“M-G-M: Hollywood’s Greatest Backlot,” a new coffee-table book from Steven Bingen, Stephen X. Sylvester and Michael Troyan, offers a nostalgic look at the sound stages and expansive outdoor sets of the famed Culver City studio that boasted of having more stars than are in the heavens. Besides interviews with folks who worked there — including a foreword by Debbie Reynolds — the book features hundreds of rare photographs that illustrate MGM’s status as the dream factory.
According to the authors, it’s been estimated that one-fifth of the films made in Hollywood before 1970 were at least partly shot at the studio. Though the back lot was sold off decades ago, the sound stages and offices that made up Lot 1 are still operated by Sony. The two other back lots were home to such areas as the “Army Base,” where everything from 1943’s “Thousands Cheer” to “The Outer Limits” TV series were filmed. The studio’s “Fifth Avenue” street was first used in 1936’s “Wife vs. Secretary,” but it also doubled as Los Angeles in 1937’s “Double Wedding” and as Nazi Germany in 1944’s “The Seventh Cross.”
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