Hollywood Airfields


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 Hollywood 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 and established DeMille Field No. 2 on the north side of Wilshire Blvd. and the west side of Crescent, now 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 Chaplin. Being well financed, he explored the struggling aeronautical industry and founded the Chaplin Airdrome along with Emory Rogers. They established their Airdrome at the airfield across from DeMille's Field #2 at the corner of the Wilshire Blvd. and Fairfax Ave. 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 Airdrome operated for a short while and was taken over by Emory Rogers. When DeMille left Mercury Aviation, it was also added to Rogers Airfield. These Hollywood Airfields lasted until 1922. Similar photos can be found in the Aerials category of hollywoodphotographs.com

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Chaplin Airdrome & Mercury Aviation Company at DeMille Field #2 at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
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Charles Chaplin (center), Max Linder (left) & Syd Chaplin (right of Charles) at the Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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Chaplin Airdrome & Mercury Aviation at DeMille Field#2 at Wilshire & Farifax Blvds.
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Mercury Aviation at DeMille Field #2 at Fairfax & Wilshire Blvds.
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome & Mercury Aviation Company at DeMille Field #2 at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
AIR-001
1920
Hollywood AirfieldsCharles Chaplin (center), Max Linder (left) & Syd Chaplin (right of Charles) at the Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
AIR-002-1
1920
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome & Mercury Aviation at DeMille Field#2 at Wilshire & Farifax Blvds.
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1920
Hollywood AirfieldsMercury Aviation at DeMille Field #2 at Fairfax & Wilshire Blvds.
AIR-004
1920
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Charles Ray at Chaplin Airdrome at Wildhire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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Chaplin Airdrome in the foreground and Mercury Aviation in background at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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Chaplin Airdrome(right) & DeMille Field #2 (left) at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
Hollywood AirfieldsCharles Ray at Chaplin Airdrome at Wildhire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
AIR-005
1920
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome in the foreground and Mercury Aviation in background at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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1920
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
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1920
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome(right) & DeMille Field #2 (left) at Wilshire Blvd. & Fairfax Ave.
AIR-009
1920
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Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
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Fatty Arbuckle at Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
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Blimp & planes at DeMille Field #2 at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
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Pilots at Rogers Field at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
Hollywood AirfieldsChaplin Airdrome at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
AIR-010
1920
Hollywood AirfieldsFatty Arbuckle at Chaplin Airdrome at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
AIR-011
1921
Hollywood AirfieldsBlimp & planes at DeMille Field #2 at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
AIR-012
1921
Hollywood AirfieldsPilots at Rogers Field at Wilshire & Fairfax Blvds.
AIR-013
1921