"Those of us of whom chose the business of film - have often been poked fun of. Yet one thing is certain: every man who succeeded was a born showman. And once in show business he was never happy out of it." ~ Adolph Zukor
"I am a rebel. I make a picture to please me. If it pleases me, there is a chance it will please others. But it has to please me first." ~ Samuel Goldwyn
"It will be as long as it need be to get the tender value across, make it the best. I will not be satisfied until that film is PARAMOUNT!! ~ Jesse Lasky
Adolph Zukor was born a Jewish boy, January 7th, 1873, in Ricse, Hungary. From a very early age, young Zukor was a money shaker & maker and, 'not afraid of getting his elbows dirty for an extra piece of money.' He envied his cousins for living in the land of opportunity. Much of his family had immigrated to America in the late 1860's, however, becuase of his fathers good job in Hungary...his father and mother stayed in Hungary. At the age of 16, young Zukor
immigrated by himself to New York where he lived with family and landed work as an upholsterer. He quicky moved his way to supervisor because of his 'creative eye' for making the 'old look new!' His reputation for this spread quickly and he was soon working for himself. By age 19, he was an accomplished, proven, designer unlike any other. He lived here
...clearly he was not having money problems...cleeeaarly
Chaplin called him a 'genteel little fellow.. small in stature - big in character..'
Chicago was 'the' mecca, and Zukor wanted a peice of it. At age 20, he relocated to Chicago and started his own fur business
there, or rather, relocated his already thriving business, to Chicago. Not long after he had been in Chicago...his cousin came to him in hopes of getting a loan from the thriving Zukor.
The cousins idea included opening an entertainment arcade salon hosting Edison's widely popular phonographs, electric lights and motion pictures. It was widely popular because everyone was fasinated with Edison's camera invention, but noone had a museum of this kinda sorts, of Edison
memorabilia. Zukor not only lended the money ... but ... being a part of it all. He considered the loan as a 50% investment, 50% loan. It was the first of its kind ... another young entrepenuer, Marcus Loew, was soon to follow suit. The venture was a huge hit and left Zukor wanting to do more in the way of entertainmrnt, perhaps with a stamp of his own. This idea came to fruitian in 1912, when Zukor formed Famous Players, Inc, which would distribute Zukor produced films...with a Zukor touch. Each film would be produced, and distributed, by Famous Players. This process was unheard if at the time. It was a unique revolution for the film industry in general. Upon the purchase of an old armoury in New York, Famous Players moved to New York and so did Zukor, again. This is where the Famous Players would call home (now Kaufman's Astoria Motion Picture and Television Center),
until he met a fellow by the name of Jesse Laskey who had recently purchased land in Los Angeles for his studios. Not long after the meeting of the two - Zukor and Laskey merged their companies and Famous Players became Famous Players-Laskey and settled in California
. It was one year later in a executive meeting, Laskey proclaimed, "it'll be PARAMOUNT..." over a film Famous Players-Lasky was working on. The film?? 'The Squaw Man,' and indeed it would be Paramount. It became the first ever full-lenth feature film. Many years and movies later...we know it was a line that a powerful studio
would come of. Zukor and Lasky together
, were a Paramount team to say the least. Zukor was on top of his game!
For decades, Paramount would flourish with hit film after film. Zukor doted on the Studio, and gave tours
.. often to royalty and noteables. He retired in 1959, but continued as chairman of Paramount
. Then in 1965, became sit in chairman. Essentially meaning (in todays terms), he'll be at board meetings if it didn't inturrupt his golf game or sexy time. Remember, by 1965, he would've been 92
...a point in life other moguls would have long since retired at. He spent the final days of his life in a comfy posh condo
, on Century Park East, (entrance
), and no doubt, having a ball (when awake.) He was reportedly vibrant at age 100
. Zukor, always the entertainer, at one point danced for house guests at the age of 101 with moves not seen done by 20 year olds. He lived virtually a stones throw from a fierce rival
. Coincy-dink?? You decide!
Zukor died in his sleep, and was found by his housekeeper quote, 'dead, but with a smile on his face,' in his condo
, on the morning of June 10, 1976, at the tender young age of 103. RIP Mr Zukor! Your legacy is a great one indeed!! Vist his grave and leave virtual comments & flowers here!!
GOLDFISH!! haha .. Samuel Goldwyn, was born Schmuel Gelbfisz, on a scorching summer day on August 17th, 1879, in Warsaw, Poland (now Russia.). A curious child, Sam was always looking for something. As a child he specialized in digging in the dirt. (as an adult too..he knew your
dirt before you walked through his studio gates.) Never waivering to show family what he had found first hand...'some of it was pretty interesting to say the least,' recalls his uncle Jon. "He was destned to be the best damn golddigger the world had ever seen." It might have been a good passage for him had the filmming bizz not got 'hold of him in later years. At age 15, young Goldwyn's father died. It seemed to be an epiphany for him and he left Warsaw for London, England via foot. Upon arrival he found himself doing odd jobs before securing work in a blacksmith shop. He would stay in England, living here with family, the next four years. He had made up his mind to come to America not long after arrival in Engand. Working and saving every penny, at age 19 ... he, along with his older sister, boarded that great immigrant boat with so many touting the American dream. Following a friends advice, he got off the ship in Canada, fearing they would refuse him entry in his first intended destination of Long Island, New York. is sister stayed on-board and went on to NY. In Canada, he worked doing odds and ends in design and the garment industry. This led to a job selling gloves and a transfer to Manhattan. Life was becoming successful for Sam... He became a US citizen in 1902.
In 1913, at the age of 33, acting upon an invite by his brother-in-law, Jesse Lasky, he took a visit to a nickelodeon would change his carrer path forever. He had become obsessed with nickelodeons and was going to see as many films as his free time would allow. He was facinated at the whole process. Lasky who was already a stage manager, was already interested in the film bizz. Upon Sam's new involvment, together they formed the Jessie Lasky Feature Play Company...with a dream of creating the first ever feature length film. They then hired an aspiring playwright that Jesse had worked with as a stage producer in Vaudeville. It was a sweet operation. DeMille in charge of the actual filmmaking, Lasky the producer, and Goldwyn the seller of the films to nickelodeons. It was a winning ticket. Sam had a growing repuatation of a great businessman and earned great merits from the nickelodeon owners. If you
went to one of Samuel Goldwyn's films, if nothing else .. you'd come away remembering this
!! The Jesse Lasky Feauture Play Company soon caught the eye of fellow filmmaker, Adolf Zukor, and through a merging partnership...The Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company
became Famous Players-Lasky company
...and eventually Paramount Pictures
from a line by Lasky himself.
Not one to stay focused on a thriving company long, Sam sold his shares in the company to start his own company...Samuel Goldwyn Pictures
. It was a company he had already started in pieces from The Jesse Lasky Company. Sam had problems working in partnership with others. He wanted to be the one running the full show. It wasn't long before he would sell the company bearing his own name. A fellow by the name of Marcus Loew who was famed for keeping the name of any establishment he bought...(unless it was a theater, then it took on his
name.) He also had a stipulation that he could release his films under his namesake company. As we all know, Loew, through a merger, created the mega studio, Metro Goldwyn Mayer. In 1955, and much to Louis Mayer's NON-approval. Sam acted upon that stipulation to create his only produced film through MGM, Oscar winning Guy's and Dolls. He would then return to Paramount..where he would get on a brief musicals kick.
He lived here
..and now you can too
There is absolutely NO DOUBT the tremendous effect Samuel Goldwn had on Hollywood. He was perhaps the ONLY Hollywood Founding Father, who successfully negotiated Hollywood's beginnings through several different venuues. Known for his "Goldwynisms
," and witty sense of humor. His legacy is perhaps among the wellest known and confusing of all Hollywood's founding fathers.
Goldwyn never really retired, 'per-se', he worked and had a hand in 'the industry' until the time of his death. He did however, enjoy his final years. He lived out those final years here. In 1971, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Pres. Richard Nixson. He died January 31, 1974. Great sadness from Hollywood rightfully ensued. Due to his jumping from studio to studio track, his son, Sam Goldwyn, Jr., created the Samuel Goldwyn Foundation. It preserves the dignity and integrity of Goldwyn's fims and contributions to the industry. It also to this day provides ongoing funding to the Motion Picture Television Country House and Hospital. Visit his grave here and leave your virtual flowers and comments.
Jesse Lasky was a man with solid focus, ambition, and had one goal...achieve it and be it! By far one of the most relaxed, home spun, zesty moguls. In the years of researching this man, I don't think I can remember a time when someone recalls Jesse as harsh or abrasive. He is the father of full-length motion pictures..and his story...starts now...
He was born Jesse Louis Laskey, in the heart of the San Fransisco Bay....September 13, 1880. From the time he was a child, he was entertaining whomever he could find to entertain. Once he was a bit older, he moved his act to the streets of San Fran and found out through he could make a living at it...from there on - he made it his personal goal...to be an entertainer. From the streets, he moved on to vaudeville. While in vaudeville - he met a man with similar interests named Samuel Goldwyn. They became fast friends. 1909 was a good year for Lasky. Upon meeting Lasky's sister, Goldwyn courted her..badabing badaboom...wedding bells and poof..Goldwyn and Lasky's sis...were married. There would also be wedding bells for Lasky. While on vacation in Adirondaks, he met a young lady named Bessie Ginzberg. They were married in December, in Boston. Together, they would have 3 children..and stay married for life.
In 1913, Lasky and Goldwyn teamed with another fellow they both met in vaudeville, Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel to form a mutual company but led by Lasky, it was named Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company
. With a tight budget...they rented a barn near Los Angeles
where they made their first feature film, a film DeMille wrote and directed, The Squaw Man. (Can you imagine being a fly on the wall on the set of that film?? I'd have been happier than a buzzard on a gutwagon!) The Squaw Man was unique in the fact that, when the film had reached the average 'film length' of the time...there was still more to be shot. Lasky ordered it done. They filmed until they reached the end of the film...Lasky then would take the film out...reload the camera
...and shoot until that spool of film was out. It was your basic rinse, repeat process. When all production was complete...the end result was 1 hour 12 minutes of film. Lasky then spliced it all together frame by frame. Once complete - there was a problem ... projectors were not set up to run 1 hour and 14 mins. So Laskey transformed the reel platters from this
Ala-presta..full-length feature films were born! Movie patrons went nuts and the Jesse Lasky Play Company had soon outgrown itself. This 'barn' they rented, would became the first permanent feature film company actually located in the town of Hollywood, but NOT where the first film was shot
. Known today as the Lasky-DeMille Barn, it is home to the Hollywood Heritage Museum. If your ever in the area, check it out! It's FABulous..and the closest I will ever get to being a fly on the wall on those historic days!! Anywayy.....Knock knock who's there?? Why, it's Adolph Zukor, no doubt smelling success!!
In 1916, the Jesse Lasky Play Company
, seeing an opportune moment in bigger distribution, merged with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players, thus becoming Famous Players-Lasky.
Sam left to try his hand at his own picture company...while Zukor, DeMille, and Lasky pressed on. Upon their studio becoming ever more popular, they needed a new name. Out of thin air, Lasky...in a business meeting...in recalling his thoughts on the film The Sqaw Man, uttered the line..."It will be as long as it need be to get the tender value across, make it the best. I will not be satisfied until that film is PARAMOUNT!!"
The uttered line stayed in the heads of Zukor and Lasky for weeks. It was in the midst of another board meeting, the line was re-brought up by Lasky...history was
made and Paramount Pictures, has
From 1916 through 1932, Lasky was in charge of Paramount's productions in both Hollywood
and New York
. He saw the invaluable importance of allowing no limits on creativity from the producers who worked for Paramount. This provided for a more deeper imagination to be used, thus producing better films. Under his guidance, the studio cranked out hit after hit
. Lasky also had a method for Paramount's continued success by ensuring his company's films be booked by a theater owner for an entire year. The method worked and by 1921, Paramount was tops in film distribution...(and before the Paramount film, Titanic, line was coined...it was in fact Lasky that was....KING OF THE WORLD!)He lived in this fine home while working
. ANND thisbeach home during escapes.
In all of Lasky's success, his assistant...Emanuel ("Manny") Cohen...was going behind Lasky's back sharing with Zukor how he'd have done things differently to make the film more successful. (**IMO...it's easy to sit back and say what someone coulda, shoulda, woulda...it's a whole different story when put in the shoes of actually making it work.)
By 1932, things weren't as they once were for Lasky. Gradually it was more and more Zukor's name as presenter. The Depression had started, and Lasky had fell into financial struggles when the market crashed. Zukor starting tightning his hold on the budgets..which totally derailed Lasky's method of success. Lasky saw this as his time to go and resigned. Zukor, now chief stockholder of Paramount, opted to replace Lasky with Lasky's backstabbing, butt smooching, assistant...Emanuel ("Manny") Cohen - who he saw as...quote, 'more budget conscious.' (I might add that when Paramount started putting caps on spending, they quickly got passed by Warner Bros.! Harry Warner (one of the original four brothers) would not even notion the thought of putting a budget on creativity. Imagination was, after all, what Hollywood was made of.)
Annnnyway...as Lasky's son stated..."a ruthless little bastard named Manny Cohen was my fathers downfall."
He continued..."When the success and fortune go, many people have nothing to turn to except suicide. Curiously, my father turned to metaphysical philosophy. I think he must have learned about it from my mother most likely by osmosis. She was attuned to that kind of sensitivity while he never appeared to be so."
Lasky went on to form a partnership with Mary Pickford, which had a few years success. Lasky was spending a good deal of time at their beach home.
However by 1945, Zukor had realized Paramount was going to shit without Lasky, but it was too late. Even though he fired the butt smoocher Manny Cohn, Lasky had took what funds he did have and started his own production company underwritten by Fox, and was working as a side producer for Warner Brothers.
On the morning of January 13th, 1958...Lasky and the wife were at their home
... (apartments mark the spot now-a-days
.) up early and preparing for the day. Lasky was working on a film, and Mrs. Lasky had plans to do some errands that day. When Lasky didn't come downstairs to breakfast, Mrs. Lasky went to check on him, thinking he had possibly laid back down as he mentioned he didn't feel well. Upon arrival upstairs, she found Lasky slumped over and unresponsive. An ambulance was summoned, but it was too late. Jesse Lasky had died of a heart attack. He was 78 years of age...and worked his passion right until the end!!
There is absolutely NO DOUBT WHATSOEVER
that Paramount Pictures would have become the success it has become without Jesse Lasky. His story was last on the Paramount page for the simple reason of the quote...save the best for last. Virtually visit his grave here while leaving virtual flowers and comments.
RIP Mr. Lasky...the legacy you left will live forever, in the hearts of people like me. Ciao!! See you when I get there!!