Since Sundays can be relatively boring through a tabloid/television line-up perspective, I decided to dedicate a blog every Sunday to take a look into the magical history of Hollywood. As some of us wait for Khloe&Lamar to air tonight on the E Network, we can in the meantime learn a little about the town that brought us Ryan Seacrest and evidently the entire E Network along with him. And, when I say ‘we’ I truly mean ‘me’ because I find the history of Hollywood fascinating, and the more I watch old school Hollywood pictures, I realize there’s no other place like tinsletown that I would want to work in.
And speaking of films, for all the movie buffs I truly mean this, you need to see the originals before you can call yourself a movie ‘buff’. Casablanca, obviously greatest picture of all time, but we can talk about that next week. For now, I’ll take you through memory lane, which in Los Angeles is surrounded by enormous palm trees, mega-mansions, and a whole lot of convertibles. But, before there were roads in Hollywood, there was a man named H.J Whitley and his wife Mrs. Daeida Wilcox.
So thanks to Daeida, the famous name Hollywood was born when she used the name where her neighbor lived-Holly Canyon (Now Lake Hollywood). Her husband, Harvey filed a deed with the Los Angeles County Recorder’s Office, and the slow growth of Hollywood had begun.
The first hotel ever built in Hollywood was the “Hollywood Hotel” and it was opened in 1902 by Mr Whitley.
By 1910, Hollywood needed an adequate supply of water, therefore town officials agreed for Hollywood to become a part of the city of Los Angeles. Movie making came a few years later, with the first motion picture in Hollywood. Directed by D.W Griffith the 17-minute film In Old California released in 1910 was filmed entirely in the village of Hollywood.
By 1911, Los Angeles was second behind New York in motion picture production. But, by 1915 majority of American films were being shot in LA. (West Side Wins)
In 1918 Whitley hired architect A.S Barnes to design ‘Whitley Heights’ which became the first celebrity community in Hollywood. Old-time actors like Gloria Swanson, William Powell, Judy Garland and even Rudolph Valentino would have homes there. (Wonder what those houses look like today, and which celebrities live in them now!)
By 1920, Hollywood had truly shaped itself into the world-famous Mecca for the film industry.
And by 2011, the streets of Los Angeles had become witness to numerous drinking and driving accidents, paparazzi chases, a low speed car chase with a white Ford Bronco, and finally the birth of TMZ reporters, that are now surprisingly famous for chasing famous people. Unbelievable, only in Hollywood.
Until next week…where we’ll take a look at Casablanca.