°0'28" North, 118°24'3" West (34.007761, -118.400905). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.3 km² (5.1 mi²). 13.2 km² (5.1 mi²) of it is land and 0.1 km² (0.04 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 0.39% water.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 38,816 people, 16,611 households, and 9,518 families residing in the city. The population density is 2,932.9/km² (7,589.8/mi²). There are 17,130 housing units at an average density of 1,294.3/km ² (3,349.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 59.24% White, 11.96% Black or African American, 0.71% Native American, 12.02% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 10.16% from other races, and 5.69% from two or more races. 23.70% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 16,611 households out of which 26.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% are married couples living together, 12.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% are non-families. 34.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.31 and the average family size is 3.02.
In the city the population is spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 82.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $51,792, and the median income for a family is $61,451. Males have a median income of $46,683 versus $41,478 for females. The per capita income for the city is $29,025. 8.6% of the population and 5.5% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 12.1% of those under the age of 18 and 5.1% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
- Official Culver City Website
- Culver City Chamber of Commerce
- City of Culver City
- Culver City Unified School District
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