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History of Hollywood, California Research Paper


Several historical and social factors have contributed to the growth of Hollywood, California. The filmmaking industry has gone through numerous changes. The region comprised of a small population during the late 19th century. It was integrated as a municipality in the early 20th century when it fused with the City of Los Angeles.

Thereafter, the film industry began to materialize in the region. Currently, a number of renowned film producers and actors from different global locations have settled in Hollywood. Among the historical sites in the region are Walk of Fame Historic Buildings and the Fonda Theater.

History of Hollywood, California

Hollywood came into existence in the year 1853. It began with a lone adobe hut in Los Angeles, California. The early settlers in the region were successful farmers. By the year 1870, Hollywood was inhabited by the farming community. The most renowned person in the history of Hollywood is Harvey Henderson Wilcox. He moved to the region during the 1880s and bought a ranch.

His wife later named the ranch Hollywood. During the year 1887, Wilcox presented a map of his new settlement to the Los Angeles County recorder’s bureau. The map was the first certified document depicting the name Hollywood. The town’s first street was called Prospect Avenue. The street was later renamed Hollywood Boulevard.

By the early 20th century, the town had attracted a population of 500 individuals. At the time, the town had a single post office, one hotel, and a market. In the bordering Los Angeles City, the population had increased tremendously. The city had a population of over 100, 000. A single-track streetcar line separated the two towns.

In the year 1902, the well-known Hollywood Hotel was constructed. Its construction marked the beginning of the modernization of Hollywood. In the year 904, a trolley car was introduced to ease communication between the two towns. The new transportation system was named Hollywood Boulevard.

With the increase in population and structures, water wars were witnessed in the region. The enduring tussle intended to retain sufficient water supply in the region saw the occupants conduct a referendum for Hollywood to secede from Los Angeles. The new water structure was also chosen by the occupants to be seized from the metropolitan.

During the financial years of the early 20th century, movie producers moved to the regions around Los-Angeles. To evade the stern rules imposed by the New Jersey’s Motion Picture Copyrights Company, the filmmakers had to employ certain tricks.

Because Edison owned the majority of the filmmaking charters, a number of autonomous movie producers faced lawsuits from the company and had to discontinue their productions. While avoiding Edison’s control, most of the filmmakers migrated to Los Angeles to continue with their work leading to expansion of Hollywood.

The basis of the renowned Hollywood symbol has become part of American culture. The symbol was initially mounted to publicize a region close to the upper section of Massif Lee popularly known as Hollywood terrestrial. Upon the erection of the sign in the 1920s, the insignia became irreparable. Later, the Fonda Theater founders opted to erect their own insignia close to their establishment.

The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce was assigned the mandate to get rid of the last four letters and refurbish the residual part of the insignia on the hillside. The empowerment was granted in 1943. The Chamber of Commerce currently owns the insignia. It can only be used in video recording with the permit issued by the chambers. However, Fonda management was able to acquire permanent permission to use the insignia, considering its dedication to maintaining the Hollywood symbol.

The legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame was built in the year 1956. As such, names of personalities are entrenched on the footway along Hollywood Boulevard. There are more than 2,000 personalities accredited by the Chamber to perform in the Fonda Theater. The personalities are important contributors to the film industry.

Similarly, migration to the region led to the construction of Hollywood Walk of Fame Historic Buildings. Among the buildings is the Fonda Theater. The theater is located at 6126 Hollywood Boulevard and operates from 7 pm to 9 pm. The theater was opened in 1926. During the time, it was known as the Carter DeHaven Music Box Theater. Ever since then, it has changed ownership and undergone through several reconstructions.

The Fonda founders came to Los Angeles from the west in pursuit of movie producers. The New Jersey’s Motion Picture Copyrights Company restrictions during the early 20th century disrupted the film producers. As such, some producers fled to nearby Mexican cities to avoid the laws. Those who fled to Los Angeles started making movies in the region. In fact, these producers were the founders of Hollywood.

How the past shaped modern California

Since the conclusion of the soundless movie period that started from the late 1920s to late 1940s, the Hollywood film ateliers determined movies that were displayed in the entire U.S. As such, five central Hollywood-area ateliers owned huge and outstanding auditoriums. They only showed films made by their studios. The films only included contracted actors. The ateliers included Warner Bros, MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), Fox 20th Century, RKO, Paramount, and the Fonda Theater.

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, actors had limited alternative. Actors had to enter into agreements with the existing studios. Amongst the prominent personalities were Wayne John, Grable Betty, Murphy Audie, Grant Cary, Garland Judy, Rogers Will, Gable Clark, Reagan Ronald, and West Mae. Nonetheless, in the year 1948, when there was momentous court judgment. The U.S. Highest Federal Court arbitrated that ateliers should not possess private auditoriums.

The condition was that the theatres were only allowed to show movies made solitary by their ateliers and those with artists having special agreements with the ateliers. The momentous verdict symbolized the informal end of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Later on, television ascertained itself to be a worthwhile and perpetual means of showbiz. By the middle of the 1950s, the Fonda Theater started to deliver content for television.

The history of the Fonda Theater is marred with unending controversy. In one event, the House Committee on the Un-American Activities accused Fonda Theater of engaging in communist activities. In 1947, the Committee censored the theatre. Later, the theater was successful in convinced the Committee that it did not engage in any misconduct. The Committee summoned specific individuals in the entertainment circles to attest to the allegation that the films they produced were not communist-motivated.

Given that news was extensively covered during the events, some authors, makers, and executives became known as the Hollywood Ten. The ten individuals were incarcerated in the year 1950. Each was given one-year imprisonment. Additionally, they were banned from being employed anywhere in the media-based production industry. The prohibition ultimately increased to 150 individuals. The prohibition continued even in the 1960s.

The California setting transformed as the T.V. sector continued to bourgeon from early 1950 to late 1950s. In fact, Fonda Theater produced songs and soundtracks in different affiliate theaters. KTLA, which was the leading profitable T.V. workroom, started to broadcast as early as the 1940s.

According to reports, a majority of the ateliers remained in Hollywood. Broadcasting ateliers such as the Colombia Broadcasting System T.V. Metropolis started their constructions in the region. Later, the sites extended into the areas situated at the southern boundary.

Over the last four decades, Hollywood has undergone several changes. Although the ateliers have moved to other regions in Los Angeles, a majority of film production still takes place within the locality. Incredible auxiliary sectors such as movie directing, properties, struts, poster making, and striking corporations still operate in Hollywood. The solitary film theater is still in operation within the initial Fonda workshop and the Paramount Workshops.


Another historical change that was witnessed in the U.S. filmmaking industry is the technological changes. Over several decades, the filmmaking has experienced technological changes, which include changes in the screen shape, format, and audio quality. Actually, such technological changes required a huge amount of money to keep the cinema industry entertaining and attractive.

Further, the industry observed the development of new media platforms, which included digital, computer-based, and celluloid. The new media developed because of the interactions with traditional filmmaking. As such, the American filmmaking went through many stages and labels, which include classical, production line, mature oligopoly, and studio system.


Alan, M. “On golden Fonda.” Los Angeles Magazine, 2003.

Bordwell, D. The way Hollywood tells it: story and style in modern movies. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006.

Fisher, J. Historical dictionary of contemporary American theater, 1930-2010. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2011.

Shaughnessy, R. “Twentieth-Century Fox: Volpone’s Metamorphosis.” Theatre Research International 27, no. 01 (2002): 11-14.

Williams, G. The story of Hollywood: an illustrated history. Salt Lake: BL Press, 2005.

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"History of Hollywood, California." IvyPanda, 30 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-hollywood-california/.

1. IvyPanda. "History of Hollywood, California." March 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-hollywood-california/.


IvyPanda. "History of Hollywood, California." March 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-hollywood-california/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "History of Hollywood, California." March 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/history-of-hollywood-california/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'History of Hollywood, California'. 30 March.

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