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When considering books to collect that pertain to Hollywood I obviously think of movie star biographies. I also think of studio executives such as
Louis B. Mayer, Samuel Goldwyn, David Selznick and Warner Brothers. These studio heads were an integral part of the deals made in Hollywood during their reign. Another key player in the making and distributing of film were theatre owners, who enjoyed their own success as an extension of the film industry.

The Golden age of the Hollywood studio system was composed of the Big Five: MGM, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Warner Brothers and RKO Radio Pictures. MGM’s [Metro Goldwyn Mayer] trademark of the roaring lion was formed by theater magnate Marcus Loew who orchestrated the merger of Metro Pictures Corporation, Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions. United Artists was formed after World War I by Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith to allow the artists to make and distribute their own movies.

MGM began as Lasky Feature Plays, formed by Jesse L. Lasky, Cecil B. DeMille and Samuel Goldwyn. Louis B. Mayer bought his first movie house in Haverhill, Massachusetts in 1907. He became production head in 1924 at MGM Studios in Culver City, California. He later became the founder of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1927 to offset the threat to actors and directors wanting to join a union. David O. Selznick joined Paramount and RKO as head of production. He later was President at MGM until 1935. Later, Selznick released Gone With the Wind in 1939 through MGM by his own distribution company.

Theatre owner Marcus Lowe began his career as an independent fur broker at age 18. He built a vaudeville and theatre business in collaboration with Joe and Nicholas Schenck and Adolph Zukor which became Lowe’s consolidated Enterprises the predecessor to Lowe’s Theatres.

Hollywood as a subject to study has many aspects to consider whether researching movie stars and their accomplishments, learning of the photography skills required to succeed in the business, highlighting costume design trends or even chronicling the achievements of the studio heads. There is a never ending supply of information about Hollywood one can acquire.

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