William Selig

William Selig
Marc Wanamaker / Bison Archives


William Selig
Film: South side of the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Inventor | Producer
Born March 14, 1864 in Chicago, Ill.
Died July 16, 1948 in Koreatown, CA

Col. William N. Selig was a pioneer developer of the motion picture industry who made California film history in 1907 with his "Count of Monte Cristo."

Much of the film was produced on a roof top in downtown Los Angeles. Prior to this film, Col. Selig invented the Selig standard camera and the Selig polyscope, a projector. As a result of his inventions, he was involved in several suits with Thomas A. Edison over patent rights.

During the filming of the first Hollywood serial in 1913, Col. Selig used wild animals on the screen for the first time. To maintain his animals, he established the famous landmark, Selig's Zoopark, on N. Mission Road in Lincoln Park.

The zoo was closed in 1940.

Col. Selig was prominent in the introduction of famous personalities to the screen. Among these was Tom Mix, whom he starred in Ranch Life of the Great Southwest" in 1910.

Among other firsts claimed by Col. Selig was the initial production of an all-color film in 1912, "The Coming of Columbus." To produce this picture, scenes were taken of the tree vessels in Chicago's Jackson Park—the Nine, Pinta and Santa Maria. They were brought to America from Italy to participate in Chicago's World's Fair of 1893.

The Columbus film was taken to Paris, where it was hand-tinted. Col. Selig presented a print of the film to Pope Pius X, who gave him a special medal in recognition of his achievement.

Subsequently Col. Selig organized a newsreel and in 1914 produced "The Spoilers," in which a brutal fight was feature on the screen.

He was honored in March 1948 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with a special Oscar.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1947 Special Award Win

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