On April 30th 1912, Carl Laemmle, Mark Dintenfass, Charles O. Baumann, Adam Kessel, Pat Powers, William Swanson, David Horsley, Robert H. Cochrane and Jules Brulatour, formed what would become one of the most successful movie studios of all time.
At the time known as Universal Film Manufacturing Company, it was formed out of members of the Motion Picture Trust, owned by Thomas Edison. It was decided that these film makers no longer wanted to keep paying Edison to produce their own ideas.
The company was incorporated in New York on that first day. By July 1912 Laemmle had become President, having been the leading figure in the set up of the company and would eventually become sole owner.
By the end of that year, most of Universal’s productions would head west, with a lot of focus of motion picture production being in Hollywood, Los Angeles.
In March 1915, Laemmle and Universal would open the largest studio facility in the world, on 230 acres of former farmland in the hills of Hollywood, above Cahuenga Pass.
And so history would come to pass and the first backlot studio tour began, for 5 cents, you would travel the working lot and receive a packed lunch, You would also have the chance to purchase produce from the land that had yet to be converted to studio property.
The main attraction was that you could sit on purposely built bleachers, to watch production going on around you.
This form of the tour would last until 1930, with the invention of the ‘talky’ , which no longer allowed for the noise of visitors to the backlot.
Now obviously nothing like what we see up on that hill today, but it was the beginning of what has become the The Entertainment Capital of LA