At the zenith of the mania for corporate buy outs, M-G-M Studios fell victim to just such a takeover. The company was
bought out by corporate raider Kirk Kerkorian, who auctioned off the studio's prized possessions, and sold 38 acres of
the studio's legendary back lots to housing developers. (Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" fetched
$15,000, while the Cowardly Lion's costume went for $2,400.) Historic sets were leveled. He funneled the money which
he drained from the studio into construction of the giant M-G-M Grand hotel in Las Vegas.
M-G-M, the company, still exists in a new skyscraper in Century City, but stripped of both its historic Culver City
studio lot and most of its former glory. The vast movie empire that was once M-G-M is no more. In the 70's and 80's,
M-G-M essentially stopped making movies. In 1979 Kerkorian issued a statement saying that M-G-M was primarily a
After acquiring United Artists in 1981 (thereby becoming MGM / UA), the company's film library was bought out by
media mogul Ted Turner in 1986 for his cable TV channel. (He started colorizing many of the BW films over the
objections of film purists.)
On a grey November day in 1986, the M-G-M sign (and its lion logo) was removed from atop the Culver City studio.
The Great MGM was No More.
**Since first buying a controlling stake in MGM from Edgar Bronfman Sr. for $82 million in 1969, Kerkorian has sold MGM twice: to
Turner, for $1.5 billion in 1986; and Italian mogul Carlo Paretti, for $1.4 billion in 1990. He bought the studio back twice at bargain prices.
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