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Back to Hollywood's America

Chronology of Film History

The Invention of Photography 
1727  Johann H. Schulze, a German physicist, discovers that silver salts turn dark when exposed to light. 
1780s  Carl Scheele, a Swedish chemist, shows that the changes in the color of the silver salts could be made permanent through the use of chemicals 
1826 A French inventor, Nicephore Niepce, produces a permanent image by coating a metal plate with a light-sensitive chemical and exposing the plate to light for about eight hours. 
1830s  Louis Daguerre, a French inventor, develops the first practical method of photography by placing a sheet of silver-coated copper treated with crystals of iodine inside a camera and exposing it to an image for 5 to 40 minutes. Vapors from heated mercury developed the image and sodium thiosulfate made the image permanent. 
1840s  Josef M. Petzval, a Hungarian mathematician, develops lenses for portrait and landscape photographs, which produce sharper images and admit more light, thus reducing exposure time. 
1851  The British photographer Frederick S. Archer develops a photographic process using a glass plate coated with a mixture of silver salts and an emulsion made of collodion. Because the collodion had to remain moist during exposure and developing, photographers had to process the pictures immediately. 
1871  Richard L. Maddox, a British physician, invents the "dry-plate" process, using an emulsion of gelatin, so that photographers did not have to process the pictures immediately. By the late 1870s, exposure time had been reduced to 1/25th of a second. Gelatin emulsion made it possible to produce prints that were larger than the original negatives, allowing manufacturers to reduce the size of cameras. 
1888  George Eastman introduces the lightweight, inexpensive Kodak camera, using film wound on rollers. 
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The Invention of Celluloid Film 
1839  A British inventor, William H. Fox Talbot, an English classical archaeologist, made paper sensitive to light by bathing it in a solution of salt and silver nitrate. The silver turned dark when exposed to light and created a negative, which could be used to print positives on other sheets of light sensitive paper. 
1885  American inventor George Eastman introduces film made on a paper base instead of glass, wound in a roll, eliminating the need for glass plates. 
1888  By developing films in its own processing plants, Eastman Kodak eliminates the need for amateur photographers to process their own pictures. 
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The Emergence of Motion Pictures 
1878  British photographer Eadweard Muybridge takes the first successful photographs of motion, showing how people and animals move. 
1882  Etienne Marey in France develops a camera, shaped like a gun, that can take twelve pictures per second. 
1889  Thomas Edison and W.K. Dickson develop the Kinetoscope, a peep-show device in which film is moved past a light. 
1893  Thomas Edison displays his Kinetoscope at the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago and receives patents for his movie camera, the Kinetograph, and his peepshow device. 
  Edison constructs the first motion picture studio in New Jersey. 
1894  Coin-operated Kinetoscopes appear in a New York City amusement arcade. 
1895  Two French brothers, Louis and August Lumiere patent a combination movie camera and projector, capable of projecting an image that can be seen by many people. In Paris, they present the first commercial exhibition of projected motion pictures. 
1896  Thomas Edison's company, using a projector built by Thomas Armat and C. Francis Jenkins, projects hand-tinted motion pictures in New York City. 
1898  Edison files the first of many patent infringement suits, claiming that others are using equipment based on his Kinetograph camera. 
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The Rise of the Motion Picture Industry 
1902  Henry Miles sets up the first film exchange, allowing exhibitors to rent films instead of buying them. 
1903  Edwin S. Porter, chief of production at the Edison studio, helps to shift film production toward story telling with such films as The Life of an American Fireman and The Great Train Robbery, the first western. 
1905  Harry Davis opens the first nickelodeon in Pittsburgh. 
  Cooper Hewitt mercury lamps make it practical to shoot films indoors without sunlight. 
1906  The first animated cartoon is produced. 
1907  The Saturday Evening Post reports that daily attendance at nickelodeons exceeded two million. 
  Chicago gives police authority to ban movies. 
1908  Nine leading film producers set up the Motion Pictures Patents Company, and agree not to sell or lease equipment to any distributors who purchase motion pictures from any other company. Kodak agrees to sell film stock only to member companies. 
  A scandal over bribery for licensing movie theaters and immorality in films leads New York City to temporarily shut all nickelodeons.  
1909  There are about 9,000 movie theaters in the United States. The typical film is only a single reel long, or ten- to twelve minutes in length, and the performers were anonymous. 
  Members of the Motion Picture Patents Company submit their films to the New York State Board of Censorship. 
1925 The first inflight movie, a black & white, silent film called The Lost World, is shown in a WWI converted Handley-Page bomber during a 30-minute flight near London.
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The Emergence of the Studio System 
1909  Carl Laemmle, who has set up his own Independent Motion Picture Company, introduces the star system by hiring Florence Lawrence, one of Biograph's anonymous stars, and beginning a massive publicity campaign 
1910  Studios begin distributing publicity stills of actors and actresses. 
  Thomas Edison's attempt to combine the phonograph and motion pictures fails commercially. 
  The Motion Picture Patent Company tries to monopolize film distribution by setting up the General Film Company. Independent William Fox responds by making his own movies. 
  For the first time, Hollywood purchases the rights to a novel, Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona. 
  Los Angeles annexes Hollywood. 
1911  Credits begin to appear at the beginning of motion pictures. 
  Pathe's Weekly is the first newsreel.
  Eastman breaks with the Trust and begins to sell film stock to independent producers. 
  Pennsylvania institutes the first state censorship law.
1912  Carl Laemmle organizes Universal Pictures, which will become the first major studio. Adolph Zukor founds Famous Players; Mack Sennett starts the Keystone Film Company; and Mutual Film Corporation is formed. 
  The federal government sues the General Film Company, the film trust's distributor, for illegal restraint of trade.  
  A federal appeals court rejects the trusts claim to control the patents to the movie camera. 
1913  The first fan magazine, Photoplay, appears. 
  Cecil B. DeMille's The Squaw Man is the first feature length film made in Hollywood. 
1914  Pittsburgh requires theaters to set aside a special section for unaccompanied women to protect them from harassment. 
  The first movie "palace" opens at Times Square in New York. 
  Paramount Pictures is founded; Adolph Zukor and Jesse Lasky will distribute their films through Paramount. 
1915  William Fox founds the Fox Film Corporation, combining motion picture production, distribution, and theaters. 
  President Woodrow Wilson describes D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation as "writing history with lightning." 
  The Bell & Howell 2709 movie camera allows directors to make close-ups without physically moving the camera. 
  In Mutual v. Ohio, the Supreme Court rules that state's may censor films. 
  Theda Bara stars in A Fool There Was, personifying the "vamp," the female temptress. 
  A federal court declares the motion pictures trust to be an illegal restrain on trade. The trust's appeal is dismissed in 1918. 
1917  The first African-American owned studio, The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, is founded. 
1918  The independent African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux forms the Micheaux Film and Book Corporation. 
1919  Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, D.W. Griffith, and Mary Pickford form United Artists. 
1921  Comedian Fatty Arbuckle is arrested for the murder of actress Virginia Rappe. 
  The Federal Trade Commission sues Famous Players-Lasky for violating anti-trust laws by refusing to allow independent films to play in its theaters. 
1922  A New York York State Court rules that actors cannot prevent the re-editing or re-release of a film in which they appeared. 
1923  Warner Bros. is established. 
1924  MGM is formed out of the merger of Metro Pictures, Goldwyn Pictures, and the Louis B. Mayer Company. It is headed by Marcus Loew, owner of a theater chain.
  CBC Film Sales changes its name to Columbia Pictures Corporation. 
  Theaters show the first double features. 
1926  The word "documentary" is introduced. 
1927  RCA will purchase a portion of Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Office, which will become the basis of RKO, which is formed in 1928. 
1928  Mickey Mouse is introduced in the cartoon Steamboat Willie. 
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The Arrival of Sound
1922  Lee DeForrest demonstrates a method for recording sound on the edge of a film strip. 
1925  Western Electric and Warner Bros. agree to develop a system for movies with sound. 
1926  Warner Bros.'s Don Juan, starring John Barrymore, contains music but not spoken dialogue. 
1927  Warner Bros.'s The Jazz Singer, presents the movie's first spoken words: "Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain't heard nothin' yet." The Vitaphone method that the studio uses involves recording sound on discs. 
1928  Paramount becomes the first studio to announce that it will only produce "talkies." 
  Walt Disney's Galloping Gaucho and Steamboat Willie are the first cartoons with sound. 
1929 The first Academy Awards are announced, with the award for the best picture in 1927 going to Wings. 
  The Development of the Production Code 
1922  Former Postmaster General Will Hays is named head of the new Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, which has a censorship division that will be called the Hays Office. 
1927  The Hays Office issues a memorandum, "Don't and Be Carefuls," a code of decency telling the studios which subjects to avoid, including miscegenation, nudity, and prostitution. 
1930  The motion picture industries adopts the Production Code, a set of guidelines that describes what is acceptable in movies. 
1931  The Federal Council of Churches charges movie makers with paying clergymen for endorsements of their films. 
1933  The Payne Fund study, Our Movie-Made Children, argues that films shape children's behavior. 
1934  The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America calls on Protestants to support the Catholic League of Decency's efforts to suppress immorality in film. 
  The Motion Pictures Producers and Distributors Association appoints Joseph Breen to enforce the Production Code. 
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Depression-Era Hollywood 
1930  The movie industry begins to dub in the dialogue of films exported to foreign markets. 
1933  Theaters begin to open refreshment stands. 
  The Screen Writers Guild is established. 
1934  The first drive-in movie theater opens in New Jersey. 
1935  Technicolor introduces a three-color process in the film Becky Sharp. 
1937  Walt Disney's first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is released. 
1938  For the first time, a group of movie stars organize a committee, the Motion Picture Democratic Committee, to support a political party. 
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Wartime Hollywood 
1934  Warner Bros. becomes the first studio to shut down its German distribution office to protest the Nazi's anti-Semitic policies. 
1938  Studio executives, with the exception of Walt Disney, refuse to meet with German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. 
  Warner Bros. goes ahead with production of Confessions of a Nazi Spy, even though Germany accounts for 30 percent of Hollywood's foreign profits. 
1941  A Senate subcommittee launches an investigation of whether Hollywood was producing films to involve the United States in World War II. 
  Bette Davis becomes the first woman president of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. 
  On December 8, the United States enters World War II, a day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. 
1942  A Senate subcommittee investigating Hollywood's purported efforts to involve the country in World War II is dissolved. 
  The Treasury Department begins to censor film imports and exports. 
  Nelson Poyter of the Office of War Information Motion Picture Bureau says that Hollywood's guiding principle should be "Will this picture help to win the war?" 
  The War Production Board imposes a $5,000 limit on set construction. 
  Wartime cloth restrictions are imposed, prohibiting cuffed trousers and pleats. 
  Klieg-lit Hollywood premieres are prohibited. 
1943  20th Century Fox begins distributing pinups of actress Betty Grable. 
  Warner Bros. releases Mission to Moscow. 
  The War Production Board orders theaters to dim their marquee lights at 10 p.m. 
1944  The government eases restraints on the depiction of brutality by the Japanese. 
1945  The federal government ends restrictions on the allocation of raw film stock, midnight curfews, and bans on outdoor lighting displays as well as censorship of the export and import of films. 
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The Decline of the Studio System
1938  The federal government accuses the film industry of illegal restraint of trade through its ownership of first-run theaters. 
1940  The first agents begin to assemble creative talent and stories in exchange for a percentage of the film's profits. 
  The studios sign a consent decree with the federal government, agreeing to sell pictures in blocks of no more than five and to screen films in advance for buyers. 
1944  A Los Angeles court rules that Warner Bros. must release actress Olivia de Havilland after her seven-year contract expires, holding that the studio cannot add time to her contract to make up for the periods she was on suspension. This ruling undercuts studios' ability to lock actors into long-term contracts. 
  The federal government reopens its anti-trust cases against the studios, and calls for the divestiture of the studios' theaters. 
1946  David O. Selznick announces that he will release his films by himself rather than through United Artists. 
  The studios are ordered to increase competition in the distribution of films. 
1947  The Supreme Court rules that the practice of block booking violates federal anti-trust laws. When the court fails to order the studios to divest themselves of their theaters, government prosecutors appeal. 
  The federal government files anti-trust suits against Kodak and Technicolor, accusing them of monopolizing color film technology. 
1948 RKO announces that it will divest itself of its movie theaters. 
  In May, the Supreme Court orders a district court to reconsider the possibility of forcing studios to divest themselves of their theaters. 
  Eastman signs a consent decree making its color film processing patents available to competitors. 
1949  Paramount signs a consent decree, agreeing to separate its production and distribution activities. Loews (owner of MGM), 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers are ordered to divest themselves of their theaters. 
1953  Seven-year contracts with actors are replaced by single-picture or multi-picture contracts . 
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Labor Unrest in Hollywood 
1936  The International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) succeeds in establishing a closed shop for several Hollywood crafts. 
  The studios begin payoffs to IATSE leaders to ensure labor peace. 
1937  After the Supreme Court upholds the National Labor Relations Act, unions launch campaigns in Hollywood for a "closed shop," requiring all workers to join a union. 
1939  The New York Times reports that an executive with the IATSE is connected to Al Capone's Chicago mob. 
  The federal government begins to investigate movie producers' payoffs to union leaders. Joseph Schenk, president of the Association of Motion Picture Producers, will later be sent to prison. 
1941  Cartoonists strike at Walt Disney. Disney blames the strike on Communists. 
1945  Jurisdictional disputes erupt in Hollywood over which unions will represent set designs and decorators. 
  The National War Labor Board orders the Screen Set Designers, Decorators, and Illustrators Union to end a strike. When it refuses, the studios fire 3,600 striking workers and give their jobs to members of the IATSE. 
  Violence breaks out between members of the Conference of Studio Unions, headed by Herbert Sorrell, and the IATSE. 
  The Conference of Studio Unions receives jurisdiction over set decorators. 
1947  Conference of Studio Unions leader Herbert Sorrell is bound and beaten. 
  After becoming president of the Screen Actors Guild, Ronald Reagan agrees to inform the FBI of Communist activities within the SAG. 
1948  The House Labor Committee holds hearings into the jurisdictional strikes in Hollywood. Producers deny that they conspired with the IATSE and the CSU denies that it is Communist-led. 
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Anti-Communism in Hollywood 
1938  Former Communist James B. Matthews tells the House Un-American Activities Committee that James Cagney, Bette Davis, Clark Gable, Miriam Hopkins, and Shirley Temple are unwittingly serving communist interests. 
1940  House Un-American Activities Committee chair Martin Dies charges that Communists hold positions of influence in Hollywood. At hearings in San Francisco, Dies says that Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Irene Dunne, and Frederick March are not Communist sympathizers. 
1944  Walt Disney and King Vidor help found The Motion Picture Alliance for the Preservation of American Ideals. Active supporters include Ward Bond, Gary Cooper, Hedda Hopper, Ayn Rand, Robert Taylor, and John Wayne. 
1946  After holding a closed-door meeting with movie industry labor leaders, The House Committee on Un-American Activities decides to hold formal hearings in Hollywood to investigate Communist influence in the motion picture industry. 
1947  In May, the House Un-American Activities Committee holds ten days of closed hearings in Los Angeles. Friendly witnesses include Robert Taylor, Leila Rogers (mother of Ginger Rogers), Jack Warner, and Adolphe Menjou. 
  The Screen Actors Guild adopts a voluntary loyalty oath. 
  In October, HUAC conducts hearings on Communist influence in the movie industry in Washington, D.C. Gary Cooper, Walt Disney, Robert Montgomery, George Murphy, and Ronald Reagan testify. HUAC charges the Hollywood Ten (Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott, and Dalton Trumbo) with contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with its inquiries. 
  The Committee for the First Amendment (which includes Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, Ira Gershwin, Sterling Hayden, John Huston, Danny Kaye, and Gene Kelly) protests the HUAC hearings. 
  In November, studio executives meeting at New York's Waldorf Astoria hotel announce that the Hollywood Ten with be fired or suspended without pay and agree to "eliminate any subversives in the industry," beginning the blacklist. 
  Loew's Theaters cancels Charlie Chaplin's Monsieur Verdoux after receiving pressure from Catholic War Veterans. 
1949   To rid the film industry of Communists, the Motion Picture Industries Council is formed. Leaders include IATSE head Roy Brewer, SAG president Ronald Reagan, and Cecil B. Demille and Dore Schary. 
  An FBI informant identifies Melvyn Douglas, John Garfield, Frederick March, Paul Muni, Edward G. Robinson, and Sylvia Sidney as Communists or Communist sympathizers. The California State Senate Committee on Un-American Activities describes Charlie Chaplin, Katherine Hepburn, Danny Kaye, Gene Kelly, Gregory Peck, Frank Sinatra, and Orson Welles are fellow travelers. 
1950  John Howard Lawson and Dalton Trumbo are imprisoned and the eight remaining members of the Hollywood Ten are convicted of contempt of Congress. 
1951  The Supreme Court refuses to review a lower-court decision upholding the firing of Hollywood Ten writer Lester Cole. 
  The House Committee on Un-American Activities opens a second round of hearings in Hollywood. 
1953  The Screen Writers Guild allows producers to remove screen credits to any screenwriter with Communist ties. 
1957  The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences excludes anyone on the Hollywood blacklist from consideration for Oscars. 
1958   The Supreme Court rejects the argument that the Hollywood blacklist violated employees' rights. 
1959  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decides that screenwriters and actors on the blacklist will no longer be prohibited from consideration for Oscars. 
  The staunchly anti-Communist Motion Picture Industry Council ends its activities. 
1960  Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood Ten, receives credit for writing the screenplay for Exodus, becoming the first blacklisted writer to receive screen credit. 
1970  The Writers Guild abandons a 1954 requirement that members not be Communists. 
1974  The Screen Actors Guild drops a requirement that members sign an oath that they are not members of the Communist party. 
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The Foreign Market 
1945  Roberto Rossellini's Open City introduces Italian Neorealism. 
1946  The first Cannes Film Festival opens on the French Riviera. 
1947  Britain imposes a 75 percent duty on Hollywood films and the studios respond by boycotting the British market. The boycott ends in 1948. 
1950  Japanese director Akira Kurosawa releases Rashomon. 
1954  Frederico Fellini releases La Strada. 
1957  And God Created Woman, starring Brigitte Bardot, opens. 
1959  The French "New Wave" begins with the release of Francois Truffaut's The 400 Blows. Other French releases this year include Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless, Marcel Camus's Black Orpheus, and Alain Resnais's Hiroshima Mon Amour. 
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Courting the Youth Market 
1946  The cartoon The Talking Magpies introduces the characters Heckle and Jeckle. 
1949   Warners Bros. begins to license its cartoon characters to children's clothing manufacturers. 
1955  Disneyland opens in a former orange grove in Anaheim, California. 
  Blackboard Jungle is the first film to feature a rock-'n'-roll song, "Rock-Around-The-Clock." 
  James Dean dies in a car crash at the age of 26. 
1956  Forbidden Planet and Invasion of the Body Snatchers are released. 
1957  Michael Landon stars in I Was a Teenage Werewolf. 
1958  The Blob and The Fly are released. 
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The Decline of Film Censorship 
1935  The U.S. Treasury Department upholds a Commissioner of Customs decision to prohibit the import of the film Ecstacy because it contains nudity. 
1946  The Motion Picture Association of America withdraws its seal of approval for Howard Hughes's The Outlaw after he refuses to submit film ads (such as "What are the two great reasons for Jane Russell's rise to stardom") to the MPAA for approval. 
  The Motion Pictures Code allows films to show drug trafficking so long as the scenes do not "stimulate curiosity." 
1951  The Motion Pictures Production Code specifically prohibits films dealing with abortion or narcotics. 
1952  Ruling that motion pictures are protected by the 1st Amendment to the Constitution, the Supreme Court overturns a New York court's ban on the showing of The Miracle, which had been accused of being sacrilegious.
1955  United Artists withdraws from the Motion Picture Association refuses to issue a Production Code seal to the company's film The Man With the Golden Arm, which deals with drug addiction. 
1956  The film industry forbids racial epithets in films and permits references to abortion, drugs, kidnapping, and prostitution under certain circumstances. 
1965   The Pawnbroker becomes the first major Hollywood film to feature frontal nudity. 
  The Supreme Court rules that portions of the Maryland and New York film censorship laws are unconstitutional. 
1966   Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf becomes the first film containing expletives to receive the Production Code seal. Alfie receives a seal despite the use of the forbidden word "abortion." MGM distributes Michaelangelo Antonioni's Blow Up in defiance of a demand that it make cuts in the film. 
  Georgie Girl becomes the first film to carry the label "recommended for mature audiences." 
1968  The film industry announced a rating system: "G" for general audiences; "M" for mature audiences; "R," no one under 16 admitted without an adult guardian; and "X," no one under 16 admitted. 
1969  Midnight Cowboy becomes the first major X-rated film. 
1973  The Supreme Court rules that a film may be banned if is is "patently offensive" to "average persons applying contemporary community standards." 
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Civil Rights and Hollywood
1936  The Negro Improvement League protests The Green Pastures as "insulting, degrading and malicious." 
1938  San Fernando valley officials reject a request by Al Jolson and other movie people to prohibit non-whites from living in the area. 
  African Americans leaders publicly call on the Hays Office to make roles other than doormen, maids, and porters available to blacks. 
1943  Vincente Minelli's Cabin in the Sky opens, starring Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Lena Horne, and Ethel Waters. 
  Stormy Weather, staring Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Fats Waller, is released. 
1946  The NAACP accuses The Walt Disney Company of romanticizing slavery in the film The Song of the South. 
1947  The Motion Pictures Code forbids derogatory references to a characterer's race. 
1957  The first kiss between a white actress and a black actor occurs in Island in the Son, when Joan Fontaine kisses Harry Belafonte. 
1971  Shaft is the first major crime film with an African American hero. 
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Television and the Movie Industry 
1936  RCA begins experimental television broadcasts from the Empire State Building. 
1941  The first commercial television station begins broadcasting. 
1952  Hollywood introduces Cinerama and 3-D. 
  The Justice Department sues the film studios to force them to sell or lease their films to television. 
  Paramount announces that it will move into television production. 
1953  The Walt Disney Company begins to produce television programs. 
  The FCC approves RCA's system for color television. 
1954  The Supreme Court upholds a lower court decision allowing Republic Pictures to sell the films of Gene Autry and Roy Rodgers to TV without their permission. 
1964  The first made-for-TV film, See How They Run, is broadcast on NBC.
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The Contemporary Motion Picture Industry 
1960  A movie features "Smell-O-Vision." 
1961  TWA shows the first feature film exhibited on a regularly scheduled commercial airline flight - MGM's By Love Possessed, starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
1966  The purchase of Paramount by Gulf & Western marks the beginning of a trend toward studio ownership by multinational conglomerates. 
1967  The first "spaghetti western," Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars, opens in the United States. The film, starring Clint Eastwood as the "man with no name," premiered in Italy in 1964. 
  Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde is promoted with the slogan "They're young. They're in love. They kill people." 
1972  HBO begins on cable television. 
1973  At the Academy Award ceremony, Sacheen Littlefeather appears on Marlon Brando's behalf and declines his Best Actor Oscar as a protest against government Indian policies. 
1975  Sony introduces Betamax, the first videocassette recorder for home use. It costs $2,295. 
1979  The film The China Syndrome opens 12 days before an accident occurs at the Three Mile Island nuclear facility in Pennsylvania. 
1980  Sherry Lansing becomes the first woman to head a major studio when she becomes president of 20th Century Fox. 
1984  The U.S. Supreme Court rules that videotaping does not violate copyright laws. 
1987  Half of U.S. homes receive cable television. 
1988  The Film Preservation Act allows the federal government to designate 25 films a year as national treasures. If these films are colorized, they must carry a disclaimer that their creators have not consented to the change. 
1992  Americans spend $12 billion to buy or rent video tapes, compared to just $4.9 billion on box office ticket sales. 76 percent of homes have VCRs. 
1994 Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen form the film studio DreamWorks. 
1998  Titanic, which premiered in 1997, becomes the highest grossing film in Hollywood history, earning $580 million domestically. 
1999  The Blair Witch Project, which cost $30,000 to make, grosses $125 million, making it the most profitable film in Hollywood history. 
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This site was updated on 21-Apr-14.

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