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Paramount Studio

The Squaw Man

Adolph Zukor

Paramount's history dates back to 1912, when Adolph Zukor, the owner of a New York nickelodeon founded  the Famous Players Film Company. A year later, Zukor invested in a film distribution company named Paramount Pictures. The groundbreaking four-reel feature in a time when two reels was the norm propelled Zukor's Famous Players Film Company to great heights, and in the process, transformed the business of entertainment forever. This would be the beginning of Paramount Pictures. Inspired by Zukor's success, Jesse L. Lasky soon teamed with director Cecil B. DeMille to make a film version of the successful stage play The Squaw Man. It was the first feature-length film actually made in Hollywood, and marked the beginning of the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company.

Move To Hollywood

The plan was to shoot the feature film in New Jersey near the new company's headquarters, but it was winter and not the ideal setting for a Western saga. DeMille, who was looking for an adventure, persuaded Lasky to let him take production to Flagstaff, Arizona, but when they arrived, it was snowing.  DeMille continued on to California and rented a barn, from Jacob Stern,  on Vine Street near Sunset Blvd.  On December 29, 1913, shooting began on the first full-length feature film  made in Hollywood, called “The Squaw Man.”


Paramount Pictures

June 28, 1916, Paramount's history was changed forever.  The Jesse L. Lasky Company, which was producing films in Hollywood, merged with Famous Players to form the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation.  The corporation consolidated and audiences began seeing the iconic "Paramount Pictures" label. 

It wasn't long before Hollywood became the movie capitol of the world.  In 1921 Rudolph Valentino claimed his place as one of cinema's most iconic heartthrobs in the silent film The Sheik.  At the time, The Sheik was deemed amoral, but the throngs of female admirers swooning over Valentino quickly overshadowed the criticism and his untimely death from appendicitis earned him a place in film history.

Cecil B. DeMille made The Ten Commandments twice, first in 1923 (silent B/W) and then in 1956. The latter version was his biggest, most star-studded, and final film.


New Hollywood Studio

With the merger of the Jesse L. Lasky Company and Famous Players, the studio needed larger quarters. Jesse Lasky supervised the construction of a new Hollywood studio on a 26-acre lot  on Marathon Street.  In 1927, the company moved from their old studios on Vine Street to the Marathon Street lot.  The Studio's 1927 release of Wings had groundbreaking aerial footage, and received the very first Academy Award for Best Picture from the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.   

Despite the conflicts of World War II, the forties brought Hollywood unprecedented prosperity.  Paramount concentrated on films of the escapist variety, including many war type films.In addition to its commercial success, the forties proved to be a time of critical acclaim for Paramount films.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the annexation of Marathon Avenue and expansion of Paramount created a new site for special events adjacent to the famous gates.  With the acquisition of several adjacent parcels the lot is 56 acres

Continually evolving to meet the needs of the industry that it serves, plans have begun for The Hollywood Project, a 25-year vision for the future of the studio that enhances studio operations, invests in new state-of-the-art soundstages and high-tech production facilities, creates entertainment jobs in Hollywood and preserves the studio's history

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