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Early Hollywood Airfields photos by Hollywoodphotographs.com

         ** Click Here To View Photos **

In the roaring 1920s aviation came alive, especially in Los Angeles. Airfields sprouted up everywhere, and with Hollywood's new motion picture industry taking root, aviation was embraced by many top producers and directors.

Cecil B. DeMille [1881-1959] was one of Hollywood's general aviation pioneers. In 1917 he bought a wrecked Canuck in Canada and had it shipped here and restored to flying condition. With this plane he became competent and later spent time in the U.S. Air Service as a pilot. After the war he built his first airfield at Crescent Blvd. [now Fairfax Ave.] and Melrose. He then bought two more Canucks and six Curtiss JN-4D's ['Jennies']. Business increased as he added equipment and in late 1918 he formed the Mercury Aviation Company [which is still in existence today as a company that provides hangars and fuel services for corporate aircraft] and established DeMille Field No. 2 on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. and the west side of Crescent [Fairfax Ave].

In August of 1920, DeMille bought his first factory new plane [JL-6] from Junkers, and it was delivered by famed WWI ace, Eddie Rickenbacker to DeMille Field No. 2. In May 1921 that plane flew its first scheduled flight for Mercury from Los Angeles to San Diego. The public was not yet ready to embrace the idea of using aircraft for serious traveling and his airline never became a viable business. DeMille added his last airfield in Altadena in 1922, now the sight of the Altadena Country Club - aviation was alive and living in Los Angeles.

Businessman Syd Chaplin came to Hollywood in 1919 to manage his brother Charles. Being well financed, he explored the struggling aeronautical industry and founded the Syd Chaplin Aircraft Company along with Emory Rogers at the Wilshire Airport. It was commonly know as the Chaplin Airdrome. As with many businesses during those days, their company grew rapidly and they established the first successful regular service between Wilmington and Avalon with a Curtiss 'Seagull' flying boat. The company enjoyed a four year existence, and in 1923 the Wilshire Airport was purchased and subdivided. Rogers bought Chaplin out and opened the Rogers Airport at the south east corner of Western and El Segundo.

All of the photos on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site are avail;able for purchase.

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