History of Hollywood
The history of Hollywood is comprised of the remnants of multiple timelines, rearranged and collapsed together in the wake of the Big One. The inherently contradictory and anachronistic nature of such a combined history makes it hard to document accurately. For instance: certain historical figures tragically died young after living for over a century, at least one war ended before it actually started, and several decades seem to have disappeared entirely.
Hollywood uses its own calendar out of necessity, due to temporal irregularities such as the year 1954 occurring nine separate times across a thirty year span. Everything prior to the Big One is BBO (Before Big One), and everything after is AH (Anno Hollywood, or more informally, Age of Hollywood). Chronological aftershocks have been known to shift events and rewrite minor aspects of the timeline, requiring an official realignment of the calendar to ensure that the Big One is always situated at 0 AH.
The current year is 42 AH.
- 1 Prehistory
- 2 Dawn of Hollywood
- 3 The Golden Age
- 4 The Big One
- 5 Modern times
The allure of Hollywood as a location for the film industry predates both the film industry and humanity, suggesting some sort of unknown attraction at work. Fossilized remains have been unearthed including clapperboards, basic trailers, and even fragments of scripts. However the lack of any language or concept of the three-act structure have made these impossible to understand by modern Hollywood standards. Multiple extinction events previously undocumented seem to be based solely around the Hollywood area, possibly from stunts gone wrong or intense contract disputes.
After the arrival of humanity, early civilizations in the region gradually became just as obsessed with film-making. Coupled with the inability to actually make films, many of these civilizations collapsed, leaving behind confusing artifacts and bizarre legacies that many later civilizations struggled to understand. It was not until the arrival of American settlers that humanity could live in the area without serious issues, thanks to the complete disinterest of the settlers in any civilization but their own.
Dawn of Hollywood
When film was finally invented around 100 BBO, the industry quickly took hold. By 95 BBO there were several competing studios based out of the city of Los Angeles, doing their best to film whatever might spark the public's interest. Among these earliest studios were future "Big Five" members Bernard Bros. and Sovereign Pictures, as well as smaller players like Harker Film Productions and S.O.S. Studios.
Discovery of the Gwanji Valley
- Main article: Gwanji Valley
In 91 BBO, director and explorer Cooper Malone discovered a complex cave system south of Los Angeles. After three months he resurfaced, claiming to have found a hidden valley only reachable through the maze of subterranean tunnels.
With a number of investors intrigued by the possibilities, Malone managed to set off with a full expedition within six weeks of his return. Setting off with all the film gear they could carry, the expedition was well equipped to document the numerous prehistoric monsters that killed and ate most of them.
Malone was among the survivors, although with slightly less fingers and significantly more scars than when he had started off. He named the place Gwanji Valley, supposedly after his great aunt, but later expeditions found the word carved repeatedly into the local rock by unknown hands (or claws), suggesting that Malone may have plagiarized the name.
After the Malone expedition, the route was widely publicized, leading to numerous movies being filmed there, and an even larger number of gruesome fatalities.
Toon Town appears
- Main article: Toon Town
It is hard to pinpoint when toons first arrived in Hollywood, but it is widely accepted that it was around 89 BBO, the year when the first cartoon was released. Despite being just twelve minutes long, it was nevertheless a sensation. At first the studio responsible tried the ludicrous and unbelievable explanation that it was the work of thousands of drawings, but quickly capitulated when the existence of toons became common knowledge. These monochromatic animated beings were unpredictable and also vaguely confused as to what was going on, but it quickly became established that their home reality (called the Animation) had somehow become entwined with Hollywood's own.
The locus of this crossover was a section of the Animation that also simultaneously existed in Hollywood, allowing for any resident in either side to undertake transuniversal travel so simply that it could be done on foot. The ability to experience the physics and society of another plane of existence proved to be a popular tourist attraction, and then swiftly a deathtrap as it became obvious that only toons could shrug off anvils and dynamite outside the Animation.
To prevent pedestrians and wildlife from accidentally crossing over, a high wall was constructed around the crossover point, with only the Toon Town Tunnel providing access. The area became known as Toon Town, coincidentally the same name as the bustling metropolis on the other side, but meant in a more dismissive manner by Hollywood locals.
- Main article: Mightosaurus
First sighted in 83 BBO, the creature that came to be known as Mightosaurus was presumed to have left the Gwanji Valley by following the route worn by countless film crews. Certainly the gigantic predator had a keen sense of smell, leading it straight to Los Angeles where it rampaged through the city streets, wrecking small buildings and automobiles, and killing over twenty residents.
At the time theorized to have been a previously undiscovered variant of dinosaur, hence the name, it is now widely understood that Mightosaurus was in fact a juvenile kaiju, and Hollywood was lucky to have encountered it before it fully matured. Further incidents with kaiju of increasing size caused the city to begin work on installing permanent anti-kaiju defenses.
The Battle of Los Angeles
- Main article: Battle of Los Angeles
Hollywood's growing eccentricities had become cause for alarm in the highest levels of government. In order to quell what was perceived as dangerous moral failings, over the span of several years, multiple laws were put in place to exert control: the Hays Code, the Cartoon Violence Act, and the Motion Picture Decency Act. Each one was more demanding than the last, at least in the eyes of the film studios.
In 68 BBO, three studios attempted an armed coup of the area, having hid the expenses for hiring and outfitting private militaries within fake movie budgets. Despite certain setbacks, they succeeded in taking control of key areas of the city, and forced the local authorities to rescind what the studios called the "anti-cinema" laws.
Even though the US military was brought in, the entrenched position of the studios made any kind of counter-offensive impossible. At a stalemate, the US government flew in several high-ranking negotiators with the promise of building a better Hollywood for everyone. The government had recognized that the localized chaos of Hollywood could never be stopped, but it could be harnessed.
The ensuing compromise, increasing government power in the region while also giving the major studios greater freedoms, led to what became known as the Golden Age of Hollywood.
The Golden Age
As well as the formation of Hollywood as its own city-state in the wake of the Battle of Los Angeles, the start of the Golden Age was marked by the invention of full-color film. Certain older films had experimented with color in the past, but it wasn't until 68 BBO that a safe and efficient process was developed. Toons also turned full color alongside the development of color technology, although it was a gradual process. There are still toons, and locations within the Animation, that are still monochrome in nature. This suggested that the connection between Hollywood and toons was stronger than initially thought.
Previously a small-time studio, the switch to color enabled Whit Jolley Animation to produce its first feature-length cartoon, Hansel & Gretel (66 BBO). An immediate success, it heralded a new era for toon-led productions, being followed by Jack & the Beanstalk (64 BBO) and Dick Whittington (62 BBO). Whit Jolley Animation soon became a rival to other studios, and was part of the "Big Five" by 60 BBO.
The Hollywood Space Program
- Main article: Hollywood Space Program
The year 62 BBO saw the founding of the Hollywood Space Program, an attempt by the US government to take advantage of Hollywood's dimensional instability for national gain. Weakened physics and numerous flaws in local space-time meant that getting rockets into orbit was much easier than anywhere else. Entranced with the idea of new locations to film in and new audiences to reach, many of the major studios contributed to the program in exchange for certain considerations, such as filming missions as they happened. Some of these, like the Vulcan IV disaster, made for bad science but great cinema.
The rise and fall of Ralstonism
Former senator Jack F. Ralston was elected to the position of Governor of Hollywood in 58 BBO, the highest power in the region since the changes made after the Battle of Los Angeles. He campaigned on a platform of anti-anti-American action, vowing to ruthlessly seek out undesirable influences in the film industry and crush them. This naked appeal to hate and paranoia went over well among the Hollywood electorate, seeing Ralston win in a landslide.
Ralston immediately formed the Hollywood Committee on Seditious Activities (HCSA), touted in the press as a triumphant return to the witch hunts of old. The committee's purpose was to investigate everyone working in Hollywood, questioning their allegiances and to root out anyone undertaking treasonous actions. A handful of big names in the industry, including western star Chuck Chambers and director Albert Morloch, voluntarily assisted the committee by providing names. Multiple members of the film industry were blacklisted, arrested, and in one case, executed for their supposed crimes. The studios backed Ralston fully, deeming rabid patriotism the latest cinematic trend and producing countless movies that celebrated it.
However, Ralston's patriotic fervor did not mesh well with Hollywood's excess, nor his cocaine-rich diet, and the HCSA's crusade began to fall apart along with Ralston's own mental state. In 53 BBO he dismissed the rest of the HCSA and attempted to run a hearing by himself, with the addition of a rifle and a notable lack of pants. After a tense 3-minute standoff, an LAPD task force removed him from office.
The Invasion of Hollywood
- Main article: Invasion of Hollywood
The Hollywood Space Program began the Trans-Planetary Distribution Project under Administrator Thaddeus Finckenstein in 54 BBO, attempting to spread Hollywood's cultural influence to the stars. Inevitably, multiple alien species received TPDP payloads, including itemized bills and thinly veiled threats about the consequences of non-payment. United by this insult, the Alliance of Many Worlds formed, and summarily dispatched the Armada of Many Worlds on a mission to subjugate Hollywood (and to a lesser extent, the rest of the planet) until a solution could be found. The Armada arrived in 41 BBO, after several months of travel.
The invasion was a complete failure, leaving several million alien invaders stranded in Hollywood with no way of returning. Ever the magnanimous victor, Hollywood declared the former invaders to be third class citizens (with the possibility of moving up to second class) and started demanding they pay rent and taxes. With little other options available, the aliens have since done their best to fit in as residents, with a few even managing to find success.
Death of Whit Jolley
- Main article: Whit Jolley
Whitman "Whit" Jolley, founder of Whit Jolley Animation, passed away in 22 BBO. The cause of his death was never revealed, nor was his body ever seen, leading to rumors that his death might have been foul play or even faked. Whatever the circumstances, he was declared legally dead and ownership of his studio, his creations, and even his likeness passed on to the Whit Jolley Animation board of directors.
There was a quick turnaround from the studio's former direction under Jolley, immediately branching out into multiple new divisions for merchandising, brand control, and even a private military. As the Whit Jolley Corporation, it drew criticism from many of its toon stars, who felt like the board of directors was betraying the principles set by Jolley. Almost one hundred toons and several dozen animators joined a strike headed by long-time Jolley mascot Tiny Cat. The response from the Whit Jolley Corporation was to fire all of them and replace them with non-union workers.
- Main article: Chuck Chambers
Having first gained a taste for politics through his involvement with Ralston decades earlier, and now with his best years behind him, Chuck Chambers announced his candidacy for President of the United States in 12 BBO. He easily secured the Republican party nomination with his platform of appealing to "traditional values" without any commitments to actual policies.
Intimidated by the power of Hollywood, the Democratic party nominated extreme centrist Milton P. Motherly in order to gain the broadest appeal to the entire electorate. By offering absolutely nothing, they hoped to win undecided voters through sheer inertia. The plan collapsed when Motherly accepted Chambers's offer of the Vice Presidency, leaving Chambers completely unopposed on the ballot.
After his inauguration in 11 BBO, Chambers had the entire White House moved to Hollywood, citing a long-winded anecdote about cattle drives and ranches when questioned about it.
World War 3
- Main article: World War 3
By 10 BBO, the studios of Hollywood had realized that both World War I and World War II had ended some years prior. This was considered to be concerning news, as it was felt that the cinematic possibilities of global conflict had not been fully explored, and war movies were due to make a big comeback. With no suitable wars currently underway, Hollywood took matters into its own hands. Over the next three years the groundwork was laid for a new conflict, tentatively titled World War II: 2 but eventually released as World War 3 after focus-testing. With funding from all members of the "Big Five", a simultaneous offensive and counter-offensive was launched, dragging the rest of the world into a manufactured war in 7 BBO.
Although starting World War 3 was a lot easier than initially estimated, ending it has proven to be far trickier. It may still be ongoing, in part due to the ambivalence and short attention span of Hollywood.
The Big One
- Main article: The Big One
According to eyewitness accounts and recovered documentation, the massive earthquake occurred exactly once. However, the date given on the old calendar ranged from anywhere from 1834 to 2150, including one archived newspaper article that said the Big One happened "on the 43rd moon of the Year of the Boiled Monkey". Furthermore, scientific experiments and archeological digs have discovered evidence of the Big One thousands, even millions, of years in the past. The accepted consensus is that the effects of the quake distorted not just the geology of Hollywood, but also the history. Therefore the quake did occur, simultaneously, at every possible moment in every possible past, and perhaps future. This makes charting its position on any timeline of less than eight dimensions impossible, which is why it has been assigned the date of 0 AH purely out of convenience.
Hollywood's new geography from the Big One's massive geological upheaval was barely recognizable compared to old maps, although on occasion this could be explained as artifacts of now-defunct alternate timelines. With new volcanic islands off the redefined coastline, and a slew of never-before-seen features that defied previously understood scientific principles, Hollywood was forever changed.
The cave system connecting the Gwanji Valley to Hollywood collapsed into a gigantic sinkhole, creating an entirely new environment in the south of Hollywood, with the majority of it located beneath sea level.
A massive chasm approximately sixty-seven miles deep opened up in the City of Hollywood, relatively stable despite reaching the planet's mantle of molten rock. Within a few years the area was settled, and called Underwood by residents.
A new mountain range, the Fremont Mountains, was created at the north end of Hollywood, creating a nigh-impassable physical border that slowed Hollywood's northern expansion entirely.
Effect on the Animation
Even though technically a separate universe with its own laws of physics, the entanglement between the Animation and Hollywood meant that the Big One's effects were felt on both sides of the divide. Thankfully the bouncy and flexible nature of toon architecture prevented much destruction, but the chronological effects were much more significant.
Toon history being partially fictional even at the best of times meant that much of the Animation's previous timeline was irrevocably lost, and the new history that took root in its place further tied it to Hollywood. As such, only the current Hollywood calendar works within the Animation.
In the immediate aftermath of the Big One, President Chambers declared a state of emergency and assumed sweeping new powers. Because of the alterations to the timeline, he argued, it was impossible to determine his term limits or if it was even an election year, and therefore he would continue to be president in perpetuity until such a point that a proper calendar could be re-established.
As the Golden Age ended with the Big One, the years since have been dubbed the Modern Era, as exciting new anachronisms bring Hollywood into what could possibly have been a new century at some point.