31 Facts About Sam Katzman


Sam Katzman was an American film producer and director.

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Sam Katzman produced low-budget genre films, including serials, which had disproportionately high returns for the studios and his financial backers.

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Sam was born to a Jewish family; his father Abe Katzman was a violinist.

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Sam Katzman went to work as a stage laborer at the age of 13 in the fledgling East Coast film industry and moved from prop boy to assistant director at Fox Films.

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Sam Katzman worked as an assistant to Norman Taurog and got married on the set of The Diplomats in 1928 at Fox.

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Sam Katzman was a production supervisor at Showmen's Pictures in the early 1930s, and Screencraft Productions in July 1935.

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Sam Katzman'smovies included Sam Katzman'sPrivate Secretary starring a young John Wayne .

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In June 1935 Sam Katzman announced he would make six films written by Peter Kyne for Fox, starting with Danger Ahead.

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In 1935 Sam Katzman founded Puritan Pictures, a film distribution group, their first film being Suicide Squad .

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Sam Katzman entered the world of serials in 1936 and would return to the genre in 1944.

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At Monogram, a "budget" studio, Sam Katzman co-produced with Jack Dietz, under the names Banner Productions, the East Side Kids features of the 1940s, eight thrillers starring Bela Lugosi, and two musicals.

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In January 1943 Sam Katzman signed a contract with stage star Frank Fay and screen comic Billy Gilbert for four films.

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Fay walked out on the series after the first film, Spotlight Scandals, and Sam Katzman replaced him with Gilbert's closest friend, Shemp Howard.

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In November 1945 Sam Katzman replaced the rowdy East Side Kids with The Teen Agers, a wholesome gang of high-schoolers.

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In June 1946 Sam Katzman announced he would make his first feature for Columbia, a remake of The Last of the Mohicans starring Jon Hall.

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Sam Katzman was so pleased by I Surrender Dear that he devoted more time to it, and economized on her other picture, Manhattan Angel .

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In February 1948 Sam Katzman had signed a five-year deal with screen Tarzan Johnny Weissmuller to make "jungle movies" starting with two films a year for two years where the budgets would be at least $350,000.

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In October 1948 Sam Katzman signed a seven-year, $4 million contract with Columbia to make four feature films a year through his Kay Pictures corporation, four serials a year via his Esskay Productions, and a Jungle Jim film series starring Johnny Weissmuller.

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Sam Katzman's stock-in-trade was now a mix of Arabian Nights fantasies, western, action, and prison pictures.

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Sam Katzman allowed a budget of $400,000 for The Prince of Thieves, a version of the Robin Hood story starring Hall.

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In July 1952 Sam Katzman announced he would make at least 15 films a year for seven years.

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Sam Katzman continued to produce serials such as The Great Adventures of Captain Kidd, The Lost Planet, Riding with Buffalo Bill, and Gunfighters of the Northwest .

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Sam Katzman still made westerns such as The Gun That Won the West, Seminole Uprising, Blackjack Ketchum, Desperado and Duel on the Mississippi, swashbucklers like Pirates of Tripoli and crime films such as New Orleans Uncensored, Chicago Syndicate, The Crooked Web, The Houston Story, Miami Expose and Inside Detroit .

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In 1955, when Columbia wanted to release the first rock-and-roll musical, Sam Katzman reworked elements from his Gloria Jean musical I Surrender Dear into one of Columbia's biggest hits, Rock Around the Clock with Bill Haley and His Comets.

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Sam Katzman produced horror films for the teenage audience, including The Werewolf, The Man Who Turned to Stone, The Giant Claw, Zombies of Mora Tau and The Night the World Exploded .

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In May 1957 Sam Katzman told Variety that he felt, “A picture that makes money is a good picture —- whether it is artistically good or bad.

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In 1957 Sam Katzman made seven films for Columbia, including non-teenage fare such as Utah Blaine, Escape from San Quentin, The Tijuana Story and The World Was His Jury .

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Sam Katzman accepted an offer to move his operation to MGM in 1963.

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MGM financed three of Sam Katzman's best known movies: two films starring Elvis Presley, Kissin' Cousins and Harum Scarum, as well as Your Cheatin' Heart, a biopic of Hank Williams starring George Hamilton.

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In December 1964 Sam Katzman announced he would make five films that year for MGM in his third year at the studio.

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Sam Katzman got the call and recruited his 1940s cronies, Arthur Dreifuss and writer Hal Collins, to make The Love-Ins and For Singles Only .

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