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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Real Identity of "Crime Wave" Professor's Laboratory

Above, Villa de Leon circa 2004.  Photo by Armand Vaquer,

For years, while driving north on Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades from Santa Monica, a large building on a coastline bluff overlooking the ocean would catch my attention.

One day, while watching the Adventures of Superman 1951 episode entitled, "Crime Wave", I saw a shot of this same building. It was shown as an establishing shot of the laboratory of an evil professor who worked for Walter Canby, the number one crime boss of Metropolis.

Above, the establishing shot in the "Crime Wave" episode of the "Adventures of Superman."
For years, many people, including me, have thought this building was the Getty Villa or part of it. The Getty Villa is a museum containing a huge collection of antiques. Actually, the Getty Villa is about a half mile up the hill from this building's location. It is in Pacific Palisades, but has a Malibu zip code.

So, what is this building then?

It turns out to be Villa de Leon, named for Leon Kauffman, the entrepreneur and wool magnate who commissioned it. Villa de Leon took over five years to build and it was completed in 1926. Villa de Leon was designed by Kenneth MacDonald to resemble an Italian palace.

According to realtor Randy Freeman's website:
It features hand-painted and hand-carved architectural details, including double-vaulted and coffered ceilings, carved wood paneling and magnificently sculpted iron railings. Built with the finest imported marble and exotic woods, the 12,000+ square foot Villa, features more than 35 rooms, including 9 Bedrooms, 11 Bathrooms, a Main Salon with three hand made crystal chandeliers, a library, a circular formal dining room overlooking the ocean, a marble entrance hall with a sculpted circular staircase.
That's quite a palace for Los Angeles!

If you have $12.5 million to spare, you can buy the laboratory of Walter Canby's professor!

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