October 20 General Meeting and Program

Hollywood’s Trains & Trolleys presented by Marc Wanamaker
Rotunda Room, Veterans Memorial Building, 7PM

1929 promotion of Paramount’s sound films. World’s first fleet of Sound Trains. (Marc Wanamaker)

Have you started traveling again? Hop on board and travel, Hollywood-style, with film historian and author Marc Wanamaker as he shares stories from his and the late Josef Lesser’s new book Hollywood’s Trains & Trolleys. Learn about how the development of the transportation system in Southern California intertwined with the motion picture industry, starting over 100 years ago. Special focus will be given to the Culver City area.

Marc is always entertaining and a great storyteller. This program will not disappoint! There will be a book signing after the presentation. The book would make a great holiday gift for train and Hollywood enthusiasts alike.

Following COVID guidelines, masks are required inside Veterans Memorial Building.

Pre-registration is required via Eventbrite. The public is invited to this free program.

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The Rollerdrome is Marked!

Under a Covid veil our historic marker was set in cement. Because of the pandemic it was unveiled with little fanfare. Thankfully, our markers outlast the speeches and applause and have become vital and permanent narratives, communicating our city’s history. As has been printed in several articles of this newsletter over the last two years the Rollerdrome was a social and recreational touchpoint in Culver City’s history from 1928 to 1970. The Historical Society is thrilled to mark the site at Tellefson Park with our 14th bronze plaque.

We look forward to a time when it is safe to gather as a large group in order to celebrate this marker and share memories of the Rollerdrome. Until then, we encourage you to mask up and take the people in your pod to read the marker at Tellefson. If your pod mates are of the younger set, they will enjoy the brand-new playground equipment.

Collaboration is crucial and we would not have a bronze plaque, on a cement block, in Tellefson Park were it not for our friends at the City of Culver City Parks, Recreation and Community Services (PRCS) Department and Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, with the leadership of our Historic Sites Chair (and City Historian) Julie Lugo Cerra.

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April 28 General Meeting and Program

The Culver Theatre: From The Red Stallion to Kirk Douglas | Virtual Program

Culver Theatre, 1947 (Image courtesy of Marc Wanamaker)

Do you miss going to the movies? Go back in time as we revisit the Culver Theatre which still stands today! The Culver Theatre opened on August 13, 1947 with the film The Red Stallion. It was designed in the “Skouras style,” an over-the-top baroque style named after its inspiration Charles Skouras, head of Fox West Coast Theatres. In the 1970s, Mann Theatres split the Culver into three theatres. In 1989, it was closed and later gutted after the 1994 Northridge earthquake. In 2004, Center Theatre Group restored, repurposed, and reopened it as the Kirk Douglas Theatre.

Clare Denk, interim vice president of programs for the society, will discuss its history from its opening day to its closing and subsequent deterioration during the 1990s. Eric Sims, associate general manager of Center Theatre Group, will discuss its restoration as well as share a couple of entertaining stories about Kirk Douglas and shed light on current filming projects taking place within the theatre during the pandemic.

CLICK HERE TO JOIN US virtually for this program at 7pm on Wednesday, April 28.

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Classic Films Commemorative T-Shirt

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.

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The April 15, 2020 General Meeting and Program Has Been Cancelled

As we continue to monitor and adjust to the changing environment in our city and broader world, we are erring on the side of caution and minding the current city-wide recommendations for large gatherings.

Unfortunately, we are cancelling our next General Meeting and Program on Wednesday, April 15.

We are working on a program of the Culver City airports and Petrelli’s Airport Café, and look forward to presenting this fantastic program in July. Stay tuned!

Stay safe, stay healthy, and be there for each other in these confusing times. More than we value history, we value you. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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