The first official use of the historic movie backdrops obtained by the Culver City Historical Society from the Motion Picture Art Directors Guild occurred this past summer in a very public manner.
Musical theater workshops are held year-round at Vets Auditorium by dee-Lightful Productions, Culver City’s own theater education program for kids ages 7-17. Involving weeks of work, two plays were presented last summer, presented to large public audiences who very likely had not experienced live performance in several months due to the pandemic.
The season’s inaugural production, “Honk!,” enjoyed added production value when it was performed in front of the Historical Society’s 30-foot landscape backdrop.
Dolores Aguanno, program director of dee-Lightful Productions, produces the workshops. She was overjoyed at the enhancement to their stage setting and noted that the visual quality of the backdrop made all the kids more enthusiastic about the show.
The city motto of Culver City, California, is “The Heart of Screenland,” and this is not hyperbole. During the Golden Age of major movie studios in the 1930s more films were made in Culver City than in Hollywood.
The Historical Society has memorialized this part of our city’s heritage by commissioning a tribute to classic movie posters that brings to life four memorable and popular images of the town’s history:
The landmark Culver Hotel flatiron building was featured in countless Keystone Cops, Laurel and Hardy, and Little Rascals films. The original King Kong was filmed on Culver City’s RKO backlot in 1933. The “Spruce Goose,” the largest wooden airplane ever built and a pet project of eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, was built in what’s now Playa Vista. Lastly, The Wizard of Oz was filmed in 1938 at MGM, the world’s largest film studio at the time.
These iconic events were re-envisioned by talented artist Jason Moser of Hudsonville, Michigan. The first use of the colorful artwork is a full-color, high quality t-shirt now available in the Historical Society’s online shop.