A favorite locale of such film pioneers as D. W. Griffith and Mary Pickford, the historic borough of Fort Lee was the first center of the American motion picture industry. Studios lined both sides of Main Street, and enormous film laboratories fed the nickelodeon market with thousands of reels of comedies and cliffhangers. Broadway stars and producers came here to make many of their first feature-length films; but by the 1920s, Theda Bara, Fatty Arbuckle, and Douglas Fairbanks were gone. Yet even after the studios closed down, the film industry was still the backbone of the local economy, with hundreds working behind the scenes in the printing, storage, and distribution of movies being made in Hollywood.
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