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Hollywood History Infographic


  • 1886 H.H Wilcox buys an area of Rancho La Brea that is named Hollywood by his wife Daeida. This is the first official appearance of the name Hollywood. This land is shortly thereafter turned into a new residential community with a main street named Prospect Avenue (now Hollywood Boulevard).
  • 1897 – Wilcox files the grid map for a town with the county recorder’s office, the first official appearance of the name Hollywood.
  • 1896 Thanks to a donation of land near to his ranch from Col J Griffith in this year, the largest urban park in the whole of the United States is born. Today’s Griffith Park is 4017 acres of stunning parkland between Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley.
  • 1901 Col Robert Northam’s (left) Hollywood estate at the southeast corner of Selma and Vine has a stable constructed in order to act as storage for horses, hay and carriages.
  • 1902 Construction of one of the main parts of the Hollywood Hotel commences and is soon opened. This is Hollywood’s first major hotel.
  • 1903 – The new residential community is officially incorporated as Hollywood. Wilcox forbids the sale of alcohol in any establishments except pharmacies.
  • 1904 – The citrus farm owned by Col Northam’s estate is sold and subsequently left unattended by its new owners, the Jacob Stern family.
  • 1910 The newly incorporated community’s independence is short-lived due to a lack of water. The residents vote to join the city of Los Angeles which has a surplus of water.
  • 1911 Hollywood gets its first production company Nestor Film Company. It opens in an old tavern on the corner of Sunset and Gower with neighbors objecting to its construction.
  • 1912 Albert Zukor introduces the wealthier carriage-using public to film by importing a film about Queen Elizabeth made by the French Cine Arts company. The success of this high- admission theater venture leads to the formation of the Famous Players Film Company in New York.
  • 1913 Cecil B DeMille begins making movies in the area, drawn by the open space and moderate climate. His first film, also Hollywood’s first, is ‘Squaw Man’. DeMille gets together with Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldfish (later Goldwyn) to form the Jesse L Lasky Feature Play Company. The company is incorporated under New York laws with a capital of $50,000. Goldfish and Lasky remain in New York while DeMille travels to Los Angeles to film Squaw Man’ an adaptation of a stage play with the same name.  In the same year DeMille meets Mssrs Burns and Revier while staying at the Alexandria Hotel with the rest of the Lasky Company.
  • 1914 Squaw Man’ is released having been made in a barn where Hollywood and Vine now cross. The barn goes on to lead a charmed life of its own see below. Paramount Pictures Corporation is also formed in this year in New York by Lasky, Zukor, Hobart Bosworth and W.W Hodkinson amongst other producers.
  • 1916 Jesse L Lasky Company now merges with Zukor’s Famous Players to distribute films through Paramount.
  • 1917 Charlie Chaplin’s studios currently home to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and Jim Henson Productions – are built just south of Sunset.
  • 1918 The beginning of the Hollywood Golden Age of Production starts with production, distribution, and exhibition all conducted by one company, as the Famous Players Lasky Corporation absorbs Paramount.
  • 1922 Hollywood Bowl amphitheater, the home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, has its first concerts. The Bowl goes on to show all the world’s best performers from the Beatles to Frank Sinatra in future years.
  • 1922 First ever color feature film made in Hollywood is released. The Toll of the Sea’ is produced by Technicolor Motion Pictures and released by Metro Pictures.
  • 1923 Hollywoodland is founded with the results a residential area consisting of homes designed with a Spanish and generally Mediterranean flavor. Beachwood Canyon is subdivided to create the new area by Shoults, Woodruff, and Sherman. Still also keeping a modern approach to design, the homes in this area create a California design renaissance under the leadership of architect John L DeLario.
  • 1923 The world-famous Hollywood sign is erected and actually reads Hollywoodland’ initially. This coincides with the emerging presence of the 5 big studios in Hollywood: 20th Century Fox, RKO, Paramount Pictures, Warner Brothers, and Loews (MGM).
  • 1924 Mulholland Drive later the name of a famous David Lynch movie opens on the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Hollywood Hills. This still awesome drive was known as the Mulholland Highway in its day. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer shows it first signs of life with the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and Louis B Mayer Pictures at this time. Irving Thalberg becomes head of production of theater magnate Marcus Loews’ business idea.
  • 1926 The back-lot of the newly-acquired United Studios on Melrose Avenue becomes the new home for the Stern- DeMille Lasky barn. Ultimately this location will become the home of Paramount Studios.
  • 1927 Amidst unforeseen public joy and adulation, Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater opens in spectacular fashion. Thousands turn up to see their favorite movie stars and celebrities.
  • 1928 Wings’ wins the first ever Academy Award for Best Picture for director William Wellman. The ceremony takes place at the Roosevelt Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Amongst the winners are the first ever feature-length talkie The Jazz Singer’ and Charlie Chaplin for The Circus’.
  • 1930s-1940s Movie Production and Distribution is dominated by 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, Paramount, Columbia, Universal, and Walt Disney Studios. Hollywood’s Golden Age is now in full flow.
  • 1932 Peg Entwistle becomes famous for jumping off the Hollywood sign to her death as an initially successful stage acting career flounders in the Hollywood world of the film. The Hollywood Sign Girl’ climbs up a 50 foot ladder and plunges to her death at the age of only 24.
  • 1938-39 The Don Lee Network facility is planned and eventually constructed ushering in a brand new era in the storied history of Hollywood. The 20-acre site, located behind the Hollywood sign, includes a state-of-the-art broadcast studio, a transmission tower, indoor and outdoor film-making facilities, a swimming pool, a suspended control room that moves on a track as well as the highest transmission tower in the world.
  • 1940s A New era of patriotic, escapist entertainment results from technological progress in the film industry. Alfred Hitchcock’s spy thriller Foreign Correspondent’ is an example of what can be done with the new lighting, sound, special effects and color technology.
  • 1941 Further strides in technology make film-making a totally different experience with the likes of Citizen Kane (RKO) introducing brand new filming techniques. Low angle shots and creative sound experiments are just the start of what can now be done.
  • 1942 World War II sees Hollywood actors doing their part for the nation’s war effort, with Audrey Hepburn, Clark Gable, and Steve McQueen all signing up to help.
  • 1944-9 Hollywoodland real estate development goes under as a result of the Depression and the Sign becomes property of the city. Within 5 years the sign has been changed to its current Hollywood’ with appearance improvements and repairs completed.
  • 1950 Sunset Boulevard’ starring Gloria Swanson becomes the definitive Hollywood film within weeks of release. The trials and tribulations of faded star Norma Desmond is the film’s subject matter.
  • 1953 Hollywood, Pasadena and the Harbor Freeways are connected by a four level interchange. The first of its kind. In the same year, E.M. Stuart devises the Hollywood Walk of Fame model. Stuart describes the Walk as a means to maintain the glory of a community whose name means glamour and excitement in the four corners of the world.
  • 1956 Shaped like a stack of 45-rpm records, the Capitol Records building in Hollywood is built and becomes the first circular office tower.
  • 1958 – The first eight inductees to the Hollywood Walk of Fame are: Olive Borden, Ronald Colman, Louis Fazenda, Preston Foster, Burt Lancaster, Edward Sedgwick, Ernest Torrence and Joanne Woodward.
  • 1960 By this time over 1,550 people are honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for their work in one of the four main branches of the Hollywood industry at that time: motion pictures, broadcast television, audio recording or music and broadcast radio. In 1984, a fifth branch was added representing the are live performance. Charlie Chaplin was not one of those given a star.
  • 1968-69 The Chaplin Studios are named an historic cultural monument, and the Grauman’s Chinese Theater a historical and cultural landmark. Both by The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage board.
  • 1973 The Hollywood Sign is named an historic monument. Gloria Swanson is part of the official naming ceremony which is staged as if it were a movie premiere.
  • 1979 The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is founded. The main gallery on Grand Avenue is designed by Arata Isozaki with the museum collections amounting to one of the finest of late 20th-century art in the country. Other MOCA galleries include the Geffen Contemporary in Little Tokyo and MOCA West in West Hollywood.
  • 1979 The Lasky-DeMille Barn is once again re-housed. This time moving from the Paramount Studio to a parking lot of the Hollywood Palace Theater until the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce can decide what to do with it.
  • 1980’s A ruling by the Supreme Court means that people can video-tape television shows and movies without infringing copyright laws. Broader distribution of films results from technological advances such as VHS and cable TV and boosts the area further.
  • |1983 The Lasky-DeMille barn is donated to Hollywood Heritage Inc., and moved to its current resting place across from the Hollywood Bowl on Highland Avenue.
  • 1999 The Metro Red Line subway extension finally opens
  • 2000 Thai Town becomes America’s first in a part of East Hollywood. Los Angeles is the home to 80,000 Thais and is often referred to as Thailand’s 77th province.
  • 2001 The Kodak Theater is built and becomes the new venue for the Academy Awards ceremony. A new shopping mall is constructed next door.
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