Locations - Selig Polyscope Studio

Hollywood Lost and Found

Site of First LA Film Studio
Selig Polyscope Studio
Los Angeles, CA

William N. Selig is not widely remembered today, but he is considered to be one of the pioneers of Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Among his accomplishments are the production of the first cliff-hanger serial "The Adventures of Kathlyn" (1913-1914), the first film version of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" (1910)... and, perhaps most importantly, the construction of the first permanent film studio in Los Angeles in 1909 for the Selig Polyscope Company, which had moved from Chicago.

But before building the studio, in late 1908 or early 1909, Selig had rented a mansion that stood at 751 South Olive Street in downtown Los Angeles. It is believed that he initially began motion picture production at this house - building the first movie sets in the backyard.

The mansion was torn down long ago, and the land has been a parking lot since the '20s.

Although the area is still without a historic marker of any kind, Selig would probably have taken comfort in the discovery Hollywood Lost and Found made when they visited the location in October of 2006. A motion picture production crew for Michael Bay's film "Transformers" (2007) was using the same parking lot for their trucks and trailers - probably unaware of the historical significance of the spot they were using.

- Steve Lee
8 April 2007


Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. New York: HarpersCollins, 1998.

Schessler, Ken. This is Hollywood. Los Angeles: Ken Schessler Productions, 1984.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. <http://www.oscars.org>

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