Thomas Edison was a jerk. In the early 1900s, he and a group of other early technological pioneers of recorded film attempted to monopolize the movie industry, using furious litigation and the literal hiring of thugs to batter down any rogue filmmakers unaffiliated with his group. Edison claimed that "Jewish profiteers" had stolen his patent and gotten rich off it by promoting "smut" across America, referring to the comparatively racier films that non-Edison filmmakers would show in nickelodeons throughout poorer urban areas.

Thomas Edison
"I've studied each of the filthy frames personally ... in my back office ... after hours ..."

However, one group of filmmakers decided that they'd had enough of Edison's meddling, and simply moved as far away from him as possible -- to California. The judges there didn't care as much about Edison and his silly little patents as those back in New Jersey, and in the time that it would take for people to cross the country and read those independent filmmakers their rights, the patents would expire.

Edison tried to sue Carl Laemmle, founder of Universal Pictures, 289 times, and remained unsuccessful with this venture until his death (that 290th time, though, he REALLY might've had a case). Other individuals who fought Edison's group (both legally and literally) and then moved west included the founders of 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Paramount, MGM, and Loews Theaters. So in a very direct way, the greed of the "Wizard of Menlo Park" led to the creation of Hollywood as we know it. And long story short, that's why we have 27 Minions films.

Hollywood Arose From Thomas Edison's Defeat
Thomas Edison
Considering one of his first films was Boxing Cats, that may actually be close to what he had envisioned for the medium.

Joke's on Edison, nowadays we have digital projectors! Boom!

Support Cracked's journalism with a visit to our Contribution Page.

For more, check out The Pistol Shrimp Is Louder Than A Gunshot and The Secret History Of The French Horse-Butt Sniper.

Follow us on Facebook for more cool facts like this.

Join the Cracked Movie Club

Expand your movie and TV brain--get the weekly Cracked Movie Club newsletter!


Forgot Password?