RKO Pictures... a short history
RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures is an American film production and distribution company.

January 16, 2009

Over the years movies have been released under several different companies whether it was Universal Studios, MGM, Miramax, DreamWorks, Pathé, Pixar, or a dozen others. However, there is one classic pioneer of film productions and that is RKO Radio Pictures. Having been around since the Golden Era of Hollywood, this company had filmed some of Hollywood’s most loved and famous actors. Stars like Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Ava Gardner, and so many others graced the film strips of RKO Radio Pictures movies. RKO Radio Pictures also held a huge role in the conversion from silent films to sound films or talkies. Later on the company also had a role in the introduction of Technicolor films.

To say the least, RKO Radio Pictures had a huge hand in the colonization of movies as our modern day civilization knows it. Having gone through the hands of several ownerships, RKO Radio Pictures even landed itself in Howard Hugh’s pocket at one point. Unfortunately, this transition nearly killed RKO Radio Pictures. Hughes was known to have eccentric behavior and upon gaining control of the studio, he fired over 75% of its employees and then began to edit all of the films in time and money consuming ways. Often he would require the entire film to be redone if there wasn’t something to his liking. While all of the top five film studios suffered monetary losses in 1948, RKO Radio Pictures suffered the worst due to Hughes’ odd behaviors. After Hughes’ sold the company it managed to turn things around by selling classic movies to television for viewing. Unfortunately, it didn’t turn things around well enough and the studio was permanently shut down in 1957. Of course in 1989, RKO rose from the dead as RKO Pictures and has continued to co-produce films even today.

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