antoniacarlotta

Thomas Edison vs Carl Laemmle (& How Movies Came to Hollywood)

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Though I'm sure most of you know, a lot of people never learn that Thomas Edison had such a big role in the early film days, or that the industry started in New Jersey and not Hollywood. Edison had a monopoly over the business and enforced it through violence and intimidation. Universal founder Carl Laemmle fought against Edison, taking it all the way to the Supreme Court! It's a pretty amazing story, and it's the reason movies moved to Hollywood.

 

I made a video about it, would love to know what you all think!

 

 

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You have an amazing public speaking voice and style! Great video, too. The early film industry history is truly fascinating.

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Nicely done again here, Antonia. I always look forward to seeing your offerings about your family's rich history in the film industry submitted here on these TCM boards. Please keep 'em coming. 

However, as you might be unaware due to your tender years, the city of Ft. Lee New Jersey IS still a bit famous for another thing!

Okay, okay, maybe I'm the only one who'll remember this, but one of the late great SNL comedienne Gilda Radner's recurring characters was newsperson Roseanne Roseannadanna who would always start out her routine by saying, "A Mr. Richard Feder from Ft. Lee, New Jersey writes", and then she would proceed to answer "Mr. Richard Feder from Ft. Lee, NJ"'s letter by goin' on some of the funniest tangents imaginable.

(...alright, and now I'M sorry I went off on THIS little tangent here in your thread, and so once again I'll just say that it's always nice seeing your contributions around here)

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1 hour ago, NipkowDisc said:

so movies were stolen from new jersey!

:angry:

Yep, that's RIGHT, Nip ol' boy!

And so it seems you REALLY have Antonia's uncle Carl to blame for all that lousy stuff you always complain about that comes out of "Hollyweird" now days, huh!

(...uh-huh, just think how much better movies might've been today if only they'd had stayed in Joisey and were not being made by all those "weird Californians" out there)

LOL

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I always thought that movie makers went to California to take advantage of the year 'round warm weather, as back then movie "studios" were more or less located out of doors to cut back the expense of lighting.  

California's rare rainfall, in that case, was probably attractive too.  ;)

Gotta wonder...  If Edison followed up with the motion picture potential, would his first movie have been about a girl named MARY and her pet LAMB?  :D

Sepiatone

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It is a fascinating history. There's still an original film soundstage in Astoria, Queens used today. 'The Cosby Show' was shot there; its known as 'The Big House'. Source: Dave Knox's book; others.

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11 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

so movies were stolen from new jersey!

:angry:

Another reason for you to hate California, no doubt. :lol: 

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Laemme was arguably thee very first true MOVIE MOGUL   Paramount Pictures was established in 1909 & is still the oldest working DREAM FACTORY-(P.S. I was lucky enough on all 3 vacations to literally stay a stone's throw away from not only it, but the old RKO Radio) (NOTE: Now typically of whats left of an empire called HOLLYWOODLAND, they plan to  now demolish that legendary RKO Globe???)

 

 

However, Thomas (Alva) Edison-(l847-l931) started it all, but in Menlo, NJ

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History has it that all D.W. Griffith, *De Mille & others were further west & there was a massive rainstorm, so they went west instead

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16 hours ago, Dargo said:

Nicely done again here, Antonia. I always look forward to seeing your offerings about your family's rich history in the film industry submitted here on these TCM boards. Please keep 'em coming. 

However, as you might be unaware due to your tender years, the city of Ft. Lee New Jersey IS still a bit famous for another thing!

Okay, okay, maybe I'm the only one who'll remember this, but one of the late great SNL comedienne Gilda Radner's recurring characters was newsperson Roseanne Roseannadanna who would always start out her routine by saying, "A Mr. Richard Feder from Ft. Lee, New Jersey writes", and then she would proceed to answer "Mr. Richard Feder from Ft. Lee, NJ"'s letter by goin' on some of the funniest tangents imaginable.

(...alright, and now I'M sorry I went off on THIS little tangent here in your thread, and so once again I'll just say that it's always nice seeing your contributions around here)

You're right I had no idea! Putting off a whole lot of work right now to watch these on YouTube! :P

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4 hours ago, shannon said:

History has it that all D.W. Griffith, *De Mille & others were further west & there was a massive rainstorm, so they went west instead

I think I heard this before! That they made their first stop in Arizona and it just happened to rain so they kept going. Not sure if it's really true or just a fun story to tell...

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4 minutes ago, antoniacarlotta said:

I think I heard this before! That they made their first stop in Arizona and it just happened to rain so they kept going. Not sure if it's really true or just a fun story to tell...

And, occasionally they WOULD return to Arizona, specifically Sedona, to film many a western(primarily) in this picturesque little high desert town, ya know Antonia.;)

(...and with many of them produced and distributed by Universal Pictures over the years, too) 

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So part of this I understand, and part of it I do not. Laemmle and the others moved to California, still part of the US, to get away from Edison. But how does that solve anything since any court decision in Edison's favor would be enforceable in California just as it was in New York and New Jersey? So it sounds like Edison was operating inside the law with lawsuits and outside the law with paid thugs.  I guess the only thing moving to California solved was getting away from Edison's paid thugs. Plus, as the youtube entry mentions, there is great weather there, a diversity of landscapes, shooting could be done outdoors year round, and - when they  moved - land was very cheap.

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On 11/30/2018 at 10:31 AM, Gershwin fan said:

Another reason for you to hate California, no doubt. :lol: 

Why does Nip hate California?

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17 hours ago, calvinnme said:

So part of this I understand, and part of it I do not. Laemmle and the others moved to California, still part of the US, to get away from Edison. But how does that solve anything since any court decision in Edison's favor would be enforceable in California just as it was in New York and New Jersey? So it sounds like Edison was operating inside the law with lawsuits and outside the law with paid thugs.  I guess the only thing moving to California solved was getting away from Edison's paid thugs. Plus, as the youtube entry mentions, there is great weather there, a diversity of landscapes, shooting could be done outdoors year round, and - when they  moved - land was very cheap.

Right, if the Supreme Court had ruled in Edison's favor, I'm not sure there would have been anywhere in the states filmmakers could go to get away. Perhaps the solution would have been to go abroad? Carl had offices in Europe, and sent some productions to Cuba, so maybe that would have been the next move. But the real draw of leaving was to escape Edison's men, in which case distance really was the simplest solution. And once they were in California they realized how great it was, and that there was no reason to ever leave :)

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20 hours ago, calvinnme said:

Why does Nip hate California?

MY guess is it has something to do with NANCY PELOSI.  ;)

Sepiatone

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On 11/29/2018 at 9:07 PM, Dargo said:

Yep, that's RIGHT, Nip ol' boy!

And so it seems you REALLY have Antonia's uncle Carl to blame for all that lousy stuff you always complain about that comes out of "Hollyweird" now days, huh!

(...uh-huh, just think how much better movies might've been today if only they'd had stayed in Joisey and were not being made by all those "weird Californians" out there)

LOL

I'm from New Jersey.  Where I live now I can hear the fireworks from Disneyland every night around 9:30.  My sister moved out here before I did and was in "the business" for years.  Where do you think all those weird Californians came from?  NEW JERSEY.  Same folks.  Better weather.

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43 minutes ago, karlofffan said:

I'm from New Jersey.  Where I live now I can hear the fireworks from Disneyland every night around 9:30.  My sister moved out here before I did and was in "the business" for years.  Where do you think all those weird Californians came from?  NEW JERSEY.  Same folks.  Better weather.

Being a native Angeleno myself (born in 1952), I know exactly what you're talkin' about here, karlofffan.

And so, the primary reason I left California after working an airline job at LAX for many many years and then retiring to picturesque Sedona AZ here, was because of all of the damn TRAFFIC and the subsequent congestion that all you folks from places like New Jersey(no offense) and everywhere ELSE in this big ol' world helped in increasing over the years by moving there. Nope, it had nothin' at ALL to do with the "political climate" OR any "demographic shift", but REALLY more the thought that there's JUST too many damn people of ALL sorts in my old stompin' grounds now days, and regardless them being from New Jersey and/or "weird" or not.

(...'cause if it wasn't for THAT, this ol' butt o' mine might have lived out my life in sunny SoCal)

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Oh, and btw karlofffan, I'm pretty sure The Nipster's seemingly ongoing "complaints" about The Golden State WOULD stem more from that whole "political climate" thing I mentioned in my above posting.

(...if ya know what I mean...and I'm sure you do)

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Just now, Dargo said:

Oh, and btw karlofffan, I'm pretty sure The Nipster's seemingly ongoing "complaints" about The Golden State WOULD stem more from that whole "political climate" thing I mentioned in my above posting.

(...if ya know what I mean...and I'm sure you do)

Yes, I'm one of those "illegal aliens" (from Planet Jersey) who brought my New Jersey voting history to Orange County.  I am personally responsible for flipping all those House seats...

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6 minutes ago, karlofffan said:

Yes, I'm one of those "illegal aliens" (from Planet Jersey) who brought my New Jersey voting history to Orange County.  I am personally responsible for flipping all those House seats...

Well, good for you then!

(...in fact, I'm kind'a doin' that very same thing here in this freakin' red state of Arizona lately myself!!!) ;)

LOL

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I took an introduction to film class my freshman year of college in the late '80s which, honestly, was probably the most life-changing of all the college classes I ever took. Didn't do a whit for me job-wise, but introduced to the world of classic film and started a life-long love affair. And we definitely had to learn about Edison v the rest of the film industry. I don't know where my teachers (the class was taught by two TAs, too unimportant for a full professor, I guess, but it was still probably my favorite class I ever took) even learned about all that stuff a good five or seven years before the idea of having Internet in your home even existed for the vast majority of Americans. So, I'd heard most of this information before but certainly hadn't reviewed it in a long time.

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1 hour ago, sewhite2000 said:

I took an introduction to film class my freshman year of college in the late '80s which, honestly, was probably the most life-changing of all the college classes I ever took. Didn't do a whit for me job-wise, but introduced to the world of classic film and started a life-long love affair. And we definitely had to learn about Edison v the rest of the film industry. I don't know where my teachers (the class was taught by two TAs, too unimportant for a full professor, I guess, but it was still probably my favorite class I ever took) even learned about all that stuff a good five or seven years before the idea of having Internet in your home even existed for the vast majority of Americans. So, I'd heard most of this information before but certainly hadn't reviewed it in a long time.

Great you learned it though! I've taken a handful of classes where it never got covered at all, and one where the professor was flipping through textbook pages and actually said aloud "eh, Carl Laemmle, don't need to know any of that..." and kept going to decide where we should start reading. A few days later another professor told him who I was/that I was in his class and he personally apologized to me in front of everybody :rolleyes::lol:

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Great video Antonia! Love your narration, the content & graphics-what a great story, thank you for telling it in such an entertaining way.

One of my all time favorite photos is a group picture of Universal Studio staff appearing to be early in the inception. Among the costumers, gaffers & stunt men you can spot Laemmle, Lugosi,and a few other famous faces. (gave my copy as a gift, so don't recall it exactly who)

Mmmm with your talent, why hasn't TCM invited you as a hostess on the network?

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