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  1. #1

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    March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    It's now Disney's Hollywood Studios, but it was Disney-MGM Studios when it opened in 1989.

    Last year, I published Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 1, comparing five Disney versions to actual Los Angeles area "originals." Last week, I published Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 2, with six more examples.

    Here's Part 3, with six more examples — this time from the Sunset Blvd. section of the park.


    Please discuss it here.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions

  2. #2

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    Werner... I have to say that this series of articles was one of the coolest things I have ever read about any Disney property. I grew up in Los Angeles and am at least casually familiar with many (though not all) of the buildings you highlight. Honestly, when we went to the Hollywood Studios park in FL last summer, it really didn't hit me that all those buildings in the park were modeled after the real ones in SoCal (having not lived there since 1992). Now I want to go back, print your articles, and just enjoy some time appreciating the architechture. Again, an awesome, awesome series (yours and Steve's articles on the railroad are my favorites, hands down).
    -Tony

  3. #3

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    I agree with tonyrr1. I too was born (late 40's) and grew up in Los Angeles and many of the buildings that are gone now were around when I was a kid and a teen. I also never actually made the connection that the buildings in the parks were modeled after real buildings. Next time I go to DCA I will look at them with new appreciation.

    I went back and read all your previous articles on this subject and want to thank you. I really learned something about the history of our architecture and the time and effort you put into these articles and obtaining the photos to compare (both yourself and the others you mentioned) is truly appreciated.

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    Fantastic!!

    I grew up and still live in L.A. I had sense enough to make a pilgrimage to the Brown Derby and the Carthay Circle Theater (I now live near the site of the original) at my first trip to Disney's Hollywood Studios, last month, but never realized how many other icons of my hometown were right under my nose. It is wonderful to be able to see near-replicas of now-torn-down buildings I never had the chance to see in person.

    Thank you and your photo team for all the research - I think I'm going to create a driving tour of these sites some weekend soon!

  5. #5

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    Werner, what an awesome series this was. Great job!! I, too, recognized some of the buildings having grown up in SoCal in the 70's and 80's. I love your website, and have really enjoyed the out of the ordinary features lately!

  6. #6

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    Thanks for the article! That was an interesting read! I've never noticed how any of the buildings (even though I live in SoCal ) inspired the architecture! I look forward to taking a look when I plan to go back to WDW!

  7. #7

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    I've heard it said that the reason that the Academy Theater got rid of its signature spiral swirl around the sign tower was that during storms, rain would collect at the top, build up speed as it sloshed down the spiral, and finally empty at the bottom with a big SPLOOOOSH. Has Disney's version fixed that problem?

  8. #8

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    This is a terrific feature story series, and I look forward to similar articles like it in the future.

    As a fan of streamline moderne and other mid-20th Century architectural styles, particularly those found in Southern California, articles like this are a wonderful example of just why the original architecture needs to be preserved. Too much of this country (and in particular Southern California) has not been kind to these styles, demolishing some real architectural art over the years, but as far as I'm concerned, they're timeless and worthy of permanent preservation (and/or restoration whenever practical and needed).

    By the way, Werner - there are actually PLENTY of photos of the original Carthay Circle Theater available online (the best ones are from the LA Public Library's Photo Collection - just type in the keyword "Carthay" and you'll get 10 pages of goodies to browse through).

    Gold mine of info and personal stories on the theater (and many, many other movie theaters nationwide; includes links to several of the LAPL's photos) - http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1158/

    http://www.fromscripttodvd.com/70mm_...hay_circle.htm (lots of great photos and additional info on the theater)

    http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/dli...one&z=none&s=1

    Pioneer Statue near Carthay Circle Theatre, 1927:



    Aerial photo, 1921:



    Aerial photo, 1929:








    Caption from the L.A. Herald-Examiner, 1943:

    "Huge arc lights flashed against the dark background of the sky above the
    Carthay Circle Theater last night, creating a lovely setting for the
    invitational preview of "The Song of Bernadette," 20th Century-Fox
    production. The usual crowd of movie fans watched the spectacle. Photo
    dated: December 22, 1943."



    Caption from the LA Herald-Examiner, 1949:

    "While the inevitable klieg lights pierced the sky, a colorful parade of 500
    Marines and the 150-piece Marine band from Camp Pendleton preceded the
    screening of "The Sands of Iwo Jima," at Carthay Circle Theater. Thousands
    jammed streets to greet movie stars."





    Searchlights, unnamed premiere, 1950s.




    I, for one, feel robbed, since I wasn't able to enjoy this beautiful theater before it was demolished. But boy, did they know how to have a movie premiere back then or WHAT?

  9. #9

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    Re: March 28, 2008: Real Buildings that Inspired Disney-MGM Studios, Part 3

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    This is a terrific feature story series, and I look forward to similar articles like it in the future.
    Thank you! I had fun with this series. I hope to do more articles that deal with Imagineering.

    I'd really like to track down the places that inspired the façades at Epcot's World Showcase and personally take pictures of them. Alas, that would require a very expensive, 2-month world trip. (Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket. Here in Illinois, MegaMillions is now at $135 million. That would pay for it!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Retrocool View Post
    By the way, Werner - there are actually PLENTY of photos of the original Carthay Circle Theater available online (the best ones are from the LA Public Library's Photo Collection - just type in the keyword "Carthay" and you'll get 10 pages of goodies to browse through).
    I looked at the Los Angeles Public Library photo database before I wrote the article.

    The Los Angeles Public Library charges a $15 handling fee per photograph and a $150 commercial usage fee per photograph. Although Yesterland is basically a hobby, the site has paid advertising, so any use of photos from the library's database would be commercial use. The library's online images are only intended for student use and evaluation use.

    The other "Inspiration" pictures were all recent photos taken for Yesterland by very kind volunteers (or taken by me).

    For the historic photo of the Darkroom camera store, I tracked down the photographer and obtained his permission.

    I closed the series with the new Carthay Circle publicity art from Disney because I thought it would be an appropriate way to to show that the original is long-gone, but that someone at Disney came up with a very good idea for new centerpiece for Disney's California Adventure.
    Werner Weiss
    Curator of Yesterland, featuring discontinued Disneyland attractions


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