MGM's Music Library Now Lies Buried Under A Golf Course

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) is instantly recognizable for the lion roaring at the beginning of the opening credits for each of their films. It was one of the biggest film studios at the dawn of the movie industry and throughout Hollywood's "Golden Age." This era spanned from around 1910 to 1960 and included classic films like "The Wizard of Oz, "Citizen Kane," and "Casablanca." MGM was among the studios that drove the "Golden Age," along with Fox, Paramount, RKO, and Warner Bros. (per Studio Binder).

The Hollywood Reporter states that MGM came about in Culver City during the early 1920s after Metro Pictures from the Loew's theater chain merged with the Goldwyn production company and the Louis B. Mayer company. By the 1930s and 1940s, MGM was the most profitable film studio in Hollywood. Even in the 1950s and 1960s, MGM saw success with films like "Singin' in the Rain" and "2001: A Space Odyssey," according to Britannica.

Thousands of film memorabilia artifacts went to auction in 1970

American tastes began to change in the 1950s. Stockholders of the Loew's theater chain company shut out Louis B. Mayer — who favored family-friendly productions. Other longtime employees retired or were kicked out, just like Mayer. MGM declined further at the end of the 1960s. James T. Aubrey Jr. became president and began selling off thousands of pieces of memorabilia to cut overhead costs. Even Dorothy's ruby slippers from "The Wizard of Oz" found themselves up for auction in 1970 (per The Hollywood Reporter).

Aside from auctioning off film memorabilia, Aubrey flat out threw away thousands of papers in MGM's music library, including sheet music with full scores and performance notes — an estimated 3.4 million irreplaceable items, second in size only to the Library of Congress. Aubrey saw the music library as "a waste of valuable real estate," according to KMFA. It was all thrown into a Los Angeles landfill. Today, the land is occupied by the MountainGate Country Club, a golf club northwest of Bel Air.

MGM began opening resorts, but never stopped filmmaking

MGM shifted a lot of its attention toward hotel and casino resorts by the late 1960s. A highlight among these was the International Hotel in Las Vegas, wherein Elvis Presley was a popular frequent performer in the hotel's 2,000-seat showroom, breaking concert attendance records for the city (per Elvis Concerts). 

The MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas opened in 1973. Classic Las Vegas reports that the MGM Grand became an iconic part of the city's skyline. Shockingly, in 1980, it became the site of the second deadliest fire in the United States after frayed wires sparked flames that went undetected until it was too late.

As of the 21st century, MGM has 29 resorts in the United States and Macau, according to its website. However, MGM never forgot about movies despite losing its spot as the top film studio. MGM partnered with Universal Pictures for international film distribution (including the James Bond film "No Time to Die") before switching to Warner Bros. in April of 2022, starting with the film "Bones and All" (per Variety). The lion roars on.