RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born

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Univ of California Press, 2012 - Performing Arts - 330 pages
"Enjoying exclusive access to RKO archives before they were dispersed to the winds, Rick Jewell has crafted a powerful and unprecedented company history that is rich in detail and sharp in insight. Pinpointing both industry ambitions and corporate shenanigans, Jewell offers a tale both gripping and instructive. A major contribution to Hollywood studio history in the classic era."

—Dana Polan, author of Scenes of Instruction: The Beginnings of the U.S. Study of Film

“Richard Jewell has written a definitive portrait of a major Hollywood studio during the heyday of the movies. Enriched by a lode of archival material, Jewell’s RKO story reconstructs the dynamics of the studio system; its stresses and strains; its logistical challenges; and its in-house rivalries. Some big names are vividly brought to life: David Sarnoff, Pandro Berman, Fred Astaire, Katharine Hepburn, Orson Welles, to name a few. Jewell interweaves RKO’s corporate maneuverings and production agenda with great skill. A more compelling history of a Hollywood major is hard to imagine.”

—Tino Balio, author of The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens, 1946–1973

“A painstakingly researched and lucidly written business history of RKO Studios from its founding through 1942, Richard Jewell’s RKO Studios: A Titan is Born not only traces the shifting economic fortunes of the studio that gave us King Kong, the Astaire-Rogers musicals, and Citizen Kane but also fills an important gap in our understanding of how the studio system survived and at times even thrived during the Golden Age of Hollywood.”

—Charles Maland, author of Chaplin and American Culture


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List of Illustrations
The Brown
Failure on the installment plan a ticket at
The SpitzBriskin
The SpitzBerman
Quality pictures are the lifeblood of this
The SchaeferBreen
The Whole Equation of Pictures
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2012)

Richard B. Jewell is Professor of Critical Studies at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. He is the author of The Golden Age of Hollywood, and The RKO Story, among others.

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