A Short History of Hollywood
9 Jun

A Short History of Hollywood

Hollywood has been around since the late 1800s. By 1900, Hollywood’s population was only 500 people! There was one post office, a hotel and two markets. A single-track streetcar followed Prospect Ave into Los Angeles, a city that held over 100,000 people. In the early 1900s filmmakers began moving to the Los Angeles area to escape the rigorous rules imposed by Thomas Edison’s Motion Picture Patents Company in New Jersey. Edison often sued independent filmmakers and halted their productions for profiting off his patents of movie-making. There was also the problem of bad weather, overpopulation and small, limited spaces on the east coast that pushed movie-makers to the west coast to shoot their films. One of the first companies to create films out west was the Biograph Company. Their stars included Blanche Sweet, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, and Lionel Barrymore to name a few. In Old California was the first film made in Hollywood. It would only be a matter of time before more film companies would arrive at Hollywood’s doorstep.

The first studio was built in 1909 in nearby Edendale, east of Hollywood, by Selig Polyscope Company. The first studio to come up in Hollywood was founded by David Horsely’s general manager, Al Christie in 1911. Movie studios began to crop up all over Hollywood, including Cecile B. DeMille’s in 1913, and Charlie Chaplin’s studio in 1917.

The famous Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 as “Hollywoodland” to advertise a new housing development. Soon after its creation, the sign fell into disrepair. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was given authority to remove the last four letters and restore the remaining portions of the sign in 1943.

The famous “Hollywood Walk of Fame” was built in 1956 There are well over 2,000 names added to the star-studded sidewalk for contributing to the entertainment industry. As permanent fixtures on Hollywood Boulevard, they serve as fixtures in our mind of the iconic figures of the 20th and 21st Century.

From the end of the silent era, around 1927, the Hollywood movie studio system controlled what films were shown across the country. Five major studios owned grand, beautiful theaters where they showed movies produced by their studios made with their contracted actors. Paramount, RKO, 20th Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and Warner Bros. were the top studios of Hollywood.

However, in 1948 in a landmark decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that studios could not own their own theaters where they showed only films made by their studios. That marked the unofficial end of the “Golden Age of Hollywood.” During this time, television proved itself to be a lucrative and permanent medium of entertainment. By the mid-1950s these same studios began to provide content for television.

The landscape of Hollywood changed with growing popularity of television. Television studios and music recording studios sprung up all over the city. KTLA was the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River. It began broadcasting in 1947. The Public Prosecutor was broadcast from Hollywood that year, the first movie production made for television.

Over the last 40 years, Hollywood has been through a lot of changes. Many businesses and industries have sprung up over the last century. Southern California is a mecca of industry and growth, progress and innovation. The hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area can be both exciting and stressful at times. SMEX 24/7 has been in the Los Angeles area for over 30 years. We love Southern California and its inhabitants. We enjoy helping to create a less stressful environment in the City of Angels. So call us for all your courier and delivery needs!

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