RKO Pictures was an American film production and distribution company. Over the next few years, Desilu TV shows such as “The Untouchables,” “The Texan,” “Whirlybirds” and “Sheriff of Cochise” used the backlot settings. RKO was also a major breeding ground for talent and innovation, from releasing Becky Sharp, the first full three-strip Technicolor feature film, to championing screwball comedy with Bringing Up Baby, fine-tuning the art of B-movies and producing a fine run in film noir. Hepburn would return to Hollywood before too long though, with The Philadelphia Story up her sleeve and a long-standing partnership with Spencer Tracy (both on and off-screen) to look forward to at MGM. Bordered by Louise on the West, Balboa Park on the East, Burbank Boulevard on the South and Oxnard on the North, the property covered approximately 89 acres. Barney Balaban (Paramount): So boringly professional he’s mostly known for creating a system of theater chains and being character actor Bob Balaban’s uncle as opposed to anything he did as a studio head. A rail line ran through the property and was occasionally used for filming. Just northeast of the giant Sony Sony/M-G-M Studios, you'll find the smaller, but equally historic Culver Studios.Over the years, this film lot has been home to such names as RKO, Laird, Howard Hughes, and Desilu studios.. One person found this helpful. By 1957 RKO was all but defunct as a production-distribution entity, and its actual demise came that year with the purchase of the studio lot by Desilu, the successful TV series producer owned by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who had once been under contract to RKO. Because of that, the whole undertaking seemed to smear RKO’s reputation more than that of other studios, as Communist paranoia truly took hold in Hollywood, turning friends against one another and destroying careers. But the scandal seemed to ignite his fandom, and RKO capitalised on it by making him travel around the country on a promotional tour, and rushing out his next two films – Rachel and the Stranger and The Red Pony. RKO's current incarnation, RKO Pictures LLC, has been active since 1989. Here he found the 22-inch Kong armature of the Kong miniature model he had first set eyes on in 1949. The kind of trouble that could easily ruin stardom during these days, Mitchum spent a week in county jail. Gallery: 20 most iconic movie catchphrases (Espresso). His conviction was eventually over-turned in 1951, when it was revealed to have been a set-up to catch multiple Hollywood figures. As David Fincher’s Mank is due to recount, iconic movie Citizen Kane – a film on which RKO would later cement its reputation as a heavyweight in Hollywood (sometimes) – suffered a stormy production period. Watch: Citizen Kane is one of the biggest Oscar snubs ever. 1928. Lots of details on movies that made money and many that did not for the studio. With a growing list of production chiefs passing through, there was never enough time (and certainly rarely enough budget) for almost any of them to take charge and consistently deliver high-quality films. The Studio lot is now 62.7 acres. The ranch property was sold in 1954 to the Encino Park housing development. Studio Backlots and Ranches has 3,054 members. In 1994, the entire studio was bought by … The exteriors of most Hollywood studios are … Here is a basic primer on the six studios whose movies continue to pack audiences into theaters. RKO filmed "Citizen Kane"on this lot. In fact, some are over a century old—and the others are quickly reaching that centennial mark. 1924. I was going through some of my old photos and came across one that someone took of me with Paramount Studios historical consultant, ... Before it was Desilu it was RKO Studios. Its certified classics have exploded in popularity in the intervening years, but they didn’t necessarily bring home the bacon when it was most needed by RKO. RKO is one of the oldest continuously operating movie studios, and occupies a unique place in the history of film making. The motion picture studio seen in the film is in fact the old RKO studio lot, now part of Paramount Pictures studio lot. Above is a photo of where Lucille Ball's office was when this was Desilu Studios. Read more: Why Akira is one of the greatest animations ever. However, the winning combination of her and Cary Grant in 1938’s delightful screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby, somehow fell flat. Nov 20, 2013 - The once great film studio is long gone but its history and library remain. 5.0 out of 5 stars I loved the book. A rail line ran through the property and was occasionally used for filming. In 1930, often quoted as the year which marked the emergence of the so-called ‘studio system’, RKO was the most recently confirmed major studio and arguably the one with the least prestigious background. Location of the famed RKO backlot ranch where Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life" starring Jimmy Stewart was shot as well as the classic "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" starring Charles Laughton. on the south, and Oxnard on the north, all in the city of Encino. RKO filmed "Citizen Kane" on this lot. Very little is mentioned on the Sony studio tours of the MGM era. Built as Robertson-Cole Studios in 1919, and changed its name to FBO (Film Booking Office) in 1922, and occupied by Better Pictures Service in 1923. it was bought Joseph P. Kennedy (father of president John F. Kennedy) in 1926. The lot was acquired by the Sony Corporation as part of its Culver City expansion. November 8, 1977 Star Wars opened to amazing reviews and instantly became a worldwide phenomenon. If you want to know about the MGM years you usually have to ask. RKO Studios was once located at the southwest corner of the Paramount lot (you can still see their giant globe there today), but it was eventually absorbed into the Paramount lot. Similar fates had befallen RKO and Columbia. RKO Pictures’ main problem, throughout its tumultuous thirty-year production period, was a lack of steady and constant leadership. Now it is part of the Paramount Studios lot. George Bailey’s “drafty old house” in It’s a Wonderful Life (above) was part of the sprawling Bedford Falls set covering 4 acres on RKO Studios’ back lot. Read more.. A Late Quartet. 1957 - RKO Studios became the Desilu lot. RKO Encino Ranch 40 Acres - The Lost Studio Backlot of Movie & Television Fame - The Early Years 40 Acres - The Lost Studio Backlot of Movie & Television Fame - The Early Years Hogans Heroes Star Trek Episodes Chicago Street Adventures Of Superman The Andy Griffith Show Film Studio Mission Impossible Gone With The Wind La La Land There was also a lot of forgettable filler between these great films – movies like The Monkey’s Paw and Carnival Story – and misfires like Mourning Becomes Electra. Unfortunately, a corporate shake-up following Koerner’s death left Lewton unemployed and, in ill health himself, he was dead by 1951. Hughes was also a difficult character, battling OCD as well as interests outside of movie-making – namely aviation and attempting to seduce, control and essentially own multiple leading ladies. RKO until 1958 when it was sold to Desilu. Read more. Alongside its bankable stars, the studio welcomed Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin to Hollywood to work on the music for Astaire-Rogers vehicles, Willis O’Brien to wield his special-effects magic on King Kong, Walter Plunkett to furnish its stars with his lavish and iconic costumes, and Max Steiner to begin a musical output that still inspires composers for film today. Today the lot is the home of Sony Pictures Studio Columbia Tri-Star. Director: Henry Koster | Stars: Cary … At this time such films as Jet Pilot, The Big Sky and Androcles and the Lion were also shot on the RKO 40-Acres. Now available DVD & BluRay. (Photo by RKO Pictures/Courtesy of Getty Images), Orson Welles standing on stacks of newspapers in a scene from the film 'Citizen Kane', 1941. The studio seemed to attract an enormous pile of talent, both in front of and behind the camera. RKO acquires the studios and controls it for years bringing stardom to Bette Davis, Robert Mitchum, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Charles Koerner came on board to lead RKO through the box-office boom of World War II, offering strong direction with a new focus on hiring in major stars that the studio currently lacked, either on a freelance basis or on loan from other major studios that held their contracts. In 1965, for the epic film, The Greatest Story Ever Told, several more sets were built among the many already there. The studio would limp on until early 1957, before production was permanently shut down. While not considered a major studio at the time due to its focus on family films, Disney was still able to snatch up significant market share with films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mary Poppins . Director Pandro Berman seemed to agree, declaring that RKO “made almost anything and everything”, with no over-arching house style to keep the studio in a particular box. Directors Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, Howard Hawks and female pioneer Ida Lupino all produced excellent work at RKO. While Peter Jackson owns a small portion of the stop-motion models used for the original King Kong film, he’s not likely to be able to pair them with a scale model of New York.
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