February 5 - Move Hollywood and Broadway to Lebanon, PA, Day

Posted on February 5, 2019

Move Hollywood and Broadway to Lebanon, PA, Day??

This is obviously not a major holiday. Not a public holiday, when governmental buildings and public schools are closed. Not a serious holiday, at all.

It's apparently just someone's idea of a joke. 

(Ha, ha?)

But, like all jokes, it's also an opportunity to ask, Why are things located where they are?

First, Lebanon, Pennsylvania, is a perfectly fine little town, with its 25,000 residents and its completely odd custom of
dropping a 12-foot, 150-pound bologna every New Year's Eve as the countdown proceeds to the New Year's Day.

Honestly, it doesn't even look like bologna!
But it's encased in a metal holder so that the
meat can be later donated.

But, with so few residents and only a handful of hotels, Lebanon, PA, is not going to be able to be the city of culture, of musicals and plays and museums and shows, that New York City is. (NYC has more than 8,623,000 residents - so about 8,600,000 more people! - than Lebanon. And it has hundreds of hotels!) 

Broadway is a road in NYC, and since it runs through the section of Midtown Manhattan that's called the Theatre District (also the "Great White Way") because there are so many play and show venues built there, we tend to use the term "Broadway" for the district:

"Have you ever acted on Broadway?"
"Are you going to see something on Broadway, while you're in New York?"
"They say the neon lights are bright.../ On Broadway..."

So that provides one answer to the question "why are things where they are?": Because of the size of the population needed...

The place name "Hollywood," of course, has stretched to mean a whole lot more than what the name originally meant -a boulevard and a neighborhood in Los Angeles - in a similar way. This Southern Californian neighborhood is where several movie studios located back in the early 1900s, but the name has become the synonym for the entire movie industry!

"I want to be discovered by Hollywood!" 
"Hollywood reacted quickly to the tragedy." 
"I'll be a star that shines / I can make the whole world mine / Hollywood / It feels so good..."
Hollywood is located in So Cal because of the weather. Did you already know that?

When the movie industry was first starting, the East Coast had a lot more bad weather than film crews and outdoor shots could stand. But Florida and Texas, where there was a lot more sunshine, also had a lot of humidity and damaging tropical storms. 

Movie making legend Cecil DeMille was leading his movie crew out to Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1913, wanting to take advantage of its more than average amounts of sun...but Flagstaff is almost 7,000 feet in altitude, and it was chilly. So DeMille kept going to Southern California.

And he discovered that there was about 320 days per year of good weather - 

Aaaaand the rest is history!

So the answer to "location, location, location?" may be size of a place, in population, or it may be weather. Here are a few more possible answers:

  • A natural feature. The Grand Canyon is where it is - of course tourists are going to flock to it!
  • Compromise. The U.S. capital, Washington, D.C., is located between Maryland and Virginia as a compromise between those who wanted the capital to be located in the industrial north and those who wanted it to be located in a place more friendly to agricultural (and, sadly, slave-holding) interests.

  • Transportation. A lot of cities and civilizations arose where they did because of ease of transportation in that area. The ancient civilizations of Sumer and Egypt and India and China all arose on river banks. The ancient empires of Phoenicia and Greece and Rome developed around the Mediterranean Sea. Moving goods and people in these places was easier and faster by water than they would have been on huge tracks of riverless land.
  • Historical fluke. Woodstock was held on Max Yasgur's farm in New York state after a whole bunch of other possible venues turned down their chance at history because they didn't want 50,000 hippies swarming over their neighborhood. (Actually, more than 400,000 people actually attended!!)

  • There are probably loads of other reasons why things are located where they are located. Can you suggest one?

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