Hollywood is famous the world over, where people go to seek fame and fortune, and have a share of the glitz and glamour. Here are the nine interesting facts about Hollywood.
Easily one of the world’s most recognizable signs, the Hollywood sign was erected in 1923 not to be a symbol of fame and fortune but as an outdoor real estate advertisement to sell luxurious houses. It was originally spelled “HOLLYWOODLAND,” the name of the new segregated housing project sitting in the hills of Los Angeles’ now-famed Hollywood district.
The expanded housing was deemed fitting with the film craze starting to catapult in 1915 and the rising population, serving as an escape from the city jam. In March 1923, the development group began offering lots of land. The large billboard was only constructed a few months later by Thomas Fisk Goff’s Crescent Sign Company.
While the Hollywood sign is known for fame and opulence, it hides a dark secret as well. On September 16, 1932, in the year when the Great Depression was at its peak, Peg Entwistle made her way to the Hollywood sign, climbed and reached the top of the letter “H” using a workman’s ladder, jumped, and met her demise. The coroner listed the cause of death of the 24-year-old actress as multiple fractures of the pelvis.
Movies arrived in the United States in 1896 and enticed a wide range of audiences. However, these flicks raised the eyebrows of critics, deeming that these films were a threat to morality. In 1907, the first movie censorship law in the U.S. was enacted in America. As a result, other states soon followed suit in the following years, with each local censorship board having its own set of rules and standards.
In 1914, the American silent film “The Squaw Man” was released, starring Dustin Farnun. It was a historic movie, as it was the first full-length movie to be shot in Hollywood. Plus, it was the directorial debut of Cecil B. DeMille, who is regarded as American cinema’s founding father and the most commercially successful producer-director in American film history. “The Squaw Man” was co-directed by Oscar C. Apfel, another pillar during the silent film era.
A common mistake that most people commit is thinking that Hollywood is a separate city. Truth to be told, it is a neighborhood situated in the central region of the city of Los Angeles in California. In 1903, Hollywood was first incorporated as a municipality before being consolidated with Los Angeles in 1910. Several years later, the renowned film industry emerged and has been recognized across the globe.
Designed by Thomas Fisk Goff, the original “HOLLYWOODLAND” sign stood 50-foot-high (15.2 meters and 30-foot-wide (9.1 meters). The white block letters were incorporated with nearly 4,000 light bulbs, alternately flashing as “HOLLY,” “WOOD,” and “LAND,” and then as a whole. Only initially intended to be up for a year and a half, the famous sign continues to stand a century after its construction.
First conceived in the early 1950s, the official groundbreaking of the Hollywood Walk of Fame took place on February 8, 1960. The first permanent star was laid on March 28 near the intersection of Gower and Hollywood. It was that of director-producer Stanley Kramer, a receiver of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Irving G. Thalberg Memorial, which is the most prestigious production accolade that the film industry grants.
Released in 1927, “The Jazz Singer” was the first feature-length flick with synchronized dialogue and sound. It heralded the dawn of the “talkies” while signaling the demise of the silent film era. While silent films were still shown for a certain period after the arrival of the talkies, “The Jazz Singer” produced by Warner Bros., is highly regarded as the catalyst of modern cinema.
Harvey Henderson Wilcox owned the ranch located west of Los Angeles City and founded a real-estate subdivision on the land in 1887. Hailing from Kansas, Harvey was a prohibitionist who yearned to build a utopia based on his religious principles. Daeida, Harvey’s wife and another devout Christian, gave the name “Hollywood.” She was reported to have heard the name during a train ride and deemed it perfect for Harvey’s ideal community.