Spring 2012 ARC Update

by Julie Lugo Cerra , Vice President, Museum/ARC and City Historian


First, let me thank all of the folks who have expressed interest in the Museum Committee. We had our first meeting in January with Bill Barnett, Louise Coffey-Webb, Sharon Shore, Michelle Bernardin, Carol Schwab, Steve Rose and David Warshaw joining in a discussion of our goals and available help – and we are open to all suggestions.

Also, we are exploring some added display methods, and have invited bids from those who can help us enhance our display space. If you are interested in volunteering in the ARC on our open days – the first and third Saturday of each month (see Calendar) – or for our work “parties,” please let me know.


Stu Freeman, with some contact assistance from Kevin Lachoff, rescued the large movie photos displayed in the former Mann Theatre, which is being demolished! Some are eight feet tall and up to five parts! Now, where are we going to put them…..stay tuned!


Women’s History MonthMarch is Women’s History Month, so some special pieces will remain on view for everyone to enjoy through April. There is a lovely portrait of Mrs. Harry Culver and her daughter, Patricia. In addition, a book written by Harry Culver’s great grandson, Robert Battle, is on loan for this exhibit, opened to pages on Mrs. Culver.

We will also be showing off some of Harry Culver’s 1929 scrapbook that depicts the Culver family’s travels across the country. Harry Culver was head of the National Real Estate Association and his family joined him on his cross-country trip.


Visitors to the ARC have been numerous and with varied interests. We enjoyed hosting Erin Stennis from the office of our 2nd District County Supervisor, Mark Ridley-Thomas, and had a group of Early Settler descendant genealogists from the Santa Monica area.

Sister City visitors are always a pleasure and we were able to furnish downtown tours in March for the US/Mexico Sister Cities Conference attendees. We have also spent time with the runners from Kaizuka, Japan, here to run in the L.A. Marathon on March 18th, who were visiting last month.

Coming up, CCHS President Louise Coffey-Webb, Jeanne Conklin and I will host a group of Brandeis ladies in early May. They are coming in from “the Valley” to visit the ARC, and afterwards they will stay in town to enjoy lunch in one of our wonderful restaurants.

Some items from our collection were shown off at the recent Rotary Club fundraiser in March. Their theme was “The Yellow Brick Road.” Thanks, Linda and Joel Forman for your help!


Kim Upton from the MTA asked for help on basic history of the city, with an emphasis on “The Heart of Screenland.” Kim took time to visit the ARC twice, first for background information and second with a film crew. We will be featured in their upcoming cable TV piece for the arrival of the EXPO in Culver City, “the Heart of Screenland.” They also visited and taped at Sony Pictures and around town.

And speaking of taking to the road, as City Historian, I visited the Mar Vista Gardens Continuation High School. Many of their students have a fondness for Culver City, its history and strange boundaries. Vitaly, the teacher, arranged for Sue McCabe and I to drop by with a power point presentation and field questions. It was great fun!

We will also participate in El Marino’s tour days in the spring, and La Ballona has also expressed interest in our historic help!


It was nice to get a call from Chris Sedens at KNX Radio, who was interested in Culver City’s history. He did some taping at the ARC, and around town before the March 9th broadcast of their “KNX On Your Corner” program.

They broadcasted live from Culver City at our historic Culver Hotel. Many of our members were taped in advance – others live that day, including Mayor O’Leary and councilmember Jeff Cooper, former mayor and CCHS president Steve Rose, and Dannie Cavanaugh, as well as Kevin Lachoff, Goran Eriksson, John Byers and yours truly.

We have also been working to help a woman in search of her biological father who was stationed at “Fort Roach” during WWII. He was apparently in the First Motion Picture Unit (FMPU) during WWII, and his “barracks” were in the Pacific Military Academy. There is a display of items from the collection of former FMPU combat photographer, Robert Elliott, in the Archives which help to bring back a few memories!

In the meantime, we are very much a part of the Veterans Memorial complex so we stay in touch with PCRS Director Dan Hernandez. The building should be re-opened by the time this arrives!

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Winter 2012 ARC Update

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC


From screening classic films made in Culver City to showing off pieces from our collection of priceless Fiesta costumes and fabulous wardrobe gems from the MGM vaults, it’s been a memorable year at the Archives & Resource Center (ARC).


Thanks to the generous donation of a 40” flat screen Sony Bravia Television and a Blu-ray player from Sony Pictures Entertainment, our movie screenings (which start at 1:15 on the first and third Saturdays of each month) kicked off in April with the Judy Garland classic Easter Parade.

Other cinematic gems we watched this year included Orson Welles’s masterpiece Citizen Kane, the original King Kong with Fay Wray, and my personal favorite: High Society with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra. Thanks to those who came by and enjoyed these presentations with us.


It’s also been a year of memorable visitors. From the local “Red Hats,” who integrated us into their picnic event at Vets Park in June, and the “Foodie Group” folks, who enjoyed a walking tour of historic downtown Culver City, to L.A. Marathon participants from our sister cities of Kaizuka and Uruapan, and all the celebrants who stopped in during the 60th annual Fiesta La Ballona celebration.

A slew of diverse organizations were fabulously hosted by Julie Lugo Cerra, Stu Freeman, Cathy Zermeno, and others. Thanks to you for sharing your valuable time and knowledge.

And finally, thanks to all of you who have shared treasured pieces of Culver City history through your generous donations. If you have other items of historical significance that you’d like to donate to the Society, please bring them to the ARC during open hours, the first and third Saturday of every month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Look forward to seeing you there in the New Year!

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Original MGM Traffic Signal Finds new Home at ARC

by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC

MGM's original Washington Blvd. entrance - Culver City Historical SocietyOriginal MGM Traffic Signal Finds new Home at ARC

One of the most exciting things about being Museum chair is seeing new and exciting artifacts from Culver City’s history. One item you won’t want to miss is an authentic MGM traffic signal, generously donated by former Culver City Mayor Richard R. Brundo and his wife Alida.

This signal, with its red and green flashing lights, once sat outside the studio’s original main entrance at Washington Boulevard near Motor Avenue (seen to the right of the far right column in the above-left photo).

Richard R. Brundo - Culver City Historical SocietyEnormous thanks go to Julie Lugo Cerra for using her connections to get the large and imposing signal safely installed in the museum.

The L.A. Marathon & Runners from our Sister Cities

We continue to have the privilege to host a number of groups, like the recent visit from the Andrus Center at USC.

A few days after the L.A. Marathon, Veronica Reyes, from our Sister City Committee, brought by one of the marathon runners and a translator.

Runners from our sister cities of Kaizuka and Uruapan participated in the LA Marathon. They were greeted at the ARC by Stu Freeman, Cathy Zermeno, Karen Coyle, and Julie Lugo Cerra, who showed them around the Archives, and then walked them out to the front of the Veterans Memorial Building to see the marker for the historic Western Hemisphere Marathon which runs across Overland Avenue mgm_signal (Large)where the Marathon started and ended for several decades!

Don’t forget, the museum is made possible in part by donations. If you have anything of historical significance that you’d like to donate to the Society, please bring them to the ARC during open hours.

And please be sure and bring yourself.

Come see the MGM signal, watch a free classic movie shot in Culver City (see schedule in the sidebar on the right), and see everything else that’s on display.

We’re open the first and third Sunday of every month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

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Items in the ARC

An ARC Update
by Winston Gieseke, Vice President, Museum/ARC

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are working hard to keep your New Years resolutions!

Cecil B. DeMille: Special CC Police Officer - Culver City Historical SocietyCecil B. DeMille: Special CC Police Officer!

I hope one of your goals for the new year was to seep yourself in Culver City history, and I invite you to stop by the museum and see our newest items on display. In addition to the exciting wardrobe pieces set up by our costume chair, Louise Coffey-Webb (see page 6 for details), we have an original badge presented to legendary movie director Cecil B. DeMille in 1927 when he was appointed a Special Police Officer of Culver City. The badge was donated to the museum by Culver City’s former
police chief, Ted Cooke.

(For you history buffs, 1927 was the same year “First Street” became known as Overland Avenue. For more interesting facts from our city’s rich history, visit Culver City Historical Society.org and check out our work-in-progress timeline.)

Original Script from “Remains to be Seen” (1953) on Display

Original Script from “Remains to be Seen” - Culver City Historical SocietyAlso on display is an original shooting script (complete with handwritten notations) and book of wardrobe stills from MGM’s 1953 mystery farce Remains To Be Seen, which starred June Allyson, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury and Dorothy Dandridge. These items are on loan to the museum and will be on display through the end of February, 2011.

Want to Get Involved?

Are you looking to meet and/or interact with other historically-minded locals? Can you spare an hour or two on a Saturday afternoon? Consider volunteering your time as a greeter during the museum’s open hours.

We are also looking for volunteers to come in and help us catalogue our valuable collection.

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