Friday, February 23, 2007
A glorious temple of movies
Who would have thought a former water facility at the southern edge of Beverly Hills could become an astonishing trove of all things movie-related? That's the building that's now home to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Margaret Herrick Library and Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study.

If you haven't done so yet, check out the gallery devoted to the library (put together by CNN.com's Debra Alban). Debra and I were given a tour by the library's gracious director, Linda Harris Mehr, and what we saw would keep even the most casual film buff busy for weeks:

- Cary Grant's scrapbooks
- Alfred Hitchcock's camera set-ups for "North by Northwest"
- Movie posters from the earliest days of film to the present, from all over the world (the facility has 31,000)
- Costume designs for films ranging from "Gone with the Wind" to "Elf"
- Scripts for thousands of films

And on and on and on -- clippings, photographs, books, memorabilia, even a working nickelodeon, the contraption that helped a number of the early movie moguls establish their fortunes.

The vast majority of the material isn't on display (indeed, most of it is protected in climate-controlled rooms), and the library is a research and archival institution. But the facility is open to the public Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Certainly, if you're working on anything movie-related, it's a must.

The Academy is also working to establish a museum, which I can see becoming as wonderful as one of my favorite places, the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Next time you're in Los Angeles, take a little time to drop by.
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Occasional musings and gab about the world of entertainment.
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