Located at the historic MGM studio lot in Culver City, CA, Sony Pictures Studios is a gem of old Hollywood fused with the heartbeat of modern television and movie production. Home to Dorothy’s yellow brick road, outer space gun fights, and a spider-like hero, taking a walking tour of Sony Pictures Studios is a great way to get an insider’s peek at the magic of television and movie production in southern California.
Sony Pictures Studios History
The location of modern day Sony Pictures Studios is one steeped in the complex history and development of Hollywood itself. Originally, the lots built on 10202 West Washington Blvd. in Culver City, CA were the brain child of municipal founder Harry Culver. In an effort to populate the area in 1915, Culver approached director Thomas H. Ince about the possibility of moving his studio “Inceville” from Pacific Palisades to the new Culver City. The result is that Ince co-founded the Triangle Film Corporation and built the Grecian style Triangle Studios at this spot later that year.
Ince’s reign at 10202 West Washington was not long, however. In 1918 the first change of hands occurred when Triangle Studios and its associated property were acquired by Samuel Goldwyn (of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Since this acquisition happened in the years leading up to the establishment of MGM, Goldwyn operated his independent studios here for several years. Goldwyn Studios added to the original Triangle lots before converting itself into MGM Studios with their historic merger in 1924.
As MGM Studios, 10202 West Washington Blvd. would enjoy its true Golden Age of film. It served as the backdrop for “Munchkinland” (Stage 27) as well as the set for other famous MGM pictures of the era. This includes Singin’ in the Rain, GiGi, and Gone with the Wind. The success of MGM’s brand during that time also ushered in the additional purchase of lots, increasing the studio size to an impressive 180 acres with 28 sound stages.
However, a landmark anti-trust case in 1948, The United States vs. Paramount Pictures, Inc. led to the disassociation of MGM Studios with Loews Theatre, a major partner, and sent the company into a downward financial spiral. As a result, several lots were sold off and MGM, as it was formerly known, completely dismantled.
Sony Picture Studios was not officially established on the site of 10202 West Washington Blvd. in Culver City until the buildings were acquired by the Sony Corporation in 1993 from Warner Bros. by way of Lorimar Productions. From there, a three year long renovation took place, allowing the studios to be reborn as a television production suite dedicated to the long running game shows Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune as well as several former and current sitcoms.
Today, Sony Pictures Studios is one of the largest post production television studios open to the public for viewing. Its walking tour is among the most economical and sought after attractions throughout the greater Los Angeles area as much for its current contribution to the entertainment landscape as its position in the Hollywood of legend.
About the Sony Pictures Studios Tour
Sony Pictures Studios offers guests the opportunity to participate in a daily, two hour-long walking tour of its studios and grounds. The four daily, weekday tours are led by a professional guide. Sony’s tour takes visitors over the age of 12 through the legendary arenas where films such as The Wizard of Oz and Men in Black were born both visually and in post-production. Each tour includes the viewing of soundstages and post production facilities which helps to shed light onto the process through which our favorite television shows and films are made. Plus, as an active recording arena, visitors are likely to get the opportunity to meet personnel from both in front and behind the camera while making their rounds.
Why the Sony Pictures Studios Tour is a Must Do
There are quite a few advantages to taking the Sony Pictures Studios Tour as opposed or in addition to other Hollywood studio tours. First, the legend of the Sony stages and lots cannot be matched as the change of hands that constantly took place mirrors the development of Hollywood itself. Second, as an active television recording location, Sony allows visitors the unique opportunity to see production at a different rate than movie studios. This, combined with the California sun and knowledgeable guides, allows travelers to southern California a unique and special opportunity to learn firsthand about the shows and talent they love from this era and those which preceded it.
Where to Buy Sony Pictures Studios Tour Tickets
There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to this attraction.
Save up to 20% online at Smart Destinations. If you add more than one attraction to the cart, you will get an automatic savings of up to 20%. It’s called Make Your Own Pass.
Pay Full Price and purchase a ticket from Sony Pictures Studios Tour either online or in person.
Purchase a Tourist pass. Sony Pictures Studios Tour is available on the Go Los Angeles Card.