Paramount was created in 1912 by movie theater owner Adolph Zukor, who took a stylistic departure from the era's short nickelodeon films of that time, which were popular with working class immigrants, and produced long-form film versions of stage plays in the hopes of engaging America's middle class. Zukor's plan worked and Paramount eventually launched brilliant careers for long-form movie stars like Rudolph Valentino, Gloria Swanson, director Cecil B. DeMille, Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, the Marx Brothers, Bob Hope and many more.
The studio also found great success in television, especially with the Star Trek franchise, and made celebrities of studio heads like Robert Evans (who fostered blockbusters like Love Story, Chinatown and The Godfather), Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Sherry Lansing; the latter remains the only woman to have ever run a major American motion picture studio. Since the 1990s, Paramount has partnered with multimedia conglomerate Viacom and animation studio DreamWorks, making it one of the most diverse entertainment companies in the world.
In addition to its media offerings, Paramount is popular for its studio tours. Available Monday to Friday (except on major holidays) for visitors ages 12 and older, these golf cart-chauffeured tours last between 2 to 4.5 hours, and include historical anecdotes and visits to famous sound stages.