Exploring the fascinating history of Hollywood beyond the glitz and glamour
Hollywood is famously known for its movie stars, red carpet events, and luxurious lifestyles. Nevertheless, the city has a quirky and unusual history, full of interesting stories that may have never made their way onto the big screen. So, step away from the hype and take a look at an intriguing history of Hollywood!
From orange groves to silver screens
Did you know that before Hollywood was established, it was once home to thousands of acres of citrus groves? Even its name was taken from the wealthy woman who invested in the real estate and water supply that developed the land. In the early 1900s, Hollywood became a hotspot for movie production due to its sunny weather and varied landscapes. The first motion picture studio, the Nestor Motion Picture Company, was built there in 1911.
The Hollywood sign’s changing identity
The Hollywood sign is an iconic landmark, gracing the hills above Los Angeles since 1923. However, the sign has undergone several name changes over the years, originally spelling out “Hollywoodland.” It was created as a billboard for a real estate development company and was only intended to be a temporary construction.
Once the area became known for film production, the sign became synonymous with Tinseltown itself. In 1949, the last four letters were removed from the sign’s design, bringing us to the now-familiar Hollywood sign above L.A.
A Hollywood surprise during World War II
During World War II, Hollywood lent its efforts to the war effort by creating propaganda films for the U.S. government. However, there was one movie theater that did just the exact opposite – The Joy Theater.
The theater catered to German expatriates, but as tensions between the U.S. and Germany grew, so did the controversy surrounding The Joy Theater. The U.S. government eventually shut it down in 1941, claiming that it was subverting the war effort by showing films that were sympathetic to Germany.
Behind the camera: noteworthy filmmakers and innovators
Some filmmakers who directed classic movies were silent workhorses. Ernest Torrence was an actor and writer who worked on the production of “Don Juan” for Warner Bros. He then crafted a moving career acting in movies like “Braveheart” and “Deception.” Mack Sennett was known for creating the Keystone Kops and comedy masterpiece “The Kid Auto Race.” Even though Sennett isn’t a household name, he was as one of cinema’s early innovators for slapstick comedy.
Closing thoughts – beyond the lights and cameras
Discovering Hollywood’s deep-set historical background creates new appreciation for its entertainment tastes as well as innovation. From transforming orange groves to the current home of America’s most massive creative industries, Hollywood’s sturdy roots add to the clout of an already fascinating town. Understanding Hollywood’s rich history shows that there’s much more on offer than just the glitz and glamour associated with Tinseltown.