Leslie Thompson Baxter was an American musician and composer. After working as an arranger and composer for swing bands, he developed his own style of easy listening music, known as exotica; some of his many credits were questioned by Nelson Riddle and others, but Baxter said these claims were part of a smear campaign. Baxter studied piano at the Detroit Conservatory before moving to Los Angeles for further studies at Pepperdine College. From 1943 on he played baritone saxophone for the Freddie Slack big band. Abandoning a concert career as a pianist, he turned to popular music as a singer. At the age of 23 he joined Mel Tormé's Mel-Tones, singing on Artie Shaw records such as "What Is This Thing Called Love?". Baxter turned to arranging and conducting for Capitol Records in 1950, conducted the orchestra in two early Nat King Cole hits, "Mona Lisa" and "Too Young". In 1953 he scored his first movie, the sailing travelogue Tanga Tika. With his own orchestra, he released a number of hits including "Ruby", "Unchained Melody", "The Poor People of Paris" and is remembered for a version of "Sinner Man", definitively setting the sound with varying tempos, orchestral flourishes, wailing background vocals.
"Unchained Melody" was the first million seller for Baxter, was awarded a gold disc. "The Poor People of Paris" sold over one million copies. He achieved success with concept albums of his own orchestral suites: Le Sacre Du Sauvage, Festival Of The Gnomes, Ports Of Pleasure, Brazil Now, the first three for Capitol and the fourth on Gene Norman's Crescendo label; the list of musicians on these recordings includes Clare Fischer. Baxter wrote the "Whistle" theme from the TV show Lassie. In the 1960s, he formed the Balladeers, a conservative folk group in suits that at one time featured a young David Crosby, he used some of the same singers from that group for a studio project called The Forum. They had a minor hit in 1967 with a rendition of "River is Wide" which implemented the Wall of Sound technique developed by Phil Spector, he worked in radio as musical director of The Halls of Ivy and the Bob Hope and Abbott and Costello shows. Like his counterparts Henry Mancini and Lalo Schifrin, Baxter worked in films in the 1960s and 1970s.
He worked on movie scores for B-movie studio American International Pictures where he composed scores for Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe films and other horror and beach party films including House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendulum, The Raven, Muscle Beach Party and Beach Blanket Bingo. He composed a new score for the theatrical release of the 1970 horror film Cry of the Banshee after AIP rejected Wilfred Josephs original one. Howard W. Koch recalled that Baxter composed and recorded the entire score of The Yellow Tomahawk in a total of three hours for $5,000; when soundtrack work fell off in the 1980s, he scored music for theme parks such as SeaWorld. Baxter died in Newport Beach, California at the age of 73. Survived by his daughter Leslie, he was buried at Pacific View Memorial Park, in Corona del Mar, California. According to Milt Bernhart, Nelson Riddle was a ghost writer for Baxter when Baxter was working for Nat King Cole; this doesn't make any sense, because while Baxter was working as a conductor for Nat King Cole, he never was credited as a composer or arranger.
Bernhart states. Bernhart states that, while working for Baxter on recording a score for a Roger Corman film, it was apparent that Baxter could not conduct competently and "couldn't read the scores." According to Bernhart, "Someone else had written."Nelson Riddle held a grudge against Baxter for taking credit for Riddle's arrangements on two Nat King Cole hit recordings. According to André Previn, when collaborating once with Baxter, in the time Previn and Riddle had finished their parts, Baxter had written just one bar for woodwinds and included a note for the oboe that does not exist on the instrument. Gene Lees states that the exotica albums were written by Albert Harris and the material recorded with Yma Sumac was written by Pete Rugolo. According to Rugolo, he was paid $50 per arrangement to ghost for Les Baxter and that he "did a whole album with Yma Sumac"; this does not make much sense either, because arrangements and most compositions for the album were credited to Moises Vivanco on the original release.
Les Baxter was just credited as conductor, only in 1991 the German film documentary Yma Sumac - Hollywoods Inkaprinzessin claimed that most of the album was in fact ghostwritten by Les Baxter for Moises Vivanco. In a 1981 interview with Soundtrack magazine, Baxter said that these sorts of statements were the results of a smear campaign by a disgruntled orchestrator. According to Baxter, this resulted in Baxter being denied the chance to score for a major motion picture; the job went instead to Baxter's friend Bronisław Kaper. Baxter said that he would give his compositions to orchestrators to orchestrate to deal with a hectic schedule. Baxter's frequent conductor and orchestrator Hall Daniels said the criticisms were the result of "sour grapes" who held a grudge against Baxter for one reason or another. Skip Heller spent time working for and studying under Baxter where he witnessed various score sheets of original Baxter compositions, including Yma Sumac's "Xtabay" and "Tumpa". According to Heller, they were all in Baxter's own handwriting.
Furthermore, the Les Baxter papers, which are housed at the University of Arizona, show a significant number of arrangements in his own hand. Baxter, alongside Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, is celebrated as
Peter Lorre was a Hungarian-born American character actor of Jewish descent. Lorre began his stage career in Vienna before moving to Germany where he worked first on the stage in film in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Lorre caused an international sensation in the German film M, directed by Fritz Lang, in which he portrayed a serial killer who preys on little girls. Lorre left Germany, his first English-language film was Alfred Hitchcock's The Man Who Knew Too Much made in Great Britain. Settling in Hollywood, he became a featured player in many Hollywood crime and mystery films. In his initial American films, Mad Love and Crime and Punishment, he continued to play murderers, but he was cast playing Mr. Moto, the Japanese detective, in a B-picture series. From 1941 to 1946, he worked for Warner Bros, his first film at Warner was The Maltese Falcon, which began a sequence in which he appeared with Humphrey Bogart and Sydney Greenstreet. This was followed by Casablanca, the second of the nine films in which Lorre and Greenstreet appeared together.
Lorre's other films include Frank Capra's Arsenic and Old Lace and Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Typecast as a sinister foreigner, his career was erratic. Lorre was the first actor to play a James Bond villain as Le Chiffre in a TV version of Casino Royale; some of his last roles were in horror films directed by Roger Corman. Lorre was born László Löwenstein on 26 June 1904, the first child of Alajos Löwenstein and his wife Elvira Freischberger, in the Hungarian town of Rózsahegy in Liptó County, his parents, who were Jewish, had only moved there following his father's appointment as chief bookkeeper at a local textile mill. Alajos served as a lieutenant in the Austrian Army Reserve, which meant that he was away on military maneuvers. László's mother died when he was only four years old, leaving Alajos with three young sons, the youngest several months old, he soon married his wife's best friend Melanie Klein. However and his stepmother never got along, this colored his childhood memories.
At the outbreak of the Second Balkan War in 1913, anticipating that this would lead to a larger conflict and that he would be called up, Alajos moved the family to Vienna. He served on the Eastern Front during the winter of 1914–1915, before being put in charge of a prison camp due to heart trouble. Lorre began acting on stage in Vienna aged 17, where he worked with Viennese Art Nouveau artist and puppeteer Richard Teschner, he moved to the German city of Breslau, to Zürich. In the late 1920s, the actor moved to Berlin, where he worked with German playwright Bertolt Brecht, including a role in Brecht's Mann ist Mann and as Dr. Nakamura in the musical Happy End; the actor became much better known after director Fritz Lang cast him as child killer Hans Beckert in M, a film reputedly derived from the Peter Kürten case. Lang said that he had Lorre in mind while working on the script and did not give him a screen test because he was convinced that Lorre was perfect for the part; the director said that the actor gave his best performance in M and that it was among the most distinguished in film history.
Sharon Packer observed that Lorre played the "loner, schizotypal murderer" with "raspy voice, bulging eyes, emotive acting always make him memorable." In 1932, Lorre appeared alongside Hans Albers in the science fiction film F. P.1 antwortet nicht about an artificial island in the mid-Atlantic. When the Nazis came to power in Germany in 1933, Lorre took refuge first in Paris and London, where he was noticed by Ivor Montagu, associate producer for The Man Who Knew Too Much, who reminded the film's director, Alfred Hitchcock, about Lorre's performance in M, they first considered him to play the assassin in the film, but wanted to use him in a larger role despite his limited command of English at the time, which Lorre overcame by learning much of his part phonetically. Michael Newton wrote in an article for The Guardian in September 2014 of his scenes with Leslie Banks in the film: "Lorre cannot help but steal each scene. After his first two American films, Lorre returned to England to feature in Hitchcock's Secret Agent.
Lorre and his first wife, actress Celia Lovsky, boarded a Cunard liner in Southampton on 18 July 1934 to sail for New York a day after shooting had been completed on The Man Who Knew Too Much, having gained visitor's visas to the United States. Lorre settled in Hollywood and was soon under contract to Columbia Pictures, which had difficulty finding parts suitable for him. After some months employed for research, Lorre decided that Crime and Punishment, the 1866 Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, would be a suitable project with himself in the central role. Columbia's head Harry Cohn agreed to make the film adaptation on the condition that he could lend Lorre to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a means of recouping the cost of Lorre not appearing in any of his films. For MGM's Mad Love, set in Paris and directed by Karl Freund, Lorre's head was shaved for the role of Dr. Gogol, a demented surgeon. In the film, Gogol replaces the wrecked hands of a concert pianist with those of an executed knife throwing murderer.
An actress who works at the nearby Grand Guignol theater, who happens to be the pianist's wife, is the subject of Gogol's u
Joyce Jameson was an American actress, known for many television roles, including recurring guest appearances as Skippy, one of the "fun girls" in the 1960s television series The Andy Griffith Show as well as "the Blonde" in the Academy Award-winning The Apartment. Jameson was born in Chicago, she graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Jameson's Broadway credits include Venus at Large, The Billy Barnes People and The Billy Barnes Revue. Jameson began work in the early 1950s with numerous uncredited roles in films and television, she made her film debut in 1951 playing a chorus girl dancer in the motion picture Show Boat. Other notable film credits of that early period included Problem Girls, Tip on a Dead Jockey and The Apartment. In 1962, she starred with Vincent Price and Peter Lorre in the Roger Corman horror film Tales of Terror as Annabel Herringbone, she played Lorre's vulgar, unfaithful wife, during the course of the film and her paramour were locked up in Lorre's wine cellar.
One year she again starred with Lorre and Price in the raucous comedy The Comedy of Terrors. In 1964, she appeared as a hotel hooker in the comedy Good Neighbor Sam, starring Jack Lemmon and Romy Schneider. In 1966, she starred as Abigail in the Elvis Presley film Frankie and Johnny and in Boy, Did I Get a Wrong Number! with Bob Hope and Elke Sommer. She appeared in 1968's The Split, a crime film with Jim Brown and Warren Oates, in an unsold comedy pilot for CBS titled The Mouse That Roared. Jameson had roles in Death Race 2000 playing Grace Pander, The Outlaw Josey Wales as Rose, Every Which Way but Loose, Hardbodies. Jameson was a television actress, she was a regular member of the cast on Club Oasis.:195 She made two appearances on Perry Mason: first as Lorraine Iverson who killed her husband in the 1963 episode "The Case of the Floating Stones" as Dolly Jameson in the 1965 episode, "The Case of the Feather Cloak". She had roles on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Stagecoach West, The Twilight Zone, McHale's Navy, My Favorite Martian, The Munsters, F-Troop, Hogan's Heroes, Alias Smith and Jones, Emergency! and Barney Miller.
She appeared in The Rockford Files. She appeared in Charlie's Angels, The Feather and Father Gang, The Love Boat, her ongoing role as Skippy paired with Daphne in The Andy Griffith Show established The Fun Girls. Jameson provided one of the voices for the cartoon series Jokebook.:543Jameson was co-host of Tempo III, a program on KHJ-TV in Los Angeles. She was married to actor/songwriter Billy Barnes for many years. Subsequently, Jameson was a longtime girlfriend of The Man from U. N. C. L. E. Star Robert Vaughn, she acted opposite Vaughn as the guest star on a 1966 U. N. C. L. E. Episode "The Dippy Blond Affair". According to Vaughn's autobiography, A Fortunate Life, Jameson suffered from depression, she was an insomniac and took Miltown to help her sleep. On January 16, 1987, Jameson committed suicide by overdosing on pills at the age of 54, her body was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea. Joyce Jameson on IMDb Joyce Jameson at the Internet Broadway Database Joyce Jameson at Find a Grave
Debra Paget is an American actress and entertainer. She is best known for her performances in Cecil B. DeMille's epic The Ten Commandments and in Love Me Tender, for the risque snake dance scene in The Indian Tomb. Paget was born in Denver, one of five children born to Margaret Allen, a former actress, Frank Henry Griffin, a painter; the family moved from Denver to Los Angeles, California, in the 1930s to be close to the developing film industry. Paget was enrolled in the Hollywood Professional School when she was 11. Margaret was determined that Debra and her siblings would make their careers in show business. Three of Paget's siblings, Marcia and Frank, entered show business. Paget had her first professional job at age 8, acquired some stage experience at 13 when she acted in a 1946 production of Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor. Paget's first notable film role was as Teena Riconti, girlfriend of the character played by Richard Conte, in Cry of the City, a 1948 film noir directed by Robert Siodmak for 20th Century Fox.
Fox signed her to a long-term contract. She had small roles in Mother Is a Freshman, It Happens Every House of Strangers, her first vehicle for Fox was the successful Broken Arrow with James Stewart. At the age of 16, Paget played a Native American maiden, who falls in love with Stewart's character. Stewart was 42 at the time. From 1950 to 1956, she took part in six original radio plays for Family Theater. During those same years, she read parts in four episodes of Lux Radio Theater, sharing the microphone with such actors as Burt Lancaster, Tyrone Power, Cesar Romero, Ronald Colman, Robert Stack; the latter set included dramatizations of two of her feature films. Paget had a sizeable role in Fourteen Hours and was reunited with Broken Arrow director Delmer Daves and star Jeff Chandler in Bird of Paradise, playing a role similar to Broken Arrow. Paget was the second female lead in Anne of the Indies, she was third billed in Belles on Their Toes and second billed in Les Misérables, playing Cosette.
Paget was Robert Wagner's love interest in Prince Valiant. In 1953, wearing a blonde wig, she auditioned along with Anita Ekberg and Irish McCalla, among others, for the starring role in Sheena, Queen of the Jungle, which went to McCalla. Fox gave Paget top billing with the swashbuckler Princess of the Nile, co-starring Jeffrey Hunter; the film was not a notable success at the box office. However during the year after Princess of the Nile was released, the fan mail Paget received at 20th Century-Fox was topped only by that for Marilyn Monroe and Betty Grable. Paget had the Gladiators, a big hit, she was Dale Robertson's love interest in The Gambler from Natchez and played another Native American in White Feather, playing the sister of Jeffrey Hunter and lover of Robert Wagner. Fox loaned Hunter to Allied Artists to appear in Seven Angry Men; when Anne Bancroft was injured during filming The Last Hunt at MGM, the studio borrowed Paget to play her part, another native American. Fox lent her to Paramount for the part of Lilia, the water girl, in Cecil B.
DeMille's biblical epic The Ten Commandments, her most successful film. She had to wear brown contact lenses to hide her blue eyes. However, she said that the lenses were "awful to work in because the klieg lights heat them up."The film was a huge success. So too was a Western Paget made at Fox, Love Me Tender alongside Elvis Presley; the River's Edge was the last film. After that, Paget's career began to decline, she went to Paramount to play Cornel Wilde's love interest in Omar Khayyam. She was the juvenile lead in From the Earth to the Moon. In 1958, she traveled to Germany to headline the cast of Fritz Lang's two-film adventure saga, The Tiger of Eschnapur and The Indian Tomb, a role that recalled her role as Shalimar/Taura of Princess of the Nile. Like the Egyptian epic, the film is remembered chiefly for her energetic dance scenes. In 1959, Paget appeared as Lela Russell in the episode "The Unwilling" of the NBC Western television series, starring Darren McGavin. In the story line, Dan Simpson, played by Eddie Albert, attempts to open a general store despite a raid from pirates who stole $20,000 in merchandise.
Russell Johnson appears in this episode as Darius. In 1960, she appeared as Laura Ashley in the episode "Incident of the Garden of Eden" on CBS's Western series, Rawhide; that same year, she had played an author, Agnes St. John, the only surviving witness to a brutal stagecoach robbery in another CBS Western, Johnny Ringo, starring Don Durant in the title role. In 1962, she returned to Rawhide to play the part of Azuela in the episode "Hostage Child" along with James Coburn. Paget appeared in Cleopatra's Daughter shot in Italy, Why Must I Die? for American International Pictures, Most Dangerous Man Alive, Rome 1585 again in Italy. Her final two films were for Roger Corman at American International Pictures: Tales of Terror and The Haunted Palace, she did television work throughout her career. Her last performance in this medium came in a December 1965 episode of ABC's Burke's Law, starring Gene Barr
Samuel Z. Arkoff
Samuel Zachary Arkoff was an American producer of B movies. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa to a Russian Jewish family, Arkoff first studied to be a lawyer, he began his career in Hollywood as a producer of The Hank McCune Show, a seminal sitcom produced in 1951. In 1954, Nicholson founded the American Releasing Corporation, which became known as American International Pictures, made Arkoff the vice-president. AIP films were low-budget, with production completed in a few days, though nearly all of them became profitable. Along with business partner James H. Nicholson and producer-director Roger Corman, he produced eighteen films. Arkoff is credited with starting a few genres, such as the Beach Party and outlaw biker movies, his company played a substantial part in bringing the horror film genre to a novel level with successes such as Blacula, I Was a Teenage Werewolf and The Thing with Two Heads. American International Pictures movies starred many established actors in principal or cameo roles, such as Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester and Vincent Price, as well as others who became household names, including Don Johnson, Nick Nolte, Diane Ladd, most notably Jack Nicholson.
A number of actors shunned or overlooked by most of Hollywood during the 1960s and 1970s, such as Bruce Dern and Dennis Hopper found work in one or more of Arkoff's productions. Arkoff's most financially successful film was the 1979 adaptation of Jay Anson's book The Amityville Horror. Following the sale of AIP to Filmways in 1979 for $30 million, Arkoff was unhappy with the direction of the company and resigned in December 1979 to set up his own production company, Arkoff International Pictures. Receiving a pay out worth $1.4 million. In 2000, Arkoff was featured alongside former collaborators including Roger Corman, Dick Miller and Peter Bogdanovich in the documentary SCHLOCK! The Secret History of American Movies, a film about the rise and fall of American exploitation cinema, he was married to Hilda Rusoff. They had two children: Louis Arkoff, his producing partner, he has five grandchildren and a great-grandson. Arkoff died within weeks of his wife's death. During a 1980s television talk show appearance, Arkoff shared with viewers his "ARKOFF Formula" for making successful, memorable films.
The formula or, more the checklist forms an acronym of his surname, it identifies the content elements that should be considered and included in a movie in a low-budget production: Action Revolution Killing Oratory Fantasy Fornication Article about Samuel Arkoff on the Horror-Wood Webzine Samuel Z. Arkoff on IMDb Samuel Z. Arkoff at Find a Grave Samuel Z. Arkoff Papers Obituary at Los Angeles Times Obituary at Chicago Tribune
Roger William Corman is an American director and actor. He has been called "The Pope of Pop Cinema" and is known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film. Much of Corman's work has an established critical reputation, such as his cycle of low-budget cult films adapted from the tales of Edgar Allan Poe. Admired by members of the French New Wave and Cahiers du cinéma, in 1964 Corman was the youngest filmmaker to have a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française, as well as the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art, he was the co-founder of New World Pictures, a prolific multimedia company that helped to cement Fox as a major American television network, is a longtime member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he was awarded an Honorary Academy Award "for his rich engendering of films and filmmakers."Corman mentored and gave a start to many young film directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, John Sayles, James Cameron, was influential in the New Hollywood filmmaking movement of the 1960s and 70s.
He helped to launch the careers of actors like Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper, Bruce Dern, Sylvester Stallone, Diane Ladd, William Shatner. Corman has taken minor acting roles in the films of directors who started with him, including The Silence of the Lambs, The Godfather Part II, Apollo 13, The Manchurian Candidate and Philadelphia. A documentary about Corman's life and career entitled Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel, directed by Alex Stapleton, premiered at the Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals in 2011; the film's TV rights were picked up by A&E IndieFilms after a well-received screening at Sundance. Corman was born in Detroit, the son of Anne and William Corman, an engineer, his younger brother, Eugene Harold "Gene" Corman, has produced numerous films, sometimes in collaboration with Roger. Corman and his brother were baptized in the Catholic faith. Corman went to Beverly Hills High School and to Stanford University to study Industrial Engineering. While at Stanford, Corman realised.
He enlisted in the V-12 Navy College Training Program with six months of study to complete. He served in the navy from 1944 to 1946, he returned to Stanford to finish his degree, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering in 1947. While at Stanford University, Corman was initiated in the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon. In 1948, he worked at U. S. Electrical Motors on Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles, but his career in engineering lasted only four days, his brother Gene was working in the film industry as an agent and Roger decided to go into filmmaking instead. Corman found work at 20th Century Fox in the mail room, he worked his way up to a story reader. The one property that he liked the most and provided ideas for was filmed as The Gunfighter with Gregory Peck; when Corman received no credit at all he decided he would work in film by himself. Under the GI Bill, Corman studied English Literature at Oxford University and lived in Paris for a time, he returned to Los Angeles and tried to re-establish himself in the film industry.
He took various jobs, including a messenger at Fox. He worked as an assistant to a literary agent. Corman wrote a script in his spare time and sold it to William F. Broidy at Allied Artists for $2,000. "Dick thought it was funny and let me pay myself a commission," said Corman. Called House in the Sea, it was retitled as Highway Dragnet, starred Richard Conte and Joan Bennett. Corman worked as associate producer on the film for nothing, just for the experience. Corman used his script fee and personal contacts to raise $12,000 to produce his first feature, a science fiction film, The Monster From the Ocean Floor, it was produced by Corman's own company, Palo Alto, released by Robert L. Lippert; the film did well enough to encourage Corman to produce another film, the racing car thriller The Fast and the Furious, directed by its star, John Ireland, co-starring Dorothy Malone. Corman sold the movie to a new independent company, the American Releasing Company, run by James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff.
Although Corman had a number of offers for the film from Republic and Columbia, he elected to go with ARC because they undertook to advance money to enable him to make two more movies. Corman's second film for ARC was one he decided to direct, Five Guns West, a Western, made in colour for around $60,000, with Malone and John Lund; the script was written by Robert Wright Campbell, who would work with Corman on several more occasions. Corman announced he would make four more projects for ARC: High Steel, Fortress Beneath the Sea, an untitled film from Campbell. Instead Corman did some uncredited directing on The Beast with a Million Eyes made another Western, Apache Woman, starring Lloyd Bridges, written by Lou Rusoff. Rusoff and Corman reunited on Day the World Ended, a post-apocalyptic science fiction film, popular. Corman was to make The Devil on Horseback by Charles B. Griffith about the Brownsville Raid but it was too expensive; the Woolner Brothers, Louisiana drive-in owners, financed Corman's, Swamp Women, a girls-on-the-lam saga.
He returned to ARC for The Oklahoma Woman and Gunslinger. He bought a script from The Girl from Beneath the Sea. Harrington wo
The double feature known as a double bill, was a motion picture industry phenomenon in which theatre managers would exhibit two films for the price of one, supplanting an earlier format in which one feature film and various short subject reels would be shown. Opera houses staged two operas together for the sake of providing long performance for the audience; this was related to one-act or two-act short operas that were otherwise commercially hard to stage alone. A prominent example is the double-bill of Pagliacci with Cavalleria rusticana first staged on 22 December 1893 by the Met; the two operas have since been performed as a double-bill, a pairing referred to in the operatic world colloquially as "Cav and Pag". The double feature originated in the 1930s. Previous to the 1930s, the dominant presentation model consisted of the following: One or more live acts An animated cartoon short subject One or more live-action comedy shorts One or more novelty shorts A newsreel The main feature filmWith the widespread arrival of sound film in American theaters in 1929, many independent exhibitors began dropping the then-dominant presentation model.
Movie theaters suffered a downturn in business in the early years of the Great Depression. Theater owners decided they could both attract more customers and save on costs if they offered two movies for the price of one; the tactic worked, audiences considered the cost of a theater ticket good value for several hours of escapist and varied entertainment, the practice became a standard pattern of programming. In the typical 1930s double bill, the screening began with a variety program consisting of trailers, a newsreel, a cartoon and/or a short film preceding a low-budget second feature, followed by a short interlude. Lastly, the high-budget main feature ran. A neighborhood theatre running a double feature won out over a higher-priced first-run theatre with only one feature film; the major studios took note of this, began making their own B features using the technicians and sets of the studio and featuring stars on their way up or on their way down. The major studios made film series featuring recurring characters.
Although the double feature put many short comedy producers out of business, it was the primary source of revenue for smaller Hollywood studios, such as Republic and Monogram, that specialized in B movie production. The double feature arose because of a studio practice known as "block booking," a form of tying in which major Hollywood studios required theaters to buy B-movies along with the more desirable A-movies; the U. S. Supreme Court decided that this practice was illegal in United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc. in 1948, contributing to the end of the studio system. After the studio requirement was dropped, many smaller or independent neighborhood theatres drive-in theatres, sought double features to bring in more patronage. By the end of the 1940s double features were regular policy at 29 percent of American cinemas with 36 percent having them part-time. After the Paramount Decree the sources of the second feature had changed; the second feature could be: a major studio re-release of an older feature, an older feature re-released from firms that specialised in acquiring and rereleasing older films such as Realart and Astor Pictures, a low budget feature contracted from a smaller studio.
James H. Nicholson and Samuel Z. Arkoff formed their American International Pictures with the idea of providing a double feature of two B pictures for less than the price of a single A feature, or taking a lower percentage of the cinema's grosses than the major studios. By the 1960s, double features had been abandoned in non–drive-ins in favor of the modern single-feature screening, in which only one feature film is exhibited. However, double bills of popular series, run as a single feature such as the James Bond and Matt Helm superspy genre and The Man With No Name and The Stranger spaghetti westerns were re-released together by the main studios. While most cinemas have discontinued the practice of showing the double feature, it has nostalgia appeal; the Astor Theatre in St Kilda, Australia, established in 1936, continues the tradition of the double feature. Short films still precede the feature presentation, but the double feature is now extinct in first-run movie theaters in the U. S. Following the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, three Roger Rabbit cartoon shorts were created to be shown as preludes to other Disney films, in an effort to revive the viewing of cartoon shorts before major films.
Only three were made and the scheme failed. Many repertory houses continue to show two films related in some way, back to back. During the 1990s, many VHS cassettes that showed two films on the same tape were self-named as "double features." In 2007, filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez released their individual films Planet Terror and Death Proof as a double feature under the title Grindhouse, edited together with fake exploitation film trailers and 1970s-era snipes in order to replicate the experience of viewing a double feature in a grindhouse theater. Although Grindhouse received critical acclaim, it was a complete financial flop in the United States; the films were screened individually in international markets and on DVD. Another recent double feature was the Duel Project, when Japanese directors Ryuhei Kitamura and Yukihiko Tsutsumi created competing films to be shown and voted on by the premier audience. More two double features of re-released popular films hit the big screen.
The first was of the re-release of Toy Story and Toy Story 2 that started October 2, 20