Posts Tagged ‘Kit Parker Films Blog

This is a continuation of a discussion between Robert J.E. Simpson and Sam Sherman regarding Hammer Films and “The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas”.

Sam Sherman has been actively involved in all aspects of film production and distribution for over 50 years, and is an encyclopedia of film knowledge.   

Robert J.E. Simpson is from Northern Ireland and is working on a PhD which will lead into one or two books about Hammer Films/Exclusive Films.  His PhD twitter feed is at, and there is a website which will be updated soon at

Hi Kit,

Thanks for that. Completely fascinating. I’ve never looked at the extant Hammer files on Snowman, so this is very intriguing reading.

I’m well aware that Hammer’s corporate dealings are a minefield. Even worse when you consider how much of the paperwork was discarded (I think we’ve talked about that before). I see a note on my files from Hammer regarding IIP’s stake, but many companies have a stake in Hammer product so that’s not particularly surprising.

Just had a browse through some of my Hammer books here. The authorised history THE HAMMER STORY certainly mentions Buzz as Lippert’s uncredited production company as part of the last in the Hammer/Lippert co-production deals.

I’m not disputing Clarion was a slightly different set-up to Hammer, but it was part of the Hammer group of companies. I’ve got paperwork relating to that.

According to my records here, Intercontinental certainly contracted Tucker, but it was Exclusive that contracted the producer and script, and Hammer Film Productions Ltd the rest of the cast (including Cushing), and the studio facilities. Obviously there’s more, and I see yet more mention of the litigation (as I say, first time I’ve ever looked at that dispute), but Hammer were most certainly involved. And Hammer’s name was heavily featured on contemporary advertising for the film, and the onscreen credits.


Below is Sam’s response.


Hi Kit,

Please forward this information as required. 

As a party to this project I have all of the legal paperwork and documents supporting the background of this film..


James Carreras

Clarion Films Ltd. was mainly owned by James Carreras and had a different corporate incorporation and legal setup than Hammer Film Productions Ltd.

AS was a co-production of Buzz Productions Inc. (the main producers) (as owned by
Robert Lippert, William Pizor and Irwin Pizor) and Clarion Films Ltd. 20th Century Fox was the sole distributor of the film world-wide, excluding UK and Japan. Note- the film was partially financed on the British end by the Eady plan.

Irwin Pizor acquired the Lippert interests and inherited his father (William Pizor’s ) interests.   My company, Independent-International Pictures Corp., acquired all of the Buzz interests from  my business partner Irwin Pizor. AS is not a Hammer Production and is setup differently than any Hammer film in such regards.

Hammer claimed to have acquired the Clarion interests to this film and in settlement of certain disagreements amongst Hammer, Fox and Buzz, Fox agreed to discontinue world distribution of this film (excluding UK and Japan.) In further settlement of such, my company acquired all world rights to this film, which it currently owns, with the exception of UK, Japan and US/Canada.

The film was unsuccessful when first released and considered a failure. When we took over the Buzz interests the film was heavily in the red. Since acquiring the Buzz interests we were helpful in promoting the film as a quality product and such production is now no longer in the red.

In my opinion AS is a fine production and one of the better such films Carreras and his companies were involved with.

James Carreras was a longtime friend and business associate of William Pizor and Irwin Pizor who were very important in the international film business and brought him in touch with Robert Lippert through distributing Lippert films in the UK and setting up a number of British coproduction’s between Carreras and Lippert.

-Sam Sherman


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My fascination with films began with the Pincushion Man.


When I was young, everyone watched movies in the theatre or on television.  That’s it…no DVD, Cable TV, Satellite, and YouTube; in fact, no digital anything.   Home movie enthusiasts watched home movies on 8mm (16mm if they were lucky) and that’s about it.  Then, as now, there was a big demand for movies at educational institutions, and all kinds of organizations and institutions.   That need was fulfilled by 16mm film, and distribution of them was a good sized business from the 1920’s to the late 1970s.  A portable 16mm projector, screen and, of course, a film was all that was required.  It was a hassle, but that’s how it was done.   The AV guys who ran the projectors had the same appearance and personality of computer nerds today.  Film buffs remember them, but most young people won’t know what I’m talking about,

8mm was the primary format used for home movies, and my father shot a lot of them.  To augment family films he showed ten minute silent versions of sound movies, mostly cartoons, which were sold in photo shops under the Castle Films label.  One was The Pincushion Man, a re-title of Balloon Land (Ub Iwerks, 1935); it mesmerized me with its bizarre characters and surreal color (Cinecolor, a two color process).  Dad had two others, Little Black Sambo and Sinbad the Sailor, also 1935 Cinecolor cartoons from Ub Iwerks, but to me there was Pincushion Man and then all others.

That was the origin of my interest in films.  The next year I went to the movies and saw a feature film compilation of silent comedies, Robert Youngson’s The Golden Age of Comedy (1957).   It was, and is, terrific. (I can’t believe it still isn’t out on DVD.) [*] 

Soon after, I began collecting my own Castle Films, “dirty dupes” from Home Movie Wonderland, and eventually switching to Blackhawk Films.  Blackhawk was the best; silent comedies, and the be-all-end-all of comedy, Laurel and Hardy.  Then I got interested in the physical prints as well as content.  My first Kit Parker Films “catalog” (three pages) offered 8mm movies for sale.  I think I was 11, and my inventory came from offbeat mail order catalogs.  At 13, I began borrowing 16mm public relations films produced by oil companies, railroads, and other corporations which offered them free to organizations through a distributor called Modern Talking Picture Service.  They had film exchanges throughout the country, and offered countless numbers of films on the behalf of a corporate clients.  By and large, they were well produced and entertaining.  I told Modern there were several resorts where I lived that were interested in showing those types of films. The sources of entertainment were very, very limited in those days in semi-rural areas like Carmel Valley, California, where I grew up. Modern, who was paid by the sponsors every time a film was shown, asked me if I would sub-distribute for them.   My folks took me to their San Francisco office, and when they saw me, they were stunned and amused by my age.  They looked at each other wondering what they got themselves into.  I got the films, though!

At 14 I started a weekly kiddie matinee at the local community center which showed a feature, short subjects and sometimes a serial, every Saturday at the local community center.  Tickets sold for $.35 and it was a big success.  Over the next four years, I ordered the films (the best part), ran the projector and bought the candy.   The profits went to maintenance of the building.

By 14 my collecting was 100% 16mm…I bought and sold prints.  As my collecting continued I also began shooting my own movies with a Bolex camera my folks gave me one Christmas.  Although I never really had an interest in shooting movies, the news anchor, Mike Morisoli, at KSBW-TV (stood for “Salad Bowl of the World”!)  in Salinas, California, had faith in me and provided unexposed film to cover events such as rodeos and car racing. Back then news stories were all filmed, and my footage ended up on the 6 O’clock News…way cool for a 16-year-old.

At 18, KSBW Program Director, Dwight Wheeler, hired me as the weekend film editor.  In those days television broadcast only network shows, live programming (mostly the News) and lots and lots of film…no video tape.  There were racks and racks of TV shows at the station, and even more feature films!  At one time or another they had, MGM, Columbia, Universal, Warner Bros. and United Artists.  The best distributor was NTA…they had 20th Century-Fox and Republic Pictures.  Syndicated TV shows ranged from Sergeant Preston of the Yukon to Gilligan’s Island.

My job was to assemble the filmed programs and add the commercials.  I had to find the best spots to insert commercials into feature films, and sometimes editing them down to fit into specific time slots.  Everything had to be timed right down to the second.   I learned fast because of my film experience, so soon after had lots of spare time which allowed me to study how the technical directors worked.   A “TD,” as they were known, sat at a large console full of switches and buttons, like you’d see today at a recording studio.  They pushed the buttons and moved levers at the correct time to assure everything went on the air at precisely the right moment.  Today only live programming still uses a TD; everything else has long been computerized.  During half-hour news program there could easily be scores of decisions and manipulations; most had to be anticipated five seconds ahead of the actual event.  On the weekends when only the TD and I were at the station, they would teach me how to do the job.  I was a fast learner and had quick reflexes, at least in those days!  When one of the TD’s quit, the others recommended to the Chief Engineer that I take his place, and I went from the film room to the control room.  I became akin to a super projectionist…and had a ball.  A few months later I was the TD in charge of all of the prime time programming. 

1967 the Viet Nam war was raging, and young men were being readily drafted.  I didn’t want to end up in a jungle shooting people, so joined the Navy Reserve, and ended up on the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.  It was a small city with over 5,000 officers and men.  Logically, they put me in charge of the ship’s entertainment television and radio stations; illogically they moved me into the Public Affairs Office for the duration where I worked on the daily newspaper, gave tours of the ship, and mostly shuffled papers.  Morale on the ship was poor; I think our Captain idolized Captain Bligh, and my Chief Petty Officer was never happy because flogging was outlawed. 

Fortunately I had enough free time to work on creating my passion, Kit Parker Films.


[*]  Not to be confused with other productions on DVD with the same name.

Cool book about Castle Films:



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Sorry, I do not profess to be an expert on copyright law!  But those interested in the intricacies of it may find the below of interest. 

Fifty years ago producer Adrian Weiss commissioned an opinion from renowned copyright and trademark attorney, E. Fulton Brylawski, principally regarding what constitutes “publication” in copyright law.  The following is a slight abridgement of the letter, the original of which I donated to the Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences:

Mr. Brylawski opines:

In the case of Jewelers Mercantile Agency v. Jewelers Publishing Company, decided by a New York state court (1892) it was held that the leasing of copies of a book to subscribers was a publication, even though the lessor never parted with the title to the work and the lessee agreed to return the copy after the expiration of the term for which it had been leased.

Motion pictures are almost never sold or placed on sale and it is doubtful that they are “publicly distributed,” but it is generally believed that the leasing of prints of motion pictures to exhibitors for theatrical showing, constitutes a publication of the pictures under the decision referred to, but the question has never been squarely decided that motion pictures are actually published by this method of distribution.  [Keep in mine that this letter was written before the advent of home video]

While I feel that there can be no real doubt on this point, it does not necessarily follow that because a motion picture may be in the public domain, anyone may freely copy and exhibit or distribute copies of the film.”

Anyone who may have lawfully acquired title to any print of the pictures, may use same in any manner he chooses, but a person who obtains temporary possession of any property for one purpose and who converts same to his own use by using it for a different purpose than that for which possession had been temporarily parted with, can be restrained and would be liable to damages for the conversion.

In view of the fact that no one, other than yourselves, has any prints or negatives of these pictures [The “Chuckleheads” TV series]*, there cold be no danger of competition from outside sources.” Perhaps my reference to one being in “lawful possession” of a print of one of your old pictures was ambiguous.

If one had a print which had been sold, the purchaser would have lawful possession.  If a laboratory had liens on prints and they were sold to satisfy the liens, the purchaser at such a sole would have lawful possession. [Could make copies if the film is in the public domain.]

If a print was parted with for screening purposes or for exhibition or telecasting, the possession of such a print would be a lawful one, but the making of a copy would be an unlawful use, for which the offender would be liable.”

The exhibition of the picture is not a publication and an unpublished motion picture may be freely exhibited without changing its status as an unpublished work.  If the picture was not published, it is unimportant whether or not it had a notice of copyright, as this notice is only required in the case of published works.

Publication of a motion picture occurs when copies are sold or leased to theatres for the purpose of exhibition.  It is the leasing which constituted publication – not the exhibitions of the film.

The copyright law does not define what constitutes publication.  It merely states that the date of publication shall be the earliest date when copies were placed on sale, sold or publicly distributed.  The production of a play on the stage is not a publication of the play and exhibitions of motion pictures on the screens is similarly not a publication of the pictures.

 [*] “Chuckleheads” is a series of 150 five-minute shorts edited from Weiss Bros. Artclass Pictures comedies, with added music and sound effects

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A Hammer Film or not? 

Film historian Sam Sherman nails it….

(A series of emails between film historians Sam Sherman and Rick Mitchell as prompted by my blog) 

RICK MITCHELL: …but all Regal [“B” movies produced by Robert L. Lippert and released by 20th Century-Fox] films I’ve seen after that were credited in being in RegalScope, including British made THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, which was actually shot in what’s now called Super 35; [a film collector] e-mailed me that his 35mm print credits Megascope, the term Hammer used for the films it shot in Super 35 and Columbia used on spherical films it released in Europe with anamorphic prints.  

SAM SHERMAN: There is so much information and especially mis-information on this title due to several reasons – The claims   that this is a Hammer film or a Regal film are completely Wrong.  The film was originally made as a US British co-production between (US) Buzz Productions Inc. (Bob Lippert, Bill PIzor, Irwin Pizor) [**]  and (UK) Clarion Films Ltd. (Jimmy Carreras) (a separate company and not legally part of Hammer) with Fox  handling all world-wide distribution outside of the Clarion territories of UK and Japan, as the film was a UK quota financed film there, as released by Warners.  The process listed was somewhere “Hammerscope” elsewhere “RegalScope”,   but was most likely regular Cinemascope.

In the Fox territories the film was cut by several minutes and re-titled ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS. Videos here are from the British master and show the Warners logo and UK credits.  The US Theatrical release was the top of a double bill with GHOST DIVER, which I think is a Regal film…, as second feature.  US TV was originally handled by Seven Arts (which had a Fox TV film group package) and later became part of Warners.  I have a Seven Arts 16MM TV print with different (US) credits which had a prominent credit for Buzz Productions, rarely seen elsewhere.  My company (IIP) [Independent International Pictures] is the owner of the Buzz Productions interests.  This is probably the best film that the Clarion and Hammer production team ever made. It is finally getting a reputation, is shown yearly at a special film festival at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood and fans finally have gotten to appreciate it.  When I took over the rights to this film and started working with Fox they thought nothing of the film until I told them it was great! They didn’t believe in it as they had mis-handled it originally and it made no money.  Once, due to my efforts, they reviewed all of these issues and they started marketing it to Cable TV in the US (including HBO) where they did a great deal of business. This film was in the Red from 1957 to the 1990s until I took it over and now, it is solidly in the black.

RICK: Kit Parker forwarded to me your comments about the rights history of this film, which sound very complicated because it was an international co-production.   ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN was shot by the technique known today as Super 35: full aperture spherical photography composed for 2.35, which would be extracted and squeezed to a dupe negative for release printing. This was originally done as Superscope but didn’t work as well on color films as with black-and-white and we are now discovering that a number of black-and-white films from the late Fifties released with anamorphic prints and advertised as being in CinemaScope or similar “Scopes” were actually shot that way. Megascope was Hammer’s term for films shot this way and Columbia used it on some films shot and released spherically in the US but with anamorphic prints in Europe, including THE 7TH VOYAGE OF SINBAD [1958]! 

SAM: I won’t believe this super-35 story on ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN until I see a piece of film in my hand like that.  I remember seeing some Superscope films in theatres (Tushinsky process) originally… especially INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS [1956]. It was inferior looking and very grainy from blowing up that negative. ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN always looks very good leading me to believe it was shot with an anamorphic lens and not blown up from part of a negative.  I worked on two films shot in Techniscope (a similar idea using half the negative) and squeezed into an anamorphic version – and it usually looked grainy and horrible.  If SNOWMAN was shot the same way, it should look equally bad which it does not.

Unfortunately, we have not had access to MGM’s files to get their side of this, only Panavision’s. Obviously, they couldn’t publicly announce it as it would have been in violation of their licensing agreement with Fox. One giveaway is there is a credit on these films saying “Process lenses by Panavision”, which was used when Panavision optical printer lenses were used for conversions. Through 1960, films shot with Panavision lenses, though credited as being in CinemaScope, carried a sub credit “Photographic lenses by Panavision. Unfortunately, this credit appears near the end of the main title sequence on the card with the copyright notice, etc., so you have to watch the film’s main title sequence to catch it. One other thing I noted was that the films’ original negatives were cut into A&B rolls so they wouldn’t have to go to another dupe stage for dissolves and fades, just title sequences and opticals. We’re fairly certain all their black-and-white “CinemaScope” pictures released in 1957 and 58 were done this way, but still need to research the 1959-60 releases because MGM had begun using Panavision lenses on its color films about that time. Marty has confirmed that THE GAZEBO, released at the end of 1959, was shot anamorphic.

[**]  The name “Buzz” probably came from Robert L. Lippert, who had just produced “The Fly” (1958).

Sam Sherman, writer, producer, distributor, and film historian:

Rick Mitchell, film editor and film historian.

Wide Screen 101:



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Ronnie James, one of the great unsung movie and television researchers felt that the Filmography would be more useful and telling, if it was in chronological order.  It started out that way, but I found too much conflicting information among my various research publications…but he’s right…it should be.

Film editor and film historian Rick Mitchell has great credentials when it comes to wide screen cinematography. He asked several excellent questions that I’m sure others have wondered about as well.

RICK MITCHELL: I believe there are some errors in the Lippert piece. I don’t believe Sam Fuller’s CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS were made for Lippert but under a separate deal Fuller’s Globe Productions made with Fox, like Edward L. Alperson’s. THE FLY is not considered a Lippert production but an official Fox one.

THE FLY is definitely a Lippert production. Director Kurt Neumann came to Bob Lippert with the story, and Lippert felt it would be a big hit so, according to Dexter, authorized a $700 – $750K budget…astronomical for a Lippert production, but small by Fox standards. Most of the money went into special effects and, of course, it was filmed (in Canada) in color.  Lippert showed it to Fox president, Spyros Skouras, and he decided to make it a Fox “A” release.

KIT: Sam Fuller was the producer of both CHINA GATE and FORTY GUNS, released in 1957. 

 These were Lippert RegalScope productions that so impressed the Fox brass that they were released as Fox/CinemaScope pictures. Head of production was Bill Magianetti, and his assistant was Maury Dexter.  I spoke to Dexter and he confirmed this and also went into detail about the filming. Maury also told me some great Fuller stories connected with those two pictures which I’ll reveal in a future blog!

RICK: Are you sure THE FLY was filmed in Canada? I’d seen THE GIFT OF LOVE a few weeks before I first saw THE FLY and was shocked to see the same interiors of the house in both films. Fox did recycle standing sets: the schoolroom build for PEYTON PLACE appears in THE YOUNG LIONS and THE LONG HOT SUMMER with no changes, for example.

KIT:  Rick was mostly right…only some scenes were filmed in Montreal, the rest at Fox studios.

In one of my blogs I wrote that Lippert couldn’t put his name on any of his Fox productions because he totally alienated the unions by insisting on releasing his earlier productions to television and refusing to pay residuals.

RICK: Lippert takes executive producer credit on THE YELLOW CANARY (1963).

KIT: Yes, by 1963 the union problems were behind him.

RICK: The first Regal film credited on the film as being in CinemaScope; I haven’t seen any ads or trailers, so I don’t know what’s on them.

KIT:  I do know they used CinemaScope lenses on all of the Regal’s, but Fox didn’t want to use that name on low budget, black and white second features. One thing that continues to stump me is some of the Regal prints have the Fox logo, and other prints of the same picture say Regal Films! Maury Dexter didn’t know, either, so it is a probably a question that will never be answered.


RICK:  See attached frame blowup from a friend’s 16mm print of STAGECOACH TO FURY; I now have one of my own. It has the Regal Films logo at the head. I have not seen any of the other RegalScope films released in 1956 and don’t know how they were credited but all Regal films I’ve seen after that were credited in being in RegalScope, including British made THE ABOMINABLE SNOWMAN OF THE HIMALAYAS, which was actually shot in what’s now called Super 35; [a film collector] e-mailed me that his 35mm print credits Megascope, the term Hammer used for the films it shot in Super 35 and Columbia used on spherical films it released in Europe with anamorphic prints.

RICK: Incidentally, re your Lippert Pictures filmography, THE BIG CHASE was expanded from what was to be 3-D short, I believe BANDIT ISLAND.


KIT:  True; producer Robert L. Lippert, Jr. made both the 3D short and incorporated the footage (in 2D) into his feature film, THE BIG CHASE (1954).  The 3D short itself is not known to survive.

RICK:  I believe the color films Lippert did before the formation of Associated Producers were released as official Fox films because they were in color.

KIT: The only two color films that came out of Regal Films were THE FLY (1958) and THE DEERSLAYER (1957), which were released as Fox pictures, but produced by Lippert. When the Fox-Regal deal expired, a new one was set up under the name Associated Producers. Many of those were in color.

RICK: Were CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! (both1958) and THE OREGON TRAIL (1959) not part of the Lippert deal? They are credited as being produced by Richard Einfield, the son of a former Fox exhibition executive. I’d gotten the impression that all the obvious color B’s Fox released during the Skouras years went through the Lippert Unit. [condensed for clarity]

KIT: CATTLE EMPIRE, VILLA! And THE OREGON TRAIL are Lippert (API) productions.  I know IMDb isn’t the be-all-end-all of credits, but it doesn’t list CATTLE EMPIRE or VILLA! as Einfield films. Maury thinks Einfield “may” have produced CATTLE EMPIRE, and he did produce OREGON TRAIL.

Both Dexter, and VILLA! star, Margia Dean, confirm that Spyros Skouras’ son, Plato Skouras, produced VILLA!  Dexter says that Plato wanted to be a movie producer so his father assigned him to “produce” some Lippert’s, a way to get him off his back and still allow his son to call himself a producer, although his involvement usually wasn’t much more than as a figurehead.  Dexter adds it was a similar situation with Richard Einfield, whose father was indeed an exhibitor, and therefore a customer of Fox.  He added that Einfield did not have much to do with the actual producing, but did more so than Plato Skouras given Einfield had a background in film editing and directing.

Dexter has given me more details on THE FLY.  He says Lippert read the “The Fly” short story in a 1957 Playboy Magazine, at the suggestion of director Kurt Neumann.  He immediately dispatched someone to Paris to buy the movie rights from its author, George Langelaan.  Langelaan was paid $2,500, a little over $19,000 in 2010 dollars.

I’m thankful for Rick’s questions and comments, and hope he will contribute more.

GREAT NEWS!  Maury Dexter wrote an unpublished autobiography which I found to be a page-turner.  He has asked me to make it available at no charge.  I’ll get to work on the project as soon as I can figure out how to upload the book from a floppy disc!


Google Rick Mitchell, or start with this site:


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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
























WOMAN WITH A GUN – Paulette Goddard

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

Titles announced as being “In Preparation”






Titles unrealized
















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