Central Casting was established in 1925 initially as a wing of the major Hollywood movie studios, specifically the Association of Motion Picture Producers. The company focused solely on casting extras, with members being required to register and to check on a daily basis whether work was available. By 1929, Central Casting had 17,541 extras on its books.
During the 1940s, Central Casting began dividing its extras into four categories - "atmosphere", "character", "dress" and "specialized". By the 1970s they came to dominate the field of extras casting, although only 2,200 extras were registered with the service by 1976. Later that year the company ceased to be a service for the studios and was acquired by Production Payments.
In April 2006, Central Casting opened its New York division.
The name of this company has developed into a jargon term denoting a provider of generic or a stereotypical character type for film or television. The term has also been adopted outside of the film industry. For example, a person who happens to strongly match a particular stereotype could be said to be "straight out of central casting".
- Anthony Slide (2014). The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. Routledge. p. 35.
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