Sam Katzman (July 7, 1901 – August 4, 1973) was an American film producer and director.Katzman produced low-budget genre films, including serials, which had disproportionately high returns for the studios and his financial backers.
- July 7, 1901, New York City
- Film producer and director
- August 4, 1973 (aged 72), Hollywood
- Early Career
- Monogram Pictures
- Columbia Pictures
- Later Career
- Personal Life
- External Links
Born to a Jewish family, 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. He would learn all aspects of filmmaking and was a Hollywood producer for more than 40 years. Katzman worked as an assistant to Norman Taurog and got married on the set of The Diplomatsin 1928 at Fox. In October 1927 he signed with comic Joe Russo to make a series of two-reel comedies.
At Monogram, a "budget" studio, 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. In April 1941 Katzman signed Lugosi to make three films, including one in collaboration with the East Side Kids.Lugosi wound up making nine films for Katzman. In January 1943 Katzman signed a contract with stage star Frank Fay and screen comic Billy Gilbert for four films. Fay walked out on the series after the first film, Spotlight Scandals (1943), and Katzman replaced him with Gilbert's closest friend, Shemp Howard.
In June 1946 Katzman announced he would make his first feature for Columbia, a remake of The Last of the Mohicans starring Jon Hall. However, the first movies he ended up making at the studio were musicals. In August 1946 he signed Jean Porter to star in Betty Co-Ed (1946), made by Katzman's Monogram director Arthur Dreifuss. The film received excellent reviews, prompting Columbia to ask for three more. Porter left Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was downsizing, to sign...
Focus on Action Films
The boxoffice performance of Katzman's action movies and serials, particularly Superman, was outstripping those for his musicals and comedies, leading him away from those genres. From 1949 to 1954 he would produce only action fare for Columbia. In February 1948 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. These turned in...
Transfer to Teen Movies
By the mid 1950s television was making inroads into the action market. The Weissmuller series ended after Jungle Moon Men (1955) and Devil Goddess (1955). Serials were gradually phased out. The last ones were The Adventures of Captain Africa, Perils of the Wilderness (1956) and Blazing the Overland Trail(1956). Instead, Katzman decided to focus on films that would appeal to the 15-25 age group, which meant more sci-fi, horror, and rock and roll musicals. In August 1...
20th Century Fox
Katzman signed a deal with 20th Century Fox starting with The Wizard of Baghdad (1960), an "Eastern" with Dick Shawn. He did this under a verbal agreement with Buddy Adler then in September 1960 Robert Goldstein signed him to a three-picture contract. These were to be Gentlemen Pirates written by Mel Levy, a film about Mississippi gamblers written by Jesse Lasky Jr. and Pat Silver, and Cypress Gardens by Lou Morheim.He said at the time that Hollywood was making too ma...
Katzman accepted an offer to move his operation to MGM in 1963. He started with a low budget musical Hootenanny Hoot (1963), which led to several more musicals: Get Yourself a College Girl (1964) and When the Boys Meet the Girls (1965) (a remake of Girl Crazy). MGM also financed three of Katzman's best known movies: two films starring Elvis Presley, Kissin' Cousins (1964) and Harum Scarum (1965), as well as Your Cheatin' Heart (1964), a biopic of Hank Williamsstarring Geo...
Return to Columbia
In 1967 Columbia Pictures wanted two quick, topical films about love-ins and singles-only apartments. 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(both 1967)
He was the uncle of television producer Leonard Katzman, and, in turn, the great-great-uncle of Ethan Klein of the Israeli-American YouTube comedy channel h3h3Productions. He was married to Hortense Katzman. They married on the set of the film The Diplomatsin 1928. She sued for divorce in 1955, but the two reconciled. Sam Katzman died on August 4, 1973, in Hollywood. He is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.
Wheeler Winston Dixon. Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood. Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.Sam Katzman at IMDbSam Katzman at Find a GraveMeet Jungle Sam Life magazine https://books.google.com/books?id=IUIEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA79&dq=sam+katzman+%2B+3-d#v=onepage&q=sam%20katzman%20%2B%203-d&f=falseJungle Sam in Time http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,817485-1,00.html
Films produced by Sam Katzman. Showmen's /. Screencraft. His Private Secretary (1933) Police Call (1933) Ship of Wanted Men (1933) Public Stenographer (1934) The Moth (1934) The Big Race (1934)
Pages in category "Films produced by Sam Katzman" The following 27 pages are in this category, out of 27 total. This list may not reflect recent changes ().
- Early Life and Career
- Monogram Pictures
- Move to Columbia
- Katzman's Directors
- Hollywood Blacklist
- Final Years
Born in New York City to Abraham and Rebecca Katzman, Katzman entered the film industry shortly before World War I, as an errand boy at the old Fox Film Corporation, which was then making low-budget short films at their studios in Fort Lee, New Jersey. As a mail carrier, prop boy, and laboratory messenger, carrying cans of exposed film back and forth to the lab, Katzman quickly learned all the angles of the low-budget film business, and gradually rose to the rank of assistant director. Fox let Katzman go in a wave of cutbacks just before the company merged with 20th Century Pictures. He thus became an independent producer and created his first venture, a feature-length film, His Private Secretary (1933), which he wrote himself. John Waynewas featured in the picture, which Katzman made in six days at an overall cost of $13,000. From this modest beginning, Katzman never looked back. Low-budget producers usually made outdoor westerns and action pictures, saving money on sets and using...
Monogram Pictures, a small but prolific independent studio, specialized in low-budget films for neighborhood theaters. Monogram manufactured much of its own product, but also released films made by independent producers. Sam Katzman sold Monogram on a juvenile delinquency series, to cash in on the successful cycle of the Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys melodramas. Katzman's series, The East Side Kids, caught on almost immediately, and before long many of the original Dead End Kids and Little Tough Guys joined Katzman's series. The East Side Kids films gradually evolved from noisy melodramas to roughneck comedies. Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall, Bobby Jordan, Gabriel Dell, Billy Benedict, and Ernie 'Sunshine' Sammy Morrisonwere mainstays of Katzman's East Side troupe. Katzman branched out with companion series for Monogram. He partnered with Jack Dietz to produce Bela Lugosi thrillers, and comedy features with Harry Langdon, Billy Gilbert, and Shemp Howard. When Leo Gorcey demanded doubl...
In 1945 Katzman accepted a contract from Columbia Pictures to produce adventure serials and, soon after, feature films. For two years he worked for both Monogram and Columbia, grinding out serials and low-budget features at a truly torrential pace. In 1947 he joined Columbia full-time, with a series of four Jean Porter musical comedies and another two Gloria Jean vehicles. Columbia's arrangement with Katzman was straightforward: Katzman selected the properties; Columbia approved the scripts and financed the productions; Katzman made the films using the studio personnel and resources; and Columbia gave Katzman 25% of the profits. The Katzman unit occupied the former Tiffany Picturesstudio, now Columbia property. One of Katzman's specialties at Columbia was taking a major news story, popular trend, or musical craze and making a film about it. He worked so quickly that the film could play theaters while the topic was still hot, ensuring big profits. One of his first pictures of this ty...
Katzman’s directors were either on their way up, or trailing off at the end of their careers. Studio veterans Arthur Dreifuss, Lew Landers. and William Berke were good, workmanlike directors, and old hands at directing "B" comedies, musicals, and mysteries. Serial specialist Spencer Gordon Bennet, whose career went back to the silent-film days, speedily churned out action fare for Katzman. Richard Quine, on the other hand, would go on to “A” features, most memorably with The Solid Gold Cadillac (1956), which starred Judy Holliday and Paul Douglas, and established Quine’s career as a major Columbia director. Future horror director William Castle was still developing his own style as a director, and Katzman allowed Castle to cut his directorial teeth on a series of low-budget films. Fred F. Searswas a former actor in Columbia "B" pictures, who assisted behind the scenes on Katzman's serials, and was promoted to full-fledged director. But working for Katzman could be very tough indeed....
Katzman also made it a practice to employ screenwriters who were involved with the House Un-American Activities Committee blacklist during the Cold War era. Many producers followed this practice, but Katzman, with his insatiable need for screenplays, was more deeply involved in using “blacklisted” talent than most. Blacklisted scenarist Bernard Gordon, for example, wrote Castle’s The Law vs. Billy The Kid (1954) as “John D. Williams,” as well as Earth vs. The Flying Saucers (Fred F. Sears, 1956), Edward L. Cahn’s Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), Leslie Kardos’s The Man Who Turned to Stone (1957), and Sears’s Escape from San Quentin(1957) as “Raymond T. Marcus,” all of which were produced by Katzman. For Katzman, the important thing was that a person worked reliably, efficiently, and inexpensively; if a writer fit these criteria, Katzman was interested. In all his films, Katzman created a sealed, hermetic universe, within which his characters could operate with generic impunity. There wer...
As the 1960s continued, Katzman would make several films at MGM with Elvis Presley, including Gene Nelson’s Harum Scarum (1965), with a budget of $2,400,000 and an 18-day schedule. Presley received $1,000,000, while the rest of the cast split a paltry $200,000; the rest of the budget went entirely to production costs. But the Elvis films did not reflect Katzman’s true approach to filmmaking. Whereas Columbia's Twist Around the Clock, made just three years earlier, had cost a mere $280,000, now Katzman was forced to deal with a budget that was nearly 10 times that amount. The fun, and the maverick vision that had brought Katzman to Hollywood, had vanished. Katzman’s final films were marginal, and the assembly-line production system that had served him so well now seemed out of step with the times. For the first time, Katzman was unable to adapt to changing circumstances. Katzman died on August 4, 1973, in Hollywood. He is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City...
Filmovi koje je producirao Sam Katzman. Victory Studios. Hot Off the Press (1935) Bars of Hate (1935) The Fighting Coward (1935) Danger Ahead (1935) The Phantom of the Range (1936) Shadow of Chinatown (1936) Taming the Wild (1936)
Sam Katzman, Producer: Amateur Crook. New York-born Sam Katzman entered the film industry as a prop boy at age 13, and worked his way up the ladder, learning virtually every facet of film production before becoming a producer himself. Starting out producing action/adventure serials (where he got the nickname "Jungle Sam"), Katzman's output encompassed virtually every genre imaginable....
Sam Katzman. Schneer joined Columbia Pictures, where he wrote the script for the Robin Hood film The Prince of Thieves (1948) for Sam Katzman. He later adapted Byron's The Corsair for Katzman but it was not made. Schneer was credited as associate producer on Katzman's The 49th Man (1953).
The film was announced in June 1946. It marked producer Sam Katzman's first feature at Columbia, although he had been making serials for them. He borrowed Jon Hall from Sam Goldwyn. Julie Bishop was signed in August 1946. That month George Sherman was attached to direct. Reception
Abe Katzman. Abraham "Abe" Katzman (1868–1940, Yiddish: אברהם קאצמאן ) was a Klezmer violinist, bandleader, composer, and Brunswick Records recording artist of the 1920s. He was the father of film producer Sam Katzman, uncle of American arranger and bandleader Louis Katzman and the great-uncle of Henry Katzman and Leonard Katzman.