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  1. #1

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    Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    The buildings at Disney-MGM Studios (soon to become Disney’s Hollywood Studios) look authentic because they’re based on real buildings in and near the Hollywood section of Los Angeles. For this article, I picked five buildings at the Studios park in Florida and photographed their Los Angeles counterparts last week.


    Please discuss it here.

    I've had more trouble identifying the buildings on Sunset Blvd. at Disney-MGM Studios (except for the movie theaters). Any ideas?

    Also, I'd like to do a similar article about the Hollywood Pictures area at Disney's California Adventure some day. The Hyperion Theatre is based on the Los Angeles Theatre on Broadway in downtown Los Angeles. The facade next to it seems to be from the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The building diagonally across from the Hyperion is based on the Baine Building on Hollywood Boulevard. The former Soap Opera Bistro is the ABC radio studio on Vine Street. The restroom are based on Frank Lloyd Wright's textile block houses, but I can't identify a specific house. Any other additions to this list?
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    More!! More!! I love the DMGMS architecture and its SoCal counterparts. Thank you Werner. Please expand on this on a future post. Items you could include; Pan Pacific Auditorium, Carthay Circle Theater, Graumans Chinese Theater.

    When attractions were original

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Great stuff! Simply fascinating!

    I gotta hand it to the imagineers, they did a fantastic job in re-creating the look and feel of Hollywood in The Studios.

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Very interesting read. You never fail to impress, Werner!

    Thanks!

    Photos, news, and commentary every week from Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom!

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    I am a big fan of your site and these articles for MiceAge. Very educational and entertaining. The kind of stuff true Diznoids can drive others nuts with...lol

    Reading this article I found something rather humerous with the Crossroads. The original inspiration was the anchor for a shopping mall. Perhaps the Imagineers are poking fun at their Hollywood Blvd. with D-MGM's Crossroads being an anchor for what really is a shopping mall. LOL

    -Justin

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    I, too, would love to see more of this. Not just at MGM studios / Hollywood, but the real life inspirations for the buildings in all of the parks. Surely in Anaheim and beyond they must be taking their designs from real buildings all over the world to privide a sense of authenticy. I love being able to compare the photos side by side.

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Werner,
    I have a good one for you-- it blows away the examples you've listed thus far (as good as those are -- and they are beautiful!). Did you know that the 'Twilight Zone Tower of Terror' at DisneyWorld is based upon an actual structure? Next time you are in Northern California, check out the unfinished rear portion of the William Randolph Hearst Castle at San Simeon. The first image below is of the Disney-built structure. The second is of Hearst Castle built decades earlier. Look to the right rear of the Castle (upper right of photo). I haven't found an image on the Web that gives a frontal view of that unfinished portion of the building but I have visited in person and when I first saw it on the evening tour I did a double take because of its similarity to the Disney building and realized that this is where the Disney architects must have gotten their ideas for the Terror ride.

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Oops! The pics did not reproduce in the above comment. Here goes another try.

    'Twilight Zone Tower of Terror' at DisneyWorld:

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Fungible,
    Are you able to post images of the Hearst Castle? I would love to see this comparison.

    Justin

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Here is the William Randolph Hearst Castle in San Simeon, CA (see upper right rear unfinished portion).

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    What a fantastic artical! It give yo an understanding of why the disney parks feel real but slighly exagerated. They too the best buildings from the era they are portaying and put them all together. It is the best of the best all in one spot! Thank you so much for the artical, it was very enjoyable. I hope there will be many followup articals about other locations inside the many parks.

  12. #12

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Another great article, Werner! Thanks!

    Dan

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    This is a great comparison article, Werner! Great job!

  14. #14

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    Hi Werner - Great article. While the 6424 Santa Monica Blvd. Bldg. may not be known to a lot of people; the building is very well known to those of us who work in the post production industry.

    This was the original home of 525 post production - which for many many years was the cream of the crop for TV post (a search of imdb proves to be grossly inadequate as it seems to only list Playboy shows and a few concerts, but rest assured they were the post facility behind much of what was on television in the 90's).

    525 was one of the first true "high-end boutique" type post houses that offered the best editors along with a client service staff that waited on the clientele hand and foot, all in a comfortable "up-scale home" type of environment. It was gorgeous inside, well designed, colorful and relaxing. Being part of the parent company Virgin, Richard Branson had spared no expense on 525 (or it's sister facility in London: 625 / Rushes)

    Unforunately Liberty Livewire, in a big corporate grab around 2000 / 2001 started snatching up post facilities around town like 525, Soundeluxe, Todd-AO and many others - merging the staffs, breaking up teams, closing facilities and otherwise ruining the entire post production scene in Los Angeles. We all know the drill - a bunch of MBA's staring at the bottom line and basing all decisions in a creative industry on capital gains - turning everything on it's head and destroying things that were fine just as they were. Think Pressler era Disneyland.

    I think some version of 525 still exists (though merged with R!OT in Santa Monica).

    One of my closest friends was a staff editor at 525 for a decade and I spent many a happy time in that building. And strangely enough - I've been to Disney / MGM several times - walked right past the replica - and never made the connection so Thanks Werner!
    Last edited by Buzz Lite-Snack; 11-16-2007 at 02:39 PM.

  15. #15

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    Re: Nov. 16, 2007: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios

    It's really neat to see this kind of stuff, and to think about how much research the Imagineers did when building MGM, it really shows that they did their homework. Also, there's all the detail that they put into these as well. It's the kind of detail that the average tourists might not get, but they will surely "feel it", as if they've really stepped into part of Hollywood, whether they realize it or not.

    What's more amazing is, to think that this was built during Eisner's reign when he was actually about building quality, lasting projects that could be considered true to the way Walt might have done it. Then, you contrast that with the end of his reign and the short-sighted wreck known as Disney's California Adventure. Ugh! It kinda makes you go, "huh, is this from the same guy?"

    Sorry for bringing up Eisner, but, I just couldn't get around it.

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