Hal Roach Studios’ “Our Gang” Comedies On Location At Palms Station


by Marc Wanamaker

Since the founding of Culver City, the motion picture industry, which helped found the small city’s location filmmaking in and around the town, was the closest option for location managers.

The Culver City Pacific Electric Station on Washington Boulevard had been used on-and-off for many years by the nearby studios.

The “Old Gray Hoss”

In 1928, the Hal Roach Our Gang comedies used the Palms Railroad Station for the film, Old Gray Hoss (Roach/MGM), starring character actor Richard Cummings, Jean Darling, Mary Ann Jackson, Pete the Dog, Bobby "Wheezer" Hutchins, Joe Cobb, Harry Spear, and Allen "Farina" Hoskins.

The depot in Palms, the oldest city (1886) to be annexed to the City of Los Angeles (1915), often appeared in the movies as a rural train station. By 1939, the station was no longer in use except by film companies such as MGM Studio.

Once located near Exposition and National Boulevards, the station was used with various old movie trains for period films for over fifty years.

Moved to Heritage Square

The building was abandoned and was going to be demolished due to the rail line’s closure. Preservationists were able to save the station which was eventually moved in the 1970s to the Heritage Square Museum, off the Pasadena Freeway—where it stands today as a reminder of the great rail system Los Angeles once enjoyed.

[Ed. Note: The top room of the building was once used for Boy and Eagle Scouts’ meetings in the 1950s!]

The Culver City-Palms Pacific Electric Station

Reel Culver City
by Marc Wanamaker

Rail transportation was one of the major factors in the rapid growth of Culver City since 1915.

The Pacific Electric’s depot on Venice Blvd. was just west of Bagley Avenue (which becomes Culver City’s Main Street on the south side of Venice). It was the transit stop for the Venice Short Line, the Redondo Line, the Santa Monica Air Line and the Playa Del Rey Line.

The station itself was situated at the intersection at the fork in the rail system in Culver City – splitting off the Redondo Line which ran down Culver Blvd. and the Venice Short Line which ran down Venice Blvd.

Located at 9013 Venice Boulevard, the station was adjacent to Media Park where the Ivy Substation is currently located. By the 1930s, the station was known as the Culver City-Palms Pacific Electric Southern Pacific Station.

There were only two major stations in the area: the Culver City Station and the Palms Station nearby at Featherstone Avenue (later to become Exposition Blvd.). Both Stations were used by the studios as film locations and serviced the area until the 1960s when all rail service was discontinued.

All that is left of the station’s legacy is the Ivy Substation which was behind the depot and originally just called the “Ivy.” It became an historical landmark along with Media Park in the 1990s. Thanks to railroad preservationist David Cameron, who put the Ivy Substation on the National Register of Historic places, the legacy of the Culver City Pacific Electric Station is kept alive as a part of Culver City’s history.