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Q&A: Was Jacksonville the first Hollywood?

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, by the former leader of communist China, is the most-reproduced political book of all time.

Associated Press (1966)

Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong, by the former leader of communist China, is the most-reproduced political book of all time.

Jacksonville first Hollywood?

I've been told by my elders that Jacksonville was on the road to being our "movie capital" until they all shoved off for California. Why? I would enjoy some facts concerning this.

You may want to look for the book The First Hollywood: Florida and the Golden Age of Silent Filmmaking by Shawn C. Bean. It notes that by 1914, 15 major companies — including Fox and Metro Pictures, the precursor to MGM — had set up shop in Jacksonville.

Blessed with lots of sunshine and with diverse architecture suitable for different kinds of movies, Jacksonville played host to hundreds of films, says the University Press of Florida, publisher of Bean's book. Director D. W. Griffith, Mary Pickford and the Barrymores all made movies in Florida. But the publisher says competition from California and "political upheaval, simmering racial tensions, disease, and World War I" led to the decline of Jacksonville as a movie center.

For more information about the author and the book, see shawnbean.com/shawn-bean/ the-first-hollywood.

Political figures' book sales

Recently released figures show that President Barack Obama received almost $2.5 million in royalties in 2008. This was presumably for his two books, Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. How does Obama's total compare to sales of books by other political figures, especially Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy?

Specific dollar figures are hard to come by, but records of the New York Times Best Seller List show Profiles, published in 1956, had an 89-week run, while the best either of Obama's books managed was 30 weeks for 2006's The Audacity of Hope.

The most-reproduced political book of all time is Quotations from Chairman Mao Zedong — the "Little Red Book" that was standard issue for the Chinese proletariat during the Mao era. Estimates are that more than 800 million copies have been printed.

Are bills worth more than $1?

I've been collecting dollar bills from years past where the treasurer of the U.S. was Kathryn O'Hay Granahan, and I was told that these dollar bills would be very valuable one day since she was only treasurer for a short time. I'm curious if these dollar bills have any more than face value.

Hang onto anything long enough and it may eventually become rare enough to be valuable. But collectors say that even though Granahan's 1963-66 tenure as treasurer was relatively brief, such immense numbers of dollar bills are issued each year that her signature alone is not enough to ensure collectibility. Far more important, they say, is the condition of the bills — if they're minty fresh, they are more likely to attract collector interest.

Q&A: Was Jacksonville the first Hollywood? 06/25/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 25, 2009 5:30am]

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