The long-forgotten studio lot where almost 100 TV shows and movies were made
Star Trek, Gone with the Wind and The Andy Griffith Show all have one major thing in common.
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What do Star Trek, Gone with the Wind and The Andy Griffith Show have in common? You might have to strain to find similarities between the two very different TV shows and a classic movie, but they do have one common bond: location.
That's right, those three classics, along with almost 100 others, all shot scenes on the RKO Forty Acres lot in Culver City, California. The lot is most recognized as the fictional town of Mayberry in The Andy Griffith Show, but it's also served as the backdrop for some epic films, sci-fi franchises and superhero series.
Forty Acres was created in 1927 for Cecil B. DeMille's film The King of Kong. The production company RKO bought the lot a few years later, where it shot scenes for the 1933 classic King Kong.
The lot grew even bigger later that decade when a replica of Atlanta and the Tara plantation were constructed there for Gone with the Wind. Throughout the 1940s, RKO shot its series of Tarzan films on the lot, creating a sprawling jungle right next to the sets.
In the 1950s, Forty Acres turned to television, starting with The Adventures of Superman. The first season was shot on the lot, paving the way for The Andy Griffith Show to be filmed there in the 1960s.
The family-friendly sitcom created the fictional town of Mayberry out of the old Atlanta set from Gone with the Wind. Yes, Mayberry is Atlanta and Metropolis. Every week, viewers became familiar with the courthouse, barbershop and Andy Taylor's home.
The town square–like set was also used in episodes of Ozzie and Harriet, Batman, The Green Hornet and Mission: Impossible. Four episodes of Star Trek were also filmed there in the late 1960s, and crossovers between the sci-fi series and Mayberry are readily apparent.
By the late 1960s, Paramount came to own the studio and sold it. After changing owners a couple more times, it was torn down for good in 1976. Today, the former site of Forty Acres now houses an industrial park and television studios.
Even though it doesn't exist anymore, the lot remains an integral part of television and film history. The biggest film of all time, one of the most beloved fictional towns, and a few famous Star Trek episodes all shared the same space, even though they were set in different worlds. That's the magic of Hollywood.