- Published: 06 April 2008
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Tyberia Benford, age 11, of Atlanta, Ga., for her question:
HOW DID HOLLYWOOD GET STARTED?
Motion pictures were first projected on a screen publicly on December 28, 1895. The big event took place in a cafe in Paris. A simple film featured a train arriving at a station. Almost immediately movies became popular. Within a few short months, movies were being shown all over Europe. The first American showing came on April 23, 1896, in New York City.
An 11 minute movie made in 1903, called "The Great Train Robbery," opened the door for a great, new industry. For five cents, a person could go to the nickelodeon and see a variety of films accompanied by piano music. "The Great Train Robbery" was the first motion picture to use modern film techniques.
By 1907, there were more than 5,000 nickelodeons across the United States. The demand for motion pictures increased and many studios were formed to produce films to meet this demand.
During the ealry years of the 1900s, most of the movies were made eithxr in New York City or in Fort Lee, New Jersey.
And then Hollywood was discovered.
Film makers realized that the area in California around Los Angeles had a climate and a variety of natural scenery that were especially well suited to making movies. The first movie was made in Los Angeles in 1907.
In 1911, the Nestor Company built the first emotion picture studio in a section of Los Angeles that was called Hollywood. Within a few years, additional studios were built in the same area and it wasn't long until Hollywood became recognized at the motion picture capital of the world.
A movie director named D. W. Griffith is given credit for creating the art of motion pictures. Between 1908 and 1913, he directed hundreds of short Hollywood made films. Many of the techniques he developed are still used today.
At first, the performers in motion pictures were not identified by name on the screen. But then, starting in 1910, a number of the popular Hollywood based actors were given screen credit. And soon the Hollywood star system was well established.
Early Hollywood stars included a cowboy actor named Bronco Billy Anderson and a comedian named John Bunny.
Among the later early stars of Hollywood films were Theda Bara, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, William S. Hart, Buster Keaton, Mary Pickford and Rudolph Valentino.
A Canadian motion picture writer and actor named Mack Sennett became one of Hollywood's most important early day leaders. Sennett opened the Keystone Studio in 1912, and produced a flood of wildly creative comedies.