Now often forgotten, Thomas Ince was a giant in the early days of silent films. He began directing shorts in 1911 and was particularly known for his Westerns, many starring cowboy star William S. Hart.
After directing the 1916 film Civilization he focused mostly on producing and supervising. He was a partner with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett in the Triangle Film Corporation.
When Harry Culver saw filmmaker Thomas Ince shooting one of his famous western movies "on location" on Ballona Creek, he enticed Ince to move his studio to Culver City.
Ince normally used the Los Angeles River, but this film required a smaller waterway for his painted Indians in a canoe.
He bought a piece of La Ballona Rancho from E. P. Clark in September 1915; originally a small portion of Macedonio Aguilar's allotment, lying at Washington Boulevard at Sixth Street.
Triangle was one of the first vertically integrated film companies. By combining production, distribution, and theater operations under one roof, the partners created the most dynamic studio in Hollywood.
They attracted the greatest directors and stars of the day, including Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., and produced some of the most enduring films of the silent era, including the Keystone Kops comedy franchise.
Originally a distributor of NYMP, Reliance Motion Picture Corp., Majestic Motion Picture Co., and Keystone Film Co. films, by November 1916 the company's distribution was handled by Triangle Distributing Corporation.
Ince is also known for his untimely 1924 death aboard the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; officially he died of heart trouble, but Hollywood rumor of the time suggested he had been shot by Hearst in a dispute over actress Marion Davies