clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Military's Nuclear Bomb Motion Picture Studio in Hollywood Hills

New, 36 comments

[Inset via New York Times] Yesterday the New York Times told the recently declassified story of the photographers who risked their lives documenting nuclear explosions in the years between World War II and 1963, when nuclear testing went underground. In 1947 the military established a secret film unit, headquartered at the Lookout Mountain Laboratory: "The inconspicuous building, on Wonderland Avenue in Laurel Canyon, had a sound stage, screening rooms, processing labs, animation gear, film vaults and a staff of more than 250 producers, directors and cameramen — all with top-secret clearances." The photographers were dispatched from the Hollywood Hills to Nevada and the South Pacific, where they shot from "as close as two miles from the blasts." Many have since died from cancer.

Coincidentally (or is it?), the Lookout Mountain property came on the market last week for the first time in 16 years. The 8 bedroom, 12 bathroom "Warhol Factory Style" compound has "several galleries, theater and sound stage," an "enormous motorcourt, large free form pool and waterfall." It sold for $750,000 in 1994, but the films and photographs made there were classified until 1997. Someone thinks its brand new history is worth quite a lot--asking price is $6.3 million.
· The Bomb Chroniclers [NYT]
· 8935 WONDERLAND Ave [Redfin]