From the Echo Park Historical Society
Years before Hollywood became synonymous with the commercial
film industry, Edendale was the center of filmmaking on the West Coast. This
film center was located southeast of Hollywood and north of Echo Park, the
famous Southern California park surrounding a scenic little lake. Angelus
Temple, later built in the 1920s, was close to the park, and evangelist
Aimee Semple McPherson preached in the temple.
A film trade publication, Motography, of July 1911,
described the area this way: “Edendale…is the motion picture center
of the Pacific Coast. With clear air and sunshine three hundred days out of
the year, conditions are ideal for perfect picture making. The scenic
advantages of the location, too, are unique. From [Edendale] can be seen the
Pacific Ocean, twenty-two miles to the west, and the broad panorama of
Southern California, with its fruit and stock ranches, its snowcapped
mountains and its tropical vegetation, to the east, north and south. Within
a short distance of Edendale may be found every known variety of national
scenery, seemingly arranged by a master producer expressly for the motion
In the 1910s, several film studios were operating in
Edendale and were located on the street that was later renamed Glendale
Boulevard, north of Sunset Boulevard. These studios included the Selig
Polyscope Company, the Mack Sennett Studios, the Pathé West Coast Film
Studio and others.
Several silent-film stars worked in the Edendale studios,
including Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Theda Bara, Tom Mix, Mabel Normand,
Fatty Arbuckle, Marie Dressler and Bebe Daniels. Filmed at Mack Sennett
Studios were the first film starring Charlie Chaplin, the first
feature-length comedy — starring Charlie Chaplin and Mabel Normand — and the
Keystone Cops comedies. Hal Roach’s early comedies starring Harold Lloyd
were also filmed at a studio in Edendale.
The pie toss became a standard routine in slapstick movie
comedies. The first pie-in-the-face scene was filmed in 1913 when Mabel
Normand tossed a pie at Fatty Arbuckle in the movie A Noise from the Deep,
at what later became the Mack Sennett Studios on Glendale Boulevard near
The complex dates back to 1909 and includes one of the
area’s first permanent sound stages or filmmaking factories. The complex is
now part of a storage facility. The former studio at 1712 Glendale
Boulevard is a historic-cultural monument.
Filming continued in local studios through the 1930s, when
most of the industry had moved to Hollywood and beyond.
Today the post office and library retain the name of
Edendale, but the area has not been a film center for many years.