Hollywood is a district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema. Today, much of the movie industry has dispersed into surrounding areas such as the Westside neighborhood, and the San Fernando and Santa Clarita Valleys, but significant auxiliary industries, such as editing, effects, props, post-production, and lighting companies remain in Hollywood, as does the backlot of Paramount Pictures.
Filmmaking in the greater Los Angeles area preceded the establishment of filmmaking in Hollywood. The Biograph Company filmed the short film A Daring Hold-Up in Southern California in Los Angeles in 1906. The first studio in the Los Angeles area was established by the Selig Polyscope Company in Edendale, with construction beginning in August 1909.
Prolific director D. W. Griffith was the first to make a motion picture in Hollywood. His 17-minute short film In Old California, which was released on March 10, 1910, was filmed entirely in the village of Hollywood for the Biograph Company. Although Hollywood banned movie theaters—of which it had none—before annexation that year, Los Angeles had no such restriction. The first film by a Hollywood Studio, Nestor Motion Picture Company, was shot on October 26, 1911. The Whitley home was used as its set, and the unnamed movie was filmed in the middle of their groves on the corner of Whitley Ave and Hollywood Boulevard by directors Al Christie and David and William Horsley.
Various producers and filmmakers moved bases from the east coast to escape punitive licensing from the Motion Picture Patents Company.
The first studio in Hollywood was established by the New Jersey–based Centaur Co., which wanted to make westerns in California. They rented an unused roadhouse at 6121 Sunset Boulevard at the corner of Gower, and converted it into a movie studio in October 1911, calling it Nestor Studio after the name of the western branch of their company. The first feature film made specifically in a Hollywood studio, in 1914, was The Squaw Man, directed by Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel, and was filmed at the Lasky-DeMille Barn among other area locations.
By 1911, Los Angeles was second only to New York in motion picture production, and by 1915, the majority of American films were being produced in the Los Angeles area.
Four major film companies – Paramount, Warner Bros., RKO and Columbia – had studios in Hollywood, as did several minor companies and rental studios. Hollywood had begun its dramatic transformation from sleepy suburb to movie production capital. The residential and agrarian Hollywood Boulevard of 1910 was virtually unrecognizable by 1920 as the new commercial and retail sector replaced it. The sleepy town was no more, and, to the chagrin of many original residents, the boom town could not be stopped.
Shashikant Nishant Sharma