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Photographer's Note

this how it started all. :-)

taken from : http://www.universalstudios.com/homepage/html/inside/history.html

Universal's rich entertainment legacy can be traced back to 1906, when 39 year-old Bavarian immigrant Carl Laemmle (pronounced LEM-lee) opened his first nickelodeon theater in Chicago. From exhibitng short silent movies in one theater, Laemmle later moved to movie distribution and production. In June 1909, he formed the New York based Independent Moving Picture Company of America, or IMP, not only produce his own films, but to defy the monopolistic Motion Picture Patents Company that charged a license fee to all independent theater operators. Laemmle's first production in 1909 was Hiawatha, a one-reel adaptation of Longfellow's poem.

In 1911, Laemmle expanded his film production to the West Coast by purchasing the Nestor Studio in Hollywood. On June 8, 1912, Laemmle first incorporated the name "Universal" when he formed the Universal Film Manufacturing Company in New York. The new Company consisted of the former IMP and five other Motion Picture Companies. With studios operating on both coasts, Laemmle decided to centralize all his operations, and ordered his western manager, Isadore Bernstein, to buy more property in the Los Angeles area. For $165,000 in March 1914, Bernstein chose a 230-acre ranch, just across the road from where Mexican General Andre Pico and U.S. Colonel John Fremont signed the Treaty of Cahuenga in 1846. This site was to become "the entertainment center of the world" - Universal City.

On March 15, 1915 Carl Laemmle officially opened the gates of Universal City, the world's first self-contained community dedicated to making movies. Although the studio officially opened in 1915, film production on the lot began in 1914. Damon and Pythias, co-starring William Worthington and Herbert Rowlinson, was the first picture completed at Universal City.

As movie production at Universal City increased, a steady stream of silent films including westerns, comedies, and action-adventures became Universal's trademark. Laemmle also began inviting visitors to Universal City to observe his movie making, establishing Universal's long-standing tradition of welcoming guests to enjoy the behind-the-scenes magic. However, the Universal tour was temporarily halted in the late 1920s, when "talkies" became the norm and producers demanded a set free of visitor's noise.

A few of Universal's most notable feature films of these early years include The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), and All Quiet on the Western Front (1930). All Quiet on the Western Front won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1930. Universal also became well known for its horror films of the early 1930s. These productions included such classics as Dracula, The Mummy, Frankenstein, and Bride of Frankenstein.

In 1936, Carl Laemmle retired from the movie industry, and sold Universal to Standard Capital Company. In the years that immediately followed, the studio relied heavily on Deanna Durbin musicals, Abbott and Costello comedies, and Francis the Talking Mule. When Universal merged with International Pictures in 1946, Leo Spitz and William Goetz from International took over production, and the Company became known as Universal-International. The production of Hamlet by Universal-International in association with J. Arthur Rank of England won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 1947.

1952 brought another merger to Universal, when Decca Records bought the Company. Under the leadership of Milt Rackmil, President of Decca and Universal, and Edward Muhl, production head, some of the notable features of this era included Pillow Talk, Operation Petticoat, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Glenn Miller Story, and Spartacus.

In December 1958, MCA, Inc. purchased the Universal City Studio lot. MCA's Revue Television Productions relocated to Universal City, and Universal Pictures then leased back its property from MCA. This arrangement lasted three years, until MCA and Universal officially merged in 1962.

Jules Stein founded MCA, or the Music Corporation of America, in 1924 as a Chicago-based agency that booked bands into clubs and dance halls. The legacy of MCA was expanded and enriched by Lew Wasserman, who joined the company in 1936, became President in 1946, and over the years, built MCA from a leading talent agency into a diversified global leader in the world of entertainment.

With activities in television and motion picture production well in place in the early 1960s, the succeeding years represented a period of growth and diversification for MCA/Universal. Under the leadership of Lew Wasserman, MCA/Universal expanded its interests not only in movies and television, but also in areas such as music and recreation throughout the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The Universal Studios Tour was revived in 1964, and MCA/Universal also became a pioneer in location-based entertainment during the 1970s and 1980s. Some of the most notable Universal feature films of this time were from Steven Spielberg, including Jaws and E.T: The Extra Terrestrial.

In 1991, Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd. acquired MCA. Four years later, in June 1995, The Seagram Company Ltd. (VO) purchased majority equity in MCA from Matsushita. On December 10, 1996, MCA Inc. was renamed Universal Studios, reclaiming its heritage as one of the industry's oldest and most prestigious movie studios.

As a Seagram company, Universal Studios continued the expansion of all of its businesses throughout the global market. In 1998, the strategic combination of Universal's international television operations with USA Networks resulted in USA Networks, Inc. As a 45% owner in this new entity, Universal created a key engine for long term growth. Later that year, the acquisition of PolyGram established the Universal Music Group as the world's largest music company.

In June 2000, Seagram announced a strategic business combination with France's Vivendi and Canal+, which culminated Universal's evolution into a fully integrated global leader in media, communications and entertainment. Today, Universal Studios is part of Vivendi Universal, a consumer-focused, performance-driven, values-based global media and communications company.

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