Culver City played a role in Hollywood history as big as any town, thanks to city founder Harry Culver, who began promoting his real estate development as a studio location as early as 1915. “Citizen Kane,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone With the Wind” are among the legendary films made here.
Many of the megawatt talents who powered the movies’ golden age worked here, at such film factories as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)—which boasted “more stars than there are in the heavens,” including Clark Gable, Judy Garland, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn. Hal Roach Studios was home to the Little Rascals and Laurel and Hardy, whose celluloid antics often spilled into downtown streets, notably the quaint block-long Main Street.
Culver City continues in the entertainment business as host to two of the Los Angeles area’s top live stage venues. The Actors’ Gang, guided by artistic director Tim Robbins, is headquartered in The Ivy Substation at 9070 Venice Blvd., a former power substation for L.A.’s long-gone electric railway system; phone (310) 838-4264.
The Kirk Douglas Theatre, 9820 Washington Blvd., is a restored neighborhood cinema which reopened in 2004 after a makeover partly funded by its namesake; phone (213) 628-2772. The Culver City Art District, a burgeoning group of galleries, is situated at and around the intersection of Washington and La Cienega boulevards.