Lights! Camera! Action!

The Motion Picture

A tarpaper shack that could be rotated to catch the sun was America’s first motion picture studio. Thomas Edison’s 1888 “Black Maria” put New Jersey at the center of a revolutionary new medium and big-time business. Yes, California’s shoot-all-year climate and untrammeled spaces ultimately won out, but not before stars like Fatty Arbuckle, Douglas Fairbanks, and Theda Bara made movie history in our own backlots.

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