14 May 2009

MGM? Paramount? Fox? Famous Players?

If you've ever had a hard time trying to figure out which movie studio was first in the Los Angeles area, don't worry -- you are not alone. Although all the above mentioned are early candidates, it is generally accepted that the Selig Polyscope Company was first -- in 1909. It set up in a sparsely developed area called Edendale (now, Echo Park) with a studio that included its own zoo (pictured).

The studio lasted about a decade, then it became other studios and then was abandoned, etc., etc.

Fast forward to the year 2000 when a set of concrete animals -- including ten lions -- were discovered in storage. It seems these were some of the animal sculptures done for the original Selig Zoo by Carlo Romanelli. Sometime in the 1950s, they were moved from the site and relegated to obscurity until their rediscovery five decades later.

They are being restored and installed at the Los Angeles Zoo. Isn't that neat? What a great way to remember part of the history of early filmmaking in Los Angeles.

You can read about the restored concrete sculptures here.

You can read more about the studio here.

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