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“Scenic Arts Day” in Los Angeles Celebrates the Uncredited Artists Who Were Never Recognized By The Film Industry

Remember the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy lands in Munchkinland? Or the scene where she first sees Emerald City?

You might have figured out that those were painted backdrops.

But what about the scene in The Sound of Music where Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer fall in love singing to each other in the gazebo? Or the scene where Andrews and the children are rowing in the river? Magical moments for sure and no—they weren’t ‘real.’ They were created by the highly skilled scenic painters, masters of the art of large-scale, meticulously rendered, hand-painted scenic backdrops that for years transported moviegoers to imagined lands in almost every feature film of Hollywood’s golden age.

These artists were never credited on screen and there has never been an Academy Award category to honor their achievements.

Now, for the first time in history, the artists who created these unsung masterpieces are finally being recognized and honored.

The ART DIRECTORS GUILD (ADG) and its Scenic Artists Council will be honored today by the LA City Council with a resolution recognizing today—Friday, February 24—as Scenic Arts Day in Los Angeles.

This accolade celebrates ADG’s collaboration with Regan Arts on the new book THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD BACKDROP by scenic artist Karen L. Maness and Richard M. Isackes with the assistance of JC Backings of the original MGM Scenic Art Studio (now Sony Studios) where most of these gigantic backdrops are preserved.

The book, THE ART OF THE HOLLYWOOD BACKDROP, available at, has been called by many "the most beautiful book about Hollywood in history," and was chosen as Lara Spencer’s favorite book of the year on Good Morning America.

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