This is a collection of short memoirs from some forty people who were in the film industry when it first started in Hollywood. It ranges from famous actors- Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and Gloria Swanson-to producers and directors (lots of them), to writers, and people who furnished the sets. It even includes the infamous Will Hayes, who was brought to Hollywood to institute censorship.
These first person pieces are gleaned from various sources- magazine articles, autobiographies, oral history, letters, and lectures. They are all about the very first time each of these people set foot in Hollywood, back when Hollywood was not even really Hollywood. The dates range from 1909 to the 1929, during the time in which Los Angeles and Hollywood exploded and grew exponentially, going from deserted semi-desert to built-up phenomenon.
All but one person entered Hollywood via rail. All remember the vast, boring plains they had to travel through. All remember being rather bemused by the lack of buildings in Hollywood. It’s as much a history of the town and the industry as it is memoirs, and I found it fascinating because of that (I grew up in Los Angeles). It includes lots of photographs, too.
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