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From Palisades To Hollywood Hills: Fort Lee, Film Perfect Together

While Thomas Edison is best-known for inventing the lightbulb, it's often forgotten that he also set up the world's first movie studio, in Fort Lee, NJ. From: AERIAL AMERICA: New Jersey
While Thomas Edison is best-known for inventing the lightbulb, it's often forgotten that he also set up the world's first movie studio, in Fort Lee, NJ. From: AERIAL AMERICA: New Jersey Video Credit: Smithsonian Channel
In 1791, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton needed to establish an "industrial city" to power the nation's economy. He found the perfect place in northern New Jersey. From: AERIAL AMERICA: New Jersey
In 1791, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton needed to establish an "industrial city" to power the nation's economy. He found the perfect place in northern New Jersey. From: AERIAL AMERICA: New Jersey Video Credit: Smithsonian Channel

FORT LEE, N.J.– The Smithsonian Channel show "Aerial America" will highlight Fort Lee's impact on the film industry.

The show's 51st episode centers on New Jersey as a whole but discusses the borough "where some of Hollywood's biggest studios began," according to the show's website . "Without Fort Lee, there would be no Hollywood."

It's often forgotten that inventor Thomas Edison set up the world's first movie studio in the borough, the episode mentions.

Some other tidbits: The Champion Film Company, one of the country's first production studios, was built there in 1909. Universal and Fox Studios also got their start in Fort Lee.

The film industry may have started in Fort Lee, but industry itself may have began in Passaic County, as the show explored.

"In 1791, Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton needed to establish an 'industrial city' to power the nation's economy. He found the perfect place in northern New Jersey" in Paterson, a voiceover states.

Some other things you may not have known about "Silk City" according to the show: Paterson was home to the state's first water-powered cotton mill and the world's first factory to turn out a continuous roll of paper.

The Colt revolver and steam engines were also produced in the city.

"This epic series offers rare glimpses of our nation's most treasured landmarks, all seen from breathtaking heights," according to the Smithsonian Channel website. "From busy cityscapes to quiet landscapes, we capture the history and the pageantry of our amazing country, which is as diverse as the people who occupy it."

The Garden State episode is scheduled to air Aug. 30 at 10 a.m.

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