National Velvet House Lot #2
Salem Village Lot #3
M-G-M STUDIOS 1979/80
In the background you can see the bordering housing
development that MGM was soon to join
Photo Credit Todd Spiegelberg
Photo Credit Todd Spiegelberg
Photo Credit John Divola
By SCOTT EYMAN "The Lion of Hollywood"
Published: July 10, 2005

In the summer of 1944, when he looked out his window on
the third floor of the Thalberg Building, Louis B. Mayer saw
a studio - his studio - that covered 167 acres. Lot 1
encompassed seventy-two acres, housed all the thirty
soundstages, office buildings, and dressing rooms, the
seven warehouses crammed with furniture, props, and
draperies. Lot 2 consisted of thirty-seven acres of
permanent exterior sets, including the town of Carvel, home
of the Hardy family, and the great Victorian street from
Meet Me in St. Louis. Here was the house where David
Copperfield lived, there the street where Marie Antoinette
rolled to the guillotine.

Lots 3, 4, and 5 were used for outdoor settings - the jungle
and rivers that provided the backdrop for Tarzan, much of
Trader Horn, the zoo that provided the animals, including
the lion that heralded each and every
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film. Connecting everything was
thirteen miles of paved road.

From ''Lion of Hollywood''/Simon & Schuster
Louis B. Mayer, right, with Irving Thalberg, the ''boy
wonder'' who was MGM's omnipotent production
executive until his heart attack in 1932, and Norma Shearer,
Thalberg's wife.
In periods of peak production, which was most of the time,
the studio had six thousand employees and three entrances
to accommodate them - the gate between Corinthian
columns on Washington Boulevard; another one farther
down Ince Way; and a crew gate on Culver Boulevard,
where the workers punched time clocks.

MGM owned forty cameras and sixty sound machines.
Thirty-three actors were officially designated stars,
seventy-two actors were considered featured players, and
twenty-six directors were under contract. "Anywhere from
sixteen to eighteen pictures were being shot at one time,"
remembered actress Ann Rutherford. "They were either
shooting or preparing to shoot on every soundstage.... You
could stick your nose into any rehearsal hall or soundstage,
and it was just teeming with life."
Photo Credit Paul Marks 1976
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