Southern California (1931),
predecessor-in-interest to Allied Artists Pictures Corporation (1946),
now a subsidiary of Allied Artists International
Los Angeles, California
New York City, New York
Kim Richards, Chairman and CEO,
Robert Fitzpatrick, President
For more information:-
Monogram Pictures- Wikipedia
Monogram Pictures Corporation
is a Hollywood studio that produced and released films,
most on low budgets, between 1931 and 1953,
when the firm completed a transition to the name Allied Artists.
Monogram is considered a leader among the smaller studios sometimes
referred to collectively as Poverty Row.
The idea behind the studio was that when the Monogram logo
appeared on the screen,
everyone knew they were in for action and adventure.
By the early 1930’s, only a handful of the independents had configured themselves
into cheaper versions of the studio system.
One of the most important was Monogram, which was originally located at 4516 Sunset Blvd.,
then relocated to 1040 N. Las Palmas Ave.
In 1935, Monogram merged into Republic, becoming an independent company again one year later,
and moving, once again, over to Sunset Drive and Hoover Street.
Monogram made money on the Bowery Boys and the Cisco Kid,
but under its intended “AA” movie subsidiary, Allied Artists
Monogram was created in the early 1930s from two earlier companies,
W. Ray Johnston's Rayart Productions
(renamed "Raytone" when sound pictures came in)
and Trem Carr's Sono Art-World Wide Pictures.
Both specialized in low budget features and, as Monogram Pictures,
continued that policy until 1935 with Carr in charge of production.
Another independent, Paul Malvern, released his
Lone Star western productions
(starring John Wayne) through Monogram.
The backbone of the studio in those early days was a father-and-son
combination: Robert N. Bradbury, writer and director,
and Bob Steele, cowboy actor, were on their roster.
Bradbury wrote almost all of the early Monogram and Lone Star westerns.
While budgets and production values were lean,
Monogram offered a balanced program, including
action melodramas, classics, and mysteries.
Please also see
Lone Star Productions
In 1935, Johnston and Carr were wooed by Herbert Yates
of Consolidated Film Industries; Yates planned to merge Monogram
with several other smaller independent companies to form
But after a short time in this new venture, Johnston and Carr left,
Carr to produce at Universal and Johnston to restart Monogram in 1937.
Monogram Pictures operated the Monogram Ranch,
See:- Monogram/ Melody Ranch
their movie ranch in Placerita Canyon near Newhall, California
in the northern San Gabriel Mountains foothills.
Tom Mix had used the 'Placeritos Ranch' for location
shooting for his silent western films.
Ernie Hickson became the owner in 1936 and reconstructed
all the 'frontier western town' sets, moved from the nearby
Republic Pictures Movie Ranch (present day Disney Golden Oak Ranch),
onto his 110-acre (0.45 km2) ranch.
A year later in 1937 Monogram Pictures signed a long term lease
with Hickson for 'Placeritos Ranch', with terms that the ranch be renamed
Gene Autry, actor, cowboy singer, and producer,
purchased the 'Monogram Ranch' property from the Hickson heirs in 1953,
renaming it after his film 'Melody Ranch'.
Today it is operated as the 'Melody Ranch Motion Picture Studio'
and 'Melody Ranch Studios.
Monogram could seldom afford big-name movie stars
and would employ either former silent-film actors who were idle
(Herbert Rawlinson, William Collier, Sr.)
or young featured players (Ray Walker, Wallace Ford).
In 1938 Monogram began a long and profitable policy
of making series and hiring familiar players to star in them.
Frankie Darro, Hollywood's foremost tough-kid actor of the 1930s,
joined Monogram and stayed with the company until 1950.
Comedian Mantan Moreland co-starred in many of the Darros
and continued to be a valuable asset to Monogram through 1949.
Juvenile actors Marcia Mae Jones and Jackie Moran carried
a series of homespun romances.
Crime themes dominated the roster at Monogram
in the late thirties and early forties.
For example, the very forgettable though endearing
Riot Squad (1941) cast Richard Cromwell as a doctor
working covertly for the police department to catch the mobsters
before his girlfriend Rita Quigley breaks their engagement.
Boris Karloff brought a touch of class to the Monogram
release schedule with his "Mr. Wong" mysteries.
This prompted producer Sam Katzman to engage Bela Lugosi
for a follow-up series of Monogram thrillers.
Katzman hit the bull's-eye with his street-gang series
The East Side Kids, which ran from 1940 to 1945.
East Side star Leo Gorcey then took the reins himself
and transformed the series into The Bowery Boys,
which became the longest-running feature-film series
in movie history (48 titles).
During this run, Gorcey became the highest paid actor
in Hollywood on an annual basis.
Monogram always catered to western fans.
The studio released sagebrush sagas with Bill Cody, Bob Steele,
John Wayne, Tom Keene, Tim McCoy, Tex Ritter,
and Jack Randall before hitting on the "trio" format teaming veteran saddle pals.
Buck Jones, Tim McCoy, and Raymond Hatton
became The Rough Riders;
Ray (Crash) Corrigan, John 'Dusty' King, and Max Terhune
were The Range Busters,
and Ken Maynard, Hoot Gibson, and Bob Steele
teamed as The Trail Blazers.
When Universal Pictures allowed Johnny Mack Brown's
contract to lapse, Monogram grabbed him
and kept him busy through 1952.
The studio was a launching pad for stars of the future Preston Foster,
Randolph Scott, Lionel Atwill, Alan Ladd, Edith Fellows and Robert Mitchum.
The studio was also a haven for established stars whose careers had stalled:
Edmund Lowe, John Boles,Ricardo Cortez, Kay Francis Bruce Cabot
Monogram did create and nurture its own stars like Gale Storm .
Another of Monogram's finds during this time was British skating star Belita,
who conversely starred in musical revues first and then graduated to dramatic roles,
including Suspense (1946), the only A-budget picture to be produced
under the Monogram name.
Many of Duke's Lone Star westerns made here
The following pictures are from the Allied Artists brochure.
that advertised the Western Street.
The western street looking north
The western street looking south.
These pictures are by Chuck Anderson.
For more information
Studios, Backlots and Ranches
For more information:-
Monogram Pictures- Wikipedia
All information correct at original posting, for updated information
please click on Wikipedia link
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