COBWEB CORNERS: Alexander Industries’ film side

By Mel McFarland

       Alexander Industries had two factories, and the airplane factory was most of the business when it moved to town in the late 1920s. But the company had a film side that really grew when it relocated. As the airplane factory took shape, many of the rooms and business buildings that were rented became empty again. The one part of the Alexander business that remained in Colorado City the longest was the film side.
       Alexander Film Company and several associated businesses moved into offices all along Colorado Avenue. Representa-tives from the major California film companies could be found in offices in some of those spaces. Alexander filmed some short feature movies in the area, but it was best known later for commercial work. Many of the early ones were shown in movie theaters, and later ones were shown on television.
       The shops in Colorado City housed mainly artists who worked on illustrations used in the films. A couple of buildings were used to actually do the filming. One shop was the home of the developing lab, while several were business offices. In a year or so, these were all moved near the factory on North Nevada. While in Colorado City, the shops along Colorado Avenue saw a real boom in activity at a time when it was really needed.
       The little cafes, grocery stores, even furniture stores saw a real upsurge in activity. Houses in the area were again in demand and several new ones were started. The coming of the Alexander Film business to Colorado City gave a serious stimulus to all the area businesses. When the plant finally moved, many of the people remained residents of the Westside.
       Colorado City was featured in some of the first movies filmed in Colorado back in 1903. Trains in Ute Pass, on Pikes Peak, and in Cripple Creek were subjects of early films shown all over in early theaters. Unfortunately, none of these films has been found so far, but that does not take away from our town's part in the movie industry.