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POVERTY ROW & GOWER GULCH

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POVERTY ROW & GOWER GULCH

By the mid-Twenties, scores of small independent studios were operating in Hollywood, primariiy on Sunset Boulevard near Gower Street. These studios struggled to exist by making one and two reel comedies, westerns and dramas. Because of the fierce competition, uncertainty of having their films distributed, and the difficulty of making a profit, the small stuclios went out of businaas as quickly as they were conceived. The high mortality" rate of the independent studios caused this area of Hollywood to become known as 'Poverty Row".

During the same period, many extras and "movie cowboys" could be seen standing near the corner of Sunset and Gower awaiting casting calls to appear in early western films being ground out daily by the many small production companies. To the residents of Hollywood, this area was popularly called "Gower Gulch".

Some of the "Poverty Row." and "Gower Gulch" production companies which have long since passed into obliviion were Loftus Features, Sterling Motion Picture Company, L-Ko Motion PIcture Company, Quality Pictures Corporation, Faults, Waldorf Productions, Frances Ford Studio, Century Film Company, Wilnat Studios, Wade Productions, California Studios, Bischoff Comedies, Choice Pro-ductions, Snub-Pollard Productions, Goodwill Studios and Chadwick Pictures Company.

By the mid-1920s, most of the Poverty Row studios were having a hard time staying in business.  Either they couldn’t compete with the larger studios or they couldn’t get their films distributed.

These small film production companies had a very limited budget and just didn’t have the staying power.  Most made a few films but when they couldn’t find a distributor, they went out of business.  

Once “talkies” came to the screen, the cost of the new equipment was very expensive and most of the small film companies could not afford to spent the money on the neew technology.  By the 1930s, almost all of the independent film companies had gone out of business.  The only studio that existed on “Poverty Row” was Columbia Studios

.The largest collection of photos of Poverty Row and Gower Gulch are on the hollywoodphotographs.com web site.  All the photgraphs are available for purchase.

 

 

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