The History Of The Showbiz Capital Of The World!

by Rick Roberts
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Hollywood is the home of the U.S showbiz set in L.A., California. known to house the biggest TV studios and record companies in the world. The origin of Hollywood dates back to the 1850s where it started as a tiny low settlement after which it underwent some big changes and eventually became the glamorous showbiz capital it is today!

Hollywood is the home of the U.S entertainment industry located in Los Angeles, California. Known to house some of the biggest television studios and record companies in the world. The origin of Hollywood dates back to the 1850s where it started as a small settlement after which it underwent different phases of evolution till it turned out to be the home of the world’s show business capital.

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The site where Hollywood sits today started as a small hut in 1853 which became an agricultural community called Cahuenga valley after two decades. In 1883, an estate developer and politician, Harvey Henry Wilcox along with his wife purchased 150 acres of land west of Hollywood for ranching. It wasn’t until 1887 that he filed with the Los Angeles County recorder’s office to use the land for other purposes.

In 1902, a business tycoon named H.J. Whitley, popularly known as the “father of Hollywood” stepped into the picture. He was a banker and real estate developer who contributed a great deal to the development of Hollywood. Whitley developed an upscale residential area and opened the Hollywood hotel now the Dolby theatre building where Oscar’s award ceremony is hosted annually. He financed the construction of a bank and the electrification of the area.

In 1903, Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality and merged with Los Angeles 7 years after. The popular Hollywood boulevard, formerly Prospect Avenue was birthed as a result of this merger. How the name Hollywood came to be can be traced to two major stories both related to the founding families. One story states that the Wilcox named their ranch after an Ohio town bearing the same name. Another narrates that, in 1866, H.J. Whitley gave the name during his honeymoon there.

The short film titled Old California was the first film to be completely made in Hollywood in 1910. A year after, the first movie studio was established there on sunset boulevard. In 1915, many motion picture producers relocated to Hollywood from the east coast due to patency issues they had with Thomas Edison’s motion picture patent company. Other than this, the topography and weather of Hollywood made it a perfect site for movie production. 

One major attraction site in Los Angeles is the giant Hollywood sign. The sign which originally said, “Hollywoodland,” was erected in 1923 by Los Angeles times publisher and a real estate developer Harry Chandler. The sign was used to advertise an upscale estate, now the Hollywood hills. It underwent years of desertion and in 1949, it was restored with the last four letters removed. Now it has become part of the Hollywood culture and has been featured in several movies.

Hollywood experienced the golden age where it had exponential growth and movie studios and its stars gained international recognition. It was the era of the Big five, where major studios dominated the industry: Warner brothers, fox, MGM, Paramount and RKO. The introduction of an audio system to movies gave way for diversity in movie production, with genres like musicals, horrors, romantic drama and documentaries. At the peak of this period, the movie industry became one of the biggest businesses in the United States.

During the period of the great depression, movies became a means of escape for many people and close to 80 million Americans went to the movie theatre weekly. During the second world war, the need for people to find a source of happiness increased and Hollywood didn’t fail to meet them. Hollywood started churning out works of their famous comedians and documentaries on the events of the war were also produced to keep informed about the realities of the war.

The reign of the blockbusters began in the mid-1970s and 1980 where the use of special effects for the production of action movies such as jaws, star wars, and Indiana Jones franchises began. After a decline in the purchase of movie tickets, the invention of DVDs, Blu-ray discs and VCR video rental made the industry progress. Technological advancement gave way for the development of Hollywood movies and the evolution of the industry into what it is now.

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