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“An announcement to the trade that will prove a big surprise to the trades will be made next week” – Not!

In 1922 the Weiss Brothers purchased U.S. rights to a rather uninspired 52-reel Italian epic, “La Bibbia” (Appia Nuova/1920), supposedly filmed in Egypt and Palestine.   Artclass already had it in circulation  through National Non-Theatrical Pictures, Inc., as “The Holy Bible in Motion Pictures,” in 30 separate reels, each telling a specific Biblical story, serialized to schools and churches on a one-per-week basis.

Artclass cut it down to 11 reels and re-titled it “After Six Days,” accompanied with an elaborate ad campaign touting, “A Weiss Production” and “A $3,000,000 entertainment for the hundred millions.”  Although it was technically crude, Louis said he had “proof” it cost at least $1 million!

The release plan was to play at distinguished legit houses which offered stage presentations, as well as road show films.  Six weeks went by as they attempted to secure a Broadway booking, including bids for The Astor, Metropolitan Opera House, Gayety, Cohan and Harris, and others.  When they weren’t able to clear a date, it was decided to premier at English’s Opera House in Indianapolis on October 22, 1922, which was still a plum engagement considering the theatre had only allowed two previous motion pictures to be shown, D. W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” (Epoch/1915), and “Way Down East” (U.A./1920).  Dates followed in Minneapolis, Cleveland and Detroit.

“After Six Days” wasn’t exhibited in New York City until December 15, 1922, at the Columbia University School of Journalism in New York.  Some of the bookings that followed were the Woods, Atlantic City; Premier Theatre, Brooklyn; St. Denis Theatre, Montreal; and Ocean Grove Auditorium, Ocean Grove (N.J.) and Boston’s Tremont Temple.

Adam and Eve sequence from “After Six Days” (1922)

But there was trouble the next year.  Famous Players-Lasky accused Artclass of expanding the title to “After Six Days, Featuring Moses and the Ten Commandments,” in order to unfairly capitalize on Cecil B. DeMille version of “The Ten Commandments” (Paramount/1923), a claim supported by the “National Vigilance Committee,” who asserted the title confused the public.  The Brothers vehemently denied the charges, but went ahead and removed all reference to the offending part of the title, holding steadfast for years afterwards that they gave in on the lawsuit because they couldn’t afford a legal battle with a major studio.

“The History of the Bible in Motion Pictures” single reel versions continued playing non-theatrically through the 1920s.  Also, in the late 1940s Adrian announced a ten-part series of two-reel 16mm sound versions under the series title, “The Epic of the Ages,” although I can find no record that they were ever actually produced.  “After Six Days” proved to be an evergreen for Artclass, and was reissued in the early 1930s in a 7-reel sound (music, narration and effects) version, and in the mid-1940s, Adrian Weiss, prepared a hokey trailer in the hope of reissuing it theatrically as “An Adrian Weiss Production,” but wisely abandoned the idea.

The next Artclass release was a jungle drama, “The Woman Who Believed” (Artclass/1922). Then, controversy and legal problems rose again, this time revolving around a two-reel short, “Sawing a Lady in Half” (Clarion/1922), [aka “Sawing a Lady in Half, How It is Done,” and “Sawing a Lady in Half – Exposed,” to satisfy censorship issues in certain states] wherein magician John Coutts exposed the illusion made famous by magician Horace Goldin, whose name was synonymous with the act.  Goldin had previously obtained an injunction against another magician who performed the illusion, so Coutts modified the performance somewhat.

Goldin filed a suit anyway, claiming the movie violated, among other things, the copyright to a filmed version he supposedly deposited at the Copyright Office in 1921 [I could not find a record of any such deposit], and exhibition of the Coutt film seriously jeopardized his contract with the Keith Circuit (which was true) where he had been a consistent big draw for some time.  However, the Weiss’ lawyer successfully argued that Goldin didn’t originate the act, even arguing that the basis of the illusion could be traced back as far as 3766 B.C. Egypt, which the magic community found absurd.

However, Goldin won on appeal to the Supreme Court of New York where it was ruled that the earlier so-called comparable acts submitted by Clarion’s lawyer had little or no relationship to Goldin’s illusion, and the title of the film was an obvious attempt to capitalize on Goldin’s act, and must be changed.  This is still considered a landmark case with respect to intellectual rights to magic methods.   (In 1923 Goldin deposited a patent application for the specific device used in the illusion, that he later regretted because the illusion became part of the public record.)

Alfred Weiss (no relation) started his motion picture career in 1904, and by 1922 he was long an acknowledged VIP in the industry.  He knew the Weiss Bros. since at least 1921, when Goldwyn Pictures, to which Alfred was one of the founders, purchased Artclass’ “The Revenge of Tarzan.”

In November 1922 he announced his departure from Goldwyn to become the new President and General Manager of Artclass.  Alfred proclaimed that a slate of “high class” productions and four “big special productions” would be released annually through national distributors.

“Der müd Tod” / “Between Worlds” (1922)

The first was to be “Between Worlds” an “entirely different…great spectacle,” which turned out to be Fritz Lang’s German “Der müd Tod” aka “Destiny” (Decla-Bioscope/1921).  It had everything going against it; “arty,” no star power, produced in a country the U.S. still bitterly resented, and released by a States Rights distributor.  Nonetheless, it opened at the prestigious 4,000 seat Capitol Theatre in New York City, clearly a result of Alfred’s clout.  The film was reissued by Artclass in 1928 as “Between Two Worlds.”

 

Alfred’s boast that…a big surprise to the trades will be made next week,” never came to be, and I can find no evidence he had any involvement with the Weiss Brothers other than the one film.

Between 1924 and 1926, Artclass released almost 50 five-reel westerns.  Most were produced by Lester F. Scott, Jr.’s Action Pictures, and many starred “Buffalo Bill, Jr.” (Bill Drake) (Years later Louis Weiss purchased the name and character “Buffalo Bill, Jr.”), Wally Wales (Hal Taliaferro) and Buddy Roosevelt, with future star, Jean Arthur, often playing the romantic interest.  In 1979 I asked her about appearing in those westerns, and she quickly changed the subject.

“Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927)

They began producing their own series of one-reel shorts; “Guess Who” (1925), “The Scandal of America” (1926), “Screen Star Sports” (1926), “Radio Personalities” (1926-7), “Embarrassing Moments” (1928), and “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” (1927),  which were three-reelers.

Poodles Hanneford in “Circus Daze” (1927)

The most successful Artclass short subjects was a slate of ten separate slapstick comedy series produced between 1926-28; “Ben Turpin Comedies” and “Snub Pollard Comedies,” starring silent comedy stalwarts who by then were past their prime; low-profile comics, “Poodles Hanneford Comedies” and “Jimmy Aubrey Comedies”; and six other series, “Hairbreadth Harry Comedies,” “Winnie Winkle Comedies,” “Izzie and Lizzie Comedies,”  “Crackerjack Comedies,” “Lucky Strikes Comedies” and “Barnyard Animal Comedies” comedies.  Calling them “Comedies” may have been a stretch for the majority, but many are quite good.  Historian and silent comedy expert, Richard M. Roberts, cherry-picked the very best, and they are featured in the DVD collection, “Weiss-O-Rama”…in razor sharp prints with new piano scores and in depth commentaries.

Three ten-episode serials, “Perils of the Jungle” (1927), “Police Reporter” (1928) and “The Mysterious Airman” (1928), completed  the Artclass release schedule for the silent era.

A complete Weiss Bros. silent-era filmography appears in the next blog.

Sources:
American Film Institute,   Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb,  Kit Parker Collection/Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS, Moving Picture World 10/7/22; 10/14/22; 11/11/22, New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Copyright Office

Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS

Weiss Bros. – Artclass Pictures on DVD –

            

“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953)  

“Weiss-o-Rama” Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives  

Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958), and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives:

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

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It started with a nickelodeon in 1907…

 

The Weiss Brothers, pioneer motion picture exhibitors, producers and distributors, financed, produced and/or distributed around 200 feature films, serials, and hundreds of short subjects, from 1915 until the late 1930s. Today they are barely a footnote, even to hard-core vintage movie buffs.

In 2004 I purchased the motion picture holdings of Weiss Global Enterprises with the goal of acquiring the Lippert Pictures collection with its 100+ feature films.  Included in the acquisition was the Weiss Brothers film library, the motion picture holdings of their parent company, Artclass Pictures Corp., and its affiliates, Clarion Photoplays, Stage and Screen Productions, Superior Talking Pictures, Exploitation Pictures, and others.  Most of the movies were unremarkable, filmed in only a few days on low budgets; some looked like they had no budgets at all.

Unfortunately, the copyrights had expired on those they had bothered to copyright in the first place, so there was no realistic way for me to exploit them commercially; a pity since most of the silent comedies and sound features survive in preserved safety film elements. 

One day I was going through several file cabinets of old Weiss Bros. correspondence going back to the 1920s and learned later that one year before purchasing film library most of the correspondence was thrown out.  This included original artwork and letters going back to the 1910s.  Nevertheless, my interest was piqued and discovered that although there is information on most of the films, there is little information about the Weiss companies and those references I could find were often condescending.

 

I concluded that whatever production values were lacking in their output, they did make an effort to entertain audiences for over 20 years, and that deserves more than a footnote.  There was virtually no biographical information about the brothers themselves with the exception of some short biographical paragraphs they wrote in the early 1930s for publication in the Motion Picture Almanac.

 

Adolph Weiss – Louis Weiss – Max Weiss

Samuel “Weisz,” his wife Lena, and their eldest son, Adolph (1879 – ?), immigrated to the United States from Hungary in 1883, settling in New York City, where he worked as a clothes presser.  Adolph and his younger brothers, Max (1886 – ?) and Louis (1890-1963), were the team who were to become motion picture impresarios; a sister, Anna, completed the family unit. 

 

Neither Adolph nor Max ever married, but Louis and his wife, Esther “Ethel,” who was a former Ziegfeld Follies girl under her maiden name of Esther Gruber, had two sons, Adrian (1918-2001), who had a long career working in motion picture production and distribution, who I knew; Peggy Pearl Weiss (1921-1993), and Samuel Martin “Marty” Weiss (1926- ).  As the family expanded, the entire family usually lived under the same roof for the majority of the next three decades. 

 

Adrian Weiss and his wife, also named Ethel, had two sons, Steven, who formed Weiss Global Enterprises with his father in 1971, Lawrence, and a daughter Karen.  Through the years, Adrian wanted me to buy his film library, but his asking price was not realistic…two years after his passing I purchased it from his estate.

Adolph Weiss was a bright entrepreneur; even-tempered and philosophical, later becoming a vegetarian who practiced yoga.  He was 7 years older than Max, 11 years older than Louis, and made it a point to look after his younger siblings, and mentor them in business.   

While still a teenager, Adolph “became involved,” as he put it, with partner Samuel Goldhor, in the Welsbach Lamp and Fixture Company, operating at 3rd. Avenue and 11th St. in New York City.  Carl Welsbach owned many important patents, including for the metal filament used in the light bulbs, so presumably it was a busy enterprise.

Determined to make Max and Louis successful businessmen, Adolph gave jobs to Max and Louis, who were little more than children.

 

In 1900, at age 21, Adolph claimed that Welsbach was “insufficient to occupy my time,” and began purchasing various Edison Phonograph and Victor Talking Machine franchises, and the talking machine department of Western Electric Co.  He opened the Western Talking Machine Co. of Philadelphia, several phonograph stores in New York and Philadelphia; and ran the Victor Jobbing Agency on South 9th St. in Philadelphia, which acted as agents for the manufacturers of phonographs and related products.  He brought both his younger brothers into his enterprises, teaching them how to manage retail businesses, and later made them partners. 

It isn’t known when Adolph sold his phonograph businesses, but in 1907 he brought his brothers into his new entertainment venture, motion picture exhibition, although Louis continued selling phonographs for at least a few more years.  They branched outuntil they owned and operated at least 16 theatres (Moving Picture World claimed 50, which is doubtful), in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, New Jersey and Connecticut.   

 

Photographs taken in July 2012 of the former locations of what are likely the first Weiss Bros. theatres.  Top:  Avenue A, 51 Ave. A.  Bottom:  Avenue A, later the Hollywood, 98 Ave. A.    (Photos courtesy of Eric Spilker)

The Brothers decided to start producing motion pictures in 1915, formed Clarion Photoplays, and soon after, Weiss Brothers – Artclass Pictures, which became their parent corporation.  Adolph served as Treasurer, and in charge of titling; Max was President, and handled worldwide distribution. Louis was the brother who truly loved producing movies, and relished being Vice-President in charge of production. 

 

Artclass’ output was distributed on a “State’s Rights” basis, the usual distribution method utilized by low budget independent producers because it allowed them to sell their productions to various regional film exchanges for a predetermined price.   Louis gained valuable knowledge about State’s Right’s distribution while working at independent film exchanges in the 1910s.

In 1919 the Brothers sold their theatre interests, except the original Avenue A, and the Fulton Theatre, Hempstead, L.I., which Max continued to operate on a policy of both vaudeville and movies.

 

The first Weiss Bros. release was a white slave exploitation drama, “It May Be Your Daughter” (Clarion/1916), written by George Merrick, who became a frequent Weiss collaborator into the 1950s, and produced by a dubious organization called the “Moral Uplift Society”; although Louis later said Clarion actually produced the film.  In any case, it ran into censorship problems from the start, and was banned in, among other places, New York City, and all of the UK.

Subsequent releases included a series of “Lilliputian Comedies,” which appear to be lost to history; a mystery, “The Open Door” (Robertson-Cole/1919); and another exploitation film, this time a temperance drama, “It Might Happen to You” (Artclass/1920). 

 

In 1919 the Weiss’ company, Numa Pictures Corp., acquired motion picture rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs novel, “The Return of Tarzan.”  State’s Rights Distributors were unwilling to pay the premium the Weiss’ were asking, so the Brothers went ahead and produced the nine-reel film at a studio in Yonkers, with location filming in Florida, Balboa, California, and the L-KO Motion Picture Company zoo in Los Angeles. The movie was sold outright to Goldwyn Pictures at a tidy profit, where the title was changed to “The Revenge of Tarzan,” so that the public wouldn’t mistake it as a reissue of the original “Tarzan of the Apes” (National Film Corp/1918). Advertised as costing $300,000 to produce, which is believable, the movie itself was only so-so, despite the multiple locales, huge numbers of extras, and innovative aerial shots. According to ERBzine, it was the fourth biggest money earner in 1921, even out-grossing Rudolph Valentino’s “The Sheik.”

 

Weiss’ next endeavor was a 15 episode serial, “The Adventures of Tarzan” (Artclass/1921) produced in conjunction with Great Western Production Co. This time the State’s Rights distributors accepted the Brother’s terms, and were rewarded with a blockbuster. Max went to Europe and successfully sold the serial in many foreign territories as well.  In 1928 it was reissued in a 10 episode version, and again in 1935, with an added sound track.  Only this shorter version survives, although the UCLA Film and Television Archive now has enough footage from different sources, including mine, to restore it to its full- length. 

Footage from the serial was reused many different times in subsequent Weiss Bros. productions, looking more creaky and outdated as the years went by.  Over half of the Louis Weiss production of “The White Gorilla” (Landres-Weiss/1946), was made up of stock footage from the old serial, and the DVD version offers some fragments of the original serial as a special feature.  

My next blog picks up the Weiss Bros. story starting in 1922 and continues through the end of the silent era.

Sources:
American Film Institute, Eric Spilker, Exhibitor’s Herald 6/24/22, IMDb, International Motion Picture Almanac 1936-37, Kit Parker Collection,  Margaret Herrick Library, AMP&AS, Moving Picture World 4/8/22; 10/14/22; 10/7/22, New York Census (1925), New York State Archives, New York Supreme Court, New York Times 5/14/24, Martin Weiss, Steve Weiss, U.S. Census (1900, 1915, 1920,1930), U.S. Copyright Office

Special thanks to Bob Dickson, Margaret Herrick Library, AMPAS

Weiss Bros.  – Artclass Pictures on DVD –

“After Six Days” (Artclass/1922) and “Yesterday and Today” (UA/1953)

“Weiss-o-Rama”  Weiss Bros. comedy shorts from the original negatives

Adrian Weiss’ “Bride and the Beast” (Allied Artists/1958) and Louis’ Weiss’ “The White Gorilla” (Weiss-Landress/1946); both from the original negatives:  

 

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

Continued from my previous blog, “Who Was Craig Kennedy?”

 

“Craig Kennedy, Criminologist”

Series Episodes

(in alphabetical order)

 

“*” Denotes this episode is part of the DVD collection sold by VCI Entertainment.  http://store.vcientertainment.com/product/craig/520

Adrian Weiss produced, and screenplay credits are shared by Ande Lamb, Sherman L. Lowe and Al Martin

 

Title/Year/Director

 

1313 HIDDEN LANE ROAD * 1953    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy), Sydney Mason, Mary Adams, Coulter Irwin, Patricia Wright

Craig Kennedy (Donald Woods) finds himself in an uncomfortable position between a gullible matron (Liz Slifer) with a guilt complex, and a racketeering combine with a yen for $200,000 in cash.

 

THE AMATEUR GHOST * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Princess Henrietta)|Tom Hubbard (Professor Zachary)|Liz Slifer (Mrs. Anna Collins)|Lane Bradford (Martin Collins)|Stephen Chase (Hemingway)

A photograph of a crusading councilman with two hoodlums threatens his career until Craig Kennedy conducts some experiments in trick photography.

 

THE BIG SHAKEDOWN * 1952    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Janes Winters)|Jack Mulhall (William Kendall)|Bob Curtis (Mike Grady)|Jack Kruschen (Jack Brown)|Tom Hubbard (Dennis Phillips)

A photograph of a crusading councilman with two hoodlums threatens his career until Craig Kennedy conducts some experiments in trick photography.

 

THE CASE OF FLEMING LEWIS * 1952    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Mrs. Fleming Lewis)|Tom Hubbard (Norman Lewis)|Lane Bradford (Harvey Lewis)|Stephen Chase (Wallace Lewis)|Jack Mulhall (Fleming Lewis)|Norval Mitchell (Thomas Woodward)

A planned fishing trip turns into a murder mystery when a wealthy chemist, Fleming Lewis (Jack Mulhall), who is host to Craig Kennedy (Donald Woods), Evening Star reporter Walter Jameson (Lewis Wilson) and police Inspector J. J. Burke (Sydney Mason), is killed.

 

DEAD RIGHT 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Pamela Duncan (Abigail Wyndham)|James Guilfoyle (Tris Wyndham)|Karen King (Gertrude Smith)|Michael Road (Gregory Wyndham)|William Justine (Hal Stevens)|Craig Woods (Eddie Finley)

The weakling nephew of a Texas cattleman attempts to kill Craig Kennedy when he is framed for an attempted murder and a consummated robbery.

 

THE FALSE CLAIMANT * 1952    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall (Alice Woodwine)|Jack Mulhall (James Kelly)|Edna Holland (Mrs. Richards)|Paul Newlan (Dan Sprague)|Tom Hubbard (Floyd Sprague)

An amnesia victim, a gardener who hates flowers and green grass, and a million-dollar art collection are involved in this episode.

 

FILE 1313 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Patricia Wright (Alberta Seward)|Russ Conway (Frank Haines)|William Hreen (Emmett Thacker)|Valerie Vernon (Mrs. Emmett Thacker)|Joseph Rocca (Steve Carter)

Craig Kennedy is slugged as he interrupts two intruders who are rifling the files in his office. Kennedy’s File 1313, dealing with his investigation of an involved electronic device, disappears.

 

FORMULA FOR MURDER * 1952    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Suzanne Dalbert (Jean Rogers)|Stephen Chase (Dr. Armstrong)|Bettie Best (Wilma Gray)|Tom Hubbard (Peter Allen)|Lane Bradford (Tom Workman)|George Pierrone (Jack Priester)

A blond actress and a glamorous brunette both claim the love of a murdered research dietician, but Craig Kennedy brews his own formula for justice when he proves that professed love can be greed and jealousy, and that avarice not only leads to crime, but to poison as well.

 

FUGITIVE MONEY * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sandra Spence (Edith Mills)|Glase Lohman (Howard Baker)|Phyllis Coates (Natalie Larkin)|William Justine (Olan Harby)|Chuck Lanson (Lane Bradford)|Tom Hubbard (Robert White)

A blonde walks into Craig Kennedy’s office, plunks down $50,000 in cash on his desk, and offers him the whole amount if he will find her fiance. But the money is hot and sought by the police along with the missing boy friend.

 

THE GOLDEN DAGGER 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Dana Wilson (Sandra Whitney)|Glenn Strange (Del Whitney)|Ralph Byrd (Rocky Lane)|Stephen Chase (Carl Benson)

Strange hieroglyphics on a golden dagger provide a motive for murder. Crag Kennedy, called upon to translate the markings on the evil-omened knife, is drawn into a bizarre mystery when a collector of antiques is shot to death.

 

I  HATE MONEY 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mary Adams (Mrs. Ethel Jardine)|Michael Hale (Emery Jardine)|Tom McKee (Martin Glover)|Coulter Irwin (Denver Bryant)

Craig Kennedy assumes the role of a tramp to probe the mystery of why an old man prefers to live in a hobo’s shack rather than accept a half-million dollar inheritance.

 

INDIAN GIVER * 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Maura Murphy (Ella Randolph)|Edward Clark (Henry Waters)|William Justine (Dan Logan)|Betty Ball (Mrs. Miller)|Barry Brooks (Ben Miller)|Craig Woods (Jay Duncan)

Craig Kennedy, Inspector Burke and reporter Walter Jameson uncover a plot to smuggle a revolutionary steel formula out of the country.

 

THE KID BROTHER 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Richard Beals (Bobby “Butch” Moore)|Gloria Talbot (Della Cameron)|Richard Grant (Ken Moore)|William Justine (Harry Ferris)|Gilbert Frye (Charley Baker)

The cooperation of a youngster and Craig Kennedy’s examination of an apparently innocent letter bring an incipient crime career to a sudden end.

 

THE LATE CORPSE * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Copper Johnson (Trudy Miller)|Lane Bradford (Noel Young)|Alice Rolph (Betty Parker)|Tom Hubbard (Tom Parker)|William Justine (Rex Gordon)

Craig Kennedy’s knowledge of minerals and precious stones uncovers a cruel hoax, which takes Kennedy from a desert in Mexico to a lavish penthouse in an American city.

 

THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall ( Faith Clay)|Jack Mulhall (Captain Clay)|Edna Holland (Mrs. Patterson)|Milburn Morante (“Barnacle”)|Lane Bradford (Duke Dunlap)|Tom Hubbard (Ray West)

Kennedy and his friend, reporter Walter Jameson, pose as a couple of seafaring men to save an old man from murder, as Kennedy’s skills pay off as he unravels the mystery of a hoodlum who forces the operator of a Lonely Hearts Club to furnish him with a groom for a  brunette beauty.

 

THE MUMMY’S SECRET 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Charlotte Fletcher (Shirley Douglas)|Jack George (“Big Talk”  Watkins)|Jeanne Dean (Helen Logan)|Barry Brooks (Alex Gordon)|Craig Woods (“Dude” Haley)

In a holiday mood, Craig Kenney, Inspector Burke and Walt Jameson  visit a carnival and find mystery, danger and suspense involving a group of weird sideshow mummies.

 

MURDER ON A MILLION 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Charmienne Harker (Ann Waller)|Perry Ivans (Alfred Pomeroy)|Valerie Vernon (Selena Pyke)|William Justine (Robbins)|Fred Kohler Jr. (Steve Callan)|Dennis Moore (Jack Draper)

An elderly inventor falls wounded at the door of Craig Kennedy’s crime laboratory and a short time later, Inspector Burke finds the wounded man’s partner shot to death in his palatial home.

 

MURDER ON STAGE NINE * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Karen Day)|Jack Mulhall (Director Martin)|Nancy Saunders (Margaret White)|Bob Curtis (Producer Wilde)|Ted Adams (Prop Man, Kemp)|Tom Hubbard (Bob Ferrell)|Rod Normond (Thomas Spencer)|Ewing Brown (Extra Electrician)

Murder is performed before the eyes of dozens of witnesses on a Hollywood motion picture set when a killer switches a real gun for a prop gun.

 

MURDER PREFERRED * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Elizabeth Root (Miss Thompson)|William Justine (Johnny Lane)|Erin Selwyn (Loraine Trend)|Tom Hubbard (Frank Trend)|Lane Bradford (Paul Lawson)

Craig Kennedy hears the murder shots as a  gambler makes a phone appeal for help that is too late. Kennedy use his training in psychology to translate some apparently illegible doodlings on a page of a phone book into the thoughts which occupied the mind of the murdered man during his last living moments.

 

THE MYSTERY BULLET 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Helen Chapman (Pamela Hunter)|Bert Arnold (Brad Donlan)|Mara Corday (Mae Gibson)|Robin Morse ( Stony Evans)|Barry Brooks (Jack Gibson)

An ingenious murder device baffles Inspector Burke when a racketeering plumber is shot to death as there are no rifling marks on the death bullet. Time to call Craig Kennedy.

 

THE SECRET WILL 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Trudy Marshall (Mary Hudson)|Edna Holland (Zenobia Bean)|Stanley Waxman (John Turner)|Jack Mulhall (Earl Norden)|Tom Hubbard (Glenn Graham)

A would-be-murderer demands payment for killing a victim, but the victim is still very much alive. Craig Kennedy unravels the mystery of a criminal who hunts his victims with a bow-and-arrow.

 

STRANGE DESTINY * 1951    Harry Fraser

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Sherry Moreland (Elsa Hoffman)|Stanley Waxman (Dr. Preston)|Bob Curtis (Henry Henderson)|Jack Mulhall (Burt Simmons)|Tom Hubbard (Sgt. Jackson)

A phony doctor, a notorious smuggler, and a sultry secretary combine their talents to outwit U. S. Customs officials by the use of a plaster cast.

 

TALL, DARK AND DEAD 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mara Corday (Greta Varden)|Bert Arnold (Lester Gardner)|Barry Brooks (Jimmy Ankers)|Judd Holdren (Raney Daniels)|Robin Morse (Tom Hendry)

Craig Kennedy investigates the murder of a well-known stage actor, and it gets bizarre when the same actor is later shot at the door of Kennedy’s laboratory.

 

THERE’S MONEY IN IT 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mary Adams (Mrs. C. Alcott Crockett)|Tom McKee (Mike Savage)|William Green (Jasper Kinney)|Patricia Wright (Mildred Kinney)|Coulter Irwin (Kenneth Crockett)|Gregg Rogers (Earl Rater)

Craig Kennedy, Inspector Burke and reporter Walt Jameson match wits with a clever gang that attempts to pass off some glass beads as the famous Von Anton Diamond Necklace.

 

THE TRAP 1953    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Valerie Vernon (Georgette Benoit)|William Justine (Bill Brand)|Alice Rolph (Mrs. Brand)|Craig Woods (Jack Laird)|Barry Brooks (Harry Carter)

Craig Kennedy poses as a tramp to solve a mystery that centers on a jewel theft and the character weakness of a two-timing wife.

THE VANISHER 1952    Adrian Weiss

Donald Woods (Craig Kennedy)|Sydney Mason (Inspector J.J. Burke)|Lewis Wilson (Walter Jameson)|Mara Corday (Lucille Merrill)|Will Orlean (“Okay” Oliver)|Bert Arnold (Dave Hollis)|Jack Lomas (Roddy Vender)

When a notorious gangster is killed by a rival hoodlum, Craig Kennedy assumes the murdered man’s identity to trap the killer.

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

A week doesn’t go by that I’m not asked that question.  The answer is “yes,” but it’s still protected by copyright…

  

Before the New Copyright Act of 1976, an author was granted an initial 28 year term of copyright protection, with an additional 28 years upon proper renewal. If a movie wasn’t renewed during its first term of copyright, it went into the public domain.

However, under well-established copyright law, the distribution, sale, and exploitation of a motion picture which has no valid copyright, but derived from a copyrighted novel, play, musical composition, etc., infringes the copyright in and to that underlying copyright.

 

As a kid in the 1950s I collected 8mm and 16mm movies. Most were purchased from Blackhawk Films, which specialized primarily in silent-era films that had fallen into the public domain.  In the 1960s, other companies began following the Blackhawk model of selling “PD” movies, and now included the sound era.  Many of these films had owners who derived their livelihood from, them. (In those days broadcast television was virtually the only outlet for old pictures, but the film “syndication” business was very lucrative because virtually every station aired at least some movies, and the number available was finite.)

Adrian Weiss, a producer-distributor, and member of a pioneering motion picture family, had a large library of films, many of which were in the public domain. He told me that before the mid 1960s, the established distributors of films to TV were “gentlemen,” and they respected ownership rights, regardless of the lack of enforceable copyrights.

The first time I recall an issue about the use of movies in the public domain was in the late 1960s/early 1970s, when someone at a PBS station realized that the copyright to Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” (Liberty-RKO/1946) was not renewed.  Soon after, the Christmas perennial started receiving wide exposure on PBS stations throughout the country during December “pledge nights.” The movie’s owner of record, National Telefilm Associates (NTA), protested, and eventually PBS backed down.

At the same time entrepreneurs realized they could make copies of public domain movies on 8mm and 16mm and sell them to collectors, broadcast TV, cable stations that proliferated in the 1970s, and so on. The exploitation of public domain films built up steam, and the practice continues to this day, particularly on the Internet. In 1992, NTA, then known as Republic Pictures, took an aggressive enforcement stance against sellers of the film, and had a great deal of success stopping infringers. Paramount is the present owner of Republic Pictures, and therefore “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

In the early days of Kit Parker Films I could only afford to buy public domain films for my rental library. One was “A Walk in the Sun” (Superior-20th Century-Fox). In 1975 I received a cease and desist letter from John Ettlinger, President of Medallion TV Enterprises, claiming he owned the movie and I was violating copyrights controlled by him. I told him that the movie was in the public domain. He responded that it was a moot point because he also controlled the exclusive motion picture rights to the copyrighted novel in which the movie is based, along with the copyrights to the musical compositions (which played throughout well over half the movie). His logic was it was impossible to show the movie without violating the copyrights to both the novel and music. I argued with him, but ultimately relented, and paid him a royalty in order to keep the film in my library. A couple of years later, when I got over my self-righteousness, I realized he was correct, and my position that he was wrong was just wishful thinking.

When VHS tapes came out there was a proliferation of companies selling public domain movies. By and large, the individuals involved in this business had little or no knowledge of the intricacies of Copyright Law, and saw movies as strictly a commodity – no different than a pair of shoes — and, of particular concern to me, didn’t care at all about picture and sound quality.

John Ettlinger was very aggressive in stopping infringers. He had deep pockets (told me he was an heir to the Hertz fortune), and did not hesitate filing lawsuits against what he called “bottom feeders.” He was able to extract back-royalties, and those that made the mistake of fighting him ended up paying back royalties and legal fees.

In the early 1990s, Ettlinger passed away, his library was sold, and later changed hands a few times. When DVD’s came out, a company unaware of Ettlinger’s previous legal and financial victories, released “A Walk in the Sun.” When no lawsuits materialized many other “bottom feeders” followed. Unlike Ettlinger, the new owners of the Medallion library did not have the wherewithal to effectively fight off violators, so enforcement of the underlying rights to the movie was only lackluster. (Ironically, although Ettlinger held the torch for the rights of literary authors when it suited his purpose, but fought against them when it came to paying residuals.)

Although ignorance of the law is no excuse, my goal is usually not to punish those who unknowingly violate my properties that are protected by copyright, but to simply get them to stop. To those that cooperate (most do), I return the favor. Those that don’t, I don’t.

Sometimes I receive responses telling me the film is in the public domain, and any facts I offer to the contrary are bogus.  I ask them if they are so sure, why aren’t they selling “It’s a Wonderful Life”?

I’m often asked to prove my claim by sending all of the documentation going back to the original Bronston deal.  I tell them the matter, and the documents related thereto, are part of the public record at the Copyright Office in WashingtonDC, and for them to hire a professional, or go there.  After that, some tell me where to go.

By the way, www.copyrightoffice.gov can be helpful, but it is not infallible.

 

Here is some background on how “A Walk in the Sun” came to be in the first place:

In 1943 Knopf Publishers made a deal with a U.S. Army Sergeant, Harry McNab Brown, to write a novel titled “A Walk in the Sun,” which was published the following year to critical acclaim. Brown was an exceptional writer of fiction, which is how he was able to make a deal on an as yet unwritten book. Producer Samuel Bronston’s Comstock Productions, purchased all motion picture rights to the novel from Brown, with a plan of having it directed by Lewis Milestone, and released through United Artists.  Bronston fell into financial difficulties.

Milestone’s Superior Productions, took the project over, produced the movie, and granted 20th Century-Fox a seven-year distribution deal.  Still, the movie was foreclosed on by the Walter E. Heller Co./Ideal Factoring Co., major financers of “A Walk in the Sun,” and countless other movies. Heller retained Medallion TV Enterprises as its sales agent. Later on, Medallion bought all of Heller’s rights. I purchased the entire Medallion library, including “A Walk in the Sun,” in 2008, and continue to take an aggressive stance against those who infringe any of the copyrights owned or controlled by me.

I licensed The Sprocket Vault the exclusive DVD rights to “A Walk in the Sun.” Their version is un-cut, restored from original film elements, and features a great interview with Norman Lloyd (Private Archimbeau in the film), and “The Men of ‘A Walk in the Sun’,” a documentary produced by Joel Blumberg.

Visit our website to order DVDs –

www.sprocketvault.com

Keep up to date with our new Sprocket Vault releases by liking us on Facebook www.facebook.com/sprocketvault/

Also, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLHjjG-o5Ny5BDykgVBzdrQ .

 

 

Who produced or co-produced almost 250 feature films and is virtually unknown today?

That man is Robert L. Lippert (1909-1976), who did just that in 25 years, from 1945-1969.

Between 1945-1956 he also distributed more than 100 of his own productions (most of which are owned by my company, Kit Parker Holdings, LLC) and another 100 films produced by others.

Compiling this filmography more difficult because some Lippert films made after 1959 were not credited to any of his production companies.

Titles in bold are Lippert productions or co-productions.  The rest were produced by others and only distributed by Lippert.

Key: R: Reissue, D: Distributor only, TV: Independent production purchased outright by Lippert expressly for use on television.

Distributors: LP: Lippert Pictures, SG: Screen Guild Productions (subsequently known as  Lippert Pictures), RS:  RegalScope (Regal Films), API: Associated Producers, Inc., Fox: 20th Century-Fox, ARC: American Releasing (later known as AIP, American International Pictures), WB: Warner Bros. RS and API are Lippert production companies financed by Fox.

“Hammer”:  Lippert Pictures-Exclusive Films/Hammer Films co-productions

Italicized titles are owned by Kit Parker Films and available on DVD from http://www.sprocketvault.com

 

  • 13 FIGHTING MEN (1960) API-Fox
  • 20,000 EYES (1961) API-Fox
  • ABDUCTORS, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN, THE (1957) Buzz Productions/Hammer, Fox
  • ACTORS AND SIN (1952) Limited TV distribution rights only, LP-D
  • AIR PATROL (1962) API-Fox
  • AIR STRIKE  (1955) LP
  • ALASKA PASSAGE (1959) API-Fox
  • ALI BABA NIGHTS (R-1953) UK: Chu Chin Chow, 1934, LP-D
  • ALLIGATOR PEOPLE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • AMBUSH AT CIMARRON PASS (1958) RS-Fox
  • APACHE CHIEF (1950) LP
  • APACHE WARRIOR (1957) RS-Fox
  • ARSON, INC. (1950) LP
  • AS YOU WERE (1951) LP
  • BACHELOR IN PARIS (1952) UK: Song of Paris, LP-D
  • BACK DOOR TO HELL (1964) US-Philippines, Fox
  • BACK FROM THE DEAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • BAD BLONDE (1953) UK: Flanagan Boy, Hammer, LP
  • BADLANDS OF MONTANA (1957) RS-Fox
  • BANDIT ISLAND (1953) 3-D Short Subject, LP
  • BANDIT QUEEN, THE (1950) LP
  • BAR 20 JUSTICE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • BARON OF ARIZONA, THE (1950) LP  (DVD: Criterion Collection) *
  • BATTLE AT BLOODY BEACH, THE (1961) Fox
  • BELLS OF SAN FERNANDO (1947) SG
  • BIG CHASE, THE (1954) LP
  • BIG SHOW, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • BLACK GLOVE, THE (1954) UK: Face the Music, Hammer, LP
  • BLACK PIRATES, THE (1954) US-Mexico, LP
  • BLACK WHIP, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • BLACKOUT (1954) UK: Murder by Proxy, Hammer, LP
  • BLOOD AND STEEL (1959) API-Fox
  • BLOOD ARROW (1958) RS-Fox
  • BORDER RANGERS (1950) LP
  • BORDER VIGILANTES (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • BORDERLAND (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • BOY! WHAT A GIRL! (1947) SG-D
  • BROKEN LAND (1962) API-Fox
  • BUFFALOBILL RIDES AGAIN (1947) SG-D
  • BURNING CROSS, THE (1947) SG-D
  • BUSH PILOT (1947) SG-D
  • CABINET OF CALIGARI (1962) LP-Fox
  • CALL IT MURDER (R-1947) Orig.: Midnight, 1934, SG-D
  • CALL OF THE FOREST(1949) LP-D
  • CAPTAIN KIDD (R-1952) 1945, LP-D
  • CASE OF THE BABY SITTER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • CASSIDY OF BAR 20 (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • CATTLE EMPIRE (1958) Fox
  • CHINA GATE (1957) Fox
  • COLLEGE CAPERS (1953) 3D short subject, LP
  • COLORADO RANGER – TV: Guns of Justice (1950) LP
  • COME BE MY VICTIM, half-hour TV abridgement of Danger Zone (1951), LP
  • CONVICTS AT LARGE (1938) LP-TV
  • COPPER SKY (1957) RS-Fox
  • COWBOY, THE (1954) LP
  • CREEPING UNKNOWN, THE (1965) UK: Quatermass Xperiment, Hammer, UA
  • CROOKED RIVER – TV: The Last Bullet (1950) LP
  • CURIOUS ADVENTURES OF MR. WONDERBIRD, THE (1953) France: Bergère et le ramoneur, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • CURSE OF THE FLY (1965) Fox
  • DALTON GANG, THE (1949) LP
  • DANGER ZONE (1951) LP
  • DAY IN THE COUNTRY, A (1953) 3-D short subject filmed in 1941 as Stereo-Laffs, LP-D
  • DAY MARS INVADED EARTH, THE (1963) API-Fox
  • DEADLY GAME, THE (1954) UK, Third Party Risk, Hammer, LP
  • DEATH VALLEY (1947) SG
  • DEERSLAYER, THE (1958) Fox
  • DEPUTY MARSHAL (1949) LP
  • DESERT HELL (1958) RS-Fox
  • DESIRE IN THE DUST (1960) Fox
  • DESPERADOES ARE IN TOWN, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • DOG OF FLANDERS, A (1959) Fox
  • DRAGON OF DEATH, half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • EARTH DIES SCREAMING, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • ENEMY FROM SPACE (1957) UK, Quatermass 2, UA
  • ESCAPE FROM RED ROCK (1957) RS-Fox
  • EVERYBODY’S DANCIN’ (1950) LP
  • FAMILY AFFAIR (1956) UK: Life with the Lyons, 1954, LP-D
  • FANGS OF THE WILD aka Follow the Hunter (1954) LP
  • FAST ON THE DRAW – TV: Sudden Death (1950) LP
  • FBI GIRL (1951) LP
  • FELICIA (1964) API-Fox
  • FINGERPRINTS DON’T LIE (1951) LP
  • FINGERPRINTS, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • FIRE ALARM (1932) Orig.: Flames  LP-TV
  • FIREBRAND, THE (1962) API-Fox
  • FIVE GATES TO HELL (1959) Fox
  • FLAMING FRONTIER  (1958) Canada, Fox
  • FLESH AND LEATHER, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • FLIGHT TO FURY (1964) US-Philippines, Feature Film Corp. of America
  • FLIGHT TO NOWHERE (1947) SG
  • FLY, THE (1958)
  • FORTUNE IN DIAMONDS, A (1951)UK: The Adventurers, LP-D
  • FORTY GUNS (1957) Fox
  • FRANCIS OF ASSISI (1961) API provided guided only, Fox
  • FRECKLES (1960) API-Fox
  • FRONTIER GAMBLER (1956) ARC
  • FRONTIER GUN (1958) RS-Fox
  • FRONTIERSMEN, THE (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • FROZEN ALIVE (1964) Germany: Der Fall X701, Feature Films of America
  • G.I. JANE (1951) LP
  • GAMBLER AND THE LADY (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • GANG WAR (1958) RS-Fox
  • GHOST DIVER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GHOST SHIP (1952) UK, 1951, LP-D
  • GIRL FROM CALGARY, THE (1932)  LP-TV
  • GLASS TOMB, THE (1955) UK: The Glass Cage, Hammer, LP
  • GOD IS MY PARTNER (1957) RS-Fox
  • GOD’S COUNTRY (1947) SG
  • GRAND CANYON (1949) LP
  • GREAT JESSE JAMES RAID, THE (1953) LP
  • GREAT WHITE HUNTER, THE (R-1953) Orig.: The Macomber Affair,1947, LP-D
  • GUNFIRE (1950) LP
  • HAND OF DEATH , THE (1962) API-Fox
  • HARBOR LIGHTS (1963) API-Fox
  • HARPOON (1948) SG-D
  • HAT BOX MYSTERY, THE (1947) Featurette, SG
  • HEART OFARIZONA(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • HEAT WAVE (1954) UK, House Across the Lake, Hammer, LP
  • HELL HARBOR(1930)  LP-TV
  • HELL ON DEVIL’S ISLAND (1957) RS-Fox
  • HELLGATE (1952) LP-D
  • HER ENLISTED MAN (R-1935) Orig.: Red Salute,1935, SG-D
  • HERE COME THE JETS (1959) API-Fox
  • HIDDEN GOLD (R-1948) SG-D
  • HIGH POWERED RIFLE, THE (1960) Fox
  • HIGHWAY 13 (1948) SG
  • HI-JACKED (1950) LP
  • HILLS OF OLDWYOMING(R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HOLIDAY RHYTHM (1950) LP
  • HOLLYWOODBARN DANCE (1947) SG-D
  • HOLLYWOODTHRILL-MAKERS (1954) LP-D
  • HOLLYWOOD VARIETIES (1950) LP
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY ENTERS (R-1946) Orig.: Hop-a-long Cassidy, 1935, SG-D
  • HOPALONG CASSIDY RETURNS (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • HOPALONG RIDES AGAIN (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • HORROR OF IT ALL, THE (1964) UK, Fox
  • HOSTILE COUNTRY – TV: Outlaw Fury (1950) LP
  • HOUSE OF THE DAMNED (1963) API-Fox
  • I SHOT BILLY THE KID (1950) LP
  • I SHOT JESSE JAMES (1949) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • I’LL GET YOU (1953) UK: Escape Route, LP
  • IN OLD MEXICO(R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • IRON MASK, THE (R-1953) 1929, Silent, with added sound track, LP-D
  • IT HAPPENED IN ATHENS (1962) Fox
  • JEWELS OF JEOPARDY, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City (1951), LP
  • JOHNNY THE GIANT KILLER (1953) France, Jeannot l’intrépide, Dubbed, LP-D
  • JUNGLE GODDESS (1948) SG
  • JUNGLE, THE (1952) LP
  • KENTUCKY JUBILEE (1951) LP
  • KILLER DILL (1947) SG-D
  • KING DINOSAUR (1955) LP
  • KING OF THE TURF (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • KRONOS (1957) RS-Fox
  • LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) Italy-USA, AIP
  • LAST OF THE WILD HORSES, THE  (1948) LP
  • LAST SHOT YOU HEAR (1969) UK, Fox
  • LAW OF THE PAMPAS (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • LAW OF THE SEA (1931)  LP-TV
  • LEAVE IT TO THE MARINES (1951) LP
  • LIMPING MAN, THE (1953) UK, LP-D
  • LITTLE BIG HORN (1951) LP
  • LITTLE SAVAGE (1959) US-Mexico, API-Fox
  • LITTLE SHEPERD OF KINGDOM COME (1961) API-Fox
  • LOAN SHARK (1952) LP
  • LONE TEXAN (1959) RS-Fox
  • LONESOME TRAIL, THE (1955) LP
  • LONG FALL, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Pr 23 (1951), LP
  • LONG ROPE, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • LOST CONTINENT, THE (1951) LP
  • LURE OF THE SWAMP (1957) RS-Fox
  • MAN BAIT (1952) UK: The Last Page, Hammer, LP
  • MAN FROM CAIRO, THE (1953) Italy-UK-USA, Guidance only, LP
  • MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (R-1950) Orig.: Babes in Toyland, 1934, LP-D
  • MARK OF THE LASH (1948) SG-D
  • MARSHAL OF HELDORADO – TV: Blazing Guns (1950) LP
  • MASK OF THE DRAGON (1951) LP
  • MASSACRE (1956) Fox
  • MIRACLE INHARLEM(1948) SG-D
  • MISS ANNIE ROONEY (R-1948) 1942, SG-D
  • MISSING WITNESS, THE, half-hour TV abridgement of Fingerprints Don’t Lie (1951), LP
  • MONSTER FROM THE OCEAN FLOOR (1954) LP-D
  • MORO WITCH DOCTOR (1964) Philippines: Amok, API-Fox
  • MOTOR PATROL (1950) LP
  • MOZART STORY (1948) Germany-Austria: Wen die Gotter lieben, Dubbed, SG-D
  • MR. ROBINSON CRUSOE (R-1953) LP-D
  • MR. WALKIE TALKIE (1952)
  • MURDER GAME (1965) UK, LP-Fox
  • MURDER, INC. (1960) Fox
  • MY DOG SHEP (1947) SG
  • NAVAJO (1952) LP-D
  • NIGHT TRAIN TO PARIS (1964) UK, Fox
  • NORMAN CONQUEST (1953) UK:MarkPlaza605, LP-D
  • NORTH OF THE BORDER (1947) Featurette, SG
  • NORTH OF THERIO GRANDE (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • NORTHWEST TRAIL (1945) SG
  • OMOO-OMOO THE SHARK GOD (1949) LP-D
  • ON FOUR WHEELS, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), LP
  • OPERATION HAYLIFT (1950) LP
  • OREGON TRAIL (1959) Fox
  • ORIENTAL CLUE, THE half-hour TV abridgement of Mask of the Dragon (1951), LP
  • OUTLAW COUNTRY (1949) SG
  • OUTLAW WOMEN (1952) LP-D
  • OUTLAWS IN THE DESERT (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • PAID TO KILL (1954) UK, Five Days, Hammer, LP-D
  • PARTNERS OF THE PLAINS (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • PERILS OF THE JUNGLE (1953) LP -D
  • PHANTOM OF THE JUNGLE (1955) LP-D
  • PIER 23 (1951) LP
  • PIER OF PERIL, half-hour TV abridgement of Pier 23 (1951), LP
  • PIRATE SUBMARINE (1952) France: Casabianca,1951, dubbed, LP-D
  • PIRATES ON HORSEBACK (R-1946) 1941, SG
  • PRAIRIE, THE (1947) SG-D
  • PLUNDER ROAD (1957) RS-Fox
  • POLICE COURT (1932)  LP-TV
  • POLICE NURSE (1963) API-Fox
  • PRIDE OF THE WEST (R-1947) 1938, SG-D
  • PROJECT MOON BASE (1953) LP-D
  • PURPLE HILLS, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • QUEEN OF SHEBA, THE (1952) Italy: La Regina di Saba, 1952, Dubbed, LP-D
  • QUEEN OF THE AMAZONS (1947) SG
  • QUIET GUN, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RACE FOR LIFE (1954) UK: Mask of Dust, Hammer, LP
  • RACKETEERS (R-1948) Orig.: People’s Enemy, 1935, SG-D
  • RADAR SECRET SERVICE (1950) LP
  • RAIDERS FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1964) Fox
  • RANGE WAR (R-1948) 1938, SG-D
  • RED DESERT (1949) LP
  • RENEGADE GIRL (1947) SG
  • RENEGADE TRAIL (R-1948) 1939, SG-D
  • RETURN OF GILBERT AND SULLIVAN, THE (1952) (Short Subject)UK, LP-D
  • RETURN OF JESSE JAMES, THE (1950) LP
  • RETURN OF MR. MOTO (1965) UK, Fox
  • RETURN OF THE FLY (1959) API-Fox
  • RETURN OF WILDFIRE, THE (1948) SG
  • RIDE A VIOLENT MILE (1957) RS-Fox
  • RIDERS OF THE TIMBERLINE (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • RIMFIRE (1948) LP
  • RINGSIDE (1949) LP
  • RIVER BEAT (1954) UK, LP
  • ROAD TO THE BIG HOUSE (1947) SG-D
  • ROARING CITY (1951) LP
  • ROCKABILLY BABY (1957) RS-Fox
  • ROCKETSHIP X-M (1950) LP
  • ROLLING HOME (1947) SG
  • ROOKIE, THE (1959) (oversaw production) Fox
  • RUSTLER’S VALLEY (R-1946) 1937, SG-D
  • S.O.S. SUBMARINE (1948) Italy: Uomini sui fondo, 1941, Dubbed, SG-D
  • SAD HORSE, THE (1959) API-Fox
  • SANTA FE MARSHAL (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • SAVAGE DRUMS (1951) LP
  • SCARED TO DEATH (1947) SG
  • SCOTLAND YARD INSPECTOR (1952) UK: Lady in the Fog, Hammer, LP
  • SECRET OF THE PURPLE REEF, THE (1960) API-Fox
  • SECRET OF THE WASTELANDS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • SECRET PEOPLE, THE (1952)UK, LP-D
  • SEPIA CINDERELLA (1947) SG-D
  • SEVEN WOMEN FROM HELL (1961) API-Fox
  • SHADOW MAN, THE (1953) UK: Street of Shadows, Hammer, LP
  • SHE DEVIL (1957) RS-Fox
  • SHEP COMES HOME (1948)
  • SHOOT TO KILL (1947) SG-D
  • SHOWDOWN AT BOOT HILL (1958) RS-Fox
  • SHOWDOWN AT SUNUP (1949) Short subject, LP
  • SIEGE, THE (1954)Spain, 1950, Agustina de Aragón, 1950, dubbed, LP-D
  • SIERRA BARON (1958) Fox
  • SILENT CALL, THE (1961) API-Fox
  • SILENT RAIDERS (1954) LP-D
  • SILVER ON THE SAGE (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SILVER STAR (1955) LP
  • SIMBA (1955) LP-D
  • SINS OF JEZEBEL (1953) LP
  • SISTERS IN CRIME, half-hour TV abridgement of The Roaring City  (1951), LP
  • SKY HIGH (1951) LP
  • SKY LINER (1949) LP
  • SLASHER, THE (1953) UK: Cosh Boy, LP-D
  • SLIGHTLY DANGEROUS (1950)UK, LP-D
  • SNIPER’S RIDGE (1961) API-Fox
  • SON OF A BADMAN (1949) LP-D
  • SON OF BILLY THE KID (1948) LP-D
  • SON OF ROBIN HOOD (1958) Fox
  • SPACE MASTER X-7 (1958) RS-Fox
  • SPACEWAYS (1953) UK, Hammer, LP
  • SQUARE DANCE JUBILEE (1949) LP
  • STAGECOACH TO FURY (1956) RS/Fox
  • STAGECOACH WAR (R-1948) 1940, SG-D
  • STEEL HELMET, THE (1951) LP (DVD: Criterion Collection)
  • STICK TO YOUR GUNS (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • STOLEN FACE (1952) UK, Hammer, LP
  • STOP THAT CAB (1951) LP
  • STORM RIDER, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • STREET IS MY BEAT, half-hour TV abridgement of Stop That Cab (1951), L
  • STRONGHOLD (1952) Mexico-USA co-production, LP-D
  • SUNSET TRAIL (R-1947) 1939, SG-D
  • SUPERMAN AND THE MOLE-MEN (1952) LP
  • SURF PARTY (1964) API-Fox
  • SWINGIN’ ALONG aka Double Trouble aka Johnny One Note (1961) Fox
  • TALES OF ROBIN HOOD (1951) LP
  • TALL LIE aka For Men Only (1952) LP
  • TALL TEXAN, THE (1953) LP
  • TERROR SHIP (1954)UK: Dangerous Voyage, LP-D
  • TERROR STREET (1953) UK: 36 Hours, Hammer, LP
  • TESS OF THE STORM COUNTRY (1960) Fox
  • TEXAS TRAIL (R-1947) 1937, SG-D
  • THAT TENNESSE BEAT (1966) Fox
  • THAT’S MY BOY aka Forbidden Music (R-1948)UK: Land Without Music, 1936, LP-D
  • THERE IS NO ESCAPE (1948) SG-D
  • THEY WERE SO YOUNG (1954) W. Germany-USA, LP
  • THIRD VOICE, THE (1960) Fox
  • THREE DESPERATE MEN (1951) LP
  • THREE MEN FROM TEXAS(R-1946) 1940, SG-D
  • THUNDER IN THE PINES (1948) SG
  • THUNDER ISLAND (1963) API-Fox
  • THUNDER OVER SANGOLAND (1955) LP-D
  • THUNDER PASS (1954) LP
  • THUNDERING JETS (1958) RS-Fox
  • TOUGH ASSIGNMENT (1949) LP
  • TRAIL DUST (R-1946) 1936, SG-D
  • TRAIL OF THE MOUNTIES (1947) Featurette, SG
  • TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE (1950) LP
  • TREASURE OF MONTE CRISTO (1949) LP
  • TROMBA: THE TIGERMAN (1952)Germany: Tromba, 1949, Dubbed, LP-D
  • TWELVE HOURS TO KILL (1960) API-Fox
  • TWILIGHT ON THE TRAIL (R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • TWILIGHT WOMEN (1953) UK: Women of Twilight, TV title: Another Chance, LP-D
  • TWO LITTLE BEARS (1961) Fox
  • UNDER FIRE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNDERCOVER AGENT (1953)UK: Counterspy, LP-D
  • UNHOLY FOUR, THE (1954) UK: The Stranger Came Home, Hammer, LP
  • UNKNOWN TERROR, THE (1957) RS-Fox
  • UNKNOWN WORLD (1951) LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE EAGLES (1951)UK:ValleyofEagles, LP-D
  • VALLEY OF THE REDWOODS (1960) API-Fox
  • VARIETIES ON PARADE (1951) LP
  • VILLA (1958) Fox
  • WALK A TIGHTROPE (1964) US-UK, API-Paramount
  • WALK TALL (1960) API-Fox
  • WAYNE MURDER CASE, THE (1932) Orig.: A Strange Adventure  LP-TV
  • WE WANT A CHILD! (1954)Denmark: Viv vil ha’ et bam, Dubbed, LP-D
  • WEST OF THE BRAZOS (1950) LP
  • WESTERN PACIFIC AGENT (1950) LP
  • WHERE THE NORTH BEGINS (1947) Featurette, SG
  • WHITE FIRE (1954)UK: Three Steps to the Gallows, 1953, LP-D
  • WHITE GODDESS (1953) LP-D
  • WHITE PHANTOM (1949) Short subject, LP
  • WIDE OPEN TOWN(R-1946) 1941, SG-D
  • WILD ON THE BEACH (1965) Fox
  • WILDFIRE (1945) SG
  • WINGS OF DANGER (1952) UK; Dead on Course, Hammer, LP
  • WITCHCRAFT (1964) UK, Fox
  • WOLF DOG (1958) RS-Fox
  • WOMAN WHO WOULDN’T DIE, THE (1965) UK, WB
  • WOMANHUNT aka WOMAN HUNT (1962) API-Fox
  • WOMEN OF PITCAIRN ISLAND, THE (1956) RS-Fox
  • YELLOW CANARY, THE (1963) Fox
  • YES SIR, MR. BONES! (1951) LP
  • YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1957) RS-Fox
  • YOUNG GUNS OF TEXAS (1962) API-Fox
  • YOUNG JESSE JAMES (1960) API-Fox
  • YOUNG SWINGERS, THE (1963) API-Fox

Sources:  Motion Picture Herald, Film Daily Yearbook,U.S. Copyright Office, Maury Dexter, Robert L. Lippert, Jr. and the Kit Parker Films-Lippert Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Visit our website to order DVDs from the Kit Parker Films Collection –

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Please bear with me while I get over my passion for compiling lists!

I’ve spent weeks putting together a filmography pictures produced by various companies controlled by Robert L. Lippert.  So far there are over 300 (!) productions spanning a 20 year period commencing in 1945. It’s been interesting, fun, and definitely time-consuming!  My goal is to make this information definitive…not an easy task given many of the movies were made anonymously.   Look for it soon.  In the meantime I offer you the lists below.

Lippert Pictures: Unrealized Or Retitled Projects

During 1947-49, Lippert Pictures, and its predecessor, Screen Guild Productions, announced titles to trade publications become available in the “next season,” implying they were in production, or close to it, or “in preparation,” which was another way of saying little, if anything had been prepared other than the main title.

During my interviews with producers Maury Dexter and Robert L. Lippert, Jr., I was told by both that Lippert, Sr., almost always came up with a title before commissioning the screenplay, but did occasionally change his mind, ending up releasing the picture under another title.  For example, the announced title, “The Ghost of Jesse James,” could have been changed to “The Return of Jesse James,” which actually was released.  At this point we’ll never know which titles were abandoned, or actually released under other titles.

I’ve always wondering what a Lippert production of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, much less directed by Samuel Fuller, in CineColor, or a Wizard of Oz sequel would have looked like had Lippert Pictures actually produced them!

Titles announced as being available “next season”

20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA – Project sold to Walt Disney

ABILENE KID, THE

ALGIER’S AMBUSH – George Raft

ALOHA

BLACK TULIP

COME OUT FIGHTING

CORNY RHYTHM

CROSS-CURRENTS

DEAD END CANYON

DEAD RINGER

DESERT QUEEN

FOR DISHONOR

FORT DEFIANCE

GHOST OF JESSE JAMES

GREAT JEWEL ROBBERY, THE

ISLE OF ZORDA

KING OF THE SAFECRACKERS

MADAM SHERIFF

MONTANABADLANDS

MUSTANG FURY

PARK ROW *

PILLAR MOUNTAIN

SON OF SHEP

STRATOCRUISER

WOMAN WITH A GUN – Paulette Goddard

* Samuel Fuller eventually produced in 1951 for U.A. release

Titles announced as being “In Preparation”

CABOOSE

FIREBUG AGENT

HIGHWAY WESTWARD

REDSKIN RENEGADES

STREAMLINER LIMITED

Titles unrealized

BANDOLEER

CALIBRE .45

DALTON’S LAST RAID, THE

DAREDEVILS OF THE HIGHWAY

I WAS KING OF THE SAFECRACKERS

OUTLAW HIDEOUT

RADIO PATROL

STRANGER IN THE HOUSE

SUNSET RIM

TALES OF CAPT. KIDD

ABILENE KID, THE

WESTERN BARN DANCE

WESTERN FURY

WIZARD OF OZ, THE – Series

————————

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“’The Black Pirates’ (1954) was shit, and ‘Massacre’ was no good either.”  — Producer, Robert L. Lippert, Jr.

By 1959 the Lippert/Fox/Regal Films contract was finished.  However, Fox still needed B movies, and Lippert was always the man for that job.  A new 7-year deal was struck.

The new production entity became known as “Associated Producers, Inc.” (API).  Bill Magginetti continued running the company and, of course, Bob Lippert called the shots.  When the API deal ended, “Lippert Pictures” was reactivated and produced another 10 films for Fox release.

Producer/director Maury Dexter was a pivotal figure during the Lippert-Fox years.  Dexter told me he was born into poverty during Depression-era Arkansas.  He became interested in acting, came to Los Angeles, and had a few bit parts in films, including the 3 Stooges short “Uncivil War Birds (1946), and became involved in TV and stage.  He served in Korea, and soon after was hired by Regal Films head of production, Bill Magginetti, as his assistant.   When Lippert fired Magginetti, Dexter took over.  It was a good decision as Dexter was a natural organizer, could do many things at the same time, quickly and under pressure…the prerequisites for success at Lippert!  In addition to overseeing the company, he personally produced and directed 16 feature films!

After almost two decades in production, Robert L. Lippert returned to Alameda where he died of a heart attack at the age of 67 on November 16, 1976 in Alameda, California.

Lippert Trivia:

Samuel Fuller was set to write and direct a Lippert production of “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” in CineColor as announced in exhibitor publications in 1949.   Walt Disney bought the project from Lippert Pictures, either because it inspired him to make his own version, which he eventually did 5 years later, or he had planned making it all along and didn’t want another version to compete against.

Robert L. Lippert entered into negotiations with the Estate of author L. Frank Baum for rights to produce a series of “Wizard of Oz” movies.  The reason he abandoned the project is lost to history.

The shortest shooting schedule of any Lippert production was one day, “Hollywood Varieties” (1950).

The runner up at 58 hours is “Highway 13” (1948).  Coincidentally, it was a 58 minute movie, so it literally took only one hour to produce one minute of screen time!

Lippert productions had a minimum of 50 daily camera set-ups.

Just to prove he could do it, producer Robert L. Lippert decided to direct a movie, “The Last of the Wild Horses” (1948.)  When production fell behind he fired himself and Paul Landres completed the film.  After that Lippert stuck to producing.   BTW, Lippert accorded himself something he never allowed other directors…an extravagant (for a Lippert production) running time of 84 minutes.

After a day of filming “Massacre” (1956) in Guatemala Producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. was relaxing in his hotel room and heard gun shots in the room next to him.  Recalling that a General was staying there, he immediately calculated it was an assassination (it was.)  Lippert didn’t want to be shot as an eye witness, so he jumped out the window and ran on foot all the way to Mexico, and the cast and crew, who were staying in another hotel, departed by plane.

Again during the filming of “Massacre,” Lippert, Jr. said he was on location in a rural town where he found the electrical power was at best unreliable. Of course power was essential.  To proceed with filming he went to the local airport, such as it was, which was powered by a generator.  He paid off government officials to obtain the airport generator during the daytime hours.  Daytime air operations ceased, and each night the generator was returned to the airport thus enabling planes to once again take off and land.

There wasn’t enough money in the production budget to afford a pirate ship in “The Black Pirates” (1954), so the movie begins with the “pirates” arriving on shore in a row boat.  They never leave land for the entire movie.

Beloved character actor, Sid Melton, made 20 appearances in the early Lippert productions before becoming a TV mainstay.  I asked him why he was in so many, and he replied, “Mr. Lippert had faith in me.”  The fact Melton was willing to work for $140 a week may have helped. (2)

Between 1955 and 1965, Lippert co-financed and/or co-produced  four European productions not released by Fox: “The Quartermass Xperiment” U.S. title, “The Creeping Unknown” (U.K./1955), a Hammer Films production released through United Artists; “The Last Man on Earth” (Italy/1964), filmed in Rome and released by American International Pictures; “Walk a Tightrope” (U.K./1965), released through Paramount; and “The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die” (U.K./1965),  released through Warner Bros.

Margia Dean, Actress and Producer

Several years ago I met Margia Dean, still charming and beautiful, who appeared in 39 Lippert productions.

She revealed a story about Clint Eastwood who appeared with her in “Ambush at Cimarron Pass” (1958).  Years later at a Hollywood function, she ran into the by-then renowned actor-director and couldn’t resist chiding him, “Just remember, I got top billing over you!”

Here are some more fun bits she told me on June 17, 2011: “I was executive producer of ‘The Long Rope’ [1961] starring Hugh Marlowe. That was the only one for Fox. I was associate producer on a couple of others. It came in on time and made money.  I remember that I had difficulty getting respect because I was a woman [producer] and that was very rare in those days.”

“There was a scene in a little Mexican town and it was too bare, so I suggested that they have a few chickens and a stray dog for some atmosphere. Someone said “the producer wants chickens” and when I came on the set it was swarming with chickens!   The writer [Robert Hamner] told me I was the best producer he ever worked for and he worked for several big producers. I remember one was Aaron Spelling.”

I remember that the star wanted some aspirin so I asked the driver to go to the drug store and get some and he replied that according to the union he couldn’t go, he could only drive, so I went along, and got the aspirin. Then, in a cantina scene I asked the prop man to put some serapes on the wall and he said he couldn’t, I would have to hire a drapery man, so I hung them! I hired the director [for “The Long Rope”, William Witney] whom I worked for in another film (Secret of the Purple Reef) [1960] and I sensed he didn’t like taking any suggestions from me!”

* Mr. Lippert did produce, direct and or edit some good films!

The Robert L. Lippert Foundation.  Good overview with biography and filmography, the latter of which I am in the process of revising.

http://robertllippertfoundation.com

Maury Dexter interviewed by Tom Weaver in “I Talked With a Zombie”

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-4118-1

Sid Melton:

http://www.bmonster.com/profile38.html

Sources:  Conversations between Kit Parker and Robert L. Lippert, Jr., Maury Dexter, Margia Dean and Sid Melton; issues of Motion Picture Herald and Film Daily Yearbook; the Kit Parker-Lippert Collection at the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; interviews with Maury Dexter and Sid Melton by Tom Weaver in “I Talked With a Zombie” (BearManor Media, 2011).

——————–

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