From 1913 through 1918, Long Beach, California, was home to the largest independent film company in the world, the largely forgotten Balboa Studio. Founder Herbert M. Horkheimer bought the studio from Edison Company in 1913, and by 1915 Balboa's expenses exceeded $2,500 a day and its output hit 15,500 feet of film per week. Bert Bracken, Fatty Arbuckle, Henry King, Baby Marie Osborne, Thomas Ince, and William Desmond Taylor began their careers with the studio.
In 1918, Horkheimer stunned the industry by declaring bankruptcy, shutting down Balboa, and walking away from moviemaking. The closing of the studio effectively ended Long Beach's runs as a major film location and left many wondering about the true reasons behind Horkheimer's decision. Most of Balboa's films have been lost, and little has until now been written about the studio. This book first explores the history of filmmaking in Long Beach and then fully details the story of Balboa. The extensive filmography includes length, copyright date when available, cast and credits, and a plot summary.