Chicago-- The Non-Theatrical Film Capital of the World
Los Angeles became the center of theatrical filmmaking in the United States for two basic reasons. At a time when filmmaking was still an open-air affair, it offered almost unlimited sunshine. It also was sufficiently far away from New York and the legal machinery of the Motion Picture Patents Company that, through patent controls, sought to monopolize the industry and squash competition by any means, fair or foul.
Just as the choice for the film industry capital of America was between New York and Los Angeles, the competition for the production headquarters of non-theatrical filmmaking was between Chicago and Detroit. The overriding influence on the producers' decision as to where to base their operations was proximity to clients. The Jam Handy Organization relocated from Chicago to Detroit because a major client, General Motors, was there; and so anxious was Handy to impress the client that he even installed a projection room in the General Motors Building so that its executives need not leave the premises in order to approve the latest sponsored production. Wilding Picture Productions had already been established in Detroit for no apparent reason, but according to Arthur Edwin Krows,
"Wilding still made the better choice. Chicago was primarily a marketplace. Detroit, on the other hand, commanded the greatest heavy manufacturing section in the country."
Arguing in favor of Detroit, Krows continued,