Back at my old film school, they made sure we knew where the structure of all aspects of filmmaking came from in order to better understand and appreciate what we do today with it. From editing on reel to reels and Steenbecks to filming on super 8 and sixteen to studying the works of Sturges and Hawks and Griffith and Welles and such, we knew our history. And thus appreciated that much more when we got to work with more advanced materials.
Yes, our screenplays were ALL written on typewriters and eventually Microsoft Word. And so when I sat down in front of my computer on my first job and had access to Script Thing… it was like the heavens parted! Go ahead and look up Script Thing, it was the original screenplay software working off DOS before Final Draft came into play. I still have the floppys.
Long story short (which is the essence of screenwriting, isn’t it?), this article and video tell a great tale of the progress of scriptwriting as well as how the structure of the modern studio system came into effect. Enjoy!