The story of the origin of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has been told before, but it’s been nicely re-told by David Thomson in this 2.21 Vanity Fair piece. The Academy was basically Louis B. Mayer‘s idea — essentially a p.r. initiative that Mayer hoped would combat the growing influence of Hollywood trade unions. But the basic idea for the Academy was hatched as a result of Mayer’s having contracted MGM carpenters in early 1926 to build him a Santa Monica beach house. It was constructed in six weeks. Mayer lived there until 1944. The home remains today at 625 Palisades Beach Road, Santa Monica, CA 90402. The residence was sold in 1956 to Peter Lawford, and it was here that President Kennedy enjoyed at least one tryst with Marilyn Monroe. (The Movieland Directory has the address wrong, by the way.)