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1953 Map Offers a Peek at H'wood's Vibrant Broadcasting Past

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The USGS Topographic Map Explorer is an incredible tool allowing users to access a vast archive of maps, layer them on top of each other, and toggle the transparency for hours of productivity-killing fun; we've seen their hundred-year-old maps of the entire city before, but taking a closer look at this 1953 map, we found some reminders of a time when a short section of Sunset in Hollywood housed a small but powerful entertainment row of radio, TV, and film studios.

On the northeast corner of Sunset and Vine, there was once Hollywood Radio City, built in 1938 by NBC for radio; it had quite the beautiful, dramatic interior mural. The insane aerial of the in-progress demolition in 1964 below shows the scope of the original studio. After it was demo'd, on that immediate corner a Home Savings bank went up--classy in its own right, but the original studio was hard to beat. That corner's now home to a Chase Bank.

Also on the map are the old Columbia Pictures Studios--or as we know them now, the future site of Columbia Square, which will soon host high-end residences and a private co-working space for creatives. Further east are the Twentieth Century Fox Studios at Sunset and Western, which up until fairly recently were in use by Deluxe Laboratories, a leader in film processing.

The production didn't just stick to Sunset, of course. Just south of the site where Radio City once was, the map shows the KHJ-KNXT television studio on Fountain, which survives today as the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study. The Pickford Center's site proclaims that it's the "oldest surviving structure in Hollywood that was originally designed specifically with television in mind"; today, it's home to the Academy's film archive as well as a 268-seat theater and many Academy departments.
· USGS Historical Topographic Map Explorer [USGS]
· Before and After: Mapping LA 100 Years Ago and Today [Curbed LA]