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Studios Given the High Sign : Culver City Approves Three High-Rise Logos

March 19, 1987|JEFF BURBANK | Times Staff Writer

Remaining true to its town motto--"The Heart of Screenland"--Culver City has approved signs proposed by three large film companies based in the city.

The City Council approved roof signs of Lorimar Studios and MGM/UA, both of which display the companies' corporate names and logos. The Redevelopment Agency approved a plan by the Gannett Co. to install a sign with the new Laird International Studios name: "The Culver Studios."

The council's decision Monday allows Lorimar to install a three-part sign on the roof of a sound stage. The sign includes a panel that will advertise the company's films and television shows.

The Planning Commission recommended last month that the council not allow Lorimar the title panel.

But a Lorimar official told council members that the company needed the title panel to remain competitive with other studios seeking business from independent producers.

"These people continually ask us to allow their film titles" to be placed on the sign, said Irwin Molasky, a company executive and one of Lorimar's founders. "Potential independent producers expect this display. If we tell them they can't, they might go elsewhere, to (20th Century) Fox or Burbank (Studios)."

Molasky said the title panel "is not to sell tickets" but to "let the creative community know that these productions are being done in Culver City . . . to show that this is 'The Heart of Screenland.' "

Lorimar will be permitted to place three panels where MGM once had its sign, on top of a sound stage bounded by Madison Avenue, Washington Boulevard, Culver Boulevard and Overland Avenue. Along with a panel displaying film titles, the sign will include the company's corporate logo and name.

MGM/UA was allowed to move its 62-year old "Leo the Lion" sign and add it to a 103-foot-long "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer" sign to be placed atop the Filmland Corporate Center, MGM's new corporate location in Culver City.

Last November, MGM removed its sign, a historical landmark, without permission from the city. Lorimar in turn placed its sign where MGM's previously stood, also without consulting the city.

Both Lorimar and MGM violated the law in not seeking approval for the sign changes, according to the city attorney who said he would not prosecute because they applied for permission later.

MGM was asked by the commission to consider scaling down the sign atop Filmland from its proposed 163-foot height above the street. MGM then lowered the sign to 160 feet. City Planner Jay Cunningham said that if the sign were any lower, it could only be partially seen from the street.

The MGM sign will not contain a film title panel. The council's unanimous vote for Lorimar and MGM/UA was another step in the relocation of the film giants after the sale of the historic MGM Studio lot to Lorimar-Telepictures last year. Lorimar produces its own films and television programs on the lot and leases out some of its sound stages to independent producers.

Laird, located at 9336 Washington Blvd., became The Culver Studios on Tuesday after it was sold to Gannett.

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