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The Father of Hollywood

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  11 ratings  ·  8 reviews
The world has been fascinated by Hollywood, California, for years. The glamour, the sophistication, the scandal-the world can't help but follow the happenings of this incredible city. It is a city where stories are created, stories that come to life on a screen and allow viewers the chance to escape their everyday lives for a bit. But few people know the story of how Holly ...more
Paperback, 350 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Tate Publishing & Enterprises (first published November 6th 2006)
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Charlene Intriago
This is the story of H J Whitley who was called by many "The Father of Hollywood" because of his fundamental role in the creation of the city of Hollywood. The author, HJ Whitley's great granddaughter, uses the diaries and extensive writings of her great grandmother Gigi (HJ's wife) to recount from Gigi's point of view the story of their lives together. It took me a couple of chapters to adjust to that first person writing style, but once I did I found this book fascinating and so filled with hi ...more
V Matteson
The author is the great-granddaughter of HJ Whitley. She uses her great-grandmother's personal journals along with some letters from both of them to narrate the story. Gigi was HJ's second wife. She married him when he was around 40 and she was 18. Her youth and naivete are readily apparent in the prose that it is used. I think the author was smart to leave it as Gigi wrote it as it gives the reader a better idea of the attitudes and standards of women and men to women and society and men and wo ...more
B. Dravis
Hobart J. Whitley was undoubtedly a visionary; a man ahead of the times. He not only developed 140 cities during his lifetime, he is the man who foresaw a lovely city near Los Angeles and used his considerable resources to develop and nurture it. He named his city Hollywood because ... Well, it's a humorous anecdote, so I'll let the author tell it in her own words; one of the most humorous lines in this book.

The author is the great-granddaughter of H.J. and she wrote this book from journals of
Beth Cholette
The title of this book refers to Hobart Johnstone "HJ" Whitley, the primary developer of Hollywood and many other towns in the American west in the late 1900s. HJ Whitley was author Gaelyn Whitley Keith's great-grandfather, but Keith chooses to write the book from the perspective of her great-grandmother, Gigi. With the help of Gigi's journals, Keith uses the first-person voice to take on her great-grandmother's persona and to offer an account that is part memoir, part history, and part love sto ...more
D Fowler
Hobart Johnstone Whitley was a young man who had faced tragedy time and time again. Four of his six siblings perished during a cholera epidemic when he was a boy and his parents died in a tragic accident when he was barely eighteen years of age. The unwieldly hand of fate touched once again to take his young wife and infant daughter. Anyone of lesser character would have fallen into an abyss of depression or lost their way in life, but somehow misfortune made him stronger and more determined tha ...more
Kathy W
I want to begin by explaining that this is NOT a book about Hollywood, but Hollywood is a big part of this man's story. This 345 page book from 2010 brings us the story of the visionary land developer who developed towns along the midwest railroad and later developed Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Set primarily in the times surrounding 1870 to 1931, we touch a lot of history while reading about H.J., his wife Gigi, their children, and their friends, Teddy Roosevelt, Sid Grauman -- Grauma ...more
The Father of Hollywood, written by Gaelyn Whitley Keith, is an ambitious work that details the life and times of the author’s great-grandparents, Hobart Johnstone "H.J." Whitley and Margaret Virginia Ross "Gigi" Whitley. The book is written largely from the first-person perspective of Gigi herself and contains actual excerpts from Gigi’s personal diaries.

The Father of Hollywood begins by telling the story of HJ’s tragic early years when he experienced the loss of both parents and most of his si
Kimberly Johnson
I had trouble getting started with it but once they were settled in Hollywood it kept my attention. I grew up near that area so I was familiar with what she was talking about. I enjoyed reading the history of Hollywood & I am in awe of HJ's vision.
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