The Origins of Paramount

The Virginian
R: Cecil B. DeMille. B: Kirk La Shelle, Owen Wister. K: Alvin Wyckoff. D: Dustin Farnum, Jack W. Johnston, Sydney Deane, William Elmer, Winifred Kingston. P: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company. USA 1914
Location: Santa Clarita, California, USA

“Paramount Pictures dates its existence from the 1912 founding date of the Famous Players Film Company. Hungarian-born founder Adolph Zukor, who had been an early investor in nickelodeons, saw that movies appealed mainly to working-class immigrants. With partners Daniel Frohman and Charles Frohman he planned to offer feature-length films that would appeal to the middle class by featuring the leading theatrical players of the time (leading to the slogan ‘Famous Players in Famous Plays’). By mid-1913, Famous Players had completed five films, and Zukor was on his way to success. Its first film was Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth, which starred Sarah Bernhardt. That same year, another aspiring producer, Jesse L. Lasky, opened his Lasky Feature Play Company with money borrowed from his brother-in-law, Samuel Goldfish, later known as Samuel Goldwyn. The Lasky company hired as their first employee a stage director with virtually no film experience, Cecil B. DeMille, who would find a suitable site in Hollywood. This place was a rented old horse barn converted into a production facility with an enlarged open-air stage located between Vine Street, Selma Avenue, Argyle Avenue and Sunset Boulevard. It was later known as the Lasky-DeMille Barn. In 1914, their first feature film, The Squaw Man, was released.”

>>> DeMille’s Squaw Man here: De Mille’s First Motion Picture