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A year in Hollywood

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Love the Hughes' "mug shot". I guess he was a criminal in what he did with RKO.

 

'55 was also the year of Disneyland... and three studios (Warner, MGM, 20th Century Fox) joining Disney, Columbia Screen Gems & Hal Roach before them into television production. Universal simply rented out their studio to MCA's Revue Studios to film such shows as Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Paramount was also merely "taste-testing" TV on and off, starting with their Cowboy G-Men series a few years back and with their stock in the struggling DuMont network.

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1956


_________



There were more shake-ups in 1956 at the major studios. Several moguls were either forced out or elected to resign and go into independent production. This included Dore Schary at MGM, who had guided the company on his own since Louis B. Mayer’s exit a few years earlier. But now Schary was gone too, and Joe Schenck was promoted to the position of chairman. At the same time Arthur Loew took full control of Loew’s Inc., while Schary returned to writing and producing his own smaller-budgeted films.


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At 20th Century Fox, Darryl Zanuck had been continuing as Vice President under Spyros Skouras. But increasing tensions between the two necessitated changes. Zanuck gave up his position and went to Paris, where he made his own films (released by Fox). He also was paid a fee as a studio consultant. Zanuck retained shares of stock in the company he helped build, but under Skouras, things were disintegrating fast. Part of the problem, which led to Zanuck’s resignation as Vice President, was that Skouras had fired many of the studio’s top writers and directors. Skouras had also dropped several stars that Zanuck built up from nothing.


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Film production was down at all the major studios, and the emphasis was now on the production of episodic television series. Because most of the studios were no longer operating at full capacity, workers’ hours were scaled back. The unions had agreed to a 44-hour work week, less than it had been when the studios were doing better.


02c79-screen2bshot2b2016-04-162bat2b10-2


Meanwhile, the production code had to deal with challenges by director Otto Preminger. Preminger had previously made THE MOON IS BLUE, a comedy that was issued in 1954 without a seal of approval. This was because Maggie McNamara’s character described herself as a virgin. Now, the director was at it again, pushing the boundaries with a story about drug addiction. One of the main reasons Preminger was successful in circumventing the code was because independent exhibitors had become increasingly indifferent to the code. So films were being shown more often now without a seal of approval.


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One of the year’s major film releases was MGM’s science fiction classic FORBIDDEN PLANET. It utilized CinemaScope and concentrated on special effects to create a utopic environment that borrowed from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest.’ Walter Pidgeon portrayed a Prospero-like scientist named Morbius whose daughter, played by Anne Francis, was based on Miranda. The omnipresent Ariel was seen in the form of a futuristic robot named Robby. And Caliban was depicted as an invisible monster that threatened to destroy their planetary paradise. The technological fantasy story did well with audiences, and MGM had a big hit on its hands.


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1957

_________

More than ever television was dominating the entertainment landscape. Since 3-D turned out to be a relatively short fad, and CinemaScope’s novelty had worn off, studios were desperate for other ways to attract audiences. So strategies to revive national interest in the cinema were developed.

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One organization that tried to help was the MPAA. It encouraged catchy slogans and sweepstakes that might stir up interest in new films. The sweepstakes were advertised on radio and TV. Other marketing campaigns were tied directly to the Academy Awards. There were also audience polls, where moviegoers could vote on their favorite stars and give feedback to studios about films.

cc11a-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b11-5

Another organization that jumped on the bandwagon was the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS). Its suggestions were less about advertising, and more about promoting cinema as one of the nation’s lasting arts. Film festivals were considered, educational foundations were proposed, and a Hollywood movie museum was planned.

8235d-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b12-0

But while the MPAA and AMPAS were trying to help studios revive public interest in filmmaking, certain industry practices were sabotaging their best attempts. The unions and guilds had aging members, and they discouraged newcomers from entering the ranks. This kept salaries up, and it also meant the protection of jobs that were no longer needed. Because it was difficult for newcomers to get hired at most studios, they often started at television production companies. Television benefited from the flow of fresh talent and skill, while movies continued to suffer.

2e207-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b12-0

Speaking of suffering, the most popular genre in 1957 was the melodrama. In the past, melodramas had been presented as historically-based costume dramas. But director Douglas Sirk changed all that at Universal. His tales of furious emotional impact were told as contemporary dramas that exploited the myths of modern day romance. Audiences had turned out for a remake of MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION a few years earlier; and now they were anxious to see Dorothy Malone and Rock Hudson in WRITTEN ON THE WIND.

f047e-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b12-1

Audiences were also eager to see some of their favorite new music stars on the big screen. Realizing the potential Elvis Presley had, MGM signed him to make a musical drama called JAILHOUSE ROCK. It premiered in October and did very well at the box office. The dance sequence where Presley gyrated to the title song became one of the most iconic moments in cinematic history.

bdb29-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b12-1

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A few useless, silly things I can add... *chuckle chuckle*

 

There were several deaths, like L.B. Mayer... and his funeral was huge. Harry Cohn died the following year. Also Judy Tyler in Jailhouse Rock passed away before its release.

 

There was also a dramatic increase in black and white film-making around this time. Between 1953 and '56, roughly 60-70% of all features were in color and a great many in widescreen. Like you said, the novelty of CinemaScope was in decline. There was also a lot of budget cutting. You can also take into account the financial success of many foreign language imports shot in black and white, forcing Hollywood to appeal to the "art house" market that was more concerned about subject matter than spectacle. 1966 was the year that CBS and ABC announced their full primetime (not daytime yet) programming in "living color" thanks to the almost monopoly of RCA/NBC being broken by newer color TV sets on the market and this lead to the sharpest decline in black and white films in theaters. Only two major features not in color were released in 1968. (Granted, hits shortly later like The Last Picture Show and Paper Moon made it semi-fashionable again.)

 

For us "shorties" fans, we know that the *official end* of the theatrical short subject was roughly the Summer of 1972, when Universal and Columbia completed their final seasons of sports-reels, travelogues and Woody Woodpecker cartoons. (Only United Artists kept the Pink Panther going for a few more years.) However the year 1957 saw the number of live-action shorts (not yet cartoons) drop considerably... then make a comeback of sorts in the sixties, but just the cheap travelogue and sports short variety, not entertainment shorts. In December 1957, Jules White *allegedly* (not certain if it is true) stormed into the ailing Harry Cohn's office at Columbia to declare the "short subject" market was dead and the decision was made right then to end the Three Stooges' contract; they being the last of the 2-reel comedy stars under contract. During that past decade, they had been cutting corners with a lot of recycled stock footage in their shorts.

 

Apparently... from the looks of it... there appeared to be two major boom periods in "movie nostalgia" hitting the American public. One of these occurred in 1957 just after so many RKO, Warner, Paramount and other studio films were "sold off" to TV companies and the number of Late, Late Show offerings increased on the small screen. Riding on this wave were the Robert Youngson features like The Golden Age of Comedy, which made Laurel & Hardy popular all over again (despite Oliver passing away just before Youngson immortalized him). The second wave occurred in 1971-72 after MGM and 20th Century Fox sold off so many of their props and backlot memorabilia in order to avoid bankruptcy. This resulted in a flood of Old Hollywood documentaries on TV and ultimately MGM's That's Entertainment! a few years later.

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Interestingly, TB this is the same criteria below that I and my high school girlfriends used to use on grading our dates:

cc11a-screen2bshot2b2016-04-272bat2b11-5

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I will post 1958 tomorrow..check back!

So that leaves me living in 1957 for another 24 hours?

 

Okay, time to watch the fights on my Philco I guess.

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1958


_________


The film industry was still losing money in 1958. A slogan that had been developed to lure audiences back into theaters was ‘Get More Out of Life—Go to a Movie.’ But unfortunately, the public thought they could get more out of life staying home and watching television. As a result, several major Hollywood studios were on the verge of bankruptcy.


fc5ba-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-44


United Artists was in the process of restructuring its business model. The UA management team decided to buy out Mary Pickford. She was the last of the original partners, and with her exit, the company went public. It quickly diversified into television and the music field. This strategy kept UA solvent and from shutting down. But other companies were not so lucky. Herbert Yates was stepping down over at Republic, and his studio which had been in existence since 1935 was ceasing all operations.


ebef0-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-50


Meanwhile, RKO Teleradio turned out some new films that were remakes of old titles. But soon the practice discontinued–the RKO lot closed, and everything was put up for sale again. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who first met at RKO in 1940 while they were making TOO MANY GIRLS, used the profits from Desilu to purchase the studio’s facilities which would now be used for television production. There were a few unreleased RKO movies that were handed over to Universal for distribution.


4ffd1-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-47


But Universal was having problems of its own. It was a million dollars in the hole by the end of July 1958 and facing bankruptcy. Universal would be given a reprieve; it was bailed out by the Management Corporation of America (MCA). Until now, MCA was known as an organization that brokered deals for independent producers and stars. MCA was in a financial position to take over Universal, where many of its deals had occurred in the 1950s. MCA’s increasing power proved production was passing from old-time moguls into the hands of agents and individual artists who could package lucrative deals.


cf49d-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-43


As for the old-time moguls, 1958 was the year Columbia’s Harry Cohn passed away. His death occurred in the middle of production on BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE. This film reunited one of the studio’s top actresses, Kim Novak, with her recent costar from VERTIGO, Jimmy Stewart. Most of Novak’s films made money at this time, but Columbia did experience a slight downturn in the wake of Cohn’s death. One thing that helped the company stay afloat was its investment in the British production THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, which became one of the year’s most successful motion pictures.


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I will be posting 1959 on Saturday, then probably taking a bit of a break. 

 

Originally my goal was to stop when I reached 1959. If I end up doing the 60s, it will not be right away...thanks for reading, and I hope the information has been interesting/useful.

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I will be posting 1959 on Saturday, then probably taking a bit of a break. 

 

Originally my goal was to stop when I reached 1959. If I end up doing the 60s, it will not be right away...thanks for reading, and I hope the information has been interesting/useful.

 

That gives me more time to work on the decade between Myra Breckinridge and Heaven's Gate... lol! (Actually I did a couple of the years when I had a little time.)

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That gives me more time to work on the decade between Myra Breckinridge and Heaven's Gate... lol! (Actually I did a couple of the years when I had a little time.)

Good. Glad you've been working on the 70s.  

 

I will make sure I get the ones for the 60s done-- though they will probably not appear in this thread until later in the summer. Which means you can start posting the 70s in the fall. 

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1958

_________

The film industry was still losing money in 1958. A slogan that had been developed to lure audiences back into theaters was ‘Get More Out of Life—Go to a Movie.’ But unfortunately, the public thought they could get more out of life staying home and watching television. As a result, several major Hollywood studios were on the verge of bankruptcy.

fc5ba-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-44

United Artists was in the process of restructuring its business model. The UA management team decided to buy out Mary Pickford. She was the last of the original partners, and with her exit, the company went public. It quickly diversified into television and the music field. This strategy kept UA solvent and from shutting down. But other companies were not so lucky. Herbert Yates was stepping down over at Republic, and his studio which had been in existence since 1935 was ceasing all operations.

ebef0-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-50

Meanwhile, RKO Teleradio turned out some new films that were remakes of old titles. But soon the practice discontinued–the RKO lot closed, and everything was put up for sale again. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, who first met at RKO in 1940 while they were making TOO MANY GIRLS, used the profits from Desilu to purchase the studio’s facilities which would now be used for television production. There were a few unreleased RKO movies that were handed over to Universal for distribution.

4ffd1-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-47

But Universal was having problems of its own. It was a million dollars in the hole by the end of July 1958 and facing bankruptcy. Universal would be given a reprieve; it was bailed out by the Management Corporation of America (MCA). Until now, MCA was known as an organization that brokered deals for independent producers and stars. MCA was in a financial position to take over Universal, where many of its deals had occurred in the 1950s. MCA’s increasing power proved production was passing from old-time moguls into the hands of agents and individual artists who could package lucrative deals.

cf49d-screen2bshot2b2016-04-292bat2b2-43

As for the old-time moguls, 1958 was the year Columbia’s Harry Cohn passed away. His death occurred in the middle of production on BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE. This film reunited one of the studio’s top actresses, Kim Novak, with her recent costar from VERTIGO, Jimmy Stewart. Most of Novak’s films made money at this time, but Columbia did experience a slight downturn in the wake of Cohn’s death. One thing that helped the company stay afloat was its investment in the British production THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI, which became one of the year’s most successful motion pictures.

 

Fascinating retrospective of the time period, TB.

 

I bet that Harry Cohn funeral was packed cuz people come when you give them what they want!

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Fascinating retrospective of the time period, TB.

 

I bet that Harry Cohn funeral was packed cuz people come when you give them what they want!

I was surprised when I looked at photos of his funeral-- many did turn out. I think that in Hollywood, even tyrants are respected (sometimes). Especially since Cohn helped a lot of people become famous and make a lot of money. You take the good with the bad and give them the proper send-off into the next life. LOL

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1959


_________


By the beginning of 1959, movie admissions in North America had dropped to under 40 million tickets sold per week. This was the worst year for Hollywood since 1922. Considering how many studios were still operating, the fact that only fifteen new films were in production spoke volumes. Efforts were instead being put into producing weekly television series.


87adb-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-4


Movie studios needed to do something spectacular to get audiences interested in the cinema again. MGM thought the answer was a remake of the silent classic BEN HUR. It cast Charlton Heston in the lead role and sent director William Wyler to Rome to film it. Most of the interiors were done at the Cinecitta studios. It was an expensive endeavor, but after it took home eleven Oscars including Best Picture, it eventually recouped its cost and turned a profit. Other studios would try to emulate MGM’s success.


d53a4-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5


Hollywood movies that were produced largely on location were nicknamed ‘runaways.’ Until the late 1950s, studio films were primarily shot on sound stages and backlots in the Los Angeles area. If the story’s setting occurred in a different locale, stock footage was inserted. And in rare cases, a second unit with an associate director might be sent to an actual location to film new exterior shots. But by and large, the movies were done with contract stars and studio technicians that were based in Hollywood. Now all of that was changing. A picture like Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT was made down in San Diego.


aa7c7-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5


In addition to location-based films, the studios were trying riskier subject matter in order to compete with television. The Broadway hit about teenage pregnancy, BLUE DENIM, was adapted by 20th Century Fox and featured the young stars from the stage version, Brandon de Wilde and Carol Lynley. Other subject matter was just as sensational and controversial. United Artists produced ON THE BEACH, a harrowing tale about nuclear holocaust starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. It featured Fred Astaire in a dramatic role as an Australian scientist.


54a92-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-4


The industry was also making suspense thrillers and adventure yarns that emphasized glamorous locations and ultra sophisticated stars. The prime example was Alfred Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST which cast Cary Grant as an ad exec mistaken for a spy. On a train out of town, Grant’s character met a woman played by Eva Marie Saint. Of course, complications soon developed, romantic and otherwise. The action culminated in a dramatic climax that took place over the faces of Mount Rushmore.


dfb93-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5


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I said I was going to take a break-- but I did go ahead and write a piece about 1960, which is a very interesting year in Hollywood.

 

So I will be posting that one tomorrow..!

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1959

_________

By the beginning of 1959, movie admissions in North America had dropped to under 40 million tickets sold per week. This was the worst year for Hollywood since 1922. Considering how many studios were still operating, the fact that only fifteen new films were in production spoke volumes. Efforts were instead being put into producing weekly television series.

87adb-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-4

Movie studios needed to do something spectacular to get audiences interested in the cinema again. MGM thought the answer was a remake of the silent classic BEN HUR. It cast Charlton Heston in the lead role and sent director William Wyler to Rome to film it. Most of the interiors were done at the Cinecitta studios. It was an expensive endeavor, but after it took home eleven Oscars including Best Picture, it eventually recouped its cost and turned a profit. Other studios would try to emulate MGM’s success.

d53a4-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5

Hollywood movies that were produced largely on location were nicknamed ‘runaways.’ Until the late 1950s, studio films were primarily shot on sound stages and backlots in the Los Angeles area. If the story’s setting occurred in a different locale, stock footage was inserted. And in rare cases, a second unit with an associate director might be sent to an actual location to film new exterior shots. But by and large, the movies were done with contract stars and studio technicians that were based in Hollywood. Now all of that was changing. A picture like Billy Wilder’s SOME LIKE IT HOT was made down in San Diego.

aa7c7-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5

In addition to location-based films, the studios were trying riskier subject matter in order to compete with television. The Broadway hit about teenage pregnancy, BLUE DENIM, was adapted by 20th Century Fox and featured the young stars from the stage version, Brandon de Wilde and Carol Lynley. Other subject matter was just as sensational and controversial. United Artists produced ON THE BEACH, a harrowing tale about nuclear holocaust starring Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner. It featured Fred Astaire in a dramatic role as an Australian scientist.

54a92-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-4

The industry was also making suspense thrillers and adventure yarns that emphasized glamorous locations and ultra sophisticated stars. The prime example was Alfred Hitchcock’s NORTH BY NORTHWEST which cast Cary Grant as an ad exec mistaken for a spy. On a train out of town, Grant’s character met a woman played by Eva Marie Saint. Of course, complications soon developed, romantic and otherwise. The action culminated in a dramatic climax that took place over the faces of Mount Rushmore.

dfb93-screen2bshot2b2016-04-302bat2b10-5

 

I learned three things reading your, as always, most informative year post for 1959.

 

Thanks, TB!

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I learned three things reading your, as always, most informative year post for 1959.

 

Thanks, TB!

You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it.

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1960


_________


It was the beginning of a new decade in Hollywood. In order to stay afloat, studios continued to diversify. United Artists, which had already moved into the music business, added to its holdings by taking over an independent TV production company called Ziv. Ziv had started as a distributor of old feature films on television but also produced low-budget original series for syndication.34442-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-2


MGM was also rethinking its business model and embarked upon the process of diversification. The studio acquired Verve Records, which worked nicely with the soundtracks for its musical films. But MGM went beyond the entertainment field and purchased hotels. And while MGM and UA diversified, 20th Century Fox found another way to raise cash. It was now selling off sections of its backlot. The land proved to be a valuable real estate commodity, and some of the property had oil underneath it.


581d8-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-2


Meanwhile, American films continued to be made in foreign countries. This arrangement usually benefited independent producers and independent stars. The unions back in Hollywood were worried about these developments, because overseas production threatened to diminish union power in the industry. Soon members were advocating the picketing of movie theaters that showed runaway films made outside Hollywood.


157fc-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-3


Tensions escalated. Eventually, the motion picture business was hit with a major strike. The Writers Guild was first to go on strike-- asking for better contracts, recognition of tenure, and residuals from TV broadcasts. The standoff lasted nearly five months. It gained momentum when other unions also jumped on the bandwagon. The Directors Guild and the Screen Actors Guild went on strike, too; seeking better pensions and health benefits, as well as residuals.


88282-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-4


Ultimately, salaries and benefits were improved—for those that still managed to retain employment in an industry with dwindling profits. Because budgets were shrinking at the major studios, more talent was being laid off. Huge crews were no longer needed, so technicians were let go. In front of the camera, fading stars had their contracts canceled. And there were even less employed writers than ever. When the war ended, studios had almost 500 screenwriters under contract; but in 1960, just fifteen years later, there were only 67 contracted screenwriters in Hollywood.


9e655-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-4


In addition to these cutbacks, the studios also discontinued the costly training programs they had in operation. These programs had been designed to teach newly signed players the basics of acting, fencing, horseback riding, dancing, and so on. But new movie stars were now expected to have many of these skills already, and more importantly, they were expected to have built some sort of loyal following on television.


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1960

_________

It was the beginning of a new decade in Hollywood. In order to stay afloat, studios continued to diversify. United Artists, which had already moved into the music business, added to its holdings by taking over an independent TV production company called Ziv. Ziv had started as a distributor of old feature films on television but also produced low-budget original series for syndication.34442-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-2

MGM was also rethinking its business model and embarked upon the process of diversification. The studio acquired Verve Records, which worked nicely with the soundtracks for its musical films. But MGM went beyond the entertainment field and purchased hotels. And while MGM and UA diversified, 20th Century Fox found another way to raise cash. It was now selling off sections of its backlot. The land proved to be a valuable real estate commodity, and some of the property had oil underneath it.

581d8-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-2

Meanwhile, American films continued to be made in foreign countries. This arrangement usually benefited independent producers and independent stars. The unions back in Hollywood were worried about these developments, because overseas production threatened to diminish union power in the industry. Soon members were advocating the picketing of movie theaters that showed runaway films made outside Hollywood.

157fc-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-3

Tensions escalated. Eventually, the motion picture business was hit with a major strike. The Writers Guild was first to go on strike-- asking for better contracts, recognition of tenure, and residuals from TV broadcasts. The standoff lasted nearly five months. It gained momentum when other unions also jumped on the bandwagon. The Directors Guild and the Screen Actors Guild went on strike, too; seeking better pensions and health benefits, as well as residuals.

88282-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-4

Ultimately, salaries and benefits were improved—for those that still managed to retain employment in an industry with dwindling profits. Because budgets were shrinking at the major studios, more talent was being laid off. Huge crews were no longer needed, so technicians were let go. In front of the camera, fading stars had their contracts canceled. And there were even less employed writers than ever. When the war ended, studios had almost 500 screenwriters under contract; but in 1960, just fifteen years later, there were only 67 contracted screenwriters in Hollywood.

9e655-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b10-4

In addition to these cutbacks, the studios also discontinued the costly training programs they had in operation. These programs had been designed to teach newly signed players the basics of acting, fencing, horseback riding, dancing, and so on. But new movie stars were now expected to have many of these skills already, and more importantly, they were expected to have built some sort of loyal following on television.

 

Okay, TB are you psychic or what?

 

Last nite I'm watching my dvd set of the tv series "Science Fiction Theatre" from 1955-1957, that I just got recently and every episode starts with the logo for ZIV on the screen.

 

I kept thinking, "What is ZIV; I've never even heard of it; I need to research this tomorrow."

 

Well, tomorrow is here and thanks to you now I don't need to since you've answered my question.

 

THANKS!

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Okay, TB are you psychic or what?

 

Last nite I'm watching my dvd set of the tv series "Science Fiction Theatre" from 1955-1957, that I just got recently and every episode starts with the logo for ZIV on the screen.

 

I kept thinking, "What is ZIV; I've never even heard of it; I need to research this tomorrow."

 

Well, tomorrow is here and thanks to you now I don't need to since you've answered my question.

 

THANKS!

Glad I could be of service to you! :)

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1961


_________


Weekly movie attendance was down around 41 million, and production costs were rising in Hollywood. Studios tried to find new ways to offset their increasing expenses and maintain profitability. One solution was to sell off buildings that were not being used anymore and only lease space as needed for new productions.


a9dbe-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b7-28


Some of the studios were able to survive because of recent diversifications into music and television. For example, Columbia Pictures had begun a television arm called Screen Gems that produced a sitcom version of the popular comic strip Dennis the Menace. In 1961, the Screen Gems subsidiary also began episodes of Hazel with Tony and Oscar winner Shirley Booth. It was an instant success and ranked fourth during its inaugural season.


5520c-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b7-32


But not every studio had lucrative TV ventures to offset rising costs. And if films were going to continue to make money for the major Hollywood companies, new ideas had to be implemented. Citing the success of European films, American filmmakers decided that a change in stories needed to occur. It was the only way they could compete with foreign productions.


69dfa-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b7-36


Foreign films seemed to be attracting audiences for a variety of reasons. First, the content seemed more sophisticated. And second, the films seemed to have a more stylized approach when it came to specific storytelling conventions. One director who garnered a lot of attention was Michaelangelo Antonioni. His hit LA NOTTE had starred Jeanne Moreau and Marcello Mastroianni as an unfaithful married couple dealing with the deteriorating state of their relationship. The picture became highly regarded and earned top honors at the Berlin Film Festival.


f78fe-screen2bshot2b2016-05-142bat2b7-33


Another one of the year’s most important films came from Universal. It was a follow-up to 1959’s PILLOW TALK, a raucous sex farce that first paired virginal Doris Day with smooth talking Rock Hudson. The studio decided there would be great value reuniting them, with third wheel Tony Randall, in LOVER COME BACK. It repeated the same basic formula with a few slight variations. Again, the premise relied on Day’s aggressive femininity, as well as Hudson’s rakish childlike vulnerability, played for laughs. Audiences were thoroughly amused, and Universal had another hit.


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