Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood

By Wheeler Winston Dixon | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
The Major Minors

In addition to what were known as the Big Five during the classical Hollywood studio era—MGM, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros. and RKO Radio—there were the so-called “little three,” although the term can’t be fairly applied to these studios in retrospect, because they rapidly became as important as any of the Big Five—Universal, United Artists, and Columbia. There were also several “mini-majors” that operated in Hollywood during this period, most notably Samuel Goldwyn Studios and Selznick International on the “A” level, and Republic, Monogram, and Producers’ Releasing Corporation on the “B” level. In addition, although RKO Radio was indisputably a major studio, its history is so truncated that I’ll also consider it here; in many ways, the collapse of RKO was the first real death knell of the classical studio system. Finally, there’s United Artists, the first “creative combine” launched by actors Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Mary Pickford, Charles Chaplin, and director D. W. Griffith in 1919, and still active today.

United Artists represented the first attempt by artists to control the medium as a creative combine. All four original members were then at the peak of their creative powers, with the possible exception of Griffith, who never quite recovered from the economic disaster of his sprawling

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Death of the Moguls: The End of Classical Hollywood
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Prologue 1
  • Chapter 1 - The Postwar Collapse 12
  • Chapter 2 - White Fang at Columbia 36
  • Chapter 3 - Z for Zanuck 65
  • Chapter 4 - Mayer’s Mgm 88
  • Chapter 5 - Zukor and Paramount 113
  • Chapter 6 - The Major Minors 136
  • Chapter 7 - Universal Goes Corporate 168
  • Chapter 8 - That’s All, Folks- Jack Warner’s Lost Kingdom 192
  • Works Cited and Consulted 225
  • Index 231
  • About the Author 249
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