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Episode One: Peepshow Pioneers (1889-1907)
Remind Me

Episode 1: Peepshow Pioneers (1889-1907)
Monday Nov. 1 at 8 pm ET & 11 pm ET
Wednesday Nov. 3 at 10 pm ET
Saturday Nov. 6 at noon ET
Monday Nov. 8 at 7 pm ET

As America was transformed by the arrival of millions of immigrants in the 1890s, the first generation of American filmmakers joined with other innovators and entrepreneurs to create a bright new entertainment form that would transform the world. Thomas Edison perfected a device called the Kinetoscope that made pictures move, for one viewer at a time. In France, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière brought scenes of everyday life to the screen for a large audience, while the magician Georges Méliès created startling visual effects on film and Alice Guy Blaché became the first female film director. In the U.S., moviemaking in these early days was concentrated in New York, New Jersey and Chicago. Working for Edison, Edwin S. Porter created one of the first films to tell a complete story, The Great Train Robbery (1903). In 1905 Adolph Zukor (later to found Paramount Pictures) and Marcus Loew (who would create a major theater chain) established theatres to show movies, called Nickelodeons. Edison meanwhile joined forces with investors and equipment manufacturers, including Eastman Kodak, to establish the Motion Picture Patents Company and demand royalties from other filmmakers. Many defied this demand, including German immigrant Carl Laemmle, who formed his own production company, IMP, in 1909 and went on to establish Universal Pictures Company, Inc. in a rural hamlet of Southern California called ... Hollywood!