When we think of Hollywood’s heyday, we’re often recalling those classics of the 1930s and ’40s that many of us watched long after they were shown in the theater. From King Kong and It Happened One Night to Casablanca and Citizen Kane, the films of the industry’s golden era still enchant and entertain. And it’s not just the movies themselves that have stood the test of time. We’re still captivated by the era’s shining stars, be it the love story of Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, the bubbly innocence of Shirley Temple, or the rugged good looks of Clark Gable.
Some film historians believe that Hollywood’s golden age was ushered in by the silent films that gave us Charlie Chaplin’s Tramp and the improvisational comedy of the Marx Brothers. Others say it was 1927’s The Jazz Singer that kicked off the era, by introducing the wonder of the “talkies.” One thing is for sure: Each exciting new production found an ever-growing audience, worn down by the harsh realities of war and the Great Depression, that couldn’t get enough of the sophisticated characters, slapstick humor, swoon-worthy romances, and faraway locales that only Hollywood could deliver. For those of us who still can’t get enough of the fascinating world of Hollywood, here are six fun facts about filmmaking’s glitziest era.