Sony / MGM History

1913
Harry Culver’s dream to establish his own thriving community and cultivate his interest in the budding movie industry came true when he chose a piece of land halfway between downtown Los Angeles and the sea. He established an office for Culver Investments on a fledgeling Main Street.
Soon afterwards, he was watching movie producer Thomas Ince filming a western on the banks of Ballona Creek, in the Playa del Rey area nowadays, and was inspired to persuade him to move his studio from the beach to Washington Blvd. Culver City was born.

1915
Thomas Ince moves his Inceville Studios from the Santa Monica hills to Culver City to form Triangle Pictures. One of the first construction projects is a mock-Greek colonnade which was the entrance to Triangle Pictures, and is still visible at the edge of Sony Pictures property today.

1924
The Triangle Pictures studio at Culver City becomes the home of MGM.

1958
MGM is on the brink of bankruptcy, and as a last ditch attempt, turned to the religious epic Ben-Hur to save it.

1967
March 13 – A fire destroys a portion of the MGM Backlot #2. In an eerie echo of a fire at Universal Studios Hollywood in 2008, the blaze began in a chapel at the end of Brownstone Street.

1969
Kirk Kerkorian starts buying shares in the ailing MGM Studio.

1970
MGM auctions off thousands of props, costumes in a bid to raise funds for the Las Vegas project.

  • A large quantity of props and costumes are bought by Debbie Reynolds – she had a dream of opening a museum in Hollywood to preserve the items.
    Unfortunately many items were auctioned off in 2011 due to lack of funds to proceed with the project.
    More information about the auction 
  • The Cotton Blossom riverboat (considered to be the largest prop ever constructed for a motion picture – 171 ft long and 57 ft high) is auctioned off.
  • locomotive is also auctioned off. However, it was bought by Old Tucson Studios who saw value in it continuing as a movie ‘prop’.
    In October 1970 the locomotive arrived at Old Tucson Studios where it remains.
    More information about the locomotive 

More importantly historically, Lot #2 and Lot #3 are sold off to developers. (More about the MGM Backlots)

1971
MGM, now under the control of Kirk Kerkorian, announces intention to start construction on the MGM Grand Hotel resort & casino.

1972
Groundbreaking ceremony for the MGM Grand Hotel, a $107 million mega resort.

1973
December 5 – MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas opens.

Late 1970s
The studio property (especially the backlots) was in a horrendous state of decay.
See separate photos. 

Some believe this is because Kirk Kerkorian, the new owner of MGM was focussing his attention on property development (resort hotels) in Las Vegas and not on maintaining the movie-based property.

1980
November 21 – A massive fire in the MGM Grand Hotel causes the death of 85 people.
Authorities in charge when the building opened relaxed fire codes due to the fact that all parts of the hotel were occupied 24 hours a day, so any fire would be quickly spotted and contained. 7 years after opening, the Deli Restaurant had changed to only being open during the day. The fire had been raging for some time before it was spotted.

1981 – July
The MGM Grand Hotel reopened following the fire.

1986
The MGM Grand Hotels in Las Vegas and Reno were sold to Bally Manufacturing Corp for $594 million.

1987
MGM vacates the historic Culver City lot and it is taken over by Lorimar Telepictures. MGM rents office space in the Filmland building (now Sony Pictures headquarters).

1989
The lot is bought by Sony , determined to resurrect the site as a major production center.

1992 
MGM moves out of the Filmland building to MGM Plaza, a city block of offices in Santa Monica. Although there are no production facilities on site, MGM continues to make movies by renting studio facilities all over the world.

1993
The current MGM Grand Hotel opened in Las Vegas.

1996
Kirk Kerkorian repurchases MGM/UA

2003
MGM Corporation moves again from Santa Monica to new headquarters building in Century City. The 35-story skyscraper at 10250 Constellation Blvd behind the Century Plaza Hotel.

2004, September
MGM is purchased by Sony, in a move designed to enable Sony to capitalise on the MGM Film Library.

2011
MGM moved into a new office building in Beverly Hills. The offices at 235-269 N. Beverly Drive were originally built for the William Morris Agency.

MORE COMING SOON

Sources: 

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