This is the question I ask myself almost daily now. As soon as I get home from school, by myself, or with whatever friends had courage that day, I repeat this sequence daily: Climb a barb wire pole; Hide in trains, then run to the church and climb to the top, like Quasimodo.
Above: The black pole along the fence has barb wire that works as a ladder.
This is the backside or public side of Grand Central set.This is how a majority of my adventures begin.
The vantage point from the church belfry encompasses not only the backlot, but Culver City township beyond.
I see friends walking and parents driving by on the public side of the fence, while I stare off in every direction. It is a tough climb to the very top, and it only can fit three kids at its perch.
Planning starts here with still so much to explore. What is so fascinating is that the floors of this church are littered with machine gun shells. This is as strategic to me as it was for all the soldiers that battled here prior. I feel like I belong here, but I know I do not.
No Trespassing signs, barbed wire fences, and the presence of guards, remind me of this continuously.
I previously stayed within running distance to the fence, but many cool-looking sets are in the middle of the lot. Vast, open expanses offer little protection and must be crossed to gain access. I watch the guards patrol the lot from my perch and pick up patterns in their methods, unbeknownst to them. So far, it’s like I don’t exist.
A building has caught my attention that will be a challenge to explore, and it’s tower can be seen from my house. I recognized it from The Courage of Lassie, WW2 dog kennels were lined up out front of this building, with Liz Taylor. Also Good News with Peter Lawford, danced out front of this supposed college set.
Jerry Lee Lewis sings here in the 1958 hit High School Confidential. Russ Tamblyn and Drew Barrymore star. Elvis Presley has also filmed in this area. The Twilight Zone episode called A Thing About Machines has a car chase a frustrated Mr. Finchley to his death, into the pool that is in the open field in front of this structure.
I do as much MGM homework as I do for school. I even watch Ben Hunter matinees, which is an old peoples’ channel, to see these old MGM classics. I want to know… what was and what is, so I get my moneys’ worth as I explore this place. As we sit and watch these old movies, I enjoy telling whoever is in the room, “I know where that is and I can get you there!”
Time to execute a plan for another iconic set….. Don’t touch that dial!