Home Art Growth in Beverly Hills Filmmaking Puts Deeper Roots in Hollywood

Growth in Beverly Hills Filmmaking Puts Deeper Roots in Hollywood

Stanley Anderson (right) and film critic Monroe Lathrop (left) visit Charlie Chaplin during the filming of The Idle Class, 1921, at Sunset Park.

It was during this period of growth in Beverly Hills that the filmmaking industry was putting down deeper roots in Hollywood. The ideal weather conditions and wide-open spaces were particularly important to the production companies’ and studios’ bottom lines. While managing the Hollywood Hotel, Stanley Anderson became acquainted with many leaders in the film business. He helped orchestrate real estate deals for Carl Laemmle’s Universal Studios and later was deeply involved in trying to bring Fox Film Corporation to Beverly Hills. Stanley also befriended many producers, directors, and actors, and when Hollywood became an overcrowded and less desirable place to live, those same producers, directors, and actors looked west for quieter, greener pastures. As the Beverly Hills Hotel flourished, it didn’t take long before those friends in the industry were finding great deals not only at the hotel but also in Percy Clark’s real estate office. Because of their enormous salaries, studio executives, producers, directors, and film stars were able to build expansive estates in private settings.

Many films used Beverly Hills and the hotel for film locations. This accelerated the city’s exposure worldwide. Film stars became familiar faces at the hotel, and many lived in bungalows for months, even years, at a time. Gloria Swanson first encountered the hotel when she was filming The Danger Girl in 1915. She recalled:

“We filmed the car sequences in the garden behind the Beverly Hills Hotel, a quiet, secluded hotel a long way out of town, frequented mostly by old, wealthy clients. It had plenty of curved cement driveways and just the right look for the picture. The sun was not quite down when we finished, so we walked into the hotel in our costumes. Elderly couples with their timid nieces stared at us as if we were giant goldfish in a bowl. LeRoy [a stuntman on the picture] dared me to give them a show, so I put on the top hat, picked up the cane, lit a cigarette, and strolled away from my friends toward the area where the thickest carpets were.”