Saturday, July 20, 2013

CBS Studio Center

So, Studio City . . . besides mosaics, what else you got?

Duh. The name is Studio City. So here are some pictures of CBS Studio Center.

This is part of New York Street. Every studio has a NY Street, right? But I am assured by someone who knows--well, actually, someone who knows someone who met someone who knows--that one of these two fire escapes was in the final scene of Pretty Woman. Yup, one of these two is is the one Richard Gere climbed up to get to Julia Roberts.

I'm told.

CBS Studio Center, btw, was founded in 1928 by Mack Sennett of Keystone Kops fame. He'd been making movies for 15 years and needed a bigger studio, so he bought this former lettuce ranch bounded by the LA River.

Sadly, Sennett declared bankruptcy during the Depression and other companies rented, then bought the studio complex--an outfit made up of about five different film companies, which collectively called itself Republic Pictures.

The picture to the left is there simply because I like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I have no idea what the big LIPS were used for at the CBS Studio Center.

Republic Pictures made lots and lots of Westerns, then they wound down in the late 1950s and the studios became rental property again.

In 1962, CBS was looking for a studio lot on which to film about four hours a day of local programming. They rented the center for five years and put a CBS sign up, then in 1967 they bought the place outright.

One TV show filmed there (among many dozens, maybe hundreds) was Gilligan's Island, and this is the Gilligan's Island lagoon. It was built in 1964, after filming a couple of episodes of the series at Malibu and Zuma beach proved problematic, because of fog.

According to this article in the Los Angeles Times, the lagoon was paved over in 1995--thirty years after the series. Bob Denver recalled that they couldn't shoot in the lagoon until after 9 am, because of the noise of rush hour traffic from the nearby freeway. The huts and other parts f the island were constructed on sound stages.

You cannot tour CBS Studio Center outright, the way you can some other studios. You might get in as an audience member, if you want to see The Talk or a few other shows filmed. You might also be lucky enough to be invited as a guest to a wedding or luncheon or meeting there. Carla's Cafe, the on-site commissary and caterer, does special events and has fabulous food so you'll be lucky on two counts.

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