In 1990, Bank of America got involved. The Bank's founder, A. P. Giannini, had helped DeMille complete The Ten Commandments in 1923, when the film's producers threatened to cut off DeMille's funding. Honoring that connection, Bank of America provided a $10,000 grant to Hollywood Heritage for an archaeological survey of the site.
The survey proved that major portions of the set were intact and recoverable. Ground-penetrating radar located the presumed locations of the dozen-plus sphinxes believed buried on the site.
Organizers hoped that modern Hollywood would fund subsequent recovery work -- but their funding requests were snubbed. In 1993, organizers approached the National Endowment for the Humanities and were told: "Neat project. But why isn't Hollywood paying for this?"
In 1998, the 75th anniversary of The Ten Commandments, "Friends of the Lost City" was formed. Organizers have now raised over $40,000 (nearly $180,000 is needed) to save the rapidly deteriorating set. No funding, to date, has come from Hollywood studios.
One lasting result of their efforts: Organizers have filmed over 40 hours of interviews with old-timers and DeMille associates, all now deceased, who worked on The Ten Commandments. The interview material will eventually be donated to the Arts and Communication Archives at Brigham Young University, which houses the collected papers of Cecil B. DeMille.
"Ten Commandments" Stats
Number of actors on the site - 3,500
Number of cooks - 125
Number of sandwiches per day - 7,500
Number of oranges per day - 2,500
Number of apples per day - 2,500
Number of chariots built for the film - 300
Number of animals on the site - 5,000
Number of pounds of hay per day - 20,000
Number of pounds of manure per day - Plenty
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