by Martha & Sol Sigall, Vice President, Museum/ARC

As the year 2009 comes to a close, we wish to thank all of our members who have added to the stature and growth of the CCHS Archives & Resource Center (ARC).

We have been so fortunate to have had many interesting visitors throughout the year, and we are grateful for the many donations of historic value that we have received for our Archives.


Our longtime member, Maxine Mytar, whose career in Culver City movie studios spanned 47 years, has generously donated numerous items including a lovely scarf worn by Greta Garbo in a movie in which she starred. Maxine’s son Randy painted a beautiful water color of the Culver Hotel, which he also donated for the city’s 90th Anniversary. Look for both the scarf and the painting which are on display in the Archives.

Another member who has helped us tremendously is David Pelayo, who worked at MGM for many years.

David furnished us with production lists containing movie titles and film credits. These lists will be enormously helpful in identifying the many production photos in our collection.

The Hahn Family continues to contribute historical materials. Bill Hahn donated his recently completed work, A History of Boy Scout Troop 61, from 1934-1941.

Special thanks to Steve Rose and the Culver City Chamber of Commerce, for donating a very special lighted MGM lobby piece, and to CCHS President Stu Freeman, who was able to find someone to get it back in service!

And we are particularly grateful to third-year college student, Rita Lugo, who is writing a paper on the movie industry and Culver City, and who volunteered time at the ARC during her research. It’s wonderful to have the next generations appreciate our work.

As you know, the ARC is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month, and by appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon – and, if you have some time to give, we need volunteers to sort and catalog our many treasures.

We wish all of you a “Happy New Year,” and our hopes that you and your families and friends will continue to add to the success of the Culver City Historical Society Archives and Resource Center. And we are so happy to welcome the very talented and techno-savvy new Vice President, Museum/Archives: Winston Gieseke. He’s sure to do some great things!

ARC Update Fall 2009

An ARC Update .….

by Martha & Sol Sigall, Vice President, Archives


This past summer, the ARC has been visited by many special people and special groups, beginning with our Annual Picnic & Summer General Meeting. We had a large turnout for the picnic at Vets Park on July 15th, and most of those who attended also came to see our archives.

It was such a pleasure to host a group of students from our sister-city, Kaizuka, Japan, on July 28th. They were joined by host students from Culver City – totaling 23 students in all!

Vicky Mircheff Wells, who headed the 40th Reunion Committee of the Culver City High School class of ’69, brought her mother, Zena Mircheff, to see our archives. She also brought a $75 check, courtesy of the Reunion Committee, which we appreciated so much.


The Woman’s Club of Culver City held their own picnic in Vets Park on August 10th. Julie Lugo Cerra and Cathy Zermeno joined us to open the archives for these long-time residents to see and enjoy. There were so many favorable comments as well as wonderful shared recollections and memories.

Julie also took Myrna Rivera Cote, Superintendent of Culver City Schools, on a tour of the city which concluded at the ARC. And, on another occasion, she did the same for Gwenis Laura, Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services. Our historical Society has a continuing relationship with the Culver City School District, and we hope to have more school students come and avail themselves of the unique history of Culver City.

To help celebrate the Fiesta La Ballona, we displayed some of our memorabilia commemorating past Fiestas, going back as far as 1951. We were so pleased that so many people who attended this year’s Fiesta visited the ARC and purchased so many of the items that we have for sale.

We also want to thank Paul Pitti for his generous donation of his collection of dolls based on the classic film, Gone With The Wind. These will be on display at the ARC.

And for those of you who were unable to view the Fred Parrish Collection of stills from Gone With The Wind at the CCHS “Celebration of the Movies II,” the collection will be on view at the ARC through December 13, 2009.

As you know, the ARC is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month, and by appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon – and, if you have some time to give, we need volunteers to sort and catalog our many treasures.

ARC Update Summer 2009

by: Martha and Sol Sigall, Vice President, Archives


A very welcome and surprise guest was Culver City’s former Director of Parks and Recreation, Syd Kronenthal, who came with CCHS member Ross Hawkins. President Stu Freeman and Julie Lugo Cerra had the pleasure to greet him and hear his favorable comments. Due to Syd’s formidable efforts through the years, our Society has acquired many important memorabilia and artifacts.

Sonny and Pat Clapp, who just celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, visited the ARC recently. Pat, a founding member, modeled an MGM costume in one of our early fashion shows.

Paul Pitti, a long-time CC resident and CCHS member stops by the ARC often. He always has interesting stories to share about the Pitti family and their connection to Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.

We had a special opening of the ARC on June 20th for the 40th reunion of the Culver High Class of 1969, and will open for student guests from our Sister City of Kaizuka, Japan on July 28th. It’s always such a pleasure to have these special visits.


We had a full house recently for a book signing by Michael Sragow, movie critic for the Baltimore Sun, who wrote the book, “Victor Fleming: An American Master.” It was so interesting to learn about the accomplishments of the well-known director, who directed Gone With The Wind and Wizard of Oz.

He also showed an amazing 1919 clip of Fleming’s directorial debut – which was filled with unique and early special effects! Joining him were Mickey Kuhn and Patrick Curtis, who appeared in GWTW when they were very, very young. Sally Fleming, one of Victor Fleming’s daughters, was also a special guest. A very lively Q&A session followed.

Those of you who were there could attest to the enjoyment of that afternoon On June 22nd , the CC City Council was scheduled to take action on Historic Preservation programs. We will discuss this more at the Picnic meeting.

As you know, the ARC is open on the first and third Saturdays of each month, and by appointment. We look forward to seeing you soon – and, if you have some time to give, we need volunteers to sort and catalog our many treasures.

NOTE: The ARC will be open for visitors following the July 15th Picnic/Meeting – but, remember, NO FOOD allowed!!!


An ARC Update…

by Martha and Sol Sigall, Vice President, Archives


We’ve enjoyed a lot of activity in the ARC recently!

CCHS Life Member Steve Fry has agreed to take over the duties associated with Oral Histories. He is transcribing some great tapes that tell the history of our community from many personal stories we’ve had in the archives. He also taped the January General Meeting which featured the Parrish Family – four generations of Property Masters – as our guest speakers. Thank you, Steve!


One of the visiting groups we hosted recently came from the Wende (pronounced Vende) Museum – “a museum and archive of the Cold War.” Justin Jampol brought staff and interns to learn about the community in which they are located. It was a pleasure to give them an overview of our local history, which was very well-received.

The Wende, a little-known but fascinating historic resource, is tucked away in Fox Hills at 6741 Buckingham Parkway. Their entry boasts the largest intact piece of the Berlin Wall. They are open to the public on Fridays from 10 am to 5 pm. We are glad to have the Wende join us in Culver City – a great addition to our cultural resources.


Former Culverite Milly O’ Shea, who visited the ARC when she was in town with her sister last year, came back and brought her husband, Dennis. Vacationing at the historic Culver Hotel, Milly took Dennis on a personal tour around her home town. They enjoyed our new exhibits, and we are delighted they are also new members of the Society.

CC Councilman Andy Weisman stopped by and had a fine time looking through the many historical documents and artifacts that we’re now able to display. A great big THANKS to Andy who donated our bookshelves which are coming in hANDY!

Make sure you stop by to take a look at the vintage newspapers on display. We are currently featuring one from July, 1928, and the pages will be turned often, reflecting our city’s history from 90 years ago!

Our exhibits are changed with new events, anniversaries and, sometimes, just the seasons! Costume Chair Louise Coffey-Webb has displayed a Civil War costume in keeping with our celebration of the classic 1939 movies like Gone With The Wind.

We look forward to seeing you soon – and, if you have some time to give, we need volunteers to sort and catalog our many treasures.

An ARC Update…

by Martha and Sol Sigall, Vice President, Archives


Thanks to our former ARC chair Robin Turner, we have a display of archeological finds from the Fox Hills site of the Symantec development. Robin facilitated the donation of 40 boxes of cataloged items. You can view examples of these items on display now. They include a selection of bottles, ceramic pieces, and even a Giant Pacific Oyster Shell!


Did you know that Culver City entered its first float in the Pasadena Rose Parade in 1925? And subsequently, we had floats in the thirties, forties, 1950 and again in the 1980s. The most recent were efforts by the Culver City Visitors and Convention Bureau as the Culver City Tournament of Roses Association. Drop by the ARC to see a sampling of vintage photos.


Special thanks to our members, Bill and Madelyn Hahn, for arranging for a donation from the Rufus Harrington family. Mr. Harrington, a local resident, worked in the MGM art department and he was also active in American Legion Post #46, using his artistic expertise to design band uniforms for the Legion. The collection includes 42 stills, including photos from The Wizard of Oz, Billy the Kid, Lassie Come Home, Northwest Passage, Blossoms in the Dust among others.


We now have a wonderful new standing screen to separate the display area from our workspace which was made by Dan Bloom, Culver High Class of ’63. We also will use it to show Culver City history via a graphic timeline.

Beginning January, 2009, we will have ongoing showings of our historic DVD and VHS collection. These include a 1925 tour of MGM Studios, “Local History Legends and Lore,” and much more.