Reel Culver City
by Marc Wanamaker
The famed Culver Studios at Ince and Washington Boulevards is again slated for expansion, upgrading and renovation.
The new owners, an investment firm, have been slowly repairing and maintaining the studio lot, but now there are plans for a larger program for expansion. The studio will continue to be available to lease for years to come as the eighty-seven-year-old historic studio still continues to be a viable studio facility for today’s filmmakers.
Located at 9336 W. Washington Boulevard, it was originally built as the “Thomas H. Ince Studios” in 1919. Over the years, the beautiful Southern Colonial design of the administration building which fronts onto Washington Boulevard has become an historic landmark, and is universally recognizable.
By 1925, after the death of Thomas Ince, the studio was taken over by Cecil B. DeMille and Pathé Studios. In 1930, Pathé merged with the RKO companies, and the studio became known as the RKO/Pathé Culver Studios well into the 1930s.
In 1935, David O. Selznick signed a long-term lease on the studio and by 1936, it was renamed, “Selznick International Studios,” making such classic films as Gone With The Wind, Rebecca, and A Star Is Born.
When Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball purchased the assets of RKO Studios in 1957 (which included the Culver City studio lot), they named their company “Desilu” and christened the Culver studio as “Desilu Culver Studios.” In 1967, a major portion of the Desliu assets were sold to Paramount Studios. Desilu Culver was later sold to an operating company and re-named “The Culver City Studios.”
In 1986, the Cannett Company purchased the studio and sold it to Sony as a television annex in 1991.
Through the 1990s, the studio was used by Sony Television production, as well as independent films and television shows such as The Nanny (TV: 1993-99), Starship Troopers (1997), Air Force One (1997), Stuart Little I and II (1999-2002), What Women Want (2000), The Lot (TV), and Kill Bill (2003).