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11 Interesting Things You Should Know About Hollywood Lore

It's no secret that much of popular culture has been influenced by Hollywood history and its films, in both good and bad ways. In many instances, Hollywood has educated the younger generation and retold stories in colorful cinematic fashion that were either forgotten or only discussed in university-level history or literature courses, with 300 and the Battle of Thermopylae between the Persians and the Greeks being a somewhat recent example.
However, the fact that Hollywood and its movie releases clearly have a significant impact on billions of people across the globe isn’t always a good thing; quite often Hollywood has a negative impact on modern thought and culture. Many stereotypes and misconceptions about certain population groups, countries, and cultures have been disseminated by Hollywood films to the point where people tend to believe they are true. We could write a whole book about the pros and cons, the positives and negatives, of the film industry’s impact on society and culture, but for now we’ll just present you with 11 Interesting Things About Hollywood Lore that will enlighten you about your favorite movie industry.
Written by Theodoros II


When Horace and Daeida Wilcox founded Hollywood in 1887, they hoped it would become a religious community. As prohibitionists, they banned liquor and offered free land to anyone interested in constructing a church in the area.


Originally, “movies” did not refer to films, but rather to the people who produced them. It was widely used with great scorn by early Hollywood locals who disliked the “invading” Easterners. For the record, the first film made in Hollywood was D. W. Griffith’s In Old California (1910), a melodrama about a Spanish woman who has an illegitimate son with a man who later becomes governor of California. It was shot in two days.


Thomas Edison’s Black Maria, a frame building covered in black roofing paper built at Edison Laboratories in New Jersey, was the first film studio. It cost $637.67 to construct in 1893. Furthermore, Thomas Edison invented the first moving pictures, which were small film images that could be viewed in a box. He was originally against showing movies on a big screen because he thought one-on-one viewing would be more profitable.


The most fatalities ever to occur during a film’s production happened while shooting 1931’s The Viking. Twenty-seven people died, including the director and cinematographer, when a ship they were filming from exploded in the ice off the coast of Newfoundland.


Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) was the most expensive black-and-white movie ever made. Production costs totaled $7.5 million, due mainly to the salaries of its stars, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.


In 1923, Mark Sennett, Harry Chandler, and the Los Angeles Times put up the “Hollywoodland”—later shortened to “Hollywood”—sign to publicize real estate development. The sign cost $21,000.


Mary Pickford, who along with Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith formed United Artists Corp in 1919, is arguably the first Hollywood film star. At her peak in the 1920's, she made a record-breaking $10,000 a week.Also, the first film fashion fad was Pickford’s curls, which were enhanced by the hair of employees of Bit Suzy’s French Whorehouse.


The first nude shot in a major movie was of swimmer and actress Annette Kellerman in A Daughter of the Gods (1916).


The first film to depict a sex act was Ecstasy (1933), starring Hedwig Kiesler, known to movie fans as Hedy Lamarr. Her character flees an impotent husband, runs naked through the woods, bathes, and then has sex with a young engineer in a hut.

FACT #10

The first African American to play a leading role was Sam Lucas, who was cast in the title role of Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1914). On the other hand, the actor who has played the most leading roles is John Wayne, who appeared in 153 movies.

FACT #11

Count Dracula is the horror movie character most often portrayed in Hollywood history, while William Shakespeare is the most filmed writer in the history of Hollywood filmmaking. 

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