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 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 3:05 AM   
 By:   manderley   (Member)

Over at this thread......

PFK posted the following comment.....

.....You know very little Max Steiner has been done. We have the wonderful new recordings by John Morgan and Bill Stromberg. The recent (Disney) Those Calloways on Intrada. BYU was doing Steiner but has seemed to fade away. Out of 250 FSM CDs only one was Steiner and that was a reissue of the 3 LPs. Max is my favorite, hope some day you will be able to do a few. There must be a lot of Steiner at WB I would think.....

And I replied to that comment with the following.....

.....There are also several Steiner scores---as well as scores by Victor Young and Nelson Riddle---in the Republic Pictures library. Apparently, many thousands of score discs and music elements were deposited by Republic into the BYU Archives years ago.

The Republic library is now owned (controlled) by Viacom, of which Paramount Pictures is a part. Since Bruce seems to have a good rapport with Paramount staff and has licensed quite a number of scores from them, it would seem logical that he might try to access this little-touched Republic archive for some outstanding scores by Golden Age composers.

Bruce is, of course, a natural for this, since many of these scores would never be released in large numbers by other labels. His boutique Kritzerland label is ideal.

Among others, I'd love to hear a remastered and complete Steiner THE LAST COMMAND and COME NEXT SPRING, Victor Young scores including DARK COMMAND, BELLE LE GRAND, WILD BLUE YONDER, PERILOUS JOURNEY, SANDS OF IWO JIMA, FAIR WIND TO JAVA, JUBILEE TRAIL, TIMBERJACK, THE MAVERICK QUEEN, and JOHNNY GUITAR, and Nelson Riddle's FLAME OF THE ISLANDS and LISBON (....from which the 1950s hit, "Lisbon Antigua" derives.)

There are also little-known but interesting scores by Walter Scharf, Dale Butts, Nathan Scott, early Ernest Gold, George Antheil, Marlin Skiles and others, in the library.....

After that comment, a number of posts, including Bruce Kimmel's came up, attempting to place the rights of the Republic Pictures music library.

I have decided to set aside this special thread to attempt to explain the whole Republic Pictures succession. It is very complicated, and so I'll probably not cover every excruciating detail---only what I understand to be the key elements.

So here goes......


Before talking about Republic, we should first talk about NTA Pictures (which will come into play a little later). NTA Pictures (National Telefilm Associates) was an early television distribution entity set up in 1954 by Ely Landau and Oliver Unger, both of whom were producer/distributor types. By 1956 they had bought out the UM&M TV Corp. library of old theatrical shorts material produced by Paramount Pictures prior to 1950. This included cartoons from the Fleischer Studios and Famous Studios (with the exception of the POPEYE and SUPERMAN cartoons), but included things like BETTY BOOP and other Paramount cartoons. The library also included live action shorts like the early 1930s Jack Benny and Burns and Allen shorts, the "Speaking of Animals" series, "Hedda Hopper's Hollywood" etc.

By the 1960s, NTA had added to their library the Fleischer features GULLIVER'S TRAVELS and MR. BUG GOES TO TOWN, the pre-1952 United Artists films which had not reverted to their original producers, Leo McCarey's Rainbow Productions including THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S and GOOD SAM, The Enterprise Studios pictures like ARCH OF TRIUMPH, NO MINOR VICES, CAUGHT, RAMROD, BODY AND SOUL, FORCE OF EVIL and others, Frank Capra's IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE, several films from Walter Wanger including INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS and RIOT IN CELL BLOCK 11, early Stanley Kramer pre-Columbia produced product like HIGH NOON, CYRANO DE BERGERAC, THE MEN, and HOME OF THE BRAVE, miscellaneous films from the mid-late 1940s like THE DARK MIRROR, THE LOST MOMENT, MAGIC TOWN, A DOUBLE LIFE, SECRET BEYOND THE DOOR, MR. PEABODY AND THE MERMAID, LULU BELLE, LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN, and ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, among others.

When I was watching old movies on TV in the early 1950s, the above films, many of which had been produced as recently as the previous ten years were major product with major stars and behind-the-scenes talents attached. Unfortunately many of them had lost money during their original releases and had been written off. Bank of America had a film finance wing and many of these films had been loaned their production costs by BofA. When they didn't make back this money, BofA foreclosed on the negatives, dropped the studio logos from the front of the film, and blacked-out the studio affiliations within the main titles. (The master elements of some of these productions STILL have black bars over certain written material in the titles!!!)

In any case, where some studios sold their TV packages in these days under generic sales titles like "The Fabulous 50 Package" or "The Adventure Package", THIS package of films which NTA had acquired in the early 1950s came to be known in the trades as "The Bank of America Package"---which I always thought was quite amusing.

NTA later acquired Milton Sperling's UNITED STATES PICTURES package of films which he had produced for Warners prior to 1960---a group of major name films including THE COURT-MARTIAL OF BILLY MITCHELL, MARJORIE MORNINGSTAR, YOUNG AT HEART, DISTANT DRUMS, SOUTH OF ST. LOUIS, BLOWING WILD and more.

Eventually, Cary Grant licensed to NTA for several million$, the rights to the negatives which he had controlled through various acting/producing contracts, including PENNY SERENADE, OPERATION PETTICOAT, THE GRASS IS GREENER, INDISCREET, FATHER GOOSE, and THAT TOUCH OF MINK.

Today, virtually all of these old NTA Library films have-or-are coming to Blu-ray (and video) via Olive Films in Blu-ray or standard DVD.

We'll get back to NTA in a minute.


In the early 1930s, Herbert J. Yates was a businessman in the film industry, and his primary business was the ownership of CFI---Consolidated Film Industries---the key independent developing and printing laboratory in the business. During the time of the Depression there were many little independent production companies/studios in the business like Majestic and Mascot and others---all primarily producing low-budget action, adventure, romance, or western films---for the double-bill "B" picture markets. The depression destroyed the profit for many of these studios and, as a result, they were in hock to Herbert Yates and CFI for their lab costs. Yates was clever, and suggested to them that they would be better off if he organized them all into a single production entity, utilizing the best talents and creative resources from each---including contract stars and directors.

He gathered six of these companies together, took over the Mascot Studio in Studio City---a studio which was a small but quality complex, built and formerly owned by Mack Sennett and Keystone Pictures. This studio arrangement, under Herbert Yates presidency, became Republic Pictures in 1935.

Republic ground out westerns, action films, crime dramas, musicals, ice skating pictures with his lady-love Vera Ralston, John Wayne product, and usually once-a-year, a top-flight budget film like RIO GRANDE or THE QUIET MAN or THE RED PONY. Republic was the top "B" picture-maker in the business and despite its lower echelon status, had really excellent people at work there, turning out quality-produced product.

Unfortunately, by the late '50s this "B" picture market and the studio, itself, had suffered from the TV invasion like everyone else, and Yates sadly announced to his staff that he was closing down production at the studio. The facility, itself, had already been utilized by others as a rental facility, with tenants including Revue Productions---Universal's TV wing---and RCA Records, who often recorded on the wonderful music stage Yates had built in 1946.

This is where NTA comes into the Republic picture.

The corporate structure of Republic---name, logo, and Yates' holdings including the studio facility and CFI labs---remained for awhile with Yates.

The Republic Pictures film library negatives were sold to NTA for television distribution in 1959.

Yates died in 1966, and the corporate holdings began breaking up. The studio was eventually acquired by CBS and many famous shows including MARY TYLER MOORE and GUNSMOKE were shot there. Though the bulk of the marvelous backlot is gone, there has been considerable development and new stages built on the lot, and it is running full-tilt today as CBS RADFORD (.....fronting on Radford Drive in Studio City).

The "REPUBLIC PICTURES" name and logo were purchased by NTA in 1986, and NTA changed its name to REPUBLIC PICTURES for television and video distribution.

In 1994, Spelling Entertainment purchased the new REPUBLIC PICTURES (formerly NTA), dumped its own television product into the library, and then sold Republic to Viacom in 1999.

Viacom held Republic as a corporate asset through 2005, when Viacom became a partner of Paramount. In 2006, now under Paramount control, Republic Pictures as a distribution entity was closed and put into a separate holding company to contain the rights to the assets.

Soon the Republic/NTA/Spelling library which fell under the parent company, Paramount, was split up within the corporate Paramount/Viacom arrangement for overseeing of television, video and licensing rights. The television-related series and material owned by Republic (including Spelling) and the television series owned by Viacom went into the Viacom arm for television distribution. The features remained with the Paramount arm, who later licensed and sub-licensed them to video via various distributors over the ensuing years---Artisan, LionsGate, Olive Films, etc. The video license to Olive now includes, thus, the old '50s NTA package of films, plus the Republic Pictures, plus other scattered films that NTA had acquired along the way.

So, it's pretty clear that Paramount owns the Republic Pictures library of films---even though they've temporarily licensed the video rights to others. It's also pretty clear that the corporate papers and ownership of the films, themselves, reside with Paramount.

Thus, I would have to assume that Paramount owns the reproduction rights to the Republic Pictures scores which are stored at BYU. Whether they would want to do anything with these is another matter, of course, but one which Mr. Kimmel might be able to sweet-talk them into allowing him to release.

Bruce also brought up the thought that the Republic rights are held by Warners via a Paramount license, however I believe Warner has actually licensed the video distribution rights to some of the old post-1948 Paramount Pictures actually produced under the Paramount logo, not the Republic library.

Thus, Paramount has licensed a number of their classic '50s/'60s films to Warners primarily for reproduction on Blu-ray. SHANE is one of these (and it's surprising that Paramount no longer seems to want to distributed these older catalog titles themselves). I also strongly suspect that after the expensive restoration of SAMSON AND DELILAH by Paramount, and their own recent release of the film ONLY on standard dvd, they have also quietly licensed the Blu-ray distribution of this film to Warners to act as a surprise release down the road---perhaps as a sweetener to the Warners/Paramount deal.

Olive Films has already released some of the lesser-known Paramount '50s and '60s product on Blu-ray, including NO MAN OF HER OWN, UNION STATION, DENVER AND RIO GRANDE, SILVER CITY, SANDS OF THE KALAHARI, WHO'S GOT THE ACTION, ESCAPE FROM ZAHRAIN, and others. I've heard the deal was for 50-100 films and, if so, they must be nearing that number now after several years, because they've started to tap into the NTA/Republic library quite considerably, including THE QUIET MAN, THE RED PONY, JOHNNY GUITAR, HIGH NOON, THE BELLS OF ST. MARY'S and lesser Republic films like CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS and HOODLUM EMPIRE.


Bottom line.....Republic Pictures music scores are likely controlled by Paramount Pictures and so we should set Mr. Kimmel on a path to free some of it for Kritzerland.

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 6:11 AM   
 By:   Last Child   (Member)

Bottom line.....Republic Pictures music scores likely controlled by Paramount Pictures and so we should set Mr. Kimmel on a path to free some of it for Kritzerland.

I've done my part for The Cause

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 9:25 AM   
 By:   Niall from Ireland   (Member)

Manderley, this is wonderful information, thank you! Go Bruce baby go...and bring back plenty!

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 10:56 AM   
 By:   shureman   (Member)

Fascinating history, Manderley. Thanks !

 Posted:   Jun 15, 2013 - 2:08 PM   
 By:   PFK   (Member)

Most interesting Manderley, thanks for posting it. I always liked Republic films, they had a certain charm to them. I hope Bruce will see this and give his comments. Sure would like to see some Max Steiner and Victor Young Republic music on cd if possible.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2013 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   rmos   (Member)

At the time that Revue Productions rented space at Republic Studios, they were owned by MCA, not Universal. When MCA bought the studio lot from Universal (owned by Decca Records) in 1958, they moved their TV production there and changed the name to Revue Studios. MCA finally ended up owning the Universal Studios company itself when it purchased Decca in 1962.

 Posted:   Jun 16, 2013 - 5:15 PM   
 By:   filmusicnow   (Member)

At the time that Revue Productions rented space at Republic Studios, they were owned by MCA, not Universal. When MCA bought the studio lot from Universal (owned by Decca Records) in 1958, they moved their TV production there and changed the name to Revue Studios. MCA finally ended up owning the Universal Studios company itself when it purchased Decca in 1962.

Which explains why Universal's soundtrack albums were released by Decca.

 Posted:   Jun 17, 2013 - 11:49 AM   
 By:   Michael Condon   (Member)

I really enjoyed your post Manderley. The corporate trail is fascinating, as well as the personalities involved ion the transactions over the years.
Your film knowledge is wonderful, and I always look forward to reading your posts!

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