When Hollywood finally collapses a thousand years from now, the engineers will survey the devastation and proclaim, “No wonder this place collapsed, it was built on nothing but dreams and the far-fetched promise of fortune.” This Meshuga en masse was the foundation , before the cameras even rolled, and now the imaginative lifeblood of this extravagant old town is flowing as strongly as ever, despite the ever-expanding spread of the entertainment industry and its transformation into myriad formats. The glitz and glamor of Hollywood remains the entertainment capital in much more than a symbolic sense.
99 years ago, this symbolism came to the fore when the promise of glory was emblazoned on the mountainside. But just 70 years before that Hollywood sign stood proud, the town consisted of one shabby shotgun shack. In a way, the lettering on the hillside marked a seven-decade struggle to conquer America’s last frontier, and “Hollywood” was the triumphant flag of victory. Now dreams could thrive in the most unlikely of deserts. And that’s why movies have moved.
Originally, New Jersey was the film capital of America and thus of the world. It was here that Thomas Edison’s Black Maria, the first film studio, was born. However, it didn’t fit culturally, and that’s largely due to geopolitics. You see, unlike a lot of the big punchers in the post-industrial revolution globalization age, the US didn’t have the same cultural history as other superpowers. They wanted to grow in this regard, exporting Uncle Sam’s age-old mantra that this is the land of dreams and opportunity. That same notion drew hardened folk to the dangerous west, and it was that same romanticized view that would make Hollywood a movie hub.
These hardy people faced unspeakable difficulties on their way to prospecting for gold, but the current picture of Los Angeles is proof that they finally made it. Now you may not be fighting bears while braving the dangerous promise of happiness, but the conflicts have merely changed, as Johnny Carson once said, “In Hollywood, people think you’re crazy unless you have a psychiatrist.” And yet it still attracts people, as it always has.
These first pioneers may have fought, but a route was established in their wake and townships began to form. After that, the donors were allowed to take a look. One of the first combatants was Harvey Henry Wilcox, who bought the lonely cottage and surrounding land and tried his hand at ranching. He failed and changed the tact. So he submitted plans to subdivide the land, and Prospect Avenue soon emerged. Wilcox’s second wife then named a property Hollywood after hearing about a ranch in Illinois with the same name, explaining, “I chose the name Hollywood just because it sounds nice and because I’m superstitious and Holly.” good luck.”
One of those fellows who followed one of those lucky routes west was HJ Whitley, who bought a 480-acre ranch and set out to take Los Angeles to the next level. In 1902 he took on the Hollywood plan and soon added the Hollywood Hotel to the growing amenities. Today this is the site of the Dolby Theater where the Oscars are held. Originally, the hotel only wanted to attract land buyers, but that soon changed.
As more buyers flocked to the area, Whitley amassed money to make it presentable. This, coupled with the climate and already stunning scenery, quite simply gave the city a cinematic look. Meanwhile, Eddison still had a stronghold in the industry and set about filing his patent across the states to ensure his New Jersey movie house remained the only one.
But in Los Angeles, the law made it difficult for Edison to enforce that patent. Thus, aspiring filmmakers hoping to write their own piece of history were lured to this libertarian paradise in the making. What they found upon arrival was a place built with style, a place where the rain would almost never interrupt a shoot, western settings were a short jaunt up the hills, and the beach was direct too there. If a script didn’t call for snow, you could shoot it in Los Angeles. And even then, with endless free space, you could fill a building with snow on a whim anyway.
Everything was now in place to make Hollywood a movie epicenter. Maintaining the lawless frontier aspect of its past meant big wigs looking to make money off movies could do it quickly — there wasn’t anyone to shoulder out of the way, or the bureaucracy associated with other big cities. Therefore, innovation was unchecked in Los Angeles. The American people wanted movies, and the good people of Hollywood wanted to give them movies as soon as possible.
So the studios that created the shop set up something called “vertical integration”. Essentially, this very modern-sounding term meant that they would take over every aspect of the film industry and make it autonomous, from production to screening. This streamlined production but also minimized outside intervention. Much can be said about the pros and cons, but it certainly meant a lot of movies could be made. By 1946, about 60% of the American population went to the movies once a week – most of what they saw came from Hollywood.
This gargantuan rise had its fair share of pros and cons: from DW Griffiths, who settled in the area and became the most famous early director, to founding a Hollywood studio The jazz singerthe first talkie to have Al Jolson famously say, “You haven’t heard anything,” all built on the gathering storm of Hollywood cinema.
However, since this article began with the unveiling of the Hollywood sign, it seems appropriate to end there as well. Because it was primarily marketing that made Hollywood’s schtick stick. That statement on the hill was a symbolic movement, as was the cinema itself. Not every great film of the Golden Age was made in Hollywood, but these other places didn’t have a giant sign or a roaring lion to ram the point home . So if you were a little girl who dreamed of being a star, you knew where to go. The myth of filmmaking was born and hasn’t died since.
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