Deadlands Noir: Sweet L.A.
“Movie Town” is the area of Lost Angels where most of the big studios are located, but it has come to be synonymous with the entire movie industry as well. Movie Town is a study in contrasts. Away from the expensive mansions that dot the hillside to the north— known as Star City—there are the massive studios and their movie lots. These large walled compounds house the offices, sets, and stages that make up each of the major studios. In addition, there are numerous smaller studios and several vacant lots. The majority of these lesser businesses are situated on Burbank Avenue—known sarcastically throughout the industry as Poverty Row.
Surrounding these is a dense cluster of cheap housing, cheap diners, and cheap bars, all frequented by equally cheap patrons. In the midst of the glitz and glamour of the movie industry, Poverty Row and its environs are a stark reminder of the tawdry side of Tinseltown. Any vice can be indulged in the all-night speakeasies and ask-no-questions motels, and being seen in the area after dark is usually considered grounds for divorce!
Away from Burbank Avenue, things get a little less sleazy, but only a little. The majority of the southern part of Movie Town is given over to low rent accommodations that house the wanna-bes, has-beens, and never-weres the movie industry leaves in its glorious, terrible wake. Here, too, the bit-players and writers live; the people without whom there would be no movies, but for whom there is no credit. From the dazzling heights to the squalid Burbank Avenue—and everywhere in between—Movie Town has an air of desperation about it, as if everyone knows how crazy the whole thing is, but nobody dare say it out loud.