A fascinating look back at the early days in the Celebrity & Entertainment Capital of the World through historical records. In 1923 with a practically microscopic population of roughly 100,000, Hollywood pioneers were paving the way
There were 4.000 people In Hollywood a dozen years ago. It has a population of nearly 100,000 now. At that time the board of trade made an announcement which some people thought was too optimistic. They heralded their faith in the future of the little town at the edge of the mountains by predicting for Hollywood a population of 8.000 in ten years. As the scroll of the future was hidden, the board no doubt felt quite daring, for at that time the hose cart fire apparatus was still in use. When a fire broke out carpenters laid down their saw and took up of the hose. All the firemen were volun- teers. Tired horses dozed in front of the leading stores. Stages, coaches and prairie wagons lumbered and creaked in and out of the capitol of fllmdom, that dosed contentedly, being quite unmindful of the fact that in less than a half dozen years It would be one of the most famous places In the world.
A dozen years ago wild flowers fought with weeds for possession of ground upon which now stand the great motion picture studios. While the far-seeing board of trade dreamed of doubling the population in ten years, a little group of players were turning out a "western” complete every thirty-six hours. The little advance guard of the films had camped at the edge of the town. Many of them were discouraged players from the legitimate stage. But then, all pioneers are discouraged, but still ambitious men. The fever and the urge never dies in them, so they go on until they find an outlet. About this time David Wark Grifith made his appearance in Hollywood. There was no line about him in the local papers. A young girl I started work for him soon afterward. Her name became fairly well known before many years. It was Mary Pickford. Owen Moore, Florence Lawrence and Mack Sennett, along with several others, enrolled under the Griffith banner. When the history of the film is written In detail the lean-faced Griffith and his little crew will be given the first human chapter.
A short time later two other men appeared In Hollywood In search of a studio location. Some cruel person on the train rolling westward had told them to beware of California real estate men. They were offered some ground near the center of Hollywood for about $12.000. They did not take it. It is only worth around a million now. So these two gentlemen missed the tide, and have not been able to write articles for the youth of America, setting forth pow they became successful. Then the miracle happened. Picture houses were erected over the nations of the world. Inarticulate people, too weary with life to read, now found In pictures a solace for tired souls.
The universal language of the film curled its way around the universe. Many writers touched upon this most fascinating episode in the annals of men. Ten years passed, and a masterful weaver of words became Interested In the story as a theme for a novel. Being Intensely human, he caught the atmosphere of Hollywood and imprisoned in it a book, which he called "Souls for Sale." And later, he made the book into a picture, the first great story of Hollywood ever filmed. It is the story of the picture.
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