The southbound drivers who descend down the 2 Freeway where it melds into Glendale Boulevard are greeted with a weed filled lot and the shell of an abandoned building. It’s not pretty but this is the birthplace of Hollywood movie industry. Really. One hundred years ago this summer, Chicago-based Selig-Polyscope came to this spot in a community then known as Edendale and began churning out silent pictures in the region’s first permanent movie studio. Other early filmmakers, such as Mack Sennett, also set up shop in what is now the border of Echo Park and Silver Lake. But don’t go looking for any monuments or signs marking this homely historic spot. There is none, and the site of Selig-Polyscope seems destined to be forgotten.
The most recent effort to build a monument near where the Mission-style facade of the Selig-Polyscope studio once rose came from a developer who planned to build condos on the lot, said film historian Marc Wanamaker. But the real estate bust snuffed out that project and the developer was never heard from again.
“It was sad,” said Wanamaker, who has long dreamed of a Selig-Polyscope monument. “I had my hopes up.” Read more