Thursday, August 4, 2011

When Worlds Collide

Not everyone will appreciate today's topic, but a very small number of the right people are going to lose at least an hour of their day and thank me for it.

"Forty Acres" was the nickname of a 29-acre (I know) movie studio backlot in Culver City, California active from the days of silent films into the '70s. It provided facades for western towns, small towns and downtowns. At various times it housed Tara from "Gone With the Wind," Stalag 13 from "Hogan's Heroes," King Kong's giant gate and Tarzan's jungle. The lot got its greatest sustained exposure as Mayberry over several years of "The Andy Griffith Show."

Demonstrating precisely why the Internet was created, many courageously dedicated souls--some clearly cursed with OCD--have combed through pretty much every television program and movie made during those decades to produce a meticulously cross-referenced visual catalog of Forty Acres. Want to see how the same street looked in "Superman," "The Andy Griffith Show," "Star Trek," "The Untouchables," "Land of the Giants," "Lassie" and "Batman"? These guys can help you with that.

I've seen the "Star Trek" episode "City on the Edge of Forever" a thousand times but never really tumbled to the fact Captain Kirk and Edith Keeler stroll past THE Floyd's Barber Shop from Mayberry.

Fair turnabout: in "The Andy Griffith Show" Opie rode his bicycle past the 21st Street Mission (note the sign in the window) where Kirk and Spock found a hot meal and the tools needed to build a computer during the Depression.

It's all at the Forty Acres website. If you grew up watching TV and films from this era, these streets may seem like old familiar friends to you. It took me a minute to get the hang of navigating the site; use the tabs at the top to select topics. Clicking on most photos magnifies them. It all interesting--like I said, for some tiny proportion of the population (I'm looking at you, Lynch and O'Kane)--but I thought the real gold was in the four-part "Virtual Tour."

I dunno. Maybe I'm not hooked up right.


Anonymous said...

On topic: I will DEFINITELY check that out--it is something I would look for in old movies!

Off topic: Mom's Cancer shout out here:

Brian Fies said...

Thanks, and thanks! I hadn't seen that article about Randall Munroe tackling cancer in his webcomic "xkcd," but it's good and I appreciate the mention.

I did get a big uptick in traffic today from a related cite on a blog juvenilely criticizing Munroe's cancer-themed comics in contrast to mine. I really don't care for that, for several reasons. One is that Munroe (whom I don't know) can cartoon about any damn thing he wants and will probably do a great job of it; another is that cynical snarky sniping from a distance is easy, lazy, and destructive. One person trying to create something--even if it's badly done or I don't care for it (not the case with Munroe)--is worth more than 100 sneering people sitting back and telling him how much he sucks.

Mike Lynch said...

Wow! Never heard of the site but now I'll have to check it out. Love that shot of Opie in front of Edith Keeler's mission. Thanks for this, Brian! I'm in awe of our find!

Mike Lynch said...

I meant "your" find.

Jim O'Kane said...

Please, I'm still trying to deal with the fact that Porkins from the Death Star attack in Star Wars was the same guy who told Indiana Jones the government had "Top. Men." examining the Lost Ark at the end of Raiders.

Evidence here