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Early Hollywood movie making

Movie Come To Hollywood

Shortly after the turn of the twentieth century, most of the film making companies were located in the New Jersey area and in Chicago. All the movies made then were ”silents” in which there was on audio when the movie was being shown.  All the cameras were operated by cranking a handle that moved the film through the camera.  Almost all the films were made outdoors, usually on a wooden platform stage with walls on three sides. It wasn’t until about 1913 that enclosed glass stages were used so filming could take place indoors. Because of climatic conditions in the east and in the mid-west, film production slowed dramatically when winter set in.

By 1910, film companies began searching for places where movies could be made all year long.  The first company to establish a permanent studio in Hollywood was the Nestor’s Film Co., from Bayonne, New Jersey.  They rented the former Blondeau Tavern (also known as the Cahuenga House) on October 27, 1911 and converted the place into a filming studio.  Headed by David Horsley, Nestors Film Co. leased the tavern for $30 per month and used the corral for horses, the barn for props and the house for dressing rooms and offices.

It wasn’t long before word reached Chicago and the east coast that the weather in California was ideal for film making.  The variety of scenery was also a major attraction for these companies.  Within an hour or so, they could be filming in the desert, the mountains or at the beach.

Within three years, by 1915, more than fifteen film companies called Hollywood home, most of them located on Sunset Blvd, near Gower St.

Some of the finest photos of Hollywood can be seen on the website. All are available for purchase.

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