Archives On The Air 149: The Nervous Wreck—Al Christie Papers

May 8, 2019

Al Christie created one of the first permanent film studios in Hollywood in 1911. His partner wanted their studio in Florida, but Al won a coin toss and they went to Hollywood.

The studio was in an old roadhouse. They paid the woman next door to dry her laundry at night to avoid shadows from her laundry.

They made three short films a week: a comedy, a drama and a western. Christie wrote the scripts at home and directed them the next day.

Filmmakers in early Hollywood had to be resourceful. The studio borrowed props and furniture from Christie's mom. Christie also reused extras. In one film about the civil war he had extras march in circles to simulate an army. Then they put on confederate uniforms and marched the other way.

Al Christie's studio records and photos of his film The Nervous Wreck can be seen at UW's American Heritage Center.