Historical Society – 40 Acres, the Backlot that Saw it All

On April 17, at 7 pm, the CulverCity Historical Society will take on the history of ’40 Acres’ the backlot that was the location for hundreds of films and television programs. From 1927-1976, the backlot known as 40 Acres played host to Tarzan, Superman, Rhett Butler, King Kong, Captain Kirk, Batman, and Gomer Pyle. It was roughly bordered by Higuera to the north, Lucerne to the west, and Ballona Creek and Jefferson to the south and east, and though it may have been as large as 42 acres at first, it eventually became more like 29 acres due to the construction of Jefferson Boulevard, and flooding from Ballona Creek before it was paved over.

At various times, the 40 Acres Backlot was owned by Cecil B. DeMille, David O. Selznick, Howard Hughes, Desi Arnaz, and Lucille Ball. It had areas known as the African Jungle Set, Mayberry, the Arab Village, Stalag 13, and Tara, and buildings known as “Ship Deck,” “Submarine Enclosure,” “Adobe Indian Hut,” and “Meat House.”

Today, the area that included and surrounds what was 40 Acres has become known for architectural marvels by Eric Owen Moss, offices that are home to companies like Apple’s Beats by Dre, and the restaurant Vespertine.

Join the CCHS on April 17 as they welcome authors and historians Marc Wanamaker and Steven Bingen, who will give a presentation based on their book Hollywood’s Lost Backlot: 40 Acres of Glamour and Mystery. There will be copies of the book for sale, and the authors will hold a book signing after the program.

The public is invited to this free program in the Multipurpose Room of Veterans Memorial Building. The entrance to the ARC is from the back parking lot.

The Actors' Gang

1 Comment

  1. The Ince Studio in the early 20’s. My Dad, Jack Bouck (Kelbos owner), was in a couple silent films there.
    My husband Daryl Smith was a member of Local 728. Lighting Department. Worked a lot at MGM, Desi-Lu, Culver City Studios,

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