Silent Film Facts – Los Angeles

Guess where I am? Los Angeles! It’s my birthday and, as I said in the last post, at Disneyland! So it’s just about the right time to talk about one of the most iconic places in movies–HOLLYWOOD!

Hollywood201910It can be hard to imagine a time when the capital of movies wasn’t Los Angeles. But the original studios were in New York City/the New Jersey area. It wouldn’t be until 1907 when the first film company went out to Los Angeles. Fox and Biograph started in Manhattan in 1909 and 1906 respectively. Most films were made on the top of buildings where there was the most light or in New Jersey where there were wide open spaces. Filming could only be done as long as sunlight was present. Once it was nightfall filming had to stop. And if there was foul weather? Well! There went that day. There were lights that could be used, but the light they gave wasn’t enough to adequately expose film.

Filming companies moved to southern California for one major reason–Sunshine. But there were other reasons. Any native Californian (like myself) will proudly tell you that it’s great to live in a place where you can reach all types of scenery. There’s the mountains and snow, the beach, plains, desert, fields, rivers, lakes, etc. Anything you could ever want easily gained. This was a huge bonus and once film companies realized the benefits of filming in the Los Angeles area the companies quickly migrated. Hollywood’s total population was 5,000 in 1910. By 1920 it had hit 35,000. And of course, it continues to grow today and is still a giant in film production a hundred years later!

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