New Public Hours for the ARC

Entrance to the ARC - Culver City Historical SocietyThe Culver City Historical Society has changed the days of operation of its Archives and Resource Center (ARC), located behind the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City, from the first and third Saturday of each month to the first and third Sunday of each month from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m, or by appointment.

This change goes into effect Sunday, September 1, 2013.

According to Society President Michelle Bernardin, the change of days has been made to give visitors easier access to the ARC and more parking in the surrounding lots. “Sunday is a day when families are looking for places to visit and the ARC offers wonderful displays of Culver City history at no charge,” said Bernardin.

A Golden Costume on Display

Broadway Serenade - Culver City Historical Society

News from the Costume Chair

by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair

Just in time for the holidays and a glitzy new year, we have a golden costume on display in the Archive Resource Center.

Those of you who saw Visiting… with Huell Howser: Culver City this Fall, may remember when he looked at a sparkling costume as I lifted it out of its archival box. This costume dates back to 1939, a year often considered to be the finest in the golden age of cinema releases.

Broadway Serenade - Culver City Historical SocietyFrom Broadway Serenade

The costume pictured here was worn by Virginia Grey as the character Pearl in the black and white musical, Broadway Serenade (1939). It starred Jeanette MacDonald and Lew Ayers (Dr. Kildare), and was directed and produced by Robert Z. Leonard. The art direction was by the famous Cedric Gibbons, and the women’s costumes were designed by Adrian, who designed for the men. Busby Berkeley directed the finale musical number that featured all-female musicians and his usual over-the-top style.

The costume is a floor length coat-dress made entirely of gold lamé, fully lined in turquoise silk, and featuring Adrian’s signature large puffed sleeves, which in this case are quilted in a diamond pattern. The quilting continues in lines over the shoulders and forearms, and the center front features large lamé-covered buttons.

Be sparkly and bright throughout 2011!

A Special Guest Visits the ARC: Deborah Landis

Deborah Nadoolman Landis - Culver City Historical Society

News from the Costume Chair

by Louise Coffey-Webb, Costume Committee Chair

I wanted to let you know about some very interesting visitors we had the pleasure of hosting at the ARC at the end of last year.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis, and her assistant, Natasha Rubin, came to look at some of our MGM costumes. Why? Well, Deborah is the Senior Guest Curator of an exhibition at the prestigious Victoria & Albert Museum in London on film costumes in 2012. Entitled “Style and Seduction: The Art of Hollywood Costume Design,” the exhibit is scheduled to open October 20th, 2012, followed by an international tour. There will also be a catalogue.

And who is Deborah Nadoolman Landis? She is a costume designer with an illustrious career, creating the iconic looks of Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Blues Brothers, Coming to America, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller among so many more. She has had a distinguished career designing for major motion pictures directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Louis Malle and Costa-Gavras.

Deborah was the President of the Costume Designers Guild and created the now, very glamorous and sought-after “Costume Designers Guild Awards” that precedes the annual Oscars© telecast.

The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design at UCLA

Most recently she has been appointed Founding Director of The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. This new Costume Center is the first for the study of costume design in the film world. Through bold research and a robust program of conferences, exhibitions and film festivals, the Copley Center will serve not only the UCLA community, but international motion picture historians, cultural anthropologists, and working designers and filmmakers as well.

“Deborah Landis has made the point on many occasions that costume designers are first and foremost storytellers,” said Robert Rosen, former dean of the school. “They are full creative partners in art forms that are intrinsically collaborative, and academic recognition of that fact is long overdue.

While many film scholars have analyzed early motion pictures from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century through its “Golden Age,” the Copley Center will spearhead costume design scholarship in Hollywood history up to the present day, including gathering oral histories of creative collaborators in current production. It will also focus on genre research, such as Western Film Noir, Science Fiction, and Musical design. Additionally, the Center will encompass costume illustration as an art form unto itself, creating a rich source for both academic and artistic study.

Deborah has worked extremely hard to elevate the status of the costume designer, and to emphasize the difference between a costume designer and a fashion designer. She is also an author of several books, notably Dressed: A Century of Hollywood Costume (2007) and Screencraft: Costume Design (2003).

For more information on The David C. Copley Center for Costume Design in the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, please click here.

The Culver City Historical Society is always thrilled to share knowledge about its collections, with other professionals.

It’s Spring — and time to rotate our costume displays. Next time you attend a program at our Archive Resource Center, be sure to look and see what’s new!

Culver City High School Senior Creates Film About Culver City History

Katherine Maxwell - Culver City Historical SocietyAre you interested in the history of Culver City? Do you wonder why our city is called “The Heart of Screenland”?

Come to a special film screening of “History is Gold: An Oral History of Culver City” on Saturday, October 9, in the Culver City Historical Society’s ARC (Archive and Resource Center) in the back of the Veterans Memorial Building at 4117 Overland Avenue in Culver City.

The filmmaker is Culver City High School senior Katherine Maxwell, who has been a Culver City Girl Scout in the same troop for 12 years. Maxwell is a fourth-year film major at Culver City High School’s Academy of Visual and Performing Arts (AVPA). She directed and edited the ten-minute oral history film during the summer to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting. The screening of the film is the culmination of the Gold Award project, which took over 70 hours to complete. The film includes an “all-star” cast: Julie Lugo Cerra (City Historian), Bill Wynn (filmmaker), Martha Sigall (inker/painter in animation for over 50 years) and her husband Sol, Howard Zager (Culver City High School teacher for 36 years), and Culver City residents Marce Kelly, Scot Kelly, and Marge Brownstein. There will also be special appearances by characters from Warner Bros’ Looney Tunes films!

The movie will be shown every half-hour from 3 to 4:30 pm, and includes a “Q & A” with the director.

Admission is free.

“History is Gold”: A History of Culver City, CA by Katherine Maxwell