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Screen Gems
Screen Gems is an American subsidiary company of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group that has served several different purposes for its parent companies over the decades since its incorporation.

Animation studio: 1940–46Edit

For an entire decade, Charles B. Mintz distributed his Krazy Kat, Scrappy, and Color Rhapsody animated film shorts through Columbia Pictures. When Mintz became indebted to Columbia in 1939, he ended up selling his studio to them. Under new management, the studio assumed a new name, Screen Gems. Jimmy Bronis, Mintz's production manager became the studio head, but was shortly replaced by Mintz's brother-in-law, George Winkler. After this, Columbia decided to "clean house" by ousting the bulk of the staff (including Winkler) and hiring creative cartoonist, Frank Tashlin. After Tashlin's short stay came Dave Fleischer and after several of his successors came Ray Katz and Henry Binder from Warner Bros. Animators, directors, and writers at the series included people such as Art Davis, Sid Marcus, Bob Wickersham, and, during its latter period, Bob Clampett.

The studio had several characters on their roster. These included Flippy, Willoughby Wren, and Tito and his Burrito. However, the most successful characters the studio had were The Fox and the Crow, a comic duo of a refined Fox and a street-wise Crow.

Screen Gems is also notable for being, in an attempt to keep costs low, the last American animation studio to stop producing black and white cartoons. The final black-and-white Screen Gems shorts appeared in 1946, over three years after the second-longest holdouts (Famous Studios and Leon Schlesinger Productions). During that same year, the studio shut its doors for good, though their animation output continued to be distributed until 1949.

The Screen Gems cartoons were only moderately successful when compared to those of Disney, Warner Bros., and MGM. The studio's purpose was assumed by an outside producer, United Productions of America (UPA), whose cartoons, including Gerald McBoing Boing and the Mr. Magoo series, were major critical and commercial successes.

Television subsidiary: 1948–74Edit

In 1948, Screen Gems was revived to serve as the television subsidiary of Columbia, producing and syndicating several popular shows (see below) and also syndicating Columbia Pictures' theatrical film library to television, including the wildly successful series of two-reel short subjects starring The Three Stooges in the late 1950's. Earlier, they also acquired syndication rights to a package of Universal horror films (later reverted to MCA TV), which was enormously successful in reviving that genre. The name "Screen Gems", at the time, was used to hide the fact that the film studio was entering television production and distribution. Many film studios saw television as a threat to their business, and thus it was expected that they would shun the medium. However, Columbia was one of a few studios who branched out to television under a pseudonym to conceal the true ownership of the television arm. That is until 1956, when Columbia decided to use its torch lady logo under the Screen Gems banner.

From 1958 through 1974, under President John H. Mitchell and Vice President of Production Harry Ackerman, Screen Gems delivered the classic sitcoms: Father Knows Best, Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show, Hazel, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gidget, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Flying Nun, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family. It was also the original distributor for Hanna-Barbera Productions, an animation studio founded by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera after leaving Columbia's now-semi-sister studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

In the late 1950's Screen Gems would also go into broadcasting. Stations that would be owned by Screen Gems over the years would include KCPX (Salt Lake City), WVUE (New Orleans), WAPA (San Juan), WNJU (Linden, NJ), and several radio stations as well, including 50,000-watt clear channel WWVA (Wheeling WV). As a result in funding its acquisitions, 18% of Screen Gems' was spun off from Columbia and it became a publicity traded company in NYSE until 1969.

From 1964 to 1969, former child star Jackie Cooper was Vice President of Program Development. He was responsible for packaging series (such as Bewitched) and other projects and selling them to the networks.

In 1974, Screen Gems was renamed Columbia Pictures Television. The final notable production from this incarnation of Screen Gems before the name change was the 1974 mini-series QB VII. Columbia was the last major studio to enter television by name.

Changes in corporate ownership of Columbia came in 1982, when The Coca-Cola Company bought the company, although continuing to trade under the CPT name. In the mid-1980's, Coca-Cola reorganized its television holdings to create Coca-Cola Television, merging CPT with the television unit of Embassy Communications as Columbia/Embassy Television, although both companies continued to use separate identities until 1988, when it and TriStar Television were reunited under the CPT name.

In 1987, Coca-Cola spun off its entertainment holdings into a separate company called Columbia Pictures Entertainment. In 1989 Columbia Pictures was purchased by Sony Corporation of Japan. In 1991, Columbia Pictures Entertainment was renamed to Sony Pictures Entertainment as a film production-distribution subsidiary, and subsequently combined CPT with a revived TriStar Television in 1994 to form Columbia TriStar Television.

The television division today is presently known as Sony Pictures Television.

Selected TV showsEdit

Television programs produced and/or syndicated by Screen Gems (most shows produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions are now owned and distributed by Warner Bros. Television, except for Jeannie and Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (see below):

Logos Edit

The first Screen Gems logo was similar to the Columbia Pictures statue(aside from the "Screen Gems" text). It was replaced with many colorful sticks and sparks, which reveal the words, "Screen Gems", accompanied with a voice saying,"This is a screen gems production". One year later, the ever-infamous "S from Hell" logo appeared, which frightened many viewers with its odd music and swirl with dot logo, which some might have thought was an "eye staring at you". Soon the "S from Hell" logo was replaced by another Screen Gems logo, the "S from Heaven" , that starts with a bright light, similar to Columbia Pictures "torch lady" logo's beginning, with many revolving "S" logos, fading out to only one revolving "S", accompanied by the letters "S C R E E N G E M S" that shrink to the center of the screen.

Specialty feature film studio, 1999–presentEdit

In September 2002, Columbia TriStar Television became Sony Pictures Television, while three years earlier, in 1999, Screen Gems was resurrected as a fourth specialty film producing arm of Sony's Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, after Sony Pictures Classics, Triumph Films and Destination Films. Similar to Dimension Films, Screen Gems produces and releases smaller-budget science fiction, horror, teen movies, farce, ethnic, and African-American films with more centralized target audiences than Columbia TriStar's mainstream outputs, although it started out as a sister studio of Sony Pictures Classics, which produced more mature, intellectual fare.

The most-successful Screen Gems film commercially as of 2007 was Resident Evil: Extinction, which grossed $147,713,442 in international box office receipts.

Screen Gems filmsEdit

Future releasesEdit

See alsoEdit

External links Edit

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