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The Beginnings.

In the 1900s, motion picture production companies started moving to California from New York and New Jersey for mainly one reason: its reliable weather. Even though only electric lights existed at the time, none were powerful enough to exposure film, so the best source of light for movies was natural sunlight. Although the weather was a draw-in for many studios, California was also fantastic because of its open-spaces and the wide-variety of use film-makers could use for backdrops. Any way to not have to build a set saved money, which is always good during big-budget films. Since California was also such a drastic distance from New Jersey, it made it much more difficult for Thomas Edison to enforce his motion picture patents. During this time, he owned almost all, if not all, of the patents relating to film and its production in the East. As a result of this patent, Edision's Motion Picture Patents Company were often sued by Edison and his agents. So, moving to the West Coast would finally be rid of the leash Edison had on film-making. If Edison sent agents to California, there was always time to hide away in nearby Mexico.

In the beginning of 1910, director D.W. Griffth was sent by the Biograph Company to California with his acting troop, that considered of actors such as Blance Sweet, Lillian Gish, Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, among many others. They filmed on a vacant lot in downtown Los Angeles. The company decided to explore new land and traveled several miles north to a friendly residence who actually enjoyed the company's presence. The place in question? Hollywood. Griffith then filmed the first movie ever shot in Hollywood, which he entitled In Old California. It was a Biograph melodrama about a Mexican-occupied California set in the 1800s. The company, actually, stayed there for several months and made more films before their arrival back in New York. After talk of how wonderful California was, many movie-makers headed west in 1913. With this film, In Old California, Hollywood became the film capital of the world.

The first film company ever built in the California-region was the Selig Polyscope Company in the year 1909. The Selig Studio was located just east of Hollywood, in Edendale, California. The first studio in Hollywood? Nester Studios, founded in 1911 in an old building on the southest corner of Sunset Boulevard and Gower Street. That same year, over fifteen film studios settled in Hollywood. Directors began arriving by the truckloads, cameras were being used to their limits; capturing images of showgirls, bathing beauties, comedy, tradegy, good verses evil, anything you can think of--it was filmed. They replaced the lemon groves immediately.

In 1913, director Cecil B. DeMille, in association with Jesse Lasky, leased a barn with studio facilities on the southeast corner of Selma and Vine Streets from the Burns and Revier Studio and Laboratory, which had been founded there. He began filming a film entitled The Squaw Man (1914) and the barn itself became known as the Lasky-DeMille Barn and is now the location of the Hollywood Heritage Museum.

Studios began to build almost overnight. The Charlie Chaplin Studios were built in 1917, just south of Sunset Boulevard. Since then, its had many owners, which included Kling Studios, who produced the Superman television series; Red Skeleton who used the sound stages for his CBS television show; and by CBS in general. It has also been owned by A&M Records and Tijuana Brass Enterprices. Right now, it is owned by the Jim Henson Company, who is most famous for their lovable cartoon puppets known as The Muppets. In 1969, The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board named the studio an "historical cultural monument" since after all, it was Charlie Chaplin.

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