Hollywood's First Movie Has Monument Once Again

The mystery of the missing monument comes to a happy ending

By Frank Marks
Published on LatinoLA: January 29, 2008

Hollywood's First Movie Has Monument Once Again

The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company announce the restoration and re-dedication of the monument commemorating the first movie in Hollywood, "In Old California" produced by Biograph in 1910. The film was a Latino melodrama depicting life in 1840's Mexico-occupied California.

The monument was dedicated in May 2004, but less than a year later the three-ton monument disappeared overnight, being found several months later near a garbage dumpster in Hollywood. Since then the monument has been stored by Biograph until arrangements could be made for a re-dedication.

Biograph is the oldest movie company in America, established in 1895. "In Old California" was made in 1910 by Biograph, three years prior to the movie the "Squaw Man" made by Cecil B. DeMille. It was significant because of it being Hollywood's first film, and the subject matter was about the Hispanic settlers in California. The film was directed by movie pioneer D. W. Griffith (pictured), who was location scouting from New York for Biograph.

He discovered this lovely village with beautiful scenery, flower gardens and friendly people, and decided to film many of Biograph's films there, this one being the first.

Since the monuments first dedication, two of Biograph's "Family" passed away. Maryellen Sennett/VP who was western actress and singer in the 1940's and Tommy Bond Sr./VP, actor who was "Butch" on the "Little Rascals" and "Jimmy Olsen" in the original "Superman" serials. Both of which were the aunt and father of Biograph's President/CEO Thomas R. Bond, II.

Biograph's CEO Thomas Bond II says "The re-dedication will now have added meaning since my aunt and father have since passed away." Bond continues, "Many good people put a lot of hard work so this historic film's monument, that this film would finally be recognized. The film's impact on Hollywood and its multi-cultural theme bridges time. It was significant not just being Hollywood's first film, but the subject matter is about the Latinos in early in California".

The re-dedication is scheduled for 2010 on the 100th anniversary of the making of the film at a non-disclosed location in Hollywood, later to be announced by the company.

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