In this engaging and readable book, Peter Decherney tells the story of Hollywood, from its nineteenth-century origins to the emergence of internet media empires. He recounts how the studio system rose out of the ashes of Thomas Edison's trust to create the handful of companies that have dominated global screens and imaginations for more than 100 years. Throughout, he reveals that the elements we take to be a natural part of the Hollywood experience--stars, genre-driven storytelling, blockbuster franchises, etc.--are really the product of cultural, political, and commercial forces.
In many ways, Hollywood has remained the same for over a century. It has always been a global industry based in the U.S., and its storytelling has always unfolded across media, adapting plays, book, and comics and spinning off product tie-ins, television series, and social media campaigns. But major events have also continually remade Hollywood. The studios have weathered wars, disruptive new technologies, and competition by adopting a strategy of risk management and assimilation. This book explores the challenges of new technologies, including sound, home video, and computer graphics. And it examines Hollywood's responses to World War II, independent film movements, and regulations imposed by Washington.