The Culver studio was originally created by silent movie pioneer Thomas H. Ince and has operated under a multitude of names: Ince Studio (1918-1925), De Mille Studios (1925–1928), Pathé Studios (1928–1931), RKO-Pathé Studios (1931–1935), Selznick International Pictures (1935–1956), Desilu-Culver Studios (1956–1970), Culver City Studios (1970–1977), and Laird International Studios (1977–1986).Through all these name changes, the site was also commonly called “40 Acres” by entertainment industry insiders, although it was never actually 40 acres in size. In the Selznick era the lot was the site of, among other heavyweights, Gone with the Wind.
In the mid-50s the place was acquired by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz as support stages and exterior location space for their quickly expanding Desilu empire. In addition to Desilu’s own shows, the space was rented out for loads of other TV productions- The Andy Griffith Show, Lassie, Batman, The Nanny etc. Apparently Desi Arnaz decided to publicize the lot by producing a short film of an aerial flyover, showing off the expanse and growth potential of his new ‘home’. (We see the in-progress building of the town of ‘Mayberry’ and ‘Tara’ is visible at 2:45). What we’re seeing posted above is footage from that short film, sans the music and narration which have been replaced by odd radio-control tower voices. I have no idea why somebody would have bothered doing this and if the original film were available on Youtube you can be damn certain I would have posted it. Nonetheless it’s still some great footage of mid-century L.A. from the air as well as a poignant look at the end of ‘Tara’ and the birth of ‘Mayberry’.