Columns / Discourse / September 29, 2010

Did You Know: Silver screen secrets

Movies, movies, movies! Who doesn’t love watching movies? Whether they are old black and white classics, romantic comedies, horror films, movies with awesome computer graphics, or movies with things blowing up all over the place, most people have been watching movies for as long as they can remember. But here are a few random facts about films that you could use next time you want to impress a girl, a guy or any group of people.

1. Way back when, when Hollywood was still a new place, the term “movies” didn’t mean the picture you saw on the big screen, but was a noun for the people who made the films. The people who had lived in Hollywood then used it with contempt for the incoming people from the east.

2. The first film ever made in Hollywood was “In Old California” in 1910. It was directed by D.W. Griffith and was shot in two days. Amazing, isn’t it?

3. Hollywood was founded in 1887 by Horace and Daeida Wilcox. They hoped it would become a religious community and tried to encourage it by banning alcohol from the town and offering free land to anyone who wanted to build a church. Look how well that turned out.

4. Thomas Edison invented the first moving pictures (what didn’t he invent?). They were small film images that could be viewed in a box. He didn’t want films to be projected on a big screen because he thought one-on-one viewing would make more money. He could’ve been right, but I guess we’ll never know.

5. The “running W” was a trip wire to make horses trip and fall during a critical moment in filming, and broke innumerous horses’ legs and necks. It’s now illegal, as it should have been back then.

6. John Wayne (1907-1979) does deserve the airport named after him in California as well as the statue erected inside. He played the most leading roles in feature films, the number coming out to 153 movies.

7. In “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994), the American Humane Association (A.H.A.) didn’t like the scene where the character Brooks feeds his crow a maggot. The A.H.A. said it was cruel to the maggot and that the crow had to be fed a maggot that had died from natural causes. (I can only imagine what the filmmakers did next. Turn around, kill a maggot and hold it up saying, “I found one!”)

8. Now who doesn’t know the movie “Twilight”? For the first of the “Twilight” saga, the movie’s opening weekend totaled to $69.6 million, which was the biggest opening for a film directed by a woman and starring a woman. More than 75 percent of the tickets were also bought by women. Go figure.

9. All three actors from “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955), met an untimely death. James Dean died in a car accident, Natalie Wood drowned and Sal Mineo was stabbed to death. They really were rebels without a cause.

10. “Toy Story” (1995) was the first feature film created only with computer generated imagery (CGI). More than a week of computer time for every second on the screen and over 800,000 hours of mathematical equations went into the film. Imagine doing math for that long. Go animators.

Well, there you have it. Ten impressive movie facts. Thanks to this article, the next time someone challenges your knowledge about Hollywood movies, you’ll be able to enlighten them with your new information. It’ll score you some more friends.

Emily Park


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