The silent film era of the 1920s gave the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Studio City its name. Films depicting the antics of the Keystone Kops were shot at the Mack Sennett Studios, which later became Republic Pictures Studio. It is now the CBS Studio Center, and the community that was created by the movie industry is still home to many in the business.
"It's convenient to get anywhere from Studio City because of its central location," said Clay Hinrichs, a resident and real estate agent with Prudential California Realty. "A lot of people buy here because they work in the industry. CBS, NBC, Universal, Warner Bros. and the Disney Studios are all nearby. But not everybody's in the entertainment field. I've lived here since 1993 because you can find everything from shopping to hiking here."
The community has several parks and hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains. Scenic Fryman Canyon, which begins at Fryman Road and Laurel Canyon Boulevard, is a favorite walking spot.
There are free summertime concerts in Moorpark Park that draw upward of 500 people, and a weekly farmers' market at Ventura Place is packed on Sunday mornings. The landmark Studio City Golf and Tennis Club is a 17-acre, open recreation space with a par-3 golf course that draws enthusiasts.
A village-like feel permeates the shopping district on Ventura Boulevard and in Tujunga Village, a block-long row of shops on Tujunga Avenue just south of Moorpark Street.
At boutique stores in both areas, shoppers can find such offerings as hairstyling services for the kids and home decor, and small eateries can be found for almost every cuisine imaginable.
Most area homes were built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, and are traditional or contemporary in style.
"There are also some old Spanish-style homes that were built in the 1920s, and we're seeing a lot of Mediterranean being built now," Hinrichs said. "Because of this economy, with low interest rates, the inventory is low."
The number of homes for sale ranges from 40 to 120, depending on the time of year. Most homes are priced from $640,000 to $1.7 million, with some up to $3.5 million.
On a recent day, the least expensive home on the market was a 1,324-square-foot house, with three bedrooms and 1 3/4 baths, for $640,000.
Condos are also popular, Hinrichs said. A check of listings found 11 for sale, priced from $239,900 for a 636-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath home to $625,000 for a 1,474-square-foot, three-bedroom, 2 1/2 -bath place.
"Studio City is small-town USA in the middle of a thriving metropolis," said Tony Lucente, a resident since 1986 and president of the Studio City Residents Assn. "You can still walk to places here.... We have small, community-owned businesses.
"People care about the quality-of-life issues, big and small, that contribute to retaining the community's character, but it's not the kind of place where everything stays the same," he said. "We're in favor of balanced development."
Studio City has 17 distinct residential areas, according to Lucente, including the Grove by the CBS Studio Center, the Donas off Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Colfax Meadows and the Triangle, near the center of downtown.
Tree-lined streets dot most of the area, and residents can be seen walking dogs or jogging through the neighborhood. A restored walkway along the Los Angeles River is interspersed with trees and rock benches.
"We have a Studio City Beautification Assn. that's worked on various projects throughout the community," said Lucente, including the planting of 200 new palm trees along Ventura Boulevard to supplement the ones that have been there for decades.
The community strongly supports Carpenter Avenue Elementary, part of the L.A. Unified School District, with frequent fundraisers. On the 2004 Academic Performance Index, the elementary school scored 872 of a possible 1,000. Elementary students who continue in public school may attend Walter Reed Middle School, which scored 668, and North Hollywood High School, for which no scores were unavailable.
Sources: api.cde.ca.gov, www.studiocitychamber.com, Prudential California Realtor Clay Hinrichs, Studio City Residents Assn., DataQuick Information Systems.