Perspectives on Hollywood/Los Angeles: A Chronological View
The Art of the Moving Picture
The enemy of California says the state is magnificent but thin.
...He says the citizens of
this state lack the richness of an aesthetic and religious tradition.
He says there is no
substitute for time.
But even these things make for coincidence.
This apparent thinness
of California has in common with the routine photoplay, which is at times as shallow in
its thoughts as the shadow it throws upon the screen.
This newness California has in
common with all photoplays.
It is thrillingly possible for the state and the art to acquire
spiritual tradition and depth together.
The campaign for a beautiful nation could very well emanate from the west coast,
where with the slightest care grow up models for all the world of plant arrangement and
Our mechanical East is reproved, our tension is relaxed, our ugliness is
challenged every time we look upon those garden paths and forests.
It is possible for Los Angeles to lay hold of the motion picture as our national text-
book in Art as Boston appropriated to herself the guardianship of the national text-books
...Edison is the new Gutenberg.
He has invented the new printing.
that realizes this may lead the soul of America, day after to-morrow.
Souls for Sale
(1922) [from the opening of the novel]:
"Los Angeles!" the sneering preacher cried, as Jonah might have whinnied, "Nineveh!"
and with equal scorn.
"The Spanish missionaries may have called it the City of Angels;
but the moving pictures have changed its name to Los Diablos!
For it is the central
factory of Satan and his minions, the enemy of our homes, the corrupter of our young
men and women--the school of crime.
Unless it reforms--and soon!--surely, in God's
good time, the ocean will rise and swallow it!"
Paul Jordan-Smith, “Ballyhooers in Heaven,” in
The Taming of the Frontier
The Pueblo del Rio de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula,
known to winter pilgrims as Los Angeles, and to the local inhabitants as Los, is, in
reality, less a city of angels than a paradise of realtors and a refuge for the rheumatic….
A rare mixture—of evangelical mountebanks, new thoughters, swamis, popular
novelists, movie persons, solemn pamphleteers, realtors, ku kluxers, joiners of the
thousand-and-one fraternal orders of good will and everlasting sunshine, artists,
consumptives, music lovers, cripples, retired farmers, ex beer magnates—mostly
American to the core, and as typical as sign boards and peanut stands….