Culver City, California

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Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 38,816. The community is mostly surrounded by the city of Los Angeles, except for a small section bordering unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The current mayor is Alan Corlin.

Since the 1920s, Culver City has been a significant center for motion picture and later television production, partly due to the presence of MGM Studios. Hughes Aircraft Company was also headquartered in the city from 1932 to 1985. Currently, National Public Radio West and Sony Pictures Entertainment are located in Culver City.


Before Europeans arrived in California, the area now in Culver City was inhabited by the Tongva(also known as Gabrieleño people.[1]

The Spanish ranchos that covered the area were Rancho La Ballona, held by the Lugo family and Rancho Rincón de los Bueyes, held by the Machado family. [1]

The city of Culver City was founded by Harry H. Culver in 1914, by subdividing part of the Ballona Rancho. To provide industry, Mr. Culver convinced Thomas Ince to start a film studio in the town.[1]

In the 1920s, silent film comedy producer Hal Roach and Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) built studios there. During Prohibition, speakeasies and nightclubs such as the Cotton Club lined Washington Boulevard.

The city was incorporated on September 20, 1917.

The Heart of Screenland

Home to Sony Pictures Studios (originally MGM Studios), Culver Studios, and the former Hal Roach Studios, hundreds of movies have been produced on the lots of Culver City's studios, including The Wizard of Oz, The Thin Man, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Rebecca, the Tarzan series, and the original King Kong. In fact, the Yellow brick road from The Wizard of Oz is still inside the lot on Stage 27 of Sony Studios. More recent films made in Culver City include Grease, Raging Bull, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, City Slickers, Air Force One, Wag the Dog, and Contact. Television shows made on Culver City sets have included Las Vegas, Mad About You, Lassie, Batman, Arrested Development, The Andy Griffith Show, and Jeopardy!.

John Travolta's "Stranded at the Drive-In" sequence in Grease was filmed at the Studio Drive-In on the corner of Jefferson and Sepulveda. It served as a set for many other films, including Pee-wee's Big Adventure. The theater was closed in 1993 and was demolished in 1998; it is now a housing subdivision featuring large homes on small lots, as well as being home to the Kayne-ERAS center, a school and community center for the disabled and mentally challenged.

Culver City's streets have been featured in countless films and television shows. Since much of the architecture has not changed in decades, particularly in residential areas of town, the nostalgic sitcom The Wonder Years set many of its outdoor scenes in the neighborhoods of Culver City. The 1970s show CHiPs also featured many chase scenes through the streets. The Nicolas Cage film Matchstick Men included scenes made at Veterans Memorial Park (which was also featured in the opening scenes of the sitcom Valerie / Valerie's Family / The Hogan Family).

The history of the town is beginning to be recognized. The Aviator, a 2004 film about Howard Hughes, featured several mentions of Culver City in connection with Hughes. The Hughes Aircraft Company plant had a Culver City mailing address but was actually in the adjacent Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester at a site now called Playa Vista.

Decline of the Studios (1960s and 1970s)

In the late 1960s, much of the MGM back lot acreage (lot 3 and other property on Jefferson Boulevard), and the nearby 28 acres (113,000 m²) of the somewhat inaccurately named "back forty", once owned by RKO Pictures and later Desilu Productions, were sold by their owners. In 1976, the sets were razed to make way for redevelopment. Today the "back forty" is the southern expansion of the Hayden Industrial Tract, while the MGM property has been converted to a subdivision and a shopping center known as Raintree Plaza.

The 2005 film, Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carrey was filmed there.

Rebirth of Downtown (1990s and 2000s)

In the 1990s, Culver City launched a successful revitalization program in which it renovated its downtown as well as several shopping centers in the Sepulveda Boulevard corridor near Fox Hills Mall. Around the same time, the relocation of Sony's motion picture operations (known as Columbia Pictures)[2] to the former MGM studios at Washington Boulevard and Overland Avenue brought much-needed jobs to the city.

The influx of many art galleries to the eastern part of the city, formally designated as the Culver City Art District, prompted the New York Times in 2007 to praise the new art scene and call Culver City a "nascent Chelsea."


The first phase of the Expo line, a light rail line from Downtown Los Angeles to a temporary terminus near Washington and Robertson Boulevards. in Culver City started in 2006, with an estimated completion date in 2010. The line mostly follows the right of way which the Pacific Electric Santa Monica Air Line used. The intent of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is that the line eventually be extended westward to Santa Monica, again mostly along the existing right of way with the possible exception of going through the commercial strip of Venice Boulevard.

Culver City Bus currently operates bus service within Culver City[1].

Points of interest


  • Culver Hotel [2]: A 1924 landmark pie-slice-shaped hotel in downtown. Much of the cast of The Wizard of Oz stayed here during filming of the movie in 1939. The hijinks of that period, including the hotel's being taken over by the "Munchkins," were featured in the 1981 movie Under the Rainbow[3]. Formerly owned by John Wayne, the hotel has housed many stars including Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Red Skelton, Buster Keaton and Ronald Reagan.
  • Helms Bakery [3], now a center for restaurants, art galleries, the Jazz Bakery (a jazz club), and furniture sales rooms.
  • Sony Pictures Plaza [4]: This unusual, cantilevered building was featured as the headquarters of Wolfram & Hart, the demonic law firm that was the chief nemesis in the TV Show "Angel". The building is across the street from the main gate of Sony Studios, which is at 10202 W. Washington Blvd.
  • Surfas [5]: A company selling restaurant equipment and specialty cooking supplies, along with a variety of foods, including gourmet spices. It was featured on the FOX television show Hell's Kitchen.

Education & research

  • Star Eco Station [6]: An environmental science and wildlife rescue center, the STAR ECO Station houses exotic animals that have been abandoned or confiscated and teaches learners of all ages about the environment. At 10101 W. Jefferson Blvd., it offers organized tours. The STAR ECO Station shares it's facility with STAR Prep Academy [7]: a Middle-High School that provides hands on opportunities to work with the animals on site.
  • West Los Angeles College [8], a two-year community college located within Culver City.

Local landmarks

  • Culver City Main Street, claimed to be the world's shortest Main Street.
  • Heritage Fountain at Culver City Hall.
  • King Fahd Mosque, which can accommodate more than 2,000 worshippers and features a minaret that is more than 70 feet in height.[4]
  • Veterans Memorial Building at Veterans Park; tower is 122 feet high.

Museums & the arts

  • Actor's Gang [9] at the Ivy Substation (within the Palms district, city of Los Angeles, but on long-term lease to Culver City).
  • Culver City Art District [10]: A cluster of more than 20 contemporary art galleries in the vicinity of Washington and La Cienega Boulevards.
  • Culver City Public Theatre [11]: presents an annual summer season of free, outdoor, classical theatre in beautiful Dr. Paul Carlson Memorial Park, at the corner of Motor Avenue and Braddock Drive (near the 405 and 10 Freeways) in Culver City, CA as well as a yearly tradition of presenting theater for young audiences, the Children's Popcorn Theatre. All performances are held during the summer on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m., with the Children’s Popcorn Theater performance at noon.
  • The Jazz Bakery [12], the only nonprofit nightly jazz venue in greater Los Angeles.
  • Kirk Douglas Theater [13], featuring the Center Theater Group



Neighborhoods Map


Template:Climate chart The city is surrounded by the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Mar Vista, West Los Angeles and Palms to the north; Westchester to the south; the Baldwin Hills and Ladera Heights unincorporated areas to the east; and the L.A. neighborhoods of Venice and Playa Vista to the west, along with the unincorporated area of Marina Del Rey.

The major geographic feature of Culver City is Ballona Creek, which runs northeast to southwest through most of the city before it drains into Santa Monica Bay in Marina Del Rey.

Culver City is served by the San Diego, Santa Monica, and Marina freeways.

Culver City is at Template:Coor dms (34.007761, -118.400905)Template:GR. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.1 sq mi (13.2 km2).


Culver City has its own school district, Culver City Unified School District. It has five elementary schools, a middle school, two high schools (regular and continuation), a Community Day School, an Office of Child Development, and an Adult School. In addition, there is an Independent Study program where students of elementary, junior high, or high school age can make a weekly appointment to drop off and pick up homework, which is to be completed throughout the week.

STAR Prep Academy, a private middle and high school, offers a rigorous, alternative learning environment. It was established in 2004 and shares its campus with the STAR ECO Station, an exotic wildlife rescue center. It is one of the few schools in the United States in which students have the unique opportunity to work with exotic and endangered animals on a daily basis as part of their school-day curriculum.[15]

West Los Angeles College is part of the Los Angeles Community College District.

Culver City is the location for the Los Angeles area campus of the Gemological Institute of America as well as Culver Beauty College and the Biofeedback Institute of Los Angeles.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 38,816 people, 16,611 households, and 9,518 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,932.9/km² (7,589.8/mi²). There were 17,130 housing units at an average density of 1,294.3/km ² (3,349.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 59.24% White, 11.96% Black or African American, 0.71% Native American, 12.02% Asian, 0.21% Pacific Islander, 10.16% from other races, and 5.69% from two or more races. 23.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,611 households out of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.7% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the city the population was spread out with 20.9% under the age of 18, 6.6% from 18 to 24, 33.3% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $51,792, and the median income for a family was $61,451. Males had a median income of $46,683 versus $41,478 for females. The per capita income for the city was $29,025. About 5.5% of families and 8.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.1% of those under age 18 and 5.1% of those age 65 or over.

Sister Cities

Culver City has five sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI):

Noted Culver City natives


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Entry on Culver City in Los Angeles A to Z by Leonard & Dale Pitt, UC Press, 1997
  2. According to, Columbia Pictures was the subsidiary of Sony that moved into the old MGM lot. Retrieved August 3, 2005.
  3. Carter, Dianne. Host to Film Folk: Culver Hotel Falls from Glory Days, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 1987. Retrieved on 2 November 2013.
  4. "Inauguration of the King Fahd Mosque" from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia