Los Angeles: 1929.
100 pp of typed documents and an additional 50 album leaves mounted with approximately 50 photographs (various sizes and processes), and various documents. Folio. Limp leatherette with title and recipient name stamped in gilt to upper cover. Large black quarter morocco clamshell box, gilt. Item #302295
"It is proposed that a COMPLETE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS be opened to the public on a fifty cent admission basis, which is to be properly laid out as an attractive Zoological and Botanical Garden with the finest and largest private collection of animals, birds and reptiles to be seen anywhere on the continent..."
The advent of the motion picture industry in California had many wide-ranging ramifications on the business world and one was that it created a new market for firms who traditionally supplied animals to circuses and zoos (both public and private, owned by the likes of William Randolph Hearst).
This archive is a report by the Investment Auditors of California for the Horne Corporation that was looking to expand by establishing a zoological garden in the environs of Los Angeles. The Horne Corporation was the largest and most successful of its type at the time, apparently the only company in the US that could completely outfit a circus with both animals and show equipment. They were to purchase the Los Angeles Zoological Garden and Jungle Studio (for $250,000) and thereby sought to provide a similarly complete service to the film studios with both animals and suitable locations for film sets.
The head of the company, I.S. Horne, for whom this report was compiled, commenced trading in animals from Kansas City (MO) around 1914. The range of animals at the their disposal included big game, birds, reptiles and many of the documents concern the prospect of importing reindeer from Alaska.
The material is held in a presentation album and includes the certificate of incorporation in Wilmington, Delaware, May 13, 1929, as well as the by-laws of the corporation, minutes of the first meeting, the proposal for Los Angeles Zoological Garden and Jungle Studio and a balance sheet. At this stage the company had total assets of $57,700, & liabilities of $625,388.46; an enumeration of the various animals in inventory including wildebeest, sables, leopard, lynx, Rhodesian baboons, bushbaby, and a large aardvark.
Of real interest are the plans for the park, including artist's impressions, which would be furnished with circus attractions, "Monkey Island", jungle setting for motion pictures, and an acknowledgment that "before the introduction of the motion picture industry, the art of showmanship was not quite so highly developed as it is today..." In fact, one of the first pictures they supplied animals for was — appropriately enough — Trader Horn, which was nominated for the 1931 Academy Award for Best Picture.
On a more practical level, there is a "Descriptive Classification of Principal Commercial Wild Animals" which lists 340 different animals in some details. There is also an account of hunting wild animals in East Africa as well as a section on animals that have been trained to hunt by man. Furthermore there is also much correspondence which provides much insight into the game industry, its clients and the prospects for its future.
Horne’s venture subsequently became known as the World Jungle Compound, in Thousand Oaks, California, eventually being acquired by 20th Century Fox studios. This archive is a record of a new phase of the entertainment industry.
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