Photo from Tom Gardner Collection/Conservancy archives

CBS Television City

In the early 1950s, Los Angeles was just entering the height of its power as the capital of television broadcasting, but its intentions were made clear by the construction of Columbia Broadcasting Systems' (CBS) Television City in 1952.

Built on a portion of Rancho San Rafael that once contained an oil field, then a football field and racetrack, Television City was one of the first and largest complexes built expressly for television production and broadcasting. CBS hired prolific local architects William Pereira and Charles Luckman to design its new headquarters, which contained soundstages, studios, editing rooms, offices, rehearsal halls, shops, and storage.

Pereira and Luckman created a stark International Style design of flat-roofed rectangular volumes with walls of either glass or unornamented stucco, all in dramatic black and white with bright red accents.

On the interior, flexibility was key: studio walls, and even some exterior walls, could be moved and rearranged to accommodate the needs of specific productions. Programs that were and are taped at Television City include The Carol Burnett Show, All in the Family, and The Price Is Right. If you drive by at the right time of day, you'll see costumed hopefuls waiting in line for their chance to win cash and prizes.

Don Lee Mutual Broadcast Building
Photo by Devri Richmond

Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study

Architecturally self-assured, unmistakably modern, and undeniably Hollywood, upon its completion in 1948 the former Don Lee Mutual Broadcast Building was the then-largest studio built for simultaneous television and radio transmission.