The Ghosts of MGM
17.05.2012 - 17.05.2012 22 °C
Friday 18 May. Rm 734, Santa Monica Doubletree Hotel
Yesterday saw one has to be one of the highlights of this trip - a walking tour of Sony Pictures Studios. Just 10 of us on the tour conducted by a short but loud Jewish lady - a big fan of the movies.
Somehow Sony does not sound as romantic as Paramount or Warner Brothers etc. BUT, when it was formed, Sony bought Columbia Pictures along with Tristar and took the new company to the old MGM studios in Culver City.
Walking the alleys between the sound stages and studios was incredible, thinking of all the famous feet that had walked there before. We saw a sound dubbing studio, the 2nd biggest sound stage in the world, where Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers made their magic and Busby Berkeley made the campest movies ever. We saw the iconic Irving Thalberg building,
the offices of MGM's young production prodigy, as well as the bungalow Louis B Mayer used as his private dining room.
We saw the warehouse where the huge backdrops are stored then climbed up 7 flights of stairs to the top to watch the artists painting new backdrops. We mixed with production crew and artists (but did not see any stars we recognized). We stood on the set of the archetypal American quiz show, Jeopardy.
We then got the car out of the massive studio underground car park (no charge and virtually no security!) and did a meandering drive round the houses of the stars in Beverly Hills, turning right and left as we fancied and wondering at the massive houses and the even more massive bad taste. We cruised up Sunset and down Hollywood Blvds. Saw the beautiful people and many more bag ladies and gentlemen. Greater Los Angeles must have many thousands of destitutes on its streets. Many more than we can recall. Guess that's America!
We did see Elton John driving up Sunset in an old BMW. Well I think it was him. Pretty sure, actually.
Our car, parked in a side street in West Hollywood:-
No food pictures tonight - just to give your gastric juices a chance to recover. But, as mentioned we got free coconut shrimp (John) and southern fried chicken at Bubba Gumps' on Santa Monica Pier.
Today we had another great day round downtown LA and up Hippy Canyon. Read all about it later!
(For the record, Sunset Boulevard was not made at MGM Studios. Couldn't think of another, appropriate quote!).