VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

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Ben Bentley
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VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by Ben Bentley » Sat Nov 16, 2019 8:13 am

As some of you may know, The Culver Studios (formerly Desilu Culver) was sold yet again back in 2014.

Well, work is well under on the first phase of redevelopment at our beloved Culver Studios after being bought by Hackman Capital and striking a deal with Amazon Studios to inhabit the lot as their new home.

https://www.archdaily.com/919982/amazon ... um=gallery

Preservation of the historic bungalows on the lot seems to be a big element of the first phase of the plans.

I'm in the process of quite an ambitious TV Bat-Location research project and I came across this fascinating video documenting the process of the physically moving the bungalows in question:

https://youtu.be/Woq_CbVqOuY

A bungalow of this nature (although not necessarily one those featured in the video) was used as Greenway Productions' offices on the lot during the show's run.
Screenshot 2019-11-16 at 15.05.23.jpg
It can be seen very briefly in the Telescope episode shot mid-season one:

https://youtu.be/rkvR4PGqBhA?t=986

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Yellow Oval
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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by Yellow Oval » Sat Nov 16, 2019 10:16 am

Lex Luthor is buying this historical site for his "studios"? :roll: I wish Amazon would just stick to selling books, CDs, and DVDs, but as Aldous Huxley once said - "It's A Brave New World." Or was that he predicted?
"Hmmm... I don't like the twist this joke is taking. Let us away! Let us away!"

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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by John Mack » Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:08 pm

Well, the rodent...ummm, I mean Disney now owns Fox. I wonder what they'll do? Time will tell. Thanks for sharing!!
Music. BAT! Music.

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Ben Bentley
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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by Ben Bentley » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:33 am

John Mack wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 9:08 pm
Well, the rodent...ummm, I mean Disney now owns Fox. I wonder what they'll do? Time will tell. Thanks for sharing!!
Ahhh, interestingly John, Murdoch refused to include the famous Century City Fox lot in the Disney acquisition deal.

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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by trojanusc » Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:10 am

Would love to hear more about this project!

One thing to keep in mind that a number of the weekly sets (apart from the standing sets) later on in the run were built at the old Fox lot, at Western Ave & Sunset, which is now the site of a McDonalds & Food 4 Less. By the time Batman was in production, the old Fox Western Avenue lot was a ghost town, used mostly for low-budget Fox TV production, as nearly everything had moved over to Century City. In its heyday, it was the original headquarters of Fox, then for many years the hub of B-Movies (Shirley Temple, Charlie Chan, etc). It was only back in 2014 when the last bits of the lot were demolished, sadly.

There's a great book on the history of the 20th Century Fox Studio lots, which has all the info.

Also, Greenway Productions Offices, along with the show production itself (Batcave included) moved primarily to the Fox Century City lot after Season 1. With much of the second unit and "villain"-type stuff done over at Western.

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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by Ben Bentley » Fri Jan 17, 2020 11:07 am

trojanusc wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:10 am
One thing to keep in mind that a number of the weekly sets (apart from the standing sets) later on in the run were built at the old Fox lot, at Western Ave & Sunset, which is now the site of a McDonalds & Food 4 Less. By the time Batman was in production, the old Fox Western Avenue lot was a ghost town, used mostly for low-budget Fox TV production, as nearly everything had moved over to Century City.
Interesting - do you have any examples? I know that the Wayne Manor interiors for the pilot were at Fox Western as they were re-purposed existing sets from another show.
trojanusc wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:10 am
There's a great book on the history of the 20th Century Fox Studio lots, which has all the info.
Do you happen to recall the title? I'd love to order a copy for sure.

trojanusc wrote:
Fri Jan 17, 2020 1:10 am
Also, Greenway Productions Offices, along with the show production itself (Batcave included) moved primarily to the Fox Century City lot after Season 1. With much of the second unit and "villain"-type stuff done over at Western.
That's a very intruiging notion as it's at odds with all of the research i've done over the last decade or so. Do you have any source info to confirm such a move?

According to the production documents i've had access to over the years from Dozier's meticulous archive, I've never read anything to suggest that after the initial move to Desilu Culver after the show went to series that the Batcave/Wayne Manor/Gordon's office ever moved from their homes on Stages 15 and 16.

Here's a Call Sheet from midway through season two which states that the Batcave is still located on Stage 16:
Screenshot 2020-01-17 at 17.53.27.png
Likewise, here is a Season Three production document that also states that the Cave set was still very much on S16 at Culver:
Screenshot 2020-01-17 at 18.06.49.png

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Re: VIDEO: The future of The Culver Studios

Post by trojanusc » Sat Jan 18, 2020 12:57 am

You may be right about the standing sets staying at Culver. It's been a while since I've read the book and talked to the archivist. I do know that they used the Fox lot for exteriors, then, at some point, started using the cheaper Fox Western Ave soundstages for a number of their changing interior sets (ie villains lairs, restaurants, etc) on a somewhat regular basis (this may have been due to, as you said, the savings of using existing sets from other productions vs. building new ones).

If you get a chance I'd highly recommend the book Twentieth Century Fox: A Century of Entertainment. There's also some great archival photos of the Gotham City exterior sets they built on the Century City lot, along with a ton of info on the other backlot sets the show used throughout its run. Lots of insight is also provided on the now-demolished Western Ave lot, which is notoriously tough to find any information about.

I worked on the Fox lot for many years and it was always great to walk by placed that hadn't really changed since its time on Batman. The archives there also used to have a great deal more images from the Batman sets, on both lots - and one of the archivists was a big fan of the show, so he knew everything. As to what happened to the archive materials post-merger, I don't know, sadly.

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