Another memory of Edendale passes

Coy Watson Jr. was only nine-months old in 1913 when Hollywood came calling. But back then it would have been more accurate to say that Edendale was calling. Edendale was the name of the village that straddled the border of what is now Echo Park and Silver Lake. It was Edendale – not Hollywood – that served as the region’s first center of movie making. In fact, a century ago in 1909, a company out of Chicago called Selig Polyscope opened the first permanent Los Angeles film studio when it rented a bungalow on Allesandro Street. When Coy Watson, Jr., whose family lived nearby, was born a few years later, Selig Polyscope had built a larger studio (pictured above) and silent film rivals, such as Mack Sennett, had set up shop along what is now Glendale Boulevard.

This is how Watson, who died this weekend at age 96, made his Edendale debut according to an obituary in the Los Angeles Times:

“The studio needed a baby for a short film, “The Price of Silence,” and promised to pay the infant $5 for a day’s work. Because the Edendale neighborhood was not yet wired for electricity, his scene was shot on a bedroom set built to take advantage of the sun.”

Watson was one of nine brothers and sisters who also appeared in silent films, many of them made in Edendale. One of his brothers, Delmar, died last October.

Photo from the Los Angeles Public Library

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