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The History of Hollywood, California. U.S.A. (Part 3)

English: Nestor Studios, the first film studio...

English: Nestor Studios, the first film studio in Hollywood, 1913. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hollywood and the Great Movie Studio Migration

New York had originally played a part in the rise of the cinema motion picture, until the film patent wars broke out. It seemed that the majority of camera equiptment was still under patend to Edison, and it became more and more risky to film  near the Edison Goons at the Company headquarters, which would go out and hunt for cameras to seize. The Edison Company Headquarters seized thousands of cameras, which caused New York production companies to start giving serious thought to relocating. By 1912, most major film companies had set up production facilities in Southern California near or in Los Angeles because of the location’s proximity to Mexico, as well as the region’s favorable year-round weather.

To evade patents from the Movie Picture Patents Company, a plethora of movie producers, studios, and small time movie operations made their way out west.  Ironically, the first studios were all headed by a handful of Jewish immigrants that all grew up within a 500 mile radius of one another, and, would now establish the main “Golden Circle” of film studios in Hollywood. Harry Warner (Poland), Samuel Goldwyn (originally Goldfisch, Poland), Karl Lemly (Germany), Louie B. Mayer (Russian Jewish Village), William Fox (Hungary), and Adolph Zucker (Hungary), were, respectively, the founders of Hollywood as we know it, a movie Megalopolis.

The Golden Age of Hollywood

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, which lasted from about the end of the silent film era in American cinema in the late 1920’s to about the early 1960’s, thousands of movies were made in Hollywood studios, using the “Studio System” style of movie production. Among other things, this system ensured that there was always new and fresh material coming out in Hollywood, that is was material that had been proven to be to the public approval, and that there would always been work on the studio lots for those behind the scenes at the studios. The film which ushered in the Golden Age was probably  The Jazz Singer which was released in 1927, marking the end of the Silent Film era, and introducing sound to feature films.

The Introduction of sound proved to be an overwhelming success for the studios of Hollywood, but often was the death of a film career for leading men and engenues of the silent screen. If the voice didn’t match the visage- you can bet, the artist either had to adapt, or move along!

Most Hollywood pictures adhered closely to a formula which was implied by the studios and implimented by the Studio System – Western,slapstick comedymusicalanimated cartoon, biographical film (biographical picture) – and the same creative teams often worked on films made by the same studio. If you had managed to wrangle yourself into a work-crew which focused strictly on sound stages and props, usually you could be assured that several more films would be made using that same crew. Thousands of people were kept on salary and time clocks, week in and week out.

By the 1930’s, all of America’s theaters were owned by the Big Five studios – MGMParamount PicturesRKOWarner Bros., and 20th Century Fox, and even though these “Big 5” were thriving , there was scandal in Hollywood over the content of the movies being made, which was mainly the result of a Catholic “Watchdog” agency called “The Legion of Decency”, which threatened a boycott of motion pictures if the code didn’t go into effect.  In an effort to “clean up Hollywood”, MPDAA President Will Hays created the Hays (Production) Code as a means of purifying the pictures which came from Hollywood. This code laid out a frame-work which detailed exactly what would be and would NOT be acceptable for production with the public in mind. Adopted in 1930, the code would not go into effect until 1934, and a “jury” style screening process was created. Any film which did not meet the criterium of the sceening from the Production Code Administration would have to pay a $25,000.00 fine and could not profit in the theaters, as the MPDAA owned every theater in the country through the Big Five studios.

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