Hollywood Timeline


While researching for the Garden of Allah novels, I created a timeline of what was going on in Hollywood, Los Angeles, the U.S. and the world at large with a specific focus on the events that would affect the lives of my characters living and working in Hollywood. The references at the end of each entry refer to the page number of the book I found the information. (So “2/15” refers to page 2 of book 15 listed on my bibliography page.) Readers of these pages will note the occasional inconstancy – that is due to conflicting sources from which this information was taken. All this is my long-winded way of saying that I am NOT presenting this information as a professionally-research, definitive, you-can-take-it-as-gospel history of Hollywood. It ain’t. It’s just a huge pile of info I’ll pulled from a wide variety of books, websites, magazine articles. Take it, like it, lump it or leave it.

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1881 to 1933


04DEC1881            L.A. Times, founded by Harrison Gray Otis, puts out its first edition. (2/15)

1880-1900               Most of the streets in Hollywood are named. (1/15)

1885                        A cable car system, fashioned after the one in San Francisco, begins serving an area west of downtown and the 1400 building lots plotted there by the system’s owners. (51/67)

1887                        Harvey Henderson Wilcox and wife Daeida founds Hollywood. Harvey favors the name “Figwood” however Daeida chooses ‘Hollywood’ taken from the name of a home of a woman Daeida met on a train going east.

01FEB1887             The name “Hollywood” first appears officially on Harvey Wilcox’s subdivision map filed with the county recorder on Feb 1, 1887. (6/7) Harvey Wilcox subdivided his 160 acres of Hollywood into a grid of streets and avenues, with Franklin Ave at its northern perimeter, Sunset Boulevard to the south, Gower to the west and Hudson to the east. (66/7)

1892                        Colorado miner Edward Doheny strikes oil a few blocks west of downtown at Glendale Boulevard and Second Street. (51/75)

1896                        Thomas Edison’s motion pictures (first developed in the 1870s) is first publicly exhibited at a NY vaudeville house – Koster and Bial’s.  (16/25)

1896                        Colonel Griffith J. Griffith donates 3000 acres to L.A. in 1903 he is convicted of attempted murder of his wife. (2/15)

1900                        Charles Seeberger redesigned Jesse Reno’s escalator and invented the modern escalator. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1901                        King Camp Gillette invents the double-edged safety razor. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1902                        Edwin S. Porter begins to piece together several strips of film containing different scenes so he could tell a little story that movies begin to come to life. (50/165)

1902                        TL Talley opens his Electric Theater at 262 South Main St, Los Angeles. He advertises: “An Hour’s Amusement and Genuine Fun for 10 CENTS ADMISSION. Evenings 7:30 to 10:30” (p2/141)

1902                        By this year, movies had become so popular in urban areas that special theaters were built exclusively for film exhibition.  (16/25)

1902                        The birth of the Teddy Bear. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

FEB1903                 Hollywood Hotel built at 6811 Hollywood Blvd (2/1), later owned by Myra Hershey, a member of the Pennsylvania chocolate family. (14/45) Mrs. Margaret Anderson was the first manager who, in 1912, moved to the brand new Beverly Hills Hotel. (41/153) A couple of years after the opening, 104 rooms were added. (108/56)

14NOV1903            …it was decided by a slim vote of it citizens (88 for/77 against) that his little farming community should officially be incorporated as the new City of Hollywood. (66/7)

1903                        Hollywood Hotel opens. It becomes a phenomenal success and Thursday night become THE social night. (40/7)

1903                        The American movie as narrative was invented with the premiere of “The Great Train Robbery”, a movie that lasted an entire reel. (116/p5)

1904                        Hollywood High School opens. (25/37)

1904                        Sunset Boulevard is completed from downtown L.A. to Laurel Canyon. (p28/130)

1904                        Teabags invented by Thomas Suillivan. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1905                        Buildings in Los Angeles limited to a height of 150 feet. (Not for earthquake safety, but aesthetics.) (51/59)

1905                        Hollywood gets its first store, the Hollywood Cash Grocery at the corner of Hollywood and Cahuenga. (41/1) (p28/130)

1905                        The electric trolley between Los Angeles and Hollywood starts running every 15 minutes – this same year, Hollywood gets its first electricity, piped water, and telephone service. (p28/130)

1905                        Entertainment industry trade paper Variety starts, founded by Sime Silverman (1/195)

15APR1905             The ‘Hollywood Club’ starts, changing its name in 1914 to the ‘Woman’s Club of Hollywood’. http://www.womansclubofhollywood.org/aboutus.html

04JUL1905             Abbot Kinney officially opens Venice, California. (25/22)

1905 & early 1906      An oil syndicate headed by Charles Canfield, Burton Green and Max Whittier paid $670,000 for the Hammel-Denker ranch hoping to find exploitable deposits under the bean fields. They drilled over 30 wells but didn’t find appreciable oil except in the SW edge, near today’s Century City office towers. But they’d paid too much money, so they decided instead to turn the ranch into a real estate development. They hired Wilbur David Cook Jr. to design a master plan for the development of Beverly Hills. (p81/130)

1906                        In 1906 Hollywood was just still a large ranch. The area had been divided by the Spanish Vogernment; to the west was Rancho La Brea and the east Rancho Los Feliz. The Ranchos were subdivided and sold in the 1880s. Most of Rancho La Brea was purchased by Daeida and Horace Henderson Wilcox in 1886. He was a millionaire real estate developer from Ohio, a religious fanatic, and a Prohibitionist. He devised a grid plan for his large track and in 1887 began selling his version of a Christian community with a Methodist, Prohibitionist church on every block. (9/96)

1906                        Alexandra Hotel opens at 501 South Spring Street, corner of Fifth. (25/139) With its ornate lobby and thick rug (called the “Million Dollar carpet: because of the deals that transpired on it) It became the afternoon meeting place. The bar offered cocktails and free sandwiches so many out-of-work actors ended up there hoping to make contacts and free food. (40/8)

1906                        William Kellogg invents Cornflakes. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1907                        The Selig Company of Chicago complete The Heart of a Race Trout which is considered the first “story” film ever completed within the Los Angeles area. (41/1)

1907                        Leo Baekeland invents the first synthetic plastic called Bakelite. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1907                        Developed first as an oil field by Edward Doheny, Charles A. Canfield, Burton Green and Max Whittier in the 1910s, Beverly Hills is later developed as real estate, designed by Wilbur Cook. By 1920, the area has a population of about 630. (14/53) Before acquiring the name Beverly Hills, the few locals called it ‘Morocco Junction’. (9/96) Green borrowed the name from his Beverly Farms in Massachusetts. (10/96) Green broke ground in late 1907. His first model home still stands, unchanged at 515 Canon Drive. (10/96)

1907                        In search of mild weather, sunshine and an ocean beach to complete the filming of a one-reel melodrama called The Count of Monte Cristo, the Selig Polyscope film company dispatches a director and cameraman from Chicago to Los Angeles. (51/79)

11OCT1908             Max Factor opens a tiny shop at 1204 South Central Ave on the edge of downtown L.A. The sign above the entrance reads, “Max Factor’s Antiseptic Hair Store. Toupees made to order. High-grade work.” Three months later, he founds Max Factor and Company. (p21/121)

1906                        In 1906 the Selig Polyscope Company of Chicago send an expedition to California to silm scenes for films produced primarily in Chicago. When ocean scenes were needed for Monte Cristo in 1907, the company returned and decided to use southern California for future films. (108/31)

LATE1908               In search of mild weather, sunshine and an ocean beach to complete the filming of a one-reel melodrama called The Count of Monte Cristo, the Selig Polyscope film company dispatches a director and cameraman from Chicago to Los Angeles (51/79) making them the first filmmakers to shoot scenes in California. (Laguna Beach) (p32/130)

1908                        California’s (as against Hollywood’s) first movie studio is established by Selig Studios star Francis Boggs in a converted Chinese laundry at 8th and Olive. (42/4) The first film they shot was The Heart of the Race Tout which was the first film completed completely in California. (66/13)

1908                        Henry Ford announces: “I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family but small enough for the individual to run and care for. (56/29)

1908/9                     William N. Selig is not widely remembered today, but he is considered to be one of the pioneers of Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Among his accomplishments are the production of the first cliff-hanger serial The Adventures of Kathlyn (1913-1914), the first film version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)… and, perhaps most importantly, the construction of the first permanent film studio in Los Angeles in 1909 for the Selig Polyscope Company, which had moved from Chicago.
But before building the studio, in late 1908 or early 1909, Selig had rented a mansion that stood at 751 South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles. It is believed that he initially began motion picture production at this house – building the first movie sets in the backyard. The mansion was torn down long ago, and the land has been a parking lot since the ’20s. http://hollywoodlostandfound.net/locations/seligfirststudio.html

In 1908 director Francis Boggs filmed scenes on a Main Street rooftop in Los Angeles and later moved his productions to the yard of Sing Lee Laundry on Olive Street. At this site, the Selig Company filmed some scenes for The Heart of a Race Trout (1909), the first dramatic motion picture filmed on the West Coast. Col. William Selif decided to build California’s first motion picture studio at Edendale, north of Los Angeles. (108/31)

1909                        The National Board of Censorship is set up. It will be renamed The National Board of Review in Films in 1921. (50/181)

1909                        Hollywood’s Magic Club is built by banker Rollin Blane (2/29)

1909                        Instant coffee invented by G. Washington. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

17JUN1909            In the Sultan’s Power made by Selig is released. It is the first movie filmed in Los Angeles. (p44/141) IMDB says it was “the first dramatic film shot on the American West Coast.” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0000611/trivia

23MAY1910            The premiere of Ramona, the first film with a California history theme, starring Mary Pickford. (116/p35)

1910                        The city of Hollywood’s ever-vigilant Board of Trustees bans all movie theaters in Hollywood. (p36/130)

1910                        D. W Griffith’s Biograph Studio arrives, renting a large vacant lot at the corner of Grand Ave and Washington St. (10/96)

In 1910, Griffith shots scenes in the Hollywood Hills and in the Cahuenga Pass for In Old California, making it the firs dramatic film shot in Hollywood proper. (108/31)

1910                        Carl Laemmle, head of the IMP studio, bows to public pressure and for the first time, the name of a leading actress is publicized – Florence Lawrence

Late 1910                …or early 1912, Hollywood’s first theater established at 6525 Hollywood Blvd – the Idyl Hour Theater. Name change to Iris Theater in 1913, moved to 6514 Hollywood Blvd in 1914 and again to a 1000-seat theater at 6508 Hollywood in 1918

Early 1910s            Prospect Ave is renamed Hollywood Boulevard. (14/58)
1910                       116/p5 says: Hollywood and Los Feliz officially were annexed to the city of Los Angeles in 1910 in order to ensure an adequate water supply. Along with the annexation, Prospect Ave’s name officially changed to Hollywood Boulevard, except for a short stretch east of Vermont Ave.

1911                        An ordinance is passed prohibiting any building taller than thirteen stories (150 feet) to give the city “hamonious lines” and because “people come to Los Angeles to get away from the dark, walled-in streets of Eastern cities.” (108/9)

OCT1911                Hollywood’s first movie studio opens at 6101 Sunset in a tavern and barn, the Nestor Film Company (2/7). The first movie filmed there was The Law of the Range. (6/12) Although 66/18 says that it was Her Indian Hero.

1911                        The Janes house was built at the turn of the century for Herman and Mary Janes and their daughters. From 1911 until 1926, Misses Carrie, Mabel and Grace operated the Janes School for the children of film industry figures such as Douglas Fairbanks and Cecil B. DeMille. It is now Hollywood Boulevard’s last remaining residential structure. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

FEB1911                 Vitagraph Studio head J. Stuart Blackton launches the nation’s first publication devoted entirely to motion pictures: Motion Picture Magazine. (16/30)

1911                        The first film production company to come into the Los Feliz area is Vitagraph Studios who established themselves at 4151 Prospect Ave at Talmadge Street. Vitagraph was founded in 1897 and initially relocated from New York to a small studio in Santa Monica in 1910. Vitagraph is generally credited with the first “feature length film” in 1909-1910 The Life of Moses, a 5-part serial that clocked in at 90 minutes. Eventually, the studio was sold at great profit to Warner Bros. in 1927 and the site became their East Hollywood annex. (116/p7)

1911                        Nestor Film Company rents an empty saloon on the corner of Sunset and Gower and converts it to a movie studio. (51/80) …in the former Blondeau Tavern. (108/31) The actual address is 6100 Sunset (116/p7)

1912                        The Famous Players Film Company is founded by Adolph Zukor, Daniel Frohman, and Charles Frohman. Through mergers, the studio would evolve into Paramount Pictures by the end of the decade.

02MAY1912            L.A.’s first country club – the Vernon Country Club – opens at 49th and Santa Fe. Nothing much more than a roadhouse set in a beets field, it gave birth to Hollywood nightlight and was a complete success until it burned down in MAR’29. Before he hit it big, Valentino was a $35-a-week taxi dancer. (40/11)

30APR1912            The Universal Film Manufacturing Company is founded in New York by Carl Laemmle. It would evolve into Universal Studios and move to Hollywood in 1915.
1912                        In 1912, the newly formed Universal Film Manufacturing Company of New York opened its first studio across the street from Nestor (corner of Sunset and Gower). Three years later they moved into the Valley. (108/31) (p16/129)

1912                        Adolph Zukor presents “Queen Elizabeth” starring the renowned stage actress Sarah Bernhardt and film acting starts to become respectable. (116/p6)

1912                        Photoplay magazine begins publication. (16/30)

1912                        Motorized movie cameras invented, replaced hand-cranked cameras. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1912                        Clarence Crane created Life Savers candy in 1912. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

MAR1912                Motion Picture Story magazine rates Frances X. Bushman as the country’s most popular actor.

12MAY1912            Beverly Hills Hotel (a.k.a. the Pink Palace) opens at 9641 Sunset, built by oilman Burton Green also the founder of Beverly Hills (2/43) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverly_Hills_Hotel
Margaret Anderson, proprietor of the Hollywood Hotel before Mira Hershey took over the hotel’s management with a $250,000 mortgage. She spent another $125,000 furnishing the hotel, which becomes an immediate landmark and social center for the new community. The hotel’s dining was also the only restaurant in town. (p86/120)

1912                        First gas station in Los Angeles opens. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm

1912                        The Magic Castle built as a residence by Rollin Lane at a cost of $12,000, (14/269)

1912                        Although first introduced in 1983, zippers are now starting to be widely used in the flies of men’s pants. (60/30)

1913                        The Centaur Film Company became the first studio to relocate everything from the East Coast to downtown Hollywood. The company paid $40 a month to rent the dilapidated Blondeau Tavern Barbershop at the corner of Sunset and Gower. (11/96)

1913                        Adolphe and Eugene Bernheimer two Oriental-art importers complete a Japanese mountain palace at 1999 North Sycamore Street, on a 7-acre estate in the hills just west of the Cahuenga Pass. (p37/130)

24NOV1913            Traffic in Souls opens. Made for a mere $5,700.00 and tackling the lurid subject of white slavery, this (Universal’s first feature length release) earned a whopping $450,000.00 and it put the company squarely on the map. (p18/141) (IMDB)

SEP 1913                Charlie Chaplin joins the Keystone Studio at a salary of $150 per week which was twice what he was earning with the traveling Vaudeville troupe, Karno. (66/20)

LATE1913               The Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company, headed by fledgling director Cecil B. deMille heads west from New York to film The Squaw Man in Arizona. But dust storms sent them on to L.A. then Hollywood. (51/80) Filming on the first important feature film made in California commenced on DEC 29. (50/67)(65/10)(108/31) DeMille rents half a barn on the southeast corner of Selma Ave and Vine Street from Jacob Stern. DeMille has high hopes for The Squaw Man and hangs a sign on the barn that reads “Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company Studio.” (p31/130)

05NOV1913            The Los Angeles Aqueduct begins delivering water from the Owens Valley. It was the largest municipal water system in the nation and transformed the San Fernando Valley. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm (66/14)

1913                        Formica was invented in Cincinnati in 1913 by two young men, Herbert Faber and Daniel O’Conor.

Early 1914              Laemmle purchases the 230-acre Taylor Ranch on the north side of the Hollywood Hills at a cost of $165,000. (47/2)

1914                        Beginning in 1914, both Lasky and Famous Players released their films through a start-up company, Paramount Pictures Corporation, organized early that year by a Utah theatre owner, W. W. Hodkinson, who had bought and merged several smaller firms. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paramount_Studios#Early_history

18FEB1914             The Lasky Feature Player Company’s first feature – The Squaw Man – holds its premiere screening at the Longacre building on W. 48th St in NY. LBM is in attendance.
It becomes the movie industry’s first nationwide box-office success, costing $15,000 to make and earning over $225,000. (p34/130)

10MAY1914            First official Mother’s Day. http://www.foe.com/history/mothers.html

21DEC1914            The premiere of Tillie’s Punctured Romance, the first full-length American comedy. It starred Charlie Chaplin and Marie Dressler. (116/p35)

1914                        Beverly Hills votes to become an independent city. (90/130)

1914                        Photoplay Magazine (established in 1911 covering the legitimate stage) starts to also write about the movies – their circulation explodes from 10,000 copies to over 500,000 in a month. (43/96)

23FEB1915                 The Supreme Court rules that movies were “a business pure and simple” and lacked the      constitutional protection of free speech that books, magazines and newspapers possessed. (And therefore subject to censorship.) (50/182)

Mutual Film Corporation v. Industrial Commission of Ohio is decided by the United States Supreme Court. In a 9-0 decision, the court rules that films are not protected by the 1st Amendment and are not considered free speech. The movement condones the institution of state censorship boards that will eventually become the bane of Hollywood and lead to the institution of the Production Code. The Supreme Court’s rationale: “The exhibition of motion pictures is a business pure and simple.” http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

12JAN1915             A Fool There Was opens and makes a star of Theda Bara. (p57/130) By 1918 her “vamping” career is over. In 1921, she marries director Charles Brabin and becomes a Beverly Hills housewife. (p60/130)

08FEB1915             Los Angeles premiere at Clune’s Auditorium of the $100,000-budgeted Birth of a Nation. The picture is such a huge hit, that it makes a millionaire of director DW Griffith and the film’s investors. (p79/113) (p39/130)

15FEB1915             In the case of Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio the Supreme Court dismisses the notion that freedom of speech applies to motion pictures thereby establishing the constitutionality of state censorship. https://aurorasginjoint.com/2016/08/05/fighting-censorship-before-the-code/

1915                        Universal City Studio built by Carl Laemmle (2/70) Universal Studios moves from the corner of Sunset and Gower to the San Fernando Valley. (108/31)

15MAR1915            Universal City was dedicated as a municipality. (9/13)

1915                            William Fox merges two of his companies, a production studio and a theater chain, to form Fox Films.  http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

1915                        Most of Valley voted to join Los Angeles. Subdividing of Rancho Encino began. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1915                        By 1915, the Lasky studio covers 10 acres at the corner of Sunset and Vine and a ranch in the Valley. (51/83)

JUL’15/JAN’16 D. W Griffith forms The Triangle Film Corporation with Thomas Ince and Mack Sennett, and took over the Majestic Reliance Studios at 4500 Sunset, renaming it the Fine Arts Studio. (66/20)

p280/107 says that Harry Culver owned eleven acres at La Ballona Creek and convinced the NYMPC (New York Motion Picture Company) to lease it with an option to buy it. The studio officially opened in JAN1916. By 1918 Samuel Goldwyn had taken over the lease.

p132/133 says: The shabby suburb of Culver City, the brainchild of Harry Culver, had appeared in 1915 when Culver brashly offered free land to anyone who would build a motion-picture studio on it. Thomas Ince constructed the first, followed by Sam Goldwyn and Hal Roach.

1915                        Douglas Fairbanks arrives in Hollywood and rents a house on North Highland Ave. (p45/130)

1916                        D.W. Griffith films Intolerance in a huge set depicting Babylon at the corner of Sunset and Hollywood. (51/83)

1916                        Hollywood’s first Studio Club for Actresses established by Mary Pickford and Mrs. CB DeMille opens at 6129 Carlos Ave, then in 1926 moved to 1215 Lodi Place (2/8)

1916                        In 1916 the National Board of Censorship of Motion Pictures changed its name to the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures (National Board of Review). While the name change may mean little today the removal of the word “censorship” was key.  Not only did the word carry negativity with it, but as it turns out the Board didn’t act as a censorship body.  In fact they rejected the idea to a great degree relying instead on the studios to censor themselves. Also created by the studios in New York that year was The National Association of the Motion Picture Industry (NAMPI).  While The National Board of Review stated that scrutinizing the movies was its main objective, The National Association lobbied for the industry and against censorship. https://aurorasginjoint.com/2016/08/05/fighting-censorship-before-the-code/

1917                         After a short-lived tenure in Edendale, William Fox moves his Fox Film Corporation to 1401 N. Wester Ave, between Sunset and Fountain. Even after Fox bought the 300-acre Tom Mix ranch just west of Beverly Hills in 1928, he maintained his headquarters at the Western Ave studio unil 1935 when Fox merged with 20th Century Pictures. (116/p9)

1917                        William Randolph Hearst meets Marion Davies, who is a chorine in Florenz Ziegfeld’s Follies of 1917. (p204/130)

1917                        27-year-old Charlie Chaplin signs with First National to make eight 1- or 2-reelers in the next 18 months for $1 million. (p48/130)

1917                        George Westmore founds the first movie makeup department at the Selig Studio. (p17/120)

1917                        Grand Central Market founded at 317 S. Broadway (2/63)

1917                        The first L.A. movie tabloid began as an adult humor magazine. By 1920 Captain Billy’s Whiz Bang was dedicated entirely to the movies, with columns like “Movie Hot Stuff”.

1918                        The original owners of Ince/Triangle Pictures – D. W Griffith, Thomas Ince and Mack Sennett – break up their company. In October 1918, Goldwyn Pictures purchases the studio facilities for $325,000…later Samuel Goldwyn spends $50,000  to add 23 more acres. (119/17)

1918                        With the approximately $2 million he earned from Birth of a Nation, Louis B. Mayer moves to Los Angeles and founds his own production company, Louis B. Mayer Pictures. (18/96)

1918                        Actress Alla Nazimova buys a 99-year lease on an eight-room, Spanish-style house at 8150 Sunset Boulevard complete with 3.5 acres.

08NOV1981            In November 1918, a week after Armistice Day ended WWI, Central Park (previously the 6th Street Park) was renamed Pershing Square, in honor of Gen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pershing_Square

1918                        The country’s first air-conditioned cinema opens in Chicago.

1918                        The Hollywood Hills were still orange groves and vineyards. (1/17)

1918                        Charlie Chaplin builds studios at 1417 La Brea (2/10) (22/425)

1918                        Sid Grauman opens the Million Dollar Theater (2/63)

1919                        Marcus Loew purchases Metro Pictures (established in 1915 by Richard A. Rowland) for $3.1 million with a studio on the corner of Cahuenga and Romaine, in Hollywood (119/18)

1919                        Fox produced the Movietone News for several decades in the United States, from 1919 to 1963, although the British version continued until 1979. … Prior to the late 1920s, movies were made without sound. Fox was able to produce its first newsreel with synchronized sound in 1927, revolutionizing the way in which people could see the news. The first Movietone News story with sound was about Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. http://www.ohiokids.org/tellzall/2006/march.shtml

1919                        Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and D.W. Griffith form United Artists and had a tiny studio on the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Formosa, large enough for 3 or 4 pictures to be made at any one time. In 1935 the lot became the Samuel Goldwin Studio and United Artists became a leasing organization. (47/11)

22APR1919             Douglas Fairbanks pays $35,000 for a hunting lodge and surrounding 14 acres at 1143 Summit Drive, in the San Ysidro Canyon. (p91/130) And moves in at the end of the year. (p93/130)

Late 1910s              It takes train a week to deliver news cross-country. (55/96)

1919                        The American Legion is chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic, mutual-help, war-time veterans organization.

1919                        William Randolph Hearst forms Cosmopolitan Pictures to make Marion Davies’ films and hires Frances Marion at $2000 a week to write scenarios. (p206/130)

1919                        Hollywood’s Musso & Frank Grill opens, then moves to 6667 Hollywood Blvd in 1937 and becomes popular with 1930s and 1940s writers such as Faulkner, Chandler, Nathanael West (2/2) http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

29JUN1919             Prohibition Amendment made law in the United States. A description of the intro of Prohibition in NY is on 27/64

1919                        In New York the mammoth Capitol theater opens with seating for 5300, topping 1914’s The Strand, 1916’s the Rialto and 1917’s Rivoli. (51/360)

1919                        The pop-up toaster invented by Charles Strite. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm



JAN1920                  Metro Pictures Corporation is sold outright to the Loew’s theater chain for $3,100,000. With subsequent mergers within the next four years, the company would soon become the powerful Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. (137/112)

JAN1920                  Norma Shearer arrives in New York with her mother and sister. Hoping for stardom, she meets Florence Ziegfeld and D.W. Griffith (then filming Way Down East). Both men return the same unflattering verdict: with looks like hers, she’ll never be a star. Undaunted, Shearer begins a regimental fitness routine as well as experimental treatments to help cure a cast in her eye.

16JAN1920                 The enforcement of the 18th Amendment begins.

28MAR1920               Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks marry in a secret ceremony at the suburban Los Angeles home of Baptist minister J. Whitcombe Brougher. (p99/120)

18AUG1920                The 19th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, and women are given the right to vote.

28MAR1920            Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks marry in a secret ceremony at the suburban Los Angeles home of Baptist minister J. Whitcombe Brougher. (p99/120)

02NOV1920            The radio broadcasting era itself begins in earnest at 6pm with the broadcast of the Harding-Cox election returns from station KDKA in Pittsburgh. (71/178)

1920                        The population of Beverly Hills reaches 634. (p90/130)

1920                        By 1920, 40 million Americans were going to the movies each week. (14/87)

1920                        F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes first novel, This Side of Paradise. (23/298)

1920                        Agatha Christie introduces Hercule Poirot in The Mysterious Affair at Styles. (T23/298)

1920s                      During the silent movies era, the 2 best addresses in Los Angeles were Hancock Park and Whitley Heights.

1920        Beginning in 1920, Photoplay (founded in 1911 in Chicago the same year that J. Stuart Blackton founded a similar magazine entitled Motion Picture Story) gave out what is considered the first significant annual movie award, the Photoplay Medal of Honor (later Gold Medal). An actual medallion produced by Tiffany & Co., it was voted on by the readers of the magazine and given to the producer of the year’s best film, chosen with an emphasis on (according to Quirk) “the ideals and motives governing its production… the worth of its dramatic message.” Though “Photoplay” only gave the single award for best film, its intentions and standards were influential on the Academy Awards founded later in the decade, and they overlap on Best Picture choices to some extent, though increasingly in the 1930s “Photoplay’s choices reflected its primarily female audience. By 1939 the Medal of Honor had declined in importance and the award was discontinued that year. In 1944 the awards were revived in a new format in which awards for both the film of the year and the most popular stars were determined by the Gallup Poll company. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoplay

1920s      Marlboros were originally introduced in the 1920’s in an effort to encourage women to smoke. The packaging motto:  “Mild as May”–just right for the very feminine women who would not want a “man’s” cigarette, but something more likely to complement her softer, less aggressive style. The product was pretty much a flop, even when it was re-introduced a few years later with an advertising gimmick that bragged the product had replaced its ivory tip with a red one which would be more compatible with a lady’s lipstick. http://www.acsh.org/factsfears/newsID.509/news_detail.asp

1920                        An Italian immigrant, Simon Rodia begins to build what will become the Watts Towers.

1920                        US women get the vote. (10/90)

1920                        For the first time, the 1920 census indicated a population in the United States over 100 million people.  The 15% increase since the last census now showed a count of 106,021,537.  The geographic center of the United States population still remained in Indiana, eight miles south-southeast of Spencer, in Owen County. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

1920                        The Band-Aid invented by Earle Dickson. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm
http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/bandaid.htm says that the brand name “Band Aid” was adopted in 1924.

1920                        Water skiing is developed as a sport on Lake Annecy, France. (23/299)



01JAN1921             Ambassador Hotel opens its doors on Wilshire and Seventh. (8/86) (25/97)

01JAN1921             Sister Aimee Semple McPherson’s Angelus Temple of the Four Square Gospel is dedicated in Echo Park.

FEB1921                 Dunlop invents the pneumatic tyre. (Chronicle)

FEB1921                     Zukor presents his 14 points of self-censorship to the leaders of the film industry to head off government interference.
“On a cold night in February 1921, in a private dining room above the main hall, a gathering of some of the most important men in the movie business was taking place. Zukor, of course, presided from the head of the table. His partner, Jesse Lasky, sat as usual on his right. The rest of the gathering included William Fox, Sam Goldwyn, D. W. Griffith, Carl Laemmle, Lewis Selznick, Joseph Schenck, and William A. Brady, president of the national association. Loew arrived late, glad-handing around the table, laughing and joking with the others, until Zukor’s steely eyes stopped him cold. It was time to get serious.” (123/location 1730)

21APR1921             The Ambassador Hotel’s nightclub – The Cocoanut Grove – begins its ascendancy to fame when the club’s host – Johnny Manos – heard from his friend, Valentino, that a number of the fake palm trees used in The Sheik were available for under $500. … Tuesday nights were the big nights at Cocoanut Grove and the usual evening for special events like Charleston dance contests or Greenwich Village night (when everyone came dressed as an artist, writer or poet. (6/184)

MAY 1921               the Cocoanut Grove opens at the Ambassador Hotel. (41/215)

1921                        The National Board of Censorship is renamed the National Board of Review in Films. (50/181)

04SEP1921                 Fatty Arbuckle / Virginia Rappe alleged rape incident in San Francisco (2/18) (4/13)
05SEP1921                 Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle, celebrating a new contract with Paramount that netted him $1 million, throws a party in the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. During the festivities, a frail aspiring actress named Virginia Rappe became ill due to a problem with alcohol that inflamed her chronic cystitis. Two days later she was taken to the hospital, where her friend Bambina Maude Delmont, in a bid to shake the actor down for some money, told Rappe’s doctor that Arbuckle had raped her. Rappe died shortly thereafter, setting off a scandal as rumors swirled. Arbuckle was accused of rape in some cases, though the stories soon grew exaggerated and more transgressive as they implied that he either was impotent and had violated her with an object like a champagne bottle or piece of ice, or that he had crushed her to death during intercourse. William Randolph Hearst, seeing the opportunity to make some money, blasted the scandal across the front page of his nationwide newspaper chain, turning Arbuckle from one of the most popular and famous men into one of the most reviled. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

14SEP1921             Arbuckle was charged with manslaughter. (123/location 2655)

NOV1921                Charles See, along with his mother and his wife, Florence, opened the first See’s Candies shop and kitchen on Western Avenue in Los Angeles.

1921                        Several members of the Screenwriters Guild of Author’s Guild of America form the Writer’s Club in 1921 and buy a six-room residence at Sunset and Las Palmas to use as a clubhouse. The club later takes in actors, producers, and directors, and acquired a huge membership. The Writer’s Club will eventually evolve into the Writer’s Guild of America, West. (14/102)

1921                        With the appearance of The Kid (1921), Chaplin’s first feature, which teamed 7yo Jackie Coogan with Chaplin’s Tramp, child stars become a big thing for the first time in Hollywood. (50/119)

1921                        Columbia Studios founded by Harry Cohn at 1438 Gower (2/11)

1921                        The KKK promotes “white supremacy” and seeks to control politics in many southern communities. (23/300)

1921                        Valentino stars in his first successful film The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. (23/300)

1921                        DeWitt Wallace founds Reader’s Digest. (23/300) February 5, 1922 – Reader’s Digest is founded and the first issue published by Dewitt and Lila Wallace. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

1921                        Oil is found on Los Angeles’ Signal Hill

1921                        Los Angeles’ first commercial radio stations, KFI, KHJ and KNX go on the air.

1921                        Coco Chanel introduces her perfume Chanel No. 5 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chanel_No._5

1921                        The Rose Bowl is completed.

1921                        Marc Connelly publishes his first successful play, Dulcy. (23/300)

1921                        John Larson invents the “polygraph” – lie detector. (23/301)

1921                        President Harding declares November 11th “Armistice Day”. (23/301)

1921                        Insulin is discovered and used on dogs to treat diabetes. (23/301)

1921                        Rorschach introduces his ink-blot tests. (23/301)



14JAN1922                 William Hays resigns his cabinet post as the Postmaster General to become the President of the MPPDA. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

05FEB1922             First issue of Reader’s Digest. (Chronicle) (56/201)
The magazine first became available on newsstands in 1929. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reader%27s_digest

05MAR1922            The Hollywood moguls and New York moneymen organize their first professional consortium the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America – the MPPDA. To lead the MPPDA, the moviemakers turn to a non-pro: Will H. Hays who received an annual salary of $100,000, plus an extra $15,000 for living expenses. (77/35)

11JUL1922             Hollywood Bowl opens http://www.hollywoodbowl.com/about/history.cfm

20AUG1922            Harry Cohn (Columbia studios) produces his first feature: More to be Pitied than Scorned, costing $20,000 and was a big success, earning $130,000. (p81/114)

18OCT1922             Sid Grauman opens the Egyptian Theater at 6708 Hollywood Blvd with Douglas Fairbanks Jr movie Robin Hood (2/2) and creates Hollywood’s red-carpet tradition by splashing out a crimson-colored walkway for Hollywood’s the first-ever “Hollywood premiere.” http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2014/08/red-carpet-history

26NOV1922                The first feature length film in two-strip Technicolor, The Toll of the Sea, is released by Metro Pictures. The movie starred Anna May Wong as a Chinese woman who falls for an American and has his child out of wedlock. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

1922                        Paramount advances Valentino $40,000 to build a home at 6776 Wedgewood Place in the Whitley Heights section of Hollywood. (p191/130)

1922                        Hollywood’s first synagogue, Temple Beth-El, opens at 1714 N. Wilton Place. (p124/113)

1922                        Woolworth’s arrives to Hollywood Boulevard. (p117/113)

1922                        Wireless radios (called “Radio Music Boxes”) for home use start rolling off the assembly line at a cost of between $50 and $150. $11 million worth are sold during that first year. (71/178)

1922                        Joyce publishes Ulysses. (23/300)

1922                        Christie’s Hotel 6724 Hollywood Boulevard opens. The first of Hollywood’s luxury hotels, the Christie is designed in the Georgian style of architecture-an unusual style along Hollywood Blvd. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html
108/61 says it opened in 1923 and that it was the first hotel in Hollywood to feature a bathroom with every guest room.

Early 1920s            MGM at 1721 Romaine (27/30)

1922                        The board of the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation ousts Samuel Goldwyn out of the president’s job.                                          (119/18)

1922                        Hollywood’s first radio stations open: KNX, KHJ and KFI. (14/168) KNX broadcast from a Studebaker auto dealership. It was launched mainly to promote the Los Angeles Express newspaper. In 1938 CBS erected a new multi million dollar building at Sunset & Gower and made KNX the West Coast outpost of their network. (66/39)

1922                        Gloria Swanson buys first movie star home in Beverly Hills with 3 acres (1/31)

1922                        Hollywood’s first murder scandal – 45yo director William Desmond Taylor found murdered and arranged at 404½  South Alvarado (2/60)

1922                        Millionaire Alphonzo Bell develops the former Danziger Estate into Bel Air, declaring that no homes could be sold to movie people, which was the case until the Depression. Bell’s home “Capi di Monte” at 801 Bel Air Rd. The first home purchased in Bel Air was by millionaire avocado expert A. Stephen Vavra at 725 Bel Air Rd (2/51)

1922                        During the production of Universal’s “Merry-Go-Round”, 21 year old Irving Thalberg stuns the industry when he fires von Stroheim. It signals the end of the power of the directors and the start of the power of the studios. (20/96)

1922                        The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America is set up to monitor the content of screen fare as well as to be moral watchdog over the private lives of Hollywood’s celebrated. The code went on to become known as The Hays Code, after Will Hays, the former US Postmaster General. (4/26) However it was not until 1934 that the association gained its real teeth. (2/33) (28/40)

1922                        A.W. Ross establishes Wilshire Boulevard as a “shopping” district. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm

1922                        Senate begins investigation of the Teapot Dome Scandal. (23/302)

1922                        Emily Post publishes Etiquette: the Blue Book of Social Usage. (23/302)

1922                        The tomb of Tutankhamen is discovered. (23/302)

1922                        The first mechanical switchboard is installed in NYC. (23/302)



18JAN1923             Wallace Reid (aka Good Time Wally, the King of Paramount), a morphine addict, dies in a sanitarium. (p135/130)

15FEB1923             Irving Thalberg leaves Universal joins Louis B. Mayer Pictures as vice president in charge of production, raising his salary from $200 a week to $600. (20/96)

FEB1923                 Developers Woodruff and Shoults conceive Hollywoodland

03MAR1923           Time magazine—a name that Harry Luce claimed had come to him while thinking how long it took to travel home every evening. With Stephen Vincent Benét and Archibald MacLeish as part-time writers, and Roy Larsen as circulation manager, they published their first issue on March 3, 1923. (“Rage For Fame, The Ascent of Clare Booth Luce.”)

04APR1923            After two decades of distributing, producing, and financing their pictures independently, the four Warner brothers formally incorporate their film production business as Warner Brothers Pictures.

13JUL1923             The Hollywood sign is officially dedicated

25JUL1923             The L.A. Times uses the term “back lot” – it’s one of the first times the term is used in print to describe part of a movie studio. The quotation marks and space between the words is the L. A. Times’. (119/17)

OCT1923                Biltmore Hotel opens at 530 W. 5th St in downtown Los Angeles (2/62)

NOV/DEC1923        The Hollywoodland Sign, advertising an upscale hillside housing development, is erected. It was illuminated for the first time on Saturday 08DEC1923. It would light up in sequence: Holly—wood—land, and then the whole thing would light up. https://ladailymirror.com/2017/01/16/mary-mallory-hollywood-heights-hollywood-sign-built-and-illuminated-november-december-1923/

1923                        Beverly Hills becomes an incorporated city. (p200/130)

1923                        Population of Hollywood at 150,000 (1/15)

1923                        America’s first imported star – Pola Negri – signs a contract with Paramount. (p42/121)

1923                        Construction of Lake Hollywood Reservoir commences.

1923                        Sardi’s built at 6313 Hollywood Boulevard, becoming a famous destination for breakfast and luncheon, designed by the world-renowned architect Rudolph Schindler. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1923                        Knickerbocker Hotel built at 1714 N. Ivar Avenue. Its Lido Room was host to many parties for Hollywood stars. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1923                        Hollywood Legion Stadium opens at 1628 El Centro Ave, and from the 1920s to the 1950s all the big fights were held there on Friday nights. (2/7)

1923                        James Bruce Mason Jr. patents the first swivel lipstick. (p71/121)

1923                        Perc Westmore establishes Hollywood’s second movie studio makeup department—at First National Pcitures in Burbank, later absorbed by Warner Bros. Perc remains in charge there for the next 27 years. (p51/120)

1923                        Burns and Allen begin their weekly radio show. (5/157)

1923                        Aimee Semple McPherson’s Four Square Gospel opens (2/60)

1923                        Pathé sells its United States motion picture production arm which a few years later came under the control of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. who made it part of RKO Pictures. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Path%C3%A9

1923                        City of Tarzana founded by Tarzan author Edgar Rice Burroughs, named after his estate that he bought from L.A. Times founder Harrison Gray Otis in 1919. The estate has SVF’s first swimming pool. (2/70)

1923                        Hal B. Wallis starts at Warner Bros in publicity dept in 1923 (at the age of 20), within 5 years he is head of production. Left Warner Bros in 1944 to work as an independent producer. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hal_Wallis (47/142)

1923                        Hollywood’s first nightclub, the Montmartre Café opens at 6757 Hollywood Blvd (2/1)

1923                        Sanka was first marketed in the United States in 1923. At the beginning, it was sold in two “Sanka Coffee Houses” in New York, but soon it also came into retail. With its bright orange label, the package was easily identifiable, and due to intensive advertising campaigns and the General Foods Corporation taking over its distribution in 1928, Sanka became a nationwide sales success in the late 1920s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanka

1923                        CB DeMille’s Ten Commandments is released. (23/302)

1923                        Garrett A. Morgan invents a traffic signal. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa121599a.htm

1923                        Time magazine begins. (23/302)

1923                        In 1918, the brothers opened the Warner Bros. studio on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Sam and Jack Warner produced the pictures, while Harry and Albert handled finance and distribution in New York. In 1923, they formally incorporated as Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner_Bros. (35/5)



10JAN1924             Columbia Studios comes into being. Originally founded in 1922 as CBC Film Sales is a cheap production studio and is known in the business as “Corned Beef and Cabbage”. On this date studio heads Harry & Jack Cohn and Joseph Brandt changes its name to Columbia Pictures Corp  (21/69) For a history of the Columbia Torch Lady: http://www.reelclassics.com/Studios/Columbia/columbia-article-logo.htm

26APR1924             After Metro’s merger with Goldwyn Pictures was consummated on April 17th, MGM comes into being (Originally it was Triangle Studios founded Summer of 1915 by D.W. Griffiths & Mack Sennett & Tom Ince. In 1918 it became the Sam Goldwyn Studios. (2/55) LBM holds a party on the front lawn MC’d by Fred Niblo. (19/77) According to 21/70, the date is 17APR. MGM’s first release is He Who Gets Slapped, starring Lon Chaney, Normal Shearer and John Gilbert which opened 09NOV1924


In APR 1924 Mayer sold his studio to Loew and became the first vice president and general manager of the newly created Metro-Goldwyn (Mayer’s name would be added to the company’s title until late 1925) with Thalberg as 2nd vice president and supervisor of production. They agreed to produce at least 15 pictures a year or the contract could be terminated. The studio name was Metro-Goldwyn, but in addition to a block of stock to share with Rubin and Thalberg, Mayer was given the right to put on the first title of the film “Louis B Mayer presents”, “Produced by Louis B. Mayer” or “Produced by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation.” (55/173)

Louis B. Mayer Productions was paid $75,000 for its contracts and facilities – less than 2% of Goldwyn’s price, but started with a salary of $1500 a week. Thalberg, as head of production, started at $650 a week, plus each of them participated in profit sharing. (106/15)

In its first year of production, MGM releases movies starring: Renee Adoree, Wallace Beary, Eleanor Boardman, Lon Chaney, Ronald Colman, Jackie Coogan, Marion Davies, John Gilbert, Boris Karloff, Buster Keaton, Adolph Menjou, Mae Murray, Ramon Novarro, ZiSu Pitts, Norma Shearer, Blanche Sweet, and Laurette Taylor. (20/107)

10MAY1924            J. Edgar Hoover becomes head of the Bureau of Investigation, later to be renamed the FBI in 1935. (23/306) http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

19MAY1924            After a run in Philadelphia, the revue “I’ll Say She Is” makes a successful opening on Broadway. The stage show’s success elevates its stars, the Four Marx Brothers, to Broadway from vaudeville. They would star in two more Broadway shows over the next two years, “The Cocoanuts” and “Animal Crackers”, before being signed by Paramount. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

27MAY1924            Jules Stein starts his dance-band booking agency, called MCA. (21/71)

09NOV1924            MGM’s first release (made entirely at the new studio) is He Who Gets Slapped, starring Lon Chaney, Normal Shearer and John Gilbert. (65/96) Made for around $170,000, it makes a profit of $350,000 (36/107)

04DEC1924              Erich von Stroheim’s Greed premieres at William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Theater in New York. The New York Times calls it the “sour creme de la sour creme de la bourgoisie,” [sic] and Variety says it’s “morbid and senseless from a commercial viewpoint . . .”

1924                        Hollywood Plaza Hotel built at 1633 N. Vine St This building was one of four major hotels built in Hollywood in the 1920s and once housed one of the most glamorous nightspots, “Clara Bow’s “It” Cafe named for and operated by the silent film star. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1924                        Humorist Will Rogers is at the height of his career. He builds a home in Pacific Palisades. Movie stars and other celebrities visit and play Polo. He later becomes honorary Mayor of Beverly Hills.

1924                        Hollywood Athletic Club opens at 6525 Sunset making it the tallest building in Hollywood.                                                                                                                                                       http://golosangeles.about.com/od/laphotogalleries/ig/Hollywood-Photo-Tour/Hollywood-Athletic-Club.htm http://maps.yahoo.com/maps_result.php?q1=6525+Sunset+Blvd%2C+los+angeles%2C+ca

1924                        Hollywoodland sign constructed at a cost of $21,000

15SEP1924             The first Cosmopolitan production, made for an MGM release, in 1924 was Yolanda. (46/34) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015518/

LATE 1924              Coast-to-coast airmail service is introduced. (55/96)

1924                        Cooling for human comfort, rather than industrial need, began in 1924, noted by the three Carrier centrifugal chillers installed in the J.L. Hudson Department Store in Detroit, Michigan. Shoppers flocked to the ‘air conditioned’ store. The boom in human cooling spread from the department stores to the movie theaters, most notably the Rivoli theater in New York, whose summer film business skyrocketed when it heavily advertised the cool comfort. Demand increased for smaller units and the Carrier Company obliged. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa081797.htm

1924                        An opera company is established in Los Angeles. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm

1924                        Hubble determines that stars in the Andromeda nebula are 100,000s of light-years away, beyond the Milky Way, proving that there are other galaxies besides our own. (23/305)

1924                        Gotham Deli opens on Hollywood Boulevard and quickly becomes Hollywood’s most popular delicatessen. (p124/113)

1924                        Leopold and Loeb trial. (23/307)

1924                        Valentino buys Falcon Lair at 1436 Bella Drive in Beverly Hills from realtor George B. Read for $175,000 after his wife Natacha Rambova complains that their 8-room home at 6776 Wedgewood Place just won’t do for a star of his magnitude. (p7/130)

1924                        Richard Leo Simon and Max Lincoln Schuster publish their first volume, The Cross Word Puzzle Book, which was also the world’s first collection of crossword puzzles. Simon and Schuster were so concerned the book might fail that they published it under a separate imprint, Plaza Publishing Company, to conceal their identities. They attached a pencil to each copy, vigorously advertised it, and turned crosswords into a nationwide rage. http://www.enotes.com/1920-lifestyles-social-trends-american-decades/fads-crazes

1924                        Toluca Lake subdivision begins. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1924                        There are now 2.5 million radios in the US up from only 5000 in 1920. (23/306)

1924                        Although Johnson & Johnson have been making them for 4 years now, they adopt the brand name “Band Aid”. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/bandaid.htm



21FEB1925             The New Yorker magazine premieres. (26/145)

03MAR1925            KFWB – L.A.’s 3rd radio station – starts broadcasting. (35/5)

10MAR1925            Hearst moves Cosmopolitan Pictures to MGM.
At Universal Hearst built Marion Davis a 15-room stucco “bungalow” with an orange tile roof for her dressing room. It was luxurious, with brocade curtains and carpets, sunken bathtubs and two kitchens. On March 10, 1925 her had the 3000 square foot house disassembled and shipped via a caravan of trucks to MGM. Hearst would move the house twice more: when she left MGM in 1934 it went to Warner Bros. and when she left Warner Bros., onto a lot at 910 Benedict Canyon where it still stands. (36/96)

MAY1925                    Fred Esmelton, Edeson, John Sainpolis, George E. Read, Ned Sparks, Robert Schable, Alphonse Ethier, and Warner Baxter meet on May 12, 1925, at Ethier’s house and decide to form an acting club “of love, loyalty and laughter,” which Edeson boils down to the motto, “We Laugh to Win.”

On May 18, the group incorporates under the name “the Jesters.” The group establishes their official birthday as May 25, and by June 1st, charter members also include Wallace MacDonald, Jack Mulhall, Lew Cody, George Fawcett, Herbert Rawlinson, John Gilbert, George O’Brien, Harry Langdon, Lionel Barrymore, King Baggot, John Ford, Nigel de Brulier, Cedric Gibbons, Fred Niblo, Bert Lytell, Milton Sills, Edmund Goulding, Creighton Hale, Neil Hamilton, and others.

On June 22, 1925, the group meets to choose an official name. Actor Earle Foxe suggests the name, the Masquers, a name employed by several acting organizations at universities and communities around the country, which the group approves.

In the next few months, men such as Ronald Colman, Antonio Moreno, Tom Mix, W. S. (Woody) Van Dyke, Richard Dix, Sid Grauman, Buster Keaton, Hunt Stromberg, Frank Borzage, Edmond Lowe, Joseph Schenck, Ricardo Cortez, Hoot Gibson, Roscoe Arbuckle, Mervyn LeRoy, Irving Thalberg, and Charley Chase joined the group.
The group leases a clubhouse at 6735 Yucca St, Hollywood.

MAY1925               The Scopes Monkey trial (Darwinian evolution V. God) is held in Dayton, TN
July 10, 1924 – The Scopes Trial or “Monkey Trial” begins and would later convict John T. Scopes of teaching Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory at a Dayton, Tennessee high school, which violated Tennessee law.  He is fined $100 for the charge. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

07JUL1925             Garbo arrives in the US. (21/73) (55/177)

18AUG1925            Lucille LeSeur becomes Joan Crawford. (21/75) http://www.twoop.com/people/joan_crawford.html

29SEP1925             LA’s Wrigley Field dedicated. See @LAist about field built by chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr: http://bit.ly/dtIsYA  http://twitter.com/LAhistory

5NOV1925            The Big Parade opens and becomes the newly merged MGM’s first blockbuster, running 96 weeks at the Astor in New York, a record that will last for 25 years. 37/107)

NOV1925                Hearst sends Louella Parsons to Hollywood. (21/75) In 1925, Parsons contracted tuberculosis and was told she had six months to live. She moved to Arizona for the change in climate, then to Los Angeles, where she decided to stay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louella_Parsons

30DEC1925            MGM’s Ben-Hur opens. Although it makes $9 million, it’s a financial flop for Loew’s because of the high production cost. (32/107)

1925                        The Subway Terminal Building (at 417 South Hill Street) served as L.A.’s “Grand Central Station” from 1925 to 1955 when the last of the Red Cars of the Pacific Electric stopped running. Part of one of the most extensive public transportation systems in the country, L.A.’s Red Cars linked, in pre-freeway days, downtown L.A. with the San Fernando Valley. Hollywood, West L.A., Santa Monica. (25/150)

MID-1920s              As early as the MID-1920s, there were already 500 entertainment reporters in L.A. (45/96)

1925                        Walt Disney and brother Roy open their first studio at 4649 Kingswell (2/23)
116/p6 says: The last silent-era Los Feliz studio was established in 1926. Walt and Roy Disney came to California early in August 1923 and moved in with their uncle at 4406 Kingswell Ave in Los Feliz. A few months later, they signed a contract for a series of cartoon comedies, renting the rear of a small nearby office.  . . .  In 1925, they bought land at 2719 Hyperion Ave for a new studio and by early 1926, they moved from Kingswell into the new facility.  . . .  By 1933, the plant had grown from 1600 square feet to 20,000.  . . .  From the profits of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Disney brothers purchased 51 acres in Burbank in 1938 where they relocated the company in 1939.

1925                        The Masquers Club is founded. It is a private club for actors and actresses. Moved in 1927 to 1765 Sycamore (2/28) http://www.masquersclub.org/ (61/31)

1925                        The Hollywood Studios start building and buying their own movie theaters. (21/75)

1925                        Lake Hollywood Reservoir filled with water.

1925                        The Charleston becomes the popular dance step. (23/306)

1925                        The Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs launches Art Deco into the world. (187/107)

1925                        The Rivoli and the Rialto, in New York, are the world’s first air-conditioned theaters. (23/203)

1925                        First international radio broadcast made between London and Maine. (23/306)

1925                        Crossword puzzles become very popular. (23/306)

1925                        The New Yorker magazine is founded. (23/306)

1925                        F. Scott Fitzgerald publishes The Great Gatsby. (23/306)

1925                        B. P. Schulberg is appointed general mamnager of West Coast production at Paramount (until 1932), with David O. Selznick as his assistant (1927 to 1930 when Selznick moves to RKO) (p55/114)

Late 1925                Louis B. Mayer’s name is officially added to the Metro-Goldwyn studio’s name to make it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Mayer’s salary jumps to $2500 a week and Thalberg’s to $2000. (56/107)

mid-1920s              Traffic lights start to become installed at Hollywood’s busier intersections. (14/62)

MID-1920s              The first motor hotels start cropping up main traveled roads and are soon referred to as ‘motels’. (56/162)



Top Stars: Rudolph Valentino & Norma Talmadge. (21/73)

Top grossing films of 1926

Aloma of the South Seas
What Price Glory


25JAN1926             Central Casting Bureau is formally opened. By 1929 more than 17,000 extras have registered. (21/78) It was located in the Taft Building at Hollywood and Vine. (41/95) (43/46) Other sources placed it at 5504 Hollywood Boulevard which places it at the corner of Western. The 1930s “A Star Is Born” showed that it was there. This location would put it in the same building as the Breen Office (77/80). However that building was put up in 1928 (by Louis B. Mayer) so maybe it moved.

08FEB1926             Greta Garbo makes her American film debut in MGM’s The Torrent, but she doesn’t become a star until Flesh and the Devil. (50/107)

FEB1926                 Minor shock waves go through Hollywood when it is announced that Joseph P. Kennedy has bought control of R-C Pictures and Film Booking Office of America. (55/180)
FBO’s studio lot was next door to Paramount on Melrose and later became home to RKO. (55/211)

28FEB1926             The term “documentary” is first coined by John Grierson. (21/78)

23MAR1926            LBM announces that he was throwing open the MGM gates to trainee writers and directors who would be given one picture to prove themselves, at low salaries, and if they made good, would be awarded yearlong contracts. (19/119)

28APR1926              Variety moves its “Pictures” section to the front of the newspaper, ahead of the legitimate theater and vaudeville.

18MAY1926            Aimee Semple McPherson is spotted swimming off Ocean Park beach near Santa Monica, and then disappears. On 20JUN an all-day memorial is held for her. On 23JUN she turns up in the Mexican town Agua Prieta claiming to have been kidnapped but it comes out later that she’d spent the time in Carmel with her radio station staffer Kenneth Ormiston. (6/118)

20-24JUN1926       The XXVIII International Eucharistic Congress takes place in Chicago during which Joseph Breen kick starts his career. (77/21)

23AUG1926            Valentino dies at 26yo of peritonitis (2/17)

05AUG1926            The first public showing of the outcome of the experiments with Vitaphone shown at the Warner Theater NY. (34/139)

06AUG1926            Warner Bros premieres Don Juan, the first feature film with sound (no dialogue) at the Warner Theater, NY. (21/79)

04OCT1926            David O. Selznick joins MGM as a reader/assistant story editor, later promoted to the manager of the story department. He stays until 1928 when he leaves to go work for Paramount (19/135)   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_O._Selznick

08SEP1926             At 1700 Lexington Dr., Beverly Hills (the mansion the Hearst bought Marion Davies for her family to live in) Greta Garbo stands up John Gilbert at a double wedding with King Vidor and Marion’s friend Eleanor Boardman. Gilbert was completely distraught and ran crying into the bathroom, where Mayer happened to be. Mayer slapped Gilbert on the back and laughed, “What’s the matter with you, Gilbert? Don’t marry her. Just fuck her and forget about her?” Gilbert pounced on Mayer, a brawl ensued ending with an apoplectic Mayer screaming at Gilbert “You’re finished! I’ll destroy you if it costs me a million dollars!” Over the next year and a half, it appears that he did. (73/96)

23SEP1926             The heavyweight boxing championship between Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney is broadcast on the air from Philadelphia and movie theaters report of precipitous drop in attendance of up to 50%: the era of Radio is born. (61/107)

NOV1926                Louella Parsons becomes motion picture editor of the Hearst United Press Service and Hollywood’s first major gossip columnist. (21/80)

25DEC1926            Garbo’s star catches fire with the release of Flesh and the Devil. (53/107)

DEC1926                Late December 1926, the Big Five studios – MGM, Universal, Paramount, First National and Producer’s Distributing Company – meet in secret session and agree that none of them would adopt sound pictures until they all did and, if and when they did adopt it, they would all use the same device. They resolved, piously, that it would not be the one Warner Bros were using. (35/22)

1926                        Struggling independent studio Warner Brothers signs a contract with Western Electric and establishes Vitaphone. The recording process would include record disks synced up to movies, making the first talking pictures possible. Initially seen as a way to save costs on orchestra accompaniments for live movies, it soon became clear that talkies changed both the way movies were made and how they were watched irreversibly. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

1926                        Central Casting established by the Hays Office in order to bring order to the chaotic nature of freelance employment. (41/92) (Although both http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_casting and 35/45 say it was 1925, and 35/45 say 1925, Central Casting’s website itself also says 1926.)

1926                        The Carthay Circle Theater (where Gone with the Wind would later have its West Coast premiere) opened in 1926 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille’s Volga Boatman. If you look in “Los Angeles: Lost and found”, you will find the picture of exterior of the Carthy Circle Theater. http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1158/

1926                        Dial telephone service reached the Valley. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1926                        Corner of Hollywood and Santa Monica Blvd is home to the United Artists studios and the enormous set to Douglas Fairbanks movie The Thief of Baghdad dominates the sky. (51/77)

1926                        After a series of mergers, Carl Wickman’s bus operations become known as the Greyhound Lines. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyhound_Lines

1926                        Evangelist Bob Schuler is given a radio station as a Xmas present from his congregation setting him on the road to becoming America’s first broadcast evangelist. (6/115)

1926                        Hollywood’s first Studio Club for Actresses established by Mary Pickford and Mrs. CB DeMille moves from 6129 Carlos Ave to 1215 Lodi Place (2/8)

1926                        Will H. Hays make his most important P. R. gesture – the establishment of the Studio Relations Committee (SRC) and the promulgation of the first written rules for motion picture content. (77/36)

1926                        Pontiac cars go on sale. (7/152)

1926                        By 1926, Hearst was locked into his production deal with MGM. (16/107)

1926                        The motion picture business is now one of the country’s 6 largest industries. (47/5)

1926                        Martha Graham, the American pioneer of the modern-dance revolt, gives her first New York performance, which features 18 barefoot, evocatively costumed dancers. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1926.html

1926                        Construction starts on the Warners/Pacific Theater, one of four grand movie palaces on Hollywood Blvd, the Warner was built as the flagship of the Warner Brothers Studio Theaters. The extravagant designs were intended to lure the film patron away from the reality of the street at the earliest possible moment. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1926                        Auto antifreeze allows people to use cars year-round. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1926.html

1926                        Downtown Los Angeles Public Library at 630 West Fifth Street is dedicated.

1926                        Original Brown Derby restaurant opens at 3377 Wilshire by Herbert Somborn (a husband of Gloria Swanson) and Wilson Mitzner a well-known writer. (2/5) (6/166) http://www.latimemachines.com/page25.html

1926                        El Capitan theater opens at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard as “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama”. In 1942 it becomes a movie house called the Paramount. (2/10) Restored in 1990. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

Another source said it was a live theater from 1926 to 1936 when it became a movie theater. In 1941 it held the Hollywood premiere of “Citizen Kane”.

1926                        David Selznick arrives in Hollywood and begins as an assistant story editor at MGM. (47/33)

1926                        First National Studios built in Burbank (2/70)

1926                        Pico Blvd is paved. The largest such project to date. The cost is more than $1 million.

1926                        The Book of the Month Club is founded as a United States mail-order business, customers of which are offered a new book each month. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_the_Month_Club

1926                        Edna Ferber publishes Show Boat. (23/308)

1926                        Milne published Winnie-the-Pooh, the most popular children’s book ever written. (23/308)

1926                        NBC becomes the first nationwide radio network. When NBC was established in 1926 it was the first commercial broadcasting network in the world. In its early years, NBC operated two networks, the Red and the Blue. The Blue Network was sold in 1943 and became the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/bobhope/radio.html

Negotiations between RCA & AT&T, two pioneers in the creation of networks led in 1926 to the establishment of the National Broadcasting Company which went on the air in NOV 1926. (56/83) Lindberg becomes the first national radio celebrity when he crosses the Atlantic in May 1927. (55/84)

1926                        Radio Corp of America & American Telephone and Telegraph & British General Post Office hold the first trans-Atlantic radiotelephone conversation between NY and London. (23/306)

1926                        Book-of-the-Month Club starts, with 40,000 enrollments in the first year. (23/306)

1926                        Michelson measures the speed of light, at 186,284 miles per second. (23/309)



Top Stars: Tom Mix & Colleen Moore. (21/85)

1927 SONGS

  • Ain’t she sweet
  • Me and my shadow
  • I’m looking over a four-leaf clover
  • Strike up the band
  • ’S Wonderful
  • Thou Swell



09JAN1927             Garden of Allah’s 18-hour opening party (1/26) (21/86) (20/292)

                                In what amounted to an obituary for the Garden of Allah, Los Angeles Times reporter Dan Swinton dug up stories of the hotel’s gala opening just 32 year earlier: The town’s big blast on Jan. 9, 1927 … was the merry marathon at Sunset Blvd. and Havenhurst Dr. It heralded the birth of the Garden of Allah. There was joy afoot, caviar at hand and bubbles in the air — for 18 hours. By midnight, the waiters were harmonizing with the guests and wandering troubadours played madrigals from the middle of the pool. It was climax piled on climax, including a virtual state dinner at which the mistress of the Garden of Allah, Yalta-born Alla Nazimova, dedicated the plush three-acre plot.  http://www.wehostar.com/2008/12/29/january-1927-allah-nazimovas-grand-opening-party-for-the-garden-of-allah-hotel/

                                The grand opening of the new hotel on January 9, 1927, was in the gaudy tradition of the Hollywood première. Greeters in swallowtail coats and striped pants ushered thousands of unabashed gawkers through the rooms and bungalows, while a string quartet played in the lobby of the main building and a platoon of Japanese butlers served tea, punch, and sandwiches. When darkness fell, visitors gasped with wonder as colored lights lit up the grounds, and strolling troubadours in Spanish costumes sang and played beneath the night-blooming jasmine. The theatricality of the opening suggested the make-believe world of the movies, and it was assumed by most visitors—and reported by the newspapers the next day—that the new establishment would appeal most to movie makers. They came in droves, and by the end of the first week the management knew that the Garden of Alla was a hit. Within a few months, common usage by the guests, and references by the Los Angeles newspapers, had permanently corrupted the spelling of the hotel’s name; thereafter it became the Garden of Allah.               http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1977/5/1977_5_82.shtml

JAN1927                 At a meeting at his beach house, LBM with a group of that included Fred Niblo, Conrad Nagel, and another close friend Fred W. Beetson, decided to form an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, made up of 275 leading figures of the business who would pay $100 initiation fee each. Douglas Fairbanks would be president; each member would be able to vote for another member to receive an award, the nature of which would not be determined for some time, for his achievements. At least initially, the awards would be restricted to those in the category of director, leading player (male and female) and, perhaps, cameraman and art director. Maybe became obsessed with this new idea. (19/131) (42/71)

14FEB1927             Alfred Hitchcock’s first movie – The Lodger – opens in London. (21/86)

15APR1927             Norma and Constance Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first stars to leave their footprints in cement in front of Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theater (which was built on the site of the former home of Francis X. Bushman). (21/86)

http://www.manntheaters.com/chinese/index.php says it happened 30APR1927

MAY1927                Laurel and Hardy become a comedy team. (21/86)

11MAY1927            At the Biltmore Hotel the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences holds its first gathering. (21/86)

(72/9) The Academy was organized at a small dinner party given by Louis B. Mayer in the private dining room of the Biltmore Hotel. At that Meeting, Fred Niblo (director of the silent film “Ben Hur”) was chairman, Niblo explained to the assembled guests the genesis of the idea for the association, how one night at Mayer’s house, with actor Conrad Nagel, and Fred Beetson (later president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors Association), Mayer was playing solitaire while two of his guests were discussing the advisability of all branches of the industry getting together on some basis for the benefit and welfare of the entire production end of motion pictures.

According to Niblo, L.B. looked up from his game of solitaire and said to the two who had been discussing the idea, “Why don’t you get together, then, and try it out?” “So L.B. issued invitations to 36 people and invited them to dinner at the Biltmore. Mayer harangued his guests, convincing them that an organization such as the Academy would be far preferable to any craft organization that was antagonistic to the producers. So the Academy was born and anybody who “had contributed in a distinguished way to the arts and sciences of Motion Picture production” was eligible for membership. The wording was vague enough to assure Mayer that he could keep out whomever he wanted. Functioning actually as a company union, the Academy managed to delay any serious labor organizing in Hollywood for over five years.

18MAY1927            Grauman’s Chinese Theater opens at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard with DeMille’s King of Kings. (2/10) (21/86) http://www.manntheatres.com/chinese/

Filming for the movie commenced 24AUG1926. (51/268)

Unlike the famous story said that Sid Grauman witnessed Norma Talmadge stepping into fresh cement as she got out of her car while visiting the theater isn’t true. The true story, which lacks the glamour of the other tales, is that Sid Grauman walked across the theater’s forecourt when the cement was still wet. After Sid was scolded he asked Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge to come to the theater at once. However, the cement was nearly dry, causing the impressions too faint. In April, just three weeks before the completion of construction, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were again invited back this time to formally place their hand and footprints and signatures in the center of the theater’s forecourt. A few days later, Grauman had Talmadge make similar impressions next to those made by Pickford and Fairbanks. Knowing that the theater’s grand opening was to occur on May 18, 1927, Norma Talmadge scribbled that date above her signature instead of the actual date she made the impressions. Since then, scores of celebrities have had their hand and footprints and signature enshrined in the famous courtyard. (Facebook, The Amazing Actors of Old Hollywood)

MAY1927                The German police ban the Nazi Party forcing it underground. (107/105)

20MAY1927            Charles Lindbergh takes off to attempt a solo flight across the Atlantic. 33 ½ hours later in lands in Paris France and becomes literally an overnight international celebrity. (23/311)

“Although The Jazz Singer is considered the first motion picture to have sound, in reality, Fox debuted sound in theaters six months earlier in its newsreels,” says Singleton. The first sound newsreel was Lindbergh’s departure for Paris from Roosevelt Field, New York, on May 20, 1927. The following month Fox showed film of President Coolidge greeting Lindbergh at the White House and a film segment of a speech by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini. They generated excitement and the new sound became a standard at motion picture theaters.

13JUN1927            Charles Lindbergh completes the first solo flight over the Atlantic in the “Spirit of St. Louis.”http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

18JUL1927             The Blood Ship opens. Its huge budget was a risk for Harry Cohn. But winning an engagement at the nation’s biggest and most prestigious movie house, the Roy in New York marks a great stride forward for Columbia. (p46/141)

10AUG1927            Work on the gigantic sculpture at Mount Rushmore began.  Sculptor Gutzon Borglum would complete the task of chiseling the busts of four presidents; George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt, fourteen years later. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

23AUG1927            Sacco and Vanzetti are put to death in the electric chair of the Charlestown Prison. (56/178)

AUG1927                Roosevelt Hotel opens at 7000 Hollywood Blvd (2/10)

AUG1927                Al Jolson starts making The Jazz Singer at Warner Bros’ 5800 Sunset Blvd. Studio. (35/32) http://employees.oxy.edu/jerry/wbktla.htm

KTLA Studios (5800 W. Sunset Boulevard) at the SW corner of Van Ness; it’s the oldest TV station in Los Angeles, and was formerly the old Warner Bros Studio, where “The Jazz Singer” was filmed in 1927. http://www.seeing-stars.com/Streets/SunsetBlvd.shtml


SEP1927                 Hal Roach moves distribution of Our Gangfrom Pathé to MGM. MGM released its first Our Gang comedy in September 1927. The move to MGM offered Roach larger budgets, and the chance to have his films packaged with MGM features to the giant Loews Theaters chain. … As the profit margins continued to decline due to double features,Roach could no longer afford to produce the series, and sold the entire Our Gang unit (including the rights to the name and the contracts for the actors, writers, and director Douglas) to MGM in May 1938…however The MGM-produced Our Gang shorts were not as well-received as the Roach-produced shorts had been, due to both MGM’s inexperience with the brand of slapstick comedy Our Gang was famous for. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Gang

29SEP1927             Irving Thalberg marries Norma Shearer at Thalberg’s rented Sunset Boulevard mansion in Beverly Hills. (77/96)

06OCT1927            Warner Brothers NY premiere of The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson, a partly silent, partly sound film that marks the beginning of the era of the “Talking Picture.” http://www.filmsite.org/jazz.html

http://www.musicals101.com/1927-30film.htm says the NY premiere was on 23SEP.

http://cinematreasures.org/theater/3/ says that the Los Angeles premiere took place at the Criterion late-December 1927 and then moved to the Tower in 1928, however http://cinematreasures.org/theater/1967/ says it was the other way around, when the Criterion was equipped for sound. Further down the page, a posting says this: “ (Dec. 25, 1927)
When “The Jazz Singer” opens at the Criterion Theater Wednesday night…” which would make the opening on Wednesday December 28th 1927 at the Criterion.

34/143 says 05OCT1927 was the Jazz Singer’s premiere at the Warner Theater.

08OCT1927            Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ is released. There are several sequences depicting topless maidens laying out flowers during a parade that cause a stir. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

OCT1927                By Oct’27 Fox have begun a regular sound newsreel. (35/27)

1927 – In 37 states, over a 100 bills are introduced regarding the censorship of motion pictures. William Hayes and the MPPDA put together and issue their list of “Don’ts and Be Carefuls” to filmmakers. The list, consisting of 36 suggestions to filmmakers, is almost immediately ignored since there is no binding reason to obey it; sometimes copies of the rules were sent back to the MPPDA unopened. Resolved, That those things which are included in the following list shall not appear in pictures produced by the members of this Association, irrespective of the manner in which they are treated:

  • Pointed profanity – by either title or lip – this includes the words “God,” “Lord,” “Jesus,” “Christ” (unless they be used reverently in connection with proper religious ceremonies), “hell,” “damn,” “Gawd,” and every other profane and vulgar expression however it may be spelled;
  • Any licentious or suggestive nudity – in fact or in silhouette; and any lecherous or licentious notice thereof by other characters in the picture;
  • The illegal traffic in drugs;
  • Any inference of sex perversion;
  • White slavery;
  • Miscegenation (sex relationships between the white and black races);
  • Sex hygiene and venereal diseases;
  • Scenes of actual childbirth – in fact or in silhouette;
  • Children’s sex organs;
  • Ridicule of the clergy;
  • Willful offense to any nation, race or creed;

And be it further resolved, That special care be exercised in the manner in which the following subjects are treated, to the end that vulgarity and suggestiveness may be eliminated and that good taste may be emphasized:

  • The use of the flag;
  • International relations (avoiding picturizing in an unfavorable light another country’s religion, history, institutions, prominent people, and citizenry);
  • Arson;
  • The use of firearms;
  • Theft, robbery, safe-cracking, and dynamiting of trains, mines, buildings, etc. (having in mind the effect which a too-detailed description of these may have upon the moron);
  • Brutality and possible gruesomeness;
  • Technique of committing murder by whatever method;
  • Methods of smuggling;
  • Third-degree methods;
  • Actual hangings or electrocutions as legal punishment for crime;
  • Sympathy for criminals;
  • Attitude toward public characters and institutions;
  • Sedition;
  • Apparent cruelty to children and animals;
  • Branding of people or animals;
  • The sale of women, or of a woman selling her virtue;
  • Rape or attempted rape;
  • First-night scenes;
  • Man and woman in bed together;
  • Deliberate seduction of girls;
  • The institution of marriage;
  • Surgical operations;
  • The use of drugs;
  • Titles or scenes having to do with law enforcement or law-enforcing officers;
  • Excessive or lustful kissing, particularly when one character or the other is a “heavy.”

A Timeline of the Pre-Code Hollywood Era

1927                        By 1927, 60 million Americans go to the movies each week. (p167/130)

1927                        Director Frank Capra arrives at Columbia Studios. (p85/114)

1927                        Shrine Auditorium opens at 665 West Jefferson Blvd. As the world’s largest theater able to hold over 6000 spectators. (25/155)

1927                        Pig ‘n Whistle built at 6718 Hollywood Blvd http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1927                        By 1927 Mayer was making $2500 a week and Thalberg $2000, in addition to the percentage agreement that paid them over $500,000 (65/96)

1927                        Plans are made and construction started on the 200-acre Mack Sennett studios in the newly-named Studio City at the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon. In 1935 the studios become Republic Studios and later CBS Studio Center. http://www.studiocitychamber.com/aboutstudiocity.php

1927                        The income brought into Nevada through the divorce business caused a push in 1927 for the Nevada residency to be lowered to three months, and in 1931 the requirement went down to six weeks. http://www.jour.unr.edu/outpost

1927                        Eduard Haas III invents PEZ candy

1927                        B. H. Dyas Broadway is built at 6300 Hollywood Blvd, becoming the first major department store on the Boulevard. With its lavish interiors, it was a very popular destination. Children could play in an activity room on the top floor while their parents shopped. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1927                        Lankershim changed name to North Hollywood. Mack Sennett’s Studioland opened near Ventura and Laurel Canyon boulevards. Many residents wanted the small town to be named Laurelwood, but the budding Chamber of Commerce pushed for Studio City to please the studios. First traffic light installed at Ventura and Lankershim. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1927                        Josephine Baker becomes a star in Paris. (Chronicle)

1927                        The Broadway musical links with opera in Jerome Kern’s revolutionary Show Boat. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1927.html

1927                        The 15 millionth Model T Ford is produced and its production is discontinued. (23/206)

1927                        Prior to the late 1920s, movies were made without sound. Fox was able to produce its first Movietone newsreel with synchronized sound in 1927, revolutionizing the way in which people could see the news. The first Movietone News story with sound was about Charles Lindbergh’s flight across the Atlantic. http://www.ohiokids.org/tellzall/2006/march.shtml

1927                       Transatlantic service from New York to London became operational, transmitted by radio waves. Underwater cables were no longer necessary.  http://www.schoelles.com/Telephone/teltimeline.htm

1927                        Technicolor invented.



Top stars: Lon Chaney & Clara Bow. (21/91)

Top grossing films of 1928 – 1The Singing Fool…2 Lights of New York…3 West of Zanzibar

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction: The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Thornton Wilder

1928 SONGS: I wanna be loved by you… Let’s do it (let’s fall in love)…Lover come back to me (71/238)

01JAN1928            The first industry-drafted standard movie player contract comes into use. (21/92)

JAN1928                That Certain Feeling, Frank Capra’s first movie at Columbia, opens. (p54/141)

EARLY 1928           The Masquers Club relocates to permanent group home at 1765 Sycamore Ave., Hollywood. http://ladailymirror.com/2014/08/18/mary-mallory-hollywood-heights-the-masquers-club-laughs-to-win/

29MAR1928            Historic broadcast during the Dodge Brother Hour designed to show that the following stars had what it took to meet the challenges of the talking picture: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks Sr, Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith John Barrymore, Delores del Rio, Norma Talmadge and Gloria Swanson.(35/1 & 2)

26APR1928             The Hollywood premiere at the newly-opened Warners Hollywood Theater of early Warner Bros talkie Glorious Betsy (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018945/) which was (a) premiered on the West Coast on the same day as the East Coast), and (b) many Hollywood people’s first talkie. Within three weeks of its opening, three major studios – Paramount, United Artists and MGM – had signed up with Electrical Research Products Inc (ERPI), Western Electric’s marketing subsidiary, for the installation of Movietone’s optical-sound and sound-on-DISC system in their studios, and Western Electric amplifiers in their cinemas. (35/58) (66/38)(108/31)

April 29, 1928         Honor Bound is released. The movie, now lost, is probably only now remembered as the first screen appearance of an extra known as Harlean Harlow Carpenter– later to be known more widely as Jean Harlow. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

JUN1928                Work is completed on Edward Laurence Doheny’s Sr.’s manion Greystoke at 501 N. Doheny and gives it to his son, Ned, who doesn’t live in it for very long. On 17FEB1929, he dies of a gunshot wound. (p218/130)

JUL1928                 Paramount announces that all of its 1929 features are going to be sound. (35/91)

08JUL1928             Premiere of The Lights of New York, the first-ever all-talking motion picture. (35/68) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019096/

31JUL1928             Premiere of White Shadows of the South Seas – MGM’s first feature synchronized for dialogue (the only word of dialogue heard in the whole picture is “Hello”)F, music and effects. (35/80) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019574/ It’s the first time audiences hear MGM’s mascot, Leo the Lion, roar for the first time. (56/107)

14AUG1928            Premiere of Columbia’s first sound feature: Scarlet Lady (35/81)

SEP1928                 Warner Bros. buys First National and takes over its Burbank lot. (66/33) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_National

23OCT1928            RKO Radio Pictures starts. (21/93)
JAN’28 – RCA acquires the theater chains of Keith – Albee – Orpheum as well as the film production company with the tame name of Film Booking Office and merged them to form a new company called RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) (25/44) (55/235)

NOV1928                Film production is at a low ebb. The reason this time was studios holding back starting dates until their films could be all-talking. (35/95)

03NOV1928            Walt Disney debuts Mickey Mouse in Steamboat Willie at the Colony Theatrer, NY. (21/93)

14NOV1928            Premiere of MGM’s ambitious part-talkie Alias Jimmy Valentine. (35/119)

17NOV1928            Max Factor moves from downtown L.A. to Hollywood, at 1666 Highland Ave, near the corner of Hollywood Boulevard. (p68/121)

08DEC1928            The Hollywood & Western Building, also known as The Mayer Building, opens at 5504 Hollywood Boulevard, built by Louis B. Mayer and Irving Thalberg. The building was the first location of Motion Picture Association of America, Central Casting, the Hays Office, and The Ben Hecht Company. (p161/113)

17DEC1928            Metropolitan Airport  opens on the 25th anniversary of the Wright brother’s flight. Name change to “Los Angeles Metropolitan Airport” in 1929. Name change to Van Nuys Army Air Field in 1942. Name change to San Fernando Valley Airport in 1948. Name change to Van Nuys Airport in 1957. (6/7)

Late 1920s              King Vidor is MGM’s late 20s premiere director (37/131)

Late 1920s to early 1930s     The ‘Pansy Craze’ was a period in the late 1920s and early 1930s in which gay clubs and performers (known as pansy performers) experienced a surge in underground popularity in the United States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pansy_Craze

1928                        Tenderloin released – Following The Jazz Singer, the second Vitaphone feature to have talking sequences. A part-talkie, this film contained 15 minutes of spoken dialog. Warner Brothers promoted it as the first film in which actors actually spoke their roles. The film premiered in New York along with a series of Vitaphone short subjects that included “Cugat and his Gigolos”. The feature itself was met with derisive laughter resulting from the hammy acting and stilted dialog. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019453/ (35/48 & 56)

1928                        The Los Angeles City Council selects 640 acres of a former wheat, barley, and lima bean field as the location for the new City of Los Angeles Airport. The property is first named Mines Field for real estate agent William W. Mines who arranges the deal. The airport is composed of dirt strips with no buildings. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm


1928                        Gambling ships start to appear outside the three mile limit off the coast – first off Long Beach. The first was the Johanna Smith, followed by the Montfalcone, the City of Panama, the Monte Carlo, the Texas, the Showboat, the Caliente, and “whoopee” ship called the S.S. Playa. (40/55)

1928                        By 1928 Louella Parsons has become a near-permanent fixture at the Brown Derby. (16/114)

1928                        The Hollywood Women’s Press Club (HWPC) was founded essentially as a luncheon club in 1928 by columnist Louella O. Parsons and eight or nine of her friends who also covered Hollywood as magazine and newspaper writers. Membership was limited to twenty-five professional news writers, any one of whom could be suspended for doing paid publicity. Parsons was elected first president. When the pressure of her work became too demanding, she resigned in 1935 (although her resignation wasn’t accepted). http://www.oscars.org/mhl/sc/hollywood_72.html

1928                         William Fox buys the 300-acre Tom Mix ranch just west of Beverly Hills. He maintains his headquarters at the Western Ave studio until 1935 when Fox merged with 20th Century Pictures. (116/p9)

1928                        Daryl F. Zanuck becomes production chief of Warner Brothers. December 1928: Hal Wallis becomes production chief of First National, responsible to Jack Warner and Zanuck (who will take over as production chief of the combined Warner Bros and First National in 1930.) (p57/114)

1928                        David Selznick moves from MGM to Paramount where he works for 3 years as BP Schulberg’s assistant before moving to RKO as head of production where he replaced William LeBaron.(47/34 & 51)

1928                         After designing costumes for Valentino and Cecil B. DeMille, Adrian is hired by MGM to be their chief costume designer. (p25/122)

12MAR1928            The St. Francis dam collapses. More than 400 die in the resulting flood. City Engineer William Mulholland takes responsibility for the disaster and retires in disgrace.

1928                        RKO Studios comes into being taking over the facilities at 780 Gower, previously called FBO Studios owned by Joseph Kennedy. Howard Hughes bought it in 1948. Lucy & Desi bought it in 1957 and is now a part of Paramount. (2/13)

1928                        In 1928, Willis Haviland Carrier developed the first  residential ‘Weathermaker’, an air conditioner for private home use. The Great Depression and then WW2 slowed the non-industrial use of air conditioning. After the war, consumer sales started to grow again. The rest is history, cool and comfortable history. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa081797.htm

1928                        Brylcreem is created by County Chemicals at the Chemico Works in Birmingham, England. County Chemicals is also noted for ‘Chemico’ – a very popular abrasive kitchen cleaner. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brylcreem

1928                        A new Los Angeles City Hall is completed at 200 North Spring Street.

1928                        At Union Air Terminal in Burbank, daily airline flights began between Los Angeles and San Francisco begin. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01f.htm

1928                        David O. Selznick moves from Paramount to Head of Production at RKO where he stays until 1935 when he leaves to open Selznick International Pictures.                                           http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_O._Selznick

1928                        Hotel Bel Air Hotel opens at 701 Stone Canyon (2/51)

1928                        The second Brown Derby is built at 1620 N. Vine. This Spanish Colonial Revival style structure, designed for Cecil B DeMille, was the second branch of the famous restaurant. The Vine Street landmark was demolished in 1994. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1928                        The Agua Caliente racetrack and golf course opens in Tijuana. https://www.sandiegohistory.org/timeline/timeline2.htm

1928                        Beverly Wilshire Hotel opens at 9500 Wilshire Blvd. (25/194)

1928                        Yo-Yo re-invented as an American fad.

1928                        The (Regent) Beverly Wilshire Hotel is at 9500 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills. It was constructed by real estate developer Walter G. McCarty on the site of the former Beverly Hills Speedway. It was completed in 1928 (when the city had fewer than 18,000 residents), and was then known as the “Beverly Wilshire Apartment Hotel”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regent_Beverly_Wilshire_Hotel

1928                        Station WGY, Schenectady begins scheduled television broadcasts. (23/313)

1928                        Baird demonstrates color television. (23/313) by beams a television image from England to the United States. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1928.html

1928                        Olympic Games in Amsterdam. (23/313)

1928                        DeSoto cars go on sale. 19,000 are sold in the first year. (71/145)

1928                        Plymouth cars go on sale. (7/152)

1928                        The “rabbit test” – the first reliable pregnancy test – is developed. (23/313)

1928                        Scotch tape patented by 3M engineer, Richard G. Drew. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

1928                        The first coast-to-coast bus line is Yelloway Bus Line with service from L.A. to NY – a 3433-mile trip that takes 5 days and 14 hours. (23/313)

1928                        Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin

1928                        Bubble gum invented by Walter E. Diemer. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

1928                        Jacob Schick patented the electric shaver



Top stars: Lon Chaney & Clara Bow. (21/96)

Top grossing films of 1929:

  1. Gold Diggers of Broadway
  2. Rio Rita
  3. On With the Show
  4. The Broadway Melody
  5. In Old Arizona
  6. Hollywood Revue of 1929
  7. The Mysterious Island
  8. The Love Parade
  9. Four Feathers
  10. Sally

Books Released in 1929 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1929/1929fr.html

  • The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkne
  • Red Harvest and The Dain Curse, by Dashiell Hammett
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemmingway
  • Dear Judas and Other Poems, by Robinson Jeffers
  • Dodsworth, by Sinclair Lewis
  • Cup of Gold, by John Steinbeck
  • Look Homeward Angel, by Thomas Wolfe
  • Is Sex Necessary?, by E.B. White and James Thurber
  • Street Scene, by Elmer Rice

SONGS: (71/238)

  • Am I blue
  • Stardust
  • Happy days are here again
  • Tip Toe through the tulips
  • With a song in my heart


01JAN1929             The first annual New Year’s Day brunch party held by LBM at the Mayer’s beach house. (19/198)

FEB 1929               Chateau Marmont opens hotel at 8221 Sunset, Tel. OL. 6-1010.


After having commenced construction in 1939, the Chateau Marmont opens in February 1929 as an apartment house, but high rents and the Depression kept renters away. In 1931 the building was changed to a hotel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chateau_Marmont

FEB1929               Hollywood hasn’t cleaned up its act. Over 50% of the films making it to audiences are censored by state or local boards where movies made 60% of their profit. Rumors are running rampant in Hollywood that William Hearst, the newspaper magnate, is going to put out a call for federal censorship of motion pictures. Iowa Senator Smith W. Brookhart is planning to revive a bill that would place the regulation of the motion picture industry under the FTC. New President Herbert Hoover is rumored to be considering anti-trust action, while women’s groups and religious organizations continued to protest Hollywood’s output. Meanwhile, Hollywood’s profit margins are at an all-time high, with studios who obeyed Hays’ dictates finding smaller audiences as their reward. And, after the prolific failure of the “Don’ts and Be Carefuls”, Hays is unable to interest anyone in a negotiation. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

01FEB1929             Premiere of MGM’s first talkie Broadway Melody (35/135) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0019729/
It was the first sound movie filmed at MGM. Cost $275,000, grossed $4 million, won the studio’s first Best Picture Oscar. (80/96) (66/107)

10FEB1929             Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester marry, (21/96)

14FEB1929             St Valentine’s Day Massacre when 6 members of the notorious Moran gang are lined up and shot by a rival Al Capone’s gang. (23/315) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine%27s_Day_massacre

14FEB1929             Vine Street Brown Derby opens at 1628 Vine St and become the most popular place in Hollywood. Second is Lucey’s at 6360 Sunset (2/6)

13MAR1929            The Secret Service is put in charge of the White House police by Presidential order by Hoover after a stranger appeared in the White House dining room wanting to tell Hoover about the terrible unemployment. (51/139)

24MAR1929            Fox announces that it will no longer make silent movies. (35/125)

28APR1929            Carl Laemmle Jr. takes control of Universal Studios, a present for his 21st birthday from his father. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

13MAY1929            Marion Davis footprints ceremony at Grauman’s. http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

16MAY1929            First Academy Awards handed out at the Roosevelt Hotel. (21/96)
The first Academy Award ceremony is held in the Blossom Room at the Roosevelt Hotel which was lit by Chinese lanterns and each table was decorated with candles and candy replicas of the newly designed gold statuette. The hosts were Douglas Fairbanks, director William deMille (brother of Cecil (who preferred to spell his name with a capital D). All the awards were presented by Fairbanks. “Wings” wins as best film. (19/164) http://history1900s.about.com/library/weekly/aa030801a.htm

http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/ says it was 26MAY1929

28MAY1929            Premiere of Warner Bros’ first all-color musical On With The Show! (35/183) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020238/ (See below)

03JUN1929             Joan Crawford marries Douglas Fairbanks Jnr. Fairbanks was on the outs with his parents and so was penniless, leaving Crawford to pay for everything. So Mayer again helps her out by lendsing her $40,000 to buy a mansion at 426 North Bristol, in Brentwood. (82/96)

JUN1929                 The Norma Shearer movie The Trial Of Mary Dugan, initially passed by the Chicago Board of Censors is later banned outright after bluenose pressure, and then reversed its ban after an outcry from more open-minded constituents

JUN1929                 French Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel emerges as the queen of fashion. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1929/1929fr.html

13JUL1929             The first all-talking, all-Technicolor movie – On With the Show! is released. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020238/

AUG1929              The comedy series Amos & Andy makes its first appearance on NBC radio. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1929/1929fr.html (71/180)

MIDAUG1929         A new law went into effect making it illegal to transport passengers from the shore directly to the gambling barges.  To circumvent the law, the Centennial was used an intermediary barge, where passengers were dropped off and picked up by another boat and taken the Monfalcone.  The following November, the Monfalcone was moored off the end of “gambler’s row,” some 2.7 miles off Seal Beach on the border between Los Angeles and Orange counties.  The new law was ruled unconstitutional and local law enforcement and politicians unsuccessfully solicited the help of US District Attorney to once more declare the Monfalcone as a hazard to navigation at her new position.

07SEP1929             Work starts on Boulder Dam. http://www.lasvegassun.com/history/timeline/

26SEP1929             Bullock’s Wilshire Department Store opens. At the time the venture is considered risky because it is outside the traditional city center.

28SEP1929             Winston Churchill speaks at an MGM luncheon. (91/106)

29SEP1929             Evangeline Adams, the most fashionable crystal-ball gazer of the age, declared that “the Dow-Jones” could climb to heaven.” The following day the great bill market reached 452 on the New York Times share index, which is generally regarded as its historic peak. Thereafter, for about six weeks, stocks traded nervously: there were several sharp falls and partial recoveries. (73/105)

01OCT1929            Martin Quigley, Joseph Breen and Father Daniel Lord meet together to plot an ambition motion picture project centered on Quigley’s idea of a program of motion picture industry self-regulation to be guided by a written contract. (77/42)

OCT1929                                First transcontinental all-air service begins from NY to LA (with one overnight stop). http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1929/1929fr.html

24OCT1929            The New York Stock Market crashes, only a few days before the Los Angeles Stock Exchange is inaugurated. (??) Before the crash, 60% of US citizens had a annual income of less than $2000, estimated as the bare minimum for the “bare necessities of life”. (23/315)

Nearly thirteen million shares had been traded, a record, and three billion dollars had been wiped off the value of the shares. The New York Times share index had fallen from its 452 peak to 372 and tourists were paying 50 cents for the black day’s historic ticker tape. (74/105)

28/29OCT1929       There was a “nationwide stampede to unload”. Nearly ten million shares were traded and the Times index fell by 49 points, the steepest decline in its history…By the end of the day, 16,383,700 shares had been traded. Many of the investment trusts were wiped out, the New York Times index had fallen 43 points and paper losses amounted to ten billion dollars – almost as much as America had spent on the Great War, substantially more than the entire national debt and twice the amount of all money in circulation throughout the U.S. at the time. (74/105)

01NOV1929            The Teapot Dome scandal comes to a close when Albert B. Fall, the former Secretary of the Interior, is convicted of accepting a $100,000 bribe for leasing the Elk Hills naval oil reserve.  He is sentenced to one year in jail and a $100,000 fine. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1920.html

15NOV1929            Greta Garbo’s final silent film – The Kiss – opens in New York                                  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0020062/releaseinfo

31DEC1929            The New Year’s Eve 1929 gala opening of Jimmy’s Backyard, L.A.’s first openly gay bar, was attended by 300 tuxedo-clad homosexuals. Billy Haines attended the party with an entourage that included fellow actor Lowell Sherman, and homosexual director Edmund Lowe and lesbian wife Lilyan Tashman. (86/96)

1929                        Buron Fitts takes over as the District Attorney from the disgraced Asa Keyes. Fitts was more dishonest but was a sympathetic figure. He had a limp as the result of wounds received during WWI and was a director of the American Legion. Veterans kept him in office until 1940. Within six months he moved from a small house at 1217 West Second St into a mansion at 8222 Marmont Ave above Sunset. It was a neighborhood of movie stars. (83/96)

1929                        Malibu starts to become popular with the stars. (28/51) (21/109 said it started in Sept 1932)

1929                        CBS is founded by William S. Paley. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1929.html

1929                        American, Paul Galvin invents the car radio.

1929                        German movie Two Hearts in Waltz Time becomes the first foreign language movie to appear with subtitles.

1929                        By 1929, Louella Parson’s informal gatherings of female newspaper reporters and fan magazine writers who covered Hollywood were now named the Hollywood Women’s Press Club and met each Wednesday at noon at the Vine Street Brown Derby. (16/??)

1929                        The Hollywood Bowl is redesigned by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son to take the shape of a series of concentric half-rings.  (6/158)

1929                        First National Studios in Burbank is bought by Warner Bros (2/70)

1929                        The frozen food introduced by Clarence Birdseye. (23/315) 79/76 says it was 1930

1929                        Kodak intro’s 16mm color film. (23/315)

1929                        Hollywood United Methodist Church built on Highland Ave.

1929                        Hitchcock directs the first successful British sound film, Blackmail. (23/314)

1929                        UCLA moves to Bel Air on the Wolfskill Rancho (2/51)

1929                        Leg of lamb is 39 cents a pound; bread is 10 cents a loaf; milk is 16 cents a quart. (71/226)

1929                        The Chateau Elysee, Hollywood’s most exclusive hotel/apt in the 1930s and 1940s opens at 5930 Franklin (2/8)

1929                        Early experiments in radar. (23/315)

1929                        In 1929, Sam Foster, founder of the Foster Grant company sold the first pair of Foster Grant sunglasses on the Boardwalk in Atlantic City, NJ. By 1930, sunglasses were all the rage. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/sunglasses.htm

1929-1932               Between 1929 and 1932 an average of 100,000 people became unemployed each week as the U.S. and world economies collapsed. At the height of the U.S.’s worst financial crisis a quarter of the nation’s workers, nearly13 million men and women could not find jobs. (70/5)

1929                        Roosevelt Highway – later renamed Pacific Coast Highway – opens.

08AUG1929            At Heart’s request, the Graf Zeppelin commences its circumnavigation of the world from the Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ. The journey was 21,255 miles and was completed in 20 days, 4 hours, 14 minutes. (23/313). It landed at in Los Angeles at Mines Field (now LAX and about eight miles north of Redondo Beach) after flying in from Tokyo. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LZ_127_Graf_Zeppelin



Top stars: William Haines and Joan Crawford. (21/99)

Top grossing films of 1930:

  1. Journey’s End
  2. Outward Bound
  3. All Quiet on the Western Front
  4. Lightnin’
  5. 5 So This is London
  6. The Rogue Song
  7. The Devil to Pay
  8. With Byrd at the South Pole
  9. Tom Sawyer
  10. The Lady of Scandal

Songs Released in 1930 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

  • Dreamy Blues,” Duke Ellington (later known as “Mood Indigo”)
  • “Georgia on my Mind” by Hoagy Carmichael and Stuart Gorrell
  • “Body and Soul” by Louis Armstrong
  • “Ain’t Misbehavin” by Fats Waller
  • “I Got Rhythm” and “Embraceable You” by George Gershwin
  • “On the Sunny Side of the Street” by Dorothy Fields and Jimmy McHugh
  • “Life is just a bowl of cherries” Rudy Vallee

Books Released in 1930 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  • I’ll Take My Stand anthology of writings by Southern authors
  • Civilization and its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
  • The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Bridge by Hart Crane
  • 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos

SONGS: (71/238)

  • Body and soul
  • Embraceable you
  • I got rhythm
  • Love for sale
  • Bidin’ in my time


The 1930s              The decade’s biggest stars: Clark Gable, Paul Muni, Janet Gaynor, Eddie Cantor, Wallace Beery, Mae West, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Astaire and Rogers, Claudette Colbert, Dick Powell, W. C. Fields, Joan Crawford, Marie Dressler, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Jeanette MacDonald, Barbara Stanwyck, Johnny Weismuller, Gary Cooper, Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor, Myrna Loy, Tyrone Power, Alice Faye, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Spencer Tracy, James Stewart, Veronica Lake, and Katharine Hepburn. Many audiences enjoyed the juvenile company of Shirley Temple, Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and Mickey Rooney. There were also a number of British stars in the decade, including Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone (the Sherlock Holmes of the screen), Charles Laughton (an Oscar-winner in 1933 as King Henry VIII), C. Aubrey-Smith, and Leslie Howard.


The 1930s              The Sunset Strip transforms from farmland and bridle paths to a playground for stars. (14/217)

The 1930s                   Georg Gyssling, the Third Reich’s consul in Los Angeles, had just one real job: to bully Hollywood into portraying Germany and its political regime in the best possible light. The main weapon in his arsenal was Article 15 of his country’s film regulations, which stated that producers whose work cast aspersions on Germany, its government or its people could have their permits to show films in Germany revoked—not just for their “offending” films, but for all their films. This sent shudders through the studios, who feared the loss of this highly lucrative market. http://sistercelluloid.com

The 1930s              After Congress passed laws that greatly restricted immigration laws, in the 1930s only about 50,000 immigrants arrived in the country each year in contrast to the one million per year who immigrated in the early 1900s. (79/7)

The cost of living in 1930:

JAN1930                 The MPPDA in New York and the Association of Motion Picture Producers in Hollywood meet to discuss the Quigley-Lord Code.

Early 1930s            By the early 1930s radio serial dramas such as “Ma Perkins” and “The Romance of Helen Trent” designed to attract regular listeners with their continuing stories began to appear. These were often sponsored by domestic product manufacturers and hence scornfully labeled “soap operas”. (56/87)

21FEB1930             Greta Garbo starred in her first talkie, Anna Christie, advertised with the tagline: GARBO TALKS!, and speaking her first line of dialogue with: “Give me a whisky, ginger ale on the side. And don’t be stingy, baby.” http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

16MAR1930            WEAF in New York City carries first opera broadcast directly from a stage in Europe. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

19MAR1930            Marion Davies is a bridesmaid at Edith Mayer’s wedding at the Biltmore Hotel. (51/180)

09APR1932                Scarface is released by United Artists. The movie, made independently by Howard Hughes, had faced strong opposition from both censors and the mafia– with Al Capone even sending a few men to Hollywood to shake down director Howard Hawks and assure him that Paul Muni’s Scarface wasn’t based on him. Legal battles had delayed the premiere of the movie for a year, as the wanton display of violence shocked and outraged many civic groups across the country. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

24MAR1930            Scientists name the ninth planet (named Pluto in 31st May) at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_Pluto

31MAR1930            The movie industry adopts the Production Code, formal set of guidelines of what is not acceptable in matters of sex, religion, crime, violence, etc. The advent of sound has motivated the codifying of new standards. (21/100) (28/41) The name of “the Hays Code” is adopted despite the fact that Hays had no hand in writing it but was the nominal head of the office that administrates it. (77/45) No sooner had the Code been adopted than the signatories begin to violate it. (77/47)

05APR1930            Ladies of Leisure, directed by Frank Capra for Columbia opens, and makes a star of Barbara Stanwyck. (p87/141)

15APR1930            Marlene Dietrich arrives in Hollywood and starts work on Morocco.

19APR1930            Warner Brothers releases their first “Looney Tunes” cartoon, “Sinkin’ in the Bathroom”. The cartoon featured the first appearances of Bosko and Honey, who would star in much of the series until 1933. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

28APR1930             The first three Nancy Drew mysteries are introduced to the public; the books are an immediate success. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

30APR1930              The Divorcée is released by MGM. Violating the Code provision, “The sanctity of the institution of marriage and the home shall be upheld.”, the film is a daring look at the double standard faced by sexually voracious women. Backed by MGM’s biggest star, Norma Shearer, the film manages a Best Picture nomination and wins Shearer her only Oscar. It is also a box office sensation, leading to several years of copycats, both good and bad. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

15MAY1930            First female flight attendants, on United Airlines. (71/156)

APR1930                Jason Joy, the head of the West Coast office of the PCA, successfully gets the Author’s League to forbid Mae West’s hit stage production of “Diamond Lil” from being available for adaption. The intensity of the PCA’s campaign against Hollywood adapting or even talking to Mae West would scare them off of her and her controversial stories for nearly two years.

MAY 1930               British aviatrix Amy Johnson, of England achieves worldwide recognition when she becomes the first woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia. (71/156) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Johnson

MAY1930                  There was no more popular small kitchen appliance than the classic Sunbeam Mixmaster, from practically the moment it was born for public sale around May 1930. http://www.angelfire.com/home/flexibleshaft/SunbeamFoyer.html

28MAY1930            The Chrysler Building officially opens to the public. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

30MAY1930            Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Angels opens at Grauman’s Chinese. (75/93)

04JUN1930             The Pantages Theater opens at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. Opened by the great impresario, Alexander Pantages as part of the Fox Theater chain. The opening bill was mixed: MGM’s The Floradora Girl, starring Marion Davies, an edition of Metronome News, a Walt Disney cartoon, Slim Martin (“The Maestro of Mirth and Melody”) conducting the Greater Pantages Orchestra and finally, a Fanchon and Martin stage piece, The Rose Garden Idea. http://www.pantages-theater.com/?gclid=CL_5hp-go40CFRAvYAodSwIttw

Pantages Theater The Oscars are held there from 1949 to 1959. Howard Hughes had offices there in the 1950s (2/5)

The MC was Al Jolson. (67/74)

06JUN1930             Frozen food (processed by Clarence Birdseye) hits commercial market for the first time. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

30JUN1930             Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Angels premiere (which costs him $40,000) at the most expensive venue in America: Grauman’s. (78/70 – although IMDB says it was 27MAY, and see above)

AUG1930                 Babe Ruth earns $80,000 a year, more than Herbert Hoover. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

09AUG1930            The cartoon “Dizzy Dishes” premieres with the first appearance of Betty Boop. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

SEP1930                 The Greek Theater is completed. (14/173)

03SEP1930             The Hollywood Reporter debuts, the first daily trade newspaper. (21/101) (22/62)
Offices at 1606 N. Highland Ave., between Sunset and Hollywood boulevards.

It began in an empty Hollywood clothing store that he had lost to bankruptcy, his 6th failed business. Wilkerson’s weekly was banned from MGM premises though Mayer and Thalberg snuck copies inside their briefcases. If Mayer read an unkind piece about MGM he launched into an obscenity-laced tirade against Wilkerson. But strangely Mayer socialized with Wilkerson playing poker with him and Nick Schenck every Thursday night for 20 years – another Mayer contradiction. Wilkerson and Strickling were also close friends. (46/96)

08SEP1930             The comic strip Blondie is first published. (23/316) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blondie_(comic_strip)

30SEP1930             The New York premiere of the Eddie Cantor movie Whoopee! marks the dance director debut of Busby Berkeley.

OCT1930                    Joseph Breen is hired as a publicity man for the West Coast office of the Code Administration. Frustrated with Hays’ desire to please everyone, he quickly makes friends with many influential Catholics. Within three years, his manipulations of the church and his office would see him leading the Production Code Administration. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

05OCT1930            CBS begins live Sunday radio broadcasts of the NY Philharmonic with Toscanini as conductor. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

11OCT1930            Sinner’s Holiday is released. Based on the Broadway production Penny Arcade, Al Jolson, who’d brought the movie to Warner Brothers, insisted the studio cast two of the costars in the film version, giving James Cagney and Joan Blondell their film debuts. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

25OCT1930            TWA offers one of the first all plane scheduled service from coast to coast — the Lindbergh Route. The route took 36 hours and initially called for overnights in Kansas City. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trans_World_Airlines#Founding_-_T.26WA

NOV1930                Paul Bern convinces Thalberg to bring Jean Harlow to MGM on loan-out. She appears in The Secret Six and befriends her company-star Clark Gable. (114/96)

NOV1930                Daryl F. Zanuck takes over as production chief of the combined Warner Brothers and First National (until April 1933.) (p57/114)

NOV1930                Modern Screen magazine begins publication. (21/99)

12DEC1930            Karl Landsteiner wins Nobel Prize for Medicine for identifying A, B, AB positive, and O blood types. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1930/1930fr.html

1930                        From a population of 634 in 1920, the population of Beverly Hills is now 17,428. (p200/130)

1930                       David O. Selznick’s brother, Myron Selznick, opens his talent agency in the Equitable building on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. His roster of stars included Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Boris Karloff, Laurence Olivier, George Raft, Merle Oberon, Carole Lombard, and others. (p189/113)

1930                        Martin J. Quigley merges Exhibitor Herald with Moving Picture World and Motion Picture News and launches Motion Picture Herald. http://www.quigleypublishing.com/AboutUs.html

1930                        The Ravenswood is built by Paramount Pictures in 1930, at 570 North Rossmore Avenue in Hollywood, California. The building has been declared a Historic-Cultural Monument (no. 768) by the City of Los Angeles. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ravenswood

1930                        Openly gay actor Billy Haines opens his small antique business. (141/96)

1930                        In 1938 CBS erected a new multi million dollar building at Sunset & Gower and made KNX the West Coast outpost of their network. (66/39)

1930                        An average of 90 million people per week went to the movies. (41/ix)

1930                        The movie industry began to dub in the dialogue of films exported to foreign markets. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

1930                        The Dominguez Wilshire Building Dominguez Wilshire Building on Wilshire is built.

1930                        Chinatown starts getting moved to its present location. (2/63)

1930                        Burbank Airport is inaugurated and becomes L.A.’s major commercial air terminal up until 1947. (25/281)

1930                        Mines Field (the future LAX) is dedicated and opened as the official airport for Los Angeles.  http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01g.htm

Mines Field was dedicated and opened as the official airport of Los Angeles in 1930, and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name was officially changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1949. Prior to that time, the main airport for Los Angeles was the “Grand Central Airport” in Glendale. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles_International_Airport#The_.22X.22_in_LAX

1930                        Apple sellers start to appear on every other street corner after the Pacific Northwest apple growers have a bumper crop. A man could buy a crate for $1.75, take in $3.00 in sales and as long as there was no spoilage, would earn $1.25 for the day. Low by the standards of the day, even during the Depression, but better than nothing. (56/225)

1930                        “Constantinople” becomes “Istanbul”. (Chronicle)

1930                        Dashiell Hammett publishes The Maltese Falcon. (23/314)

1930                        Photo flashbulbs replace flash powder. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1930                        Hearst owns 33 newspapers with a circulation of 11 million. (23/315)

1930                        Grant Wood paints “American Gothic”. (23/314)

1930                        One in every 5 Americans owns a car. (71/226)

1930s                      Muscle Beach, California starts. (106)

1930                        Hitler’s Nazi party emerges as the majority party in the national election. (23/314)



Top stars: Charles Farrell and Janet Gaynor. (21/103)

Top grossing films of 1931

  1. Frankenstein
  2. Ingagi
  3. Mata Hari
  4. City Lights
  5. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
  6. Min and Bill
  7. Dracula
  8. The Sin of Madelon Claudet
  9. The Champ
  10. The Public Enemy
  11. Cimarron

Books released in 1931 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1931/1931fr.html

  • The Good Earth, by Pearl Buck
  • Shadows on the Rock, by Willa Cather
  • American Humor: A Study of the National Character, by Constance Rourke
  • The Glass Key, by Dashiell Hammett
  • Mexico: A Study of Two Americas by Stuart Chase
  • Newspaper Days, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
  • Axel’s Castle, by Edmund Wilson…
  • Collected Poems, by Robert Frost
  • Only Yesterday: An Informal HIstory of the 1920s by Frederick Lewis Allen

Songs released in 1931

  • “The Peanut Vendor by Don Azpiazu
  • Goodnight Sweetheart, by Guy Lumbardo
  • You Came to Me Out of Nowhere by Bing Crosby
  • Blue Again by Louis Armstrong
  • Star Dust by Bing Crosby
  • My Harp in Beulah Land, by Brothers Wright and Williams
  • Million Dollar Baby by Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians
  • Marta by Arthur Tracy
  • Southern Cannonball by Jimmy Rogers
  • Prisoner of Love by Russ Columbo


25JAN1931             Little Caesar premieres. Though not the first gangster film by any means, the electric performance of Edward G. Robinson and the new sound technology’s ability to bring a level to the reality of the violence sends censors scurrying to trim the picture down. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

30JAN1931             Albert Einstein attends the Los Angeles opening of Chaplin’s City Lights (50/93)

12FEB1931             Dracula is released by Universal. Its star, Bela Lugosi, made less on the picture than his costars because he’d been so desperate to play the part. It would turn him into an icon, though he would be typecast as such for the rest of his life. The movie’s overwhelming response at the box office soon sent all of the Hollywood studios running to make horror pictures, much to the dismay of the censor boards around the country. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

FEB1931                 Fiberglass is introduced. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1931/1931fr.html

03MAR1931            The Star-Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key, is approved by President Hoover and Congress as the national anthem.  The lyrics of the anthem were inspired during the bombing of Fort HcHenry by British ships at the head of Baltimore harbor in September of 1814. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

19MAR1931            Nevada (re-)legalizes gambling. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nevada

SPRING1931          MGM star Billy Haines is arrested at the Hollywood YMCA after reportedly being found having sex with a sailor. Mannix was called, Haines was released, no charges were ever filed, and indeed no record of the arrest exists anywhere. But Haines admitted to the arrest in interviews during later years. (90/96)

SPRING1931          Clark Gable and Joan Crawford’s affair is the talk of Hollywood. … After friends caught Gable and Crawford in a passionate embrace behind the bandstand at the Cocoanut Grove as their respective spouses waited at their table, the story got back to Mayer. They were called into a meeting with Thalberg, Mannix and Strickling and were forbidden to see each other. … The affair wold continue until the late 1950s. (99&100/96)

23APR1931            The Public Enemy is released by Warner Brothers. Like Little Caesar, it makes a star out of its lead, here Jimmy Cagney. Though a look at the ugly life of a hoodrat who ultimately pays for his decision to become a criminal, Cagney’s magnetism makes the roller coaster ride through his life impossible to look away from. Cagney became one of Warner Brothers’ biggest box office draws, and he became the icon of the new talkie revolution. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

APR1931                 Marion Davies throws a lavish bon voyage gala at the beach house for Irving Thalberg and Norma Shearer who are about to sail to Europe for a 3-month vacation. (28/45)

01MAY1931            Construction is completed on the Empire State Building in New York City and it opens for business when President Hoover, at 11.30am presses a button in Washington and switches the lights on in the Empire State Building http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html  (83/105) Hoover congratulates the its owner on their “grasp of the needs of the future” but because of the pressures of the Depression, its occupancy rate is only 20% and by 1934 the building is losing a million dollars a year. (84/105)

20JUN1931             A Free Soul is released by MGM. Norma Shearer’s follow-up to The Divorcee is just as sexually frank, though gets trapped more in plot melodramatics as it progresses. Most notably about it is the appearance of Clark Gable as a rough and tumble gangster who becomes sexually obsessed with Shearer’s character. His dynamic and brooding sexual desire sent female audiences into a tizzy. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

14JUL1931             The MPPDA announces Joseph Breen’s appointment as an assistant to Will Hays and Breen moves to Los Angeles. (77/48)

AUG1931                Joseph Breen, sent to investigate Hollywood’s conduct, is appalled by what he finds. He discovers that members in the industry have no self-censorship, citing incidents such as when a woman declared herself a lesbian to the Los Angeles Times and another story that was floating around town about a studio head caught in bed with one of his studio’s lead actresses, only spared death because his wife forgot to turn off the safety. Joseph Breen sends a letter to Will Hays, and he’s quickly made to take over the West Coast publicity for the MPPDA. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

13SEP1931             The date that most historians consider the true start of WWII. On that day Japan seized Manchuria, a province of China. Japan launched an all out invasion of China in 1937 and by the end of the next year controlled most of its ports and industrial cities. (70/9)

OCT1931                  First nonstop flight across the Pacific Ocean, from Saishiro, Japan to Wenatchee, WA, completed by Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn in 41 hourse, 13 minutes                                  http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1931/1931fr.html

04OCT1931            Chester Gould’s comic strip Dick Tracy debuts in the Chicago Tribune syndicate. (23/318) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Tracy

07OCT1931            Wiltern Theatre first opened its doors to movie crowds.

17OCT1931            Al Capone is sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion in Chicago. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

18OCT1931            Thomas Edison, co-inventor of the motion picture, dies at age 84. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

LATE 1931              On the set of Polly of the Circus (opened 27FEB1932) it didn’t take long for the sparks to fly between stars Clark Gable and Marion Davies. However during filming Gable’s contract came up for renewal. Gable wanted an increase from $650 a week to $2000, but Mayer offered $1250. Gable asked Davies for help and she asked Hearst to intervene. He did so and Gable got $2000, but only on the condition that Gable stop sleeping with Davies. (101/96)

10NOV1931            During a banquet in the Sala D’Oro at the Biltmore Hotel, a spokesman for the movie producers blights the Academy Awards dinner by announcing that because of hard times, all wages would have to be cut by 10 to 25%. (42/71)

Christmas 1931       A madman threatens to kill Mayer and blow up MGM unless Mayer paid him $10,000. (19/197)

04DEC1931            Clark Gable signs with MGM after Darryl F. Zanuck dismisses him as “a big ape with big ears.” Unbeknown to Thalberg, Ida Koverman filled a Glendale theater with female MGM employees who want agog at the new young actor. Sam Marx said “The audience sat bold upright whenever Gable appeared. The next day DEC 4th, Gable signed with MGM. (97/96)

26DEC1931            Mata Hari is released by MGM. The film again met resistance from censors as several of Greta Garbo’s dances were considered too risque for audiences at the time. Only the censored version of the film survives. Mata Hari is released by MGM. The film again met resistance from censors as several of Greta Garbo’s dances were considered too risque for audiences at the time. Only the censored version of the film survives. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

1931                        Gambling become legal in the state of Nevada. (115/p76)

1931                        During the filming of their third movie together – Possessed, which opened 21NOV – Joan Crawford and Clark Gable, both already married, begin a torrid affair. It becomes so heated that Mayer calls each star into his office separately and tells them to chose their careers or their affair. (100/107)

1931                        Warner Bros. consolidates its executive staff into its quarters at the former First National Studio in Burbank, using its Sunset Boulevard facilities, the Warner Ranch and the old Vitagraph plant as auxiliaries. (47/8)

1931                        During the making of their second MGM film together – Laughing Sinners – Clark Gable and Joan Crawford start a secret affair which, by the time they make their next movie together, Possessed, that same year, has become red hot. (100/107)

1931                        MGM awards Lionel Barrymore a “contract for life”, regardless of whether or not he stays at MGM, which they honor right up until his death in 1954. (100/107)

1931                        The famous Dick and Jane books that taught millions of children to read were first published. http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade30.html

1931                        “The Silver Screen” becomes a new phrase. (21/103)

1931                        David Selznick moves from Paramount where he’s worked for 3 years as BP Schulberg’s assistant to RKO as head of production where he stays until 1933 when he returns to MGM as the head of his own production unit. (47/34)

1931                        Darryl F. Zanuck at 29yo becomes head of production for Warner Bros, where he stays for 2 years before founds 20th Century Productions with Joseph M. Schenck. (52/285)

1931                        Double features emerged as a way for the unemployed and the middle-class to occupy their time. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

1931                        The Hollywood Cricket Club is established, founded by C. Aubrey Smith, with members included Cary Grant, David Niven, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Nigel Bruce, and Ronald Colman. Errol Flynn played for Aubrey’s team after his 1933 arrival bit his drinking and womanizing got him kicked off. (103/96)

1931                        First experimental television broadcasts are made in Los Angeles.

1931                        Los Angeles Theater opens at 615 S. Broadway (2/63)

1931                        The Wiltern Theater (orig named the Warner-Wiltern) opens with William Powell as MC. (25/96)

1931                        First Clifton’s Cafeteria opens, part of a fad for fast and inexpensive food. Clifton’s establishes a “pay what you can” policy which appeals to depression clientele. (???) The 648 Broadway restaurant opened in 1935. (25/136)

1931                        The Star-Spangled Banner”is officially made the US anthem. (23/317)

1931                        Gambling becomes legal in Nevada, with most of the action centered around Reno and Carson City. (39/33) The income brought into Nevada through the divorce business caused a push in 1927 for the Nevada residency to be lowered to three months, and in 1931 the requirement went down to six weeks. http://www.jour.unr.edu/outpost

1931                        Spain becomes a republic with the overthrow of King Alfonso XIII. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1931.html

1931                        Gangster Al Capone sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion (freed in 1939; dies in 1947). http://www.infoplease.com/year/1931.html

1931                        General Motors’s Frigidaire makes refrigerators safe for household use. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1931.html

1931                        Both the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building are completed. (23/316)



Top stars: Charles Farrell and Marie Dressler. (21/103)

Top grossing films of 1932:

  1. Shanghai Express
  2. The Kid from Spain
  3. Grand Hotel
  4. Emma
  5. Tarzan the Ape Man
  6. Movie Crazy
  7. Strange Interlude
  8. As You Desire Me
  9. The Beast of the City
  10. The Saddle Buster

Books Released in 1932- http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1932/1932fr.html

  • Death in the Afternoon, Ernest Hemingway
  • Light in August, William Faulkner
  • 1919, John Dos Passos
  • The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett
  • Tobacco Road, Erskine Caldwell
  • Young Lonigan, James Farrell
  • Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Pulitzer Prize Fiction: The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck

Songs Released in 1932

  • “Brother Can You Spare a Dime?” Rudy Vallee
  • ”We Just Couldn’t Say Goodnight” Ruth Etting
  • “All of Me,” Louis Armstrong
  • “Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl,” Bessie Smith
  • “Dinah,” Bing Crosby and the Mills Brothers
  • “Sweet Georgia Brown,” Bing Crosby
  • “Man From Harlem”, Cab Callaway
  • “China Town My China Town”
  • “Mush Mouth,” Claude Hopkins

02JAN1932            Surveying the miserable box office of 1931, Martin Quigley in the Motion Picture Herald and many in the industry blame the pictures. MGM’s Nicholas Schenck famously says, “There is nothing the matter with the picture business that good pictures will not cure.” http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

15JAN1932            Snow falls on Los Angeles. At about the same time, much of the east coast was experiencing an incredibly warm, mild winter. From Jan. 13-15 in Washington, D.C., the high temperatures were 75, 76 and 77 degrees — the last of which was D.C.’s highest January temperature since 1872. http://carole-and-co.livejournal.com/67549.html

30JAN1932                 Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is first published. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

02FEB1932                 Shanghai Express is released by Paramount. The film, starring Marlene Dietrich, would become the highest grossing film of 1932. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

02FEB1932             A Variety headline reads ”Banned From Bathroom By Hays Office, Pictures Hop Into Pansy Stuff.” But, cautions the newspaper, “Hays officials…say the industry won’t stand for more than a dash of lavender.”

FEB1932                 Hitler declared Nazi party candidate for presidential elections. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1932/1932fr.html

01MAR1932            Lindbergh baby kidnapping in Flemington, NJ (Body found 12MAY)

19MAR1932            Jean Harlow begins work at MGM. (21/107)

29APR1932             One Man’s Family, a long-running American radio-TV dramatic series debuts in Los Angeles, Seattle and San Francisco and runs for 27 years. (71/200) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Man%27s_Family

Spring 1932           By late Spring of 1932, business in New York’s biggest movie houses was the worst ever recorded. Theaters were playing to fewer admissions than at any time in their existence. The slump spread clear across the country. Within a six-month period, the only films that made any money at all were Garbo’s “Mata Hari”, the Barrymore brothers in Arsene Lupin, Universal’s thriller Murders At The Rue Morgue, with Bela Lugosi and MGM’sGrand Hotel. (28/37)

MAY1932                Joseph Breen, frustrated with the studio mogul’s continued push of sin-filled pictures, writes to Quigley, “the fact is that these damn Jews are a dirty, filthy lot.” http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

02MAY1932            Jack Benny’s radio program airs for the first time. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

JUN1932                 Mae West arrives in Hollywood and moves into the Ravenswood Apartmentss at 570 Rossmore where she stays until her death at 87yo in 1980 (2/20) She has left NY with a two-month $5000 a week contract with Paramount. (21/108)

End JUN1932         Attendance at cinemas is down 40% from the 1928 peak. (28/58)

02JUL1932             Paul Bern and Jean Harlow marry at the home of Jean’s mother, at 1353 Club View Drive. Attendees included best man John Gilbert, the Thalbergs, David O. Selznick and Irene Mayer. (115/96)

JUL1932                 Katherine Hepburn arrives in Hollywood. (21/197)

18SEP1932             Peg Entwistle finally attains fame by jumping off the Hollywood sign.

05SEP1932             Jean Harlow’s husband Paul Bern is found shot dead in his bathroom. (126/96)

SEP1932                 Malibu starts to become popular with the stars. (21/109) (28/51 said it started in 1929)

08NOV1932            Democratic challenger Franklin D. Roosevelt defeats incumbent President Hoover in the presidential election for his first of an unprecedented four terms.  The landslide victory, 472 Electoral College votes to 59 for Hoover began the era of FDR that would lead the nation through the vestiges of the Great Depression and the ravages of World War II. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

22OCT1932            Red Dust is released by MGM. The first pairing of Gable and Harlow is a massive success, though many of its themes are, of course, objectionable. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

16NOV1932            New York City’s Palace Theater finishes converting to a cinema. It had once been the most famous vaudeville theater in the country, with it being known that if you ‘played The Palace’ you had officially made it. The theater’s conversion is considered the death knell for vaudeville. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

DEC1932                Telephone service established between Hawaii and U.S. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1932/1932fr.html

1932                        With a profit of $8 million, MGM is the only studio that doesn’t lose money in 1932. (106/107)

1932                        Bing Crosby starts work at Paramount after having been one of the youths in Mack Sennett’s stable of actors making two-reel short subject. (p93/120)

1932                        Twentieth Century Pictures is created in 1932 by Joseph Schenck, the former president of United Artists, Darryl F. Zanuck from Warner Brothers, William Goetz from Fox Films, and Raymond Griffith. Financial backing came from Schenck’s older brother Nicholas Schenck and the father-in-law of Goetz, Louis B. Mayer, the head of MGM Studios. Company product was distributed by United Artists, and was filmed at various studios. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twentieth_Century_Pictures#Twentieth_Century_Pictures

1932                        The word “mobile” was coined to describe the kenetic sculpture created by Alexander Calder. http://kclibrary.nhmccd.edu/decade30.html

1932                        Jazz composer Duke Ellington writes It Don’t Mean a Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing, a song that presaged the swing era of the 1930s and 1940s. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1932.html

Early 1930s             Despite the Hays Office’s careful censorship of new films, Alice Ames Winter, the Carry Nation of the National Catholic Legion of Decency, went after Mae West with a vengeance. (p33/122)

1932                        Harry Cohn assumes the presidency of Columbia Pictures Corporation. (p76/141)

1932                        In 1932 it took 5 days on 2 trains to get from L.A. to New York. (127/96)

1932                        The Spanish Renaissance Revival Beverly Hills City Hall is built. (51/92)

1932                        Schwab’s Drugstore opens at 8024 Sunset & cnr Crescent Heights where, at the time, the trolley cars end. Closed 1987 (1/17) Although http://www.latimemachines.com/new_page_43.htm says it opened in 1935.

1932                        Perino’s Restaurant opens near the corner of Wilshire and Western. Closes in 1969. (6/169)

1932                        The Depression reaches low point: monthly wages are about 60% of 1929, industry operates at half of 1929 volume, more than 5000 banks have closed since 1920; average monthly unemployment is 12 million (as compared to Germany at 5.6 million and GREAT BRITAIN at 2.8 million. (23/319)

56% of blacks and 40% of whites or 13 million Americans are unemployed. Wages plummet to 60% less than that earned in 1929. Hoover cuts his own salary by 20%. (71/227)

1932                        Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected President. His “New Deal” program stresses federal support for the economy and for social reconstruction. (23/320)

1932                        Polaroid photography invented by Edwin Herbert Land. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

1932                        Two inches of snow fell in Los Angeles in 1932. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Angeles%2C_California#Trivia

1932                        A look at the roster in MGM’s writer’s building: Herman Mankiewicz, Robert Benchley, PG Wodehouse (who preferred to work at home), Donald Ogden Stewart, Anita Loos, Dorothy Parker, Charles Lederer, and Ben Hecht.

1932                        The 10th Olympiad opens in the Los Angeles Coliseum. 37 nations and 1,408 athletes compete. The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum was enlarged to seat 105,000 spectators. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01g.htm

1932                        Amelia Earhart is the first woman to fly alone across the Atlantic from Newfoundland to Ireland, taking 13½ hours to fly 2026 miles. (23/319)

1932                        Schwab’s Drugstore opens at 8024 Sunset & cnr Crescent Heights where, at the time, the trolley cars end. Closed 1987 (1/17) Although http://www.latimemachines.com/new_page_43.htm says it opened in 1935, and closed in 1988.

1932                        Kodak introduces 8 mm film for home movies. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1932                        Chevrolets sell for as little as $495. (71/145)

1932                        Vitamin C is isolated from lemon juice by Charles G. King. (23/319)

1932                        Radio City Music Hall opens in New York City. (23/321)

1932                        In 1932 economist John Maynard Keyes was asked if there had ever been anything like the Great Depression. “Yes,” he said, “it was called the Dark Ages and it lasted for 400 years.” (70/5)

1932                        The first unemployment insurance law is passed in Wisconsin. (23/318)

1932                        WWI veterans gather in Washington DC to ask for their promised pension 10 years early due to the hardship of the Depression. (56/228)

1932                        Carl C. Magee invents the first parking meter.



Top stars: Will Rogers, Marie Dressler, Janet Gaynor. (21/111)
Top grossing films of 1933:

  1. I’m No Angel
  2. 42nd Street
  3. She Done Him Wrong
  4. Peg o’ My Heart
  5. Going Hollywood
  6. King Kong
  7. Little Women
  8. Design for Living
  9. Dancing Lady
  10. The Private Life of Henry VIII

Songs Released in 1933 –                                                                                                                                               http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1933/1933fr.html

  • “The Last Round-Up” Guy Lombardo
  • “Stormy Weather” Ethel Waters
  • “Sophisticated Lady,” Duke Ellington
  • “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” Bing Crosby
  • “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”  Paul Whiteman Orchestra
  • “Lazybones” Ted Lewis
  • “Can You Take It” Fletcher Henderson
  • “Love Is The Sweetest Thing” Ray Noble
  • “Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf?” Harry Resor and His Eskimos with Loretta Clemons
  • “When the Roses Come Again” The Carter Family

Books Released in 1933 –                                                                                                                                                 http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1933/1933fr.html

  • God’s Little Acre, by Erskine Caldwell
  • A Draft Of XXX Cantos, by Ezra Pound
  • Anthony Adverse, by Hervey Allen
  • The Thin Man, by Dashiell Hammett
  • The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, by Gertrude Stein
  • A Green Bough, by William Faulkner
  • Lost Horizon, by James Hilton
  • The Shape Of Things To Come, by H. G. Wells
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • Man’s Fate, by Andre Malraux

JAN1933                 It comes as a shock when Paramount and RKO declare their theater chains bankrupt and go into receivership. Although the inevitability of a collapse had been carefully camouflaged for years, the economic instability of the motion picture industry becomes apparent. (72/5)

30JAN1933             On the morning of 30 January 1933, in Hindenburg’s office, Adolf Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor during what some observers later described as a brief and simple ceremony. The Nazis’ seizure of power subsequently became known as the Machtergreifung. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adolf_Hilter

30JAN1933             The first of 2,956 episodes of The Lone Ranger premieredon radio on January 30, 1933 on WXYZ radio in Detroit, Michigan and later on the Mutual Broadcasting System radio network and then on NBC’s Blue Network (which became ABC). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lone_Ranger

01FEB1933             As the Japanese military pressed its war in China, security concerns caused the U.S. to begin taking defensive measures. On February 1, 1933, the U.S. Navy staged a mock attack on the base at Pearl Harbor as part of a preparedness exercise. The attack “succeeded” and the defense was deemed a “failure”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_harbor#1800-1941

03FEB1933             10 writers met at the Knickerbocker Hotel to discuss the betterment of conditions under which writers worked in Hollywood. Among the attendees were: Lester Cole, John Howard Lawson, Samson Raphaelson (who wrote the play The Jazz Singer) John Bright, Edwin Justus Mayer (friend of F. Scott Fitzgerald), Louis Weitzenkorn, Brian Marlow, Bertram Block, Courtnay Terrett. (72/15)

FEB1933                 Care Ambulance applies for and is the first ambulance service in California and one of the first in the nation to receive national accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services. http://www.careambulance.net/

17FEB1933             The Marx Brothers Grauman’s ceremony. http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

27FEB1933             David O. Selznick resigns from RKO and moves into John Gilbert’s converted dressing room at MGM where he heads up his own production unit. (19/224) (47/34)

MAR1933                 Louis B. Mayer officially makes Eddie Mannix responsible for all operations at MGM. His assistant was Bernie Thau, formerly the casting director for the studio.

02MAR1933            King Kong premieres in New York City http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_in_film

04MAR1933            President Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated for the first time.  His speech with its hallmark phrase, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself” begins to rally the public and Congress to deal with great depression issues.  His subsequent Fireside Chats, that began eight days later, would continue his addresses with the American public. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

08MAR1933            The day before Roosevelt’s bank moratorium the studios were unable to meet their payroll, except for MGM, which paid its employees in cash. Universal suspended all contracts; Fox notified its employees that salaries will not be paid; and Paramount, Warner Bros., Columbia, and RKO, due to meet their payrolls the next day, faced bleak prospects. The produces assembled in conference, awaiting word from New York. For the first time since the studios had formed, a general shutdown in the film industry seemed possible. (72/9)

09MAR1933            A blanket wage cut was imposed. Those receiving $50 or more weekly would get a 50% wage cut. Those getting less would receive at 25% wage cut. The cuts were to last for 8 weeks. (72/9) Louis B. Mayer called an enormous meeting of this stars, writers, directors and department heads in the big Thalberg projection room…L.B. played the role of a man in torment and asked his employees to save the studio…Mayer swore that he would personally see that every penny of the cut would be reimbursed when the emergency was over. The group approved the pay cuts with tears and solidarity. Samuel Marx, at the time story editor, swore that as they walked out of that exhausting, draining meeting, Mayer turned to his assistant Benny Thau and cheerfully asked him, “So! How did I do?” (72/10)

10MAR1933            6.3-magnitude earthquake hits Long Beach. There are 115 deaths and $45 million in damage. (19/225) (21/112)

10MAR1933            An emergency meeting of all the major studio heads was held at the Ambassador Hotel; it was from this conclave that the decision was taken to inflict at 50% cut in salary for all contract executives, performers and creative people still working at the studios. It was an all day meeting, and it happened that on that very day Southern California was shaken by a severe earthquake. (53/155, taken from Ezra Goodman’s “The 50 year decline and fall of Hollywood”)

12MAR1933            FDR makes the first of his “fireside chats” on the radio, the first of 30 broadcasts between 1933 and 1944. (the first one was called “The Banking Crisis”)

12MAR1933            IATSE refuses to accept the wage cut. (72/10)

13MAR1933            Studio stagehands go on strike, shutting all the Hollywood studios. (19/226)
The day was spent in intense conferences between the bosses and reps of the Academy branches, and finally a solution of sorts was reached: Those earning $50 a week or less would have no cut in salary at all. And those above $50 a week would be reduced on a sliding scale up to 50%, with the “high salaried player to bear the brunt”. It would be in effect for 8 weeks, during which tinme the studios promised to have their books examined and the salary los repaid if they were shown not to be justified. The stagehands alone would be unaffected by the cuts. (55/304)

14MAR1933            The studios reopen. (72/10)

15MAR1933            Production resumes at MGM, RKO, Warner Bros. and Fox. (72/11)

07APR1933             Americans can legally drink beer again (as long as it contained no more than 3.2 % alcohol. (56/233)

19APR1933             Roosevelt takes America off the gold standard. (260/105)

APR1933                 King King’s LA premiere was at Grauman’s and featured a giant King Kong head (76)

APR1933                 The Screen Writers Guild was established. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html (21/112)

In 1936, a drive gets underway to recruit new members for the Screen Writers Guild, the union that had been formed 4 years earlier but had encountered violent opposition from the studios, who refused to accord it the recognition or bargaining power. Many writers considered unions beneath the professional dignity of so-called artists. (26/257) But it disbands in the summer of 1936 (26/276) but in June 1938 the National Labor Relations Board rules that writers qualify as workers under the Wagner Act. A certification election held that same month allowed them to chose either the Screen Writers Guild or the more conservative Screen Playwrights as their representative. The SWG won by a vote of four to one. (26/277), also (42/73)

The Screen Writers Guild of the Author’s League of America was then reorganized from the Writer’s Club with a new constitution and by laws. At a meeting on April 6, 1933 John Howard Lawson was elected the first President of the new Screen Writers Guild. Frances Marion was elected vice-President, Joseph Mankiewicz (a rising young screen writer and brother of Herman) secretary, and Ralph Block treasurer. (72/21)

MAY1933                The studios begin to give in to Nazi demands that they exclude Jews from their German offices (21/1933)

19MAY1933            The Nazi book burning takes place in Berlin. (77/215)

03JUN1933             The wealthy Countess Dorothy di Frasso takes over Billy Wilkerson’s new Vendome restaurant and throws the Old English Costume Ball. The Countess led the way by changing her costume several times until she had worked up to an ensemble that included a stylish wig and an expensive set of false teeth. Director Edmund Golding put his hair up and appeared garbed as an English nursemaid. Lillian Tashman arrived as Gainsborough’s “Duchess of Devonshire” while gorgeous Joan Bennett

06JUN1933             The first drive-in movie theater is opened at the Camden Drive-In in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Its first feature, shows a couple of days later, is Wives Beware, starring Adolphe Menjou. (21/113) http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

Richard M. Hollingshead builds a prototype drive-in movie theater in his driveway. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

13JUN1933             On 25MAR1933 Thalberg left on an extended trip to Europe. Just afterward, Mayer completed his Thalberg putsch. On June 13 he sent a telegram to Thalberg, with friend Charles McArthur when it was delivered. Thalberg said to his friend, “They knifed me, Charlie, they knifed me.” Mayer told his former partner that he had reorganized the studio and abolished the position of head of production. Thalberg was being removed. … Thalberg returned to L.A. on 19AUG. Mayer had already moved his office into smaller space. Mayer’s sacking of his old friend made Mannix even stronger at MGM. He was running everything anyway, but Thalberg’s ouster made him the official #2 man at the biggest studio in the world. (129/96)

16JUN1933             The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA), was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal. It authorized the President to regulate banks, and stimulate the United States economy to recover from the Great Depression. To do this it established the National Recovery Administration. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Industrial_Recovery_Act (72/4)

30JUN1933             Screen Actors Guild is formed within Actors Equity (which had been formed in 1913 by stage actors in New York. (16/174) (21/113) (47/134)

28JUN1933            After signing with Warner Brothers to appear in a feature film under his real name for the first time since the scandal, Roscoe ‘Fatty’ Arbuckle goes out with friends to celebrate. That night he dies of a heart attack at age 46. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

Before the Code (NRA Motion Picture Code aka Hays Code http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Motion_Picture_Production_Code_of_1930) could be put into effect, copies of it were obtained and Beilinson and other shocked representative of Hollywood talent had them circulated. The announcement, in OCT1933, of the salary fixing board (that no salary was to exceed $100,000) caused the actors to join the writers in resigning from the Academy, and a massive meeting was held at the home of actor Frank Morgan. This was an extremely significant event in an industry built on the star system, and every important actor in town was there, among them: Ann Harding, Lee Tracy, Robert Montgomery, Eddie Cantor, Jeanette MacDonald, Fredric March, Paul Muni, George Raft, and Adolphe Menjou. Everyone there resigned in writing from the Academy (including Academy vice-Presidents March, Montgomery and Menjoy) and the infant Screen Actors Guild (SAG) was consolidated, with Eddie Cantor as the new President. (72/29)

Summer 1933            Joseph Breen meets with Catholic leaders, encouraging them to step up their campaign against the film industry. It’s successful, as a Catholic working for Bank of America, A.H. Giannini, ties the bank’s loans to studios with a morality clause. The Catholic Legion of Decency would be founded over the remainder of the year, and became the first major force whose ability to boycott pictures actually hurt the studio’s bottom line. Because of this, the fortunes of the PCA and the Legion of Decency would soon be intertwined as they sought to create mandatory PCA approval for all pictures released– and all movies would have to conform to the Production Code. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

02JUL1933             The Hearst papers announce the separation of Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks Snr. (55/312) but the divorce won’t become final until JAN1936. (p250/13)

1933                        Mary Pickford retires from the screen. (247/130)

14JUL1933             Popeye makes his debut in a Paramount/Betty Boop cartoon: Popeye The Sailor (21/113)

4AUG1933            Radio soap opera (Oxydol’s Own) Ma Perkins begins its 27 year run was heard on NBC from 1933 to 1949 and on CBS from 1942 to 1960. Between 1942 and 1949, the show was heard simultaneously on both networks. Oxydol (a laundry detergent) dropped its sponsorship in 1956. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ma_Perkins

SEP 1933                Daily Variety starts. (14/120) (22/64)

15SEP1933             John G. Bullock – owner of the department store chain dies in Los Angeles of heart attack after trip to Northern California. (L. A. Times obit)

26SEP1933             Machine Gun Kelly is caught and supposedly cried, “Don’t shoot, G-Men! Don’t shoot, G-Men!” as he surrendered to FBI Agents. It popularizes the term G-Men, which is an underground slang term for ‘government men’. (178/99)

28SEP1933             The Evening Herald Express reports a fatal car accident on Sunset Boulevard in which a Tosca Roulien was killed by John Huston. However other facts point to Clark Gable being the driver. (128/96)

29SEP1933             Jean Harlow Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

06OCT1933            I’m No Angel is released by Paramount. Again, West’s film sent religious groups into an uproar. I’m No Angel would go on to be the biggest grossing film of the year, and, with the two West films, Paramount pulled out of receivership. The Mae West penned screenplay is filled with entendres and come-ons. One of the more famous: “When I’m good, I’m very good. But, when I’m bad… I’m better.” http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

OCT-NOV1933       The National League of Decency takes formal shape after Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani speaking at the National Conference of Catholic Charities in New York on the authority of Pope Pius XI denounced “The incalculable influence for evil” exerted by the motion picture screen. (77/57)

17NOV1933            Duck Soup is released by Paramount. The Marx Brothers’ fifth movie for Paramount struck a sour note with the public and flopped. The group would go to MGM in 1935 and make their classic A Night at the Opera sans Zeppo, but the transition would also see the group losing much of their malicious edge. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

DEC1933                Having proven himself adept at working with (and manipulating) the Catholic church as well as being able to stand up to the studio moguls, Hays names Breen head of the West Coast office of the PCA. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

03DEC1933            James Joyce’s Ulysses is cleared by a District Court to finally be published in the United States. The novel, originally published in 1922, had been banned in the U.S. since its serialization in the journal The Little Review had led to obscenity charges being brought. (The section had included a metaphorical occurrence of masturbation.) The judge in the trial, John M. Woolsey, called the book both “brilliant” and “dull”, allowing its publication because it was clearly dirty, but not pornographic. The United States became the first English-speaking country to allow the book to be published. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

05DEC1933            Prohibition repealed.

21DEC1933            Flying Down to Rio – featuring the first teaming of Astaire and Rogers – opens at Radio City Music Hall. (21/1933)

DEC 1933               Mark Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks announce their separation. (40/85) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Fairbanks

1933                        Georg Gyssling, Nazi Consul General to Hollywood, arrives in Los Angeles. (VF) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georg_Gyssling says that he held the job until 1941.

1933                        In Los Angeles, oranges were a dime for 3 dozen, lamb chops were 12½ cents a pound, and lines of people waited at the city garbage dumps to swarm over each newly discovered load.

1933                        The earliest jukeboxes start appearing. 150,000 of them were made between 1933 and 1937, each held 50 records. (56/205)

1933                        Daily Variety establishes its west coast edition. Its offices were on Vine Street, just north of Hollywood Blvd (p87/17)

1933                        Esquire debuts as the first men’s magazine. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1933.html

1933                        Ecstasy, a Czechoslovak film, shocks audiences when actress Hedy Lamarr is seen naked in the film.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_in_film

1933                        The Private Life of Henry VIII becomes the first British film to win an American Academy Award  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1933_in_film

1933                        Hal B. Wallis takes over from Daryl Zanuck as head of production at Warner Brothers. (p53/114)

1933                        British gossip columnist Sheilah Graham arrived in New York to accept a position writing for The New York Mirror and The Evening Journal. After two years establishing herself in the entertainment scene, Graham was offered her very own syndicated column, Hollywood Today, with the North American Newspaper Alliance.

1933                        Laurens Hammond introduces his Hammond organ. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1933.html

1933                        The National Legion of Decency, also known as the Catholic Legion of Decency is founded by Archbishop of Cincinnati John T. McNicholas as the Catholic Legion of Decency (CLOD) in response to an address given by apostolic delegate Amleto Cicognani at the Catholic Charities Convention in New York City. Cicognani warned against the “massacre of innocence of youth” and urged a campaign for “the purification of the cinema”. Though established by Roman Catholic bishops, the Legion originally included many Protestant and even some Jewish clerics. It was renamed in April of 1934, substituting National for Catholic. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Legion_of_Decency

1933                        When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, law enforcement officers, afraid of losing all vestiges of control over Hollywood nightlife, flexed their muscles by cracking down more often on Hollywood clubs that welcomed the sexually diverse. They were especially hostile to places that offered floorshows in which “man masqueraded as women, and women pose as men. When Hollywood Vice Squad raided Jimmy’s Backyard, they carted off the female impersonators, who were each sentenced to 6 months in jail. (60/46)

1933                        Screen Writers Guild established, with John Howard Lawson as 1st president. By April 1933, 200 have forsaken the Academy for the Screen Writers Guild. (47/340)

1933                        As a result of a documentary called Mussolini Speaks, Harry Cohn from Columbia travels to Italy and meets Benito Mussolini. Cohn is so impressed that he remodels his office at the studio to look similar to Mussolini’s. (p100/141)

1933                        One of the shortest strikes in Hollywood history happened when MGM cameraman operators walked of the job and the rushes for Garbo’s “Queen Christina” came in and were disastrous. LBM took one look at them and said, “Settle it! Settle it right away!” The camera operators were given everything they wanted and returned to work.

1933                        Dolores Del Rio wore the first two-piece women’s bathing suit ever seen onscreen, in Flying Down to Rio. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

1933                        It is announced that in 1932, motion pictures have lost $100 million. (28/71)

1933                        Theaters begin to open refreshment stands. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

1933                        Religious radio programming had its birth in Hollywood when evangelist William Hogg arrived from TN and was given a half-hour slot on KFAC. (14/170)

1933                        Victims of the “Dust Bowl” drought in the Southwest begin migrating to California. Many from Oklahoma are called “Okies,” and will be the inspiration for John Steinbeck’s novel “Grapes of Wrath.”

1933                        First Mars bar. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1933                        Edwin Armstrong invents FM. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1933                        First singing telegrams. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1933                        Busby Berkley introduces his precision choreography. (23/320)

1933                        After making Secrets, Mary Pickford (all but) retires from the screen.

1933                        Mack Sennett Studios goes bankrupt, http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

The Great Depression forced the Mack Sennett Studio (near the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon) into bankruptcy. Later it became a studio for independent producers. Mascot Pictures, under the direction of Nat Levine, became one of its more important tenants and for the next two years, the Studio was known as Mascot Studios.

1933                        RKO goes bankrupt. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1933                        Nazi Party wins a majority of seats in the Reichstad. (23/320)


Go to next TIMELINE page – 1934 to 1942

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