Jax, the Winter Film Capital of the World
“Jacksonville, Winter Film Capital of the World", is a painting about Jacksonville's infamous stint as a major player in the film industry. Before Hollywood was a giant, there was Jacksonville. The city's first silent film studio opened in 1908, and then over 30 different studios opened within the next 10 years; this included Metro Pictures, which would later become Hollywood's own MGM.
A silent film museum in historic old Arlington has been converted from a film studio operated by producer Richard Norman. He was a visionary who created pictures with positive lead roles for African American actors, which was virtually unheard of in the 1920s.
During the 20s and 30s, residents often saw big-name stars around Jacksonville. One half of the famous “Laurel and Hardy” duo, Oliver Hardy got his cinematic start after moving to Jacksonville.
In 1916 a production company hired over a thousand local residents to film a mob scene. Unfortunately, a few in the crowd took their role too seriously; a real mob formed during the filming and spiraled out of control. The property was damaged, and people were injured.
The largely conservative residents of Jacksonville became annoyed by the presence of film studios and their more dangerous stunts. One automobile chase ended with a car in the St. Johns River. A change of mayor from the film-friendly J.E.T. Bowden to the more conservative John W. Martin in 1917 would be the final nail in the coffin for the Jacksonville studios.
My painting depicts the corner of Hogan and Adams Street, where a silent film crew creates another kind of mob movie.
Acrylic on Canvas