Historical Context Edit
The “Black Maria,” a tarpaper-covered shack in West Orange, New Jersey, built by Thomas Edison in 1893 AD, might generously be termed the first “movie studio”; there Edison used film to capture the antics of vaudeville and theater actors to show to the public in penny arcades, unused theaters, and fairground tents. In 1909, Edwin Thanhouser leased an old skating rink and made commercial films, some 1086 between 1910 and 1917. Meanwhile in Europe, studios such as Pathé (France), Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG (Bavaria). Mosfilm (Russia) and Ealing Studios (UK) were being founded. But, for unexplained reasons, a number of studios sprouted up in and around Los Angeles (the best explanation being that natural sunlight was the best for the crude movie cameras of the time), the first being Nestor Studios in 1911. By 1920, there were a dozen in operation in the suburb of Hollywood cranking out film by the mile to feed civilization’s latest escapist addiction. Although film studios are largely passé (most production taking place “on location”), some remain in operation in odd corners of the globe.