True Hollywood Story: Where it all began

By Sergio González | 11:40

This amazing sunlight is what attracted film makers to Hollywood

As it happened with photography, cinema was not created by just one man but the addition of several different attempts, though Thomas Edison had the patent of the best working device, the kinetoscope. He was able to develop a commercial version in 1894, which became an overnight success in New York.

Around Edison’s monopole in New York, the first film industry in America developed and as kinetoscope popularity grew, different versions were implemented by other inventors and more film-makers aroused, not all of them willing to pay for Edison’s rights. The Wizard of Menlo Park began to defend his interests, suing these 8mm pirates and giving birth to a time known within the industry as ‘the film patent wars’.

Studios ran away from NY scattering all along the country as soon as Edison started winning his suits. Truth is the first cameras were still far from perfect and lighting was poor so the studios that had run away to Florida and California produced better filming than the ones in Chicago or Texas. The sunniest states of America had tons of daylight hours and foreign neighboring countries to flee in case Edison’s agents were after them. Florida and California entered into a race to be crowned as home of American film Industry and the sunshine state seemed to have taken the lead when the ambitious Picture City was projected for Hobe Sound area. This was the 20’s, when the land boom that led to the Great Depression was taking place.

The project was abandoned in 1928 due to Okeechobee hurricane impact on the area and Hollywood began its unstoppable success as a dream factory.

70 years before, Hollywood was just a hut in the middle of a cactus area but the mild weather and the large number of workers and miners brought to California by the Gold Rush made agriculture boom in the area. By the end of 19th century, Hollywood was a little village surrounded by hills covered in lemon trees, vineyards and crop fields; too tempting to let it go for real state agents and urban developers.

LA and Hollywood in 1945, already the ‘same’ city

Hollywood also attracted a troupe of actors in 1910 who had been sent by New York based company Biograph to take advantage of all-the-year-round daylight and shoot several films. While the actors were there, some would visit the surroundings during their days off and once they they stumbled upon Hollywood charming village. A true and ever-lasting romance between Hollywood and the film industry began as soon as Biograph movies success spread all along the country.

Before WWI, several studios had moved to California and the business was at all times high, bringing in new viewers as technical features and stories themselves got better which marked a before and after for the development of this movie town. As Germany threatened every freedom in Europe, actors, actresses and directors -among all sorts of profesionals- arrived in the promising land of freedom, widening its vision and improving its performance.

From then on, Hollywood wouldn’t stop flourishing and the Oscars, Hollywood Boulevard and its Walk of Fame or the chance to spot your favorite movie star keep on making it the Mecca of dreams.

photo credit: Dannerz

photo credit: army.arch


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