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RKO Radio Pictures Studio records
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Collection Overview
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RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. was founded in 1928 and continued as a major motion picture studio for more than 27 years. The collection consists of script files, production information files, music scores and arrangements, script synopses and reader's reports, story submission cards, payroll records, and books from what appears to be the story department library. Included within the collection is information pertaining to ca. 3,000 plus produced and/or unproduced projects related to the studio's history.
RKO Radio Pictures was founded in 1928 and operated out of the former Robertson-Cole studios in Hollywood (now part of the Paramount lot). The company was born out of mergers among the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), the Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) and the Keith-Albee-Orpheum vaudeville circuit in the 1920s. The result was Radio-Keith-Orpheum, better known as RKO. The studio built its prestige upon a generally high production standard and the participation of major stars, such as Fred Astaire, Irene Dunne, Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. Additionally, were the stars from behind the camera such as Edward Dmytryk, John Ford, Howard Hawks, Val Lewton, George Stevens, and Orson Welles, among others. Amongst its productions were The Bells of St. Mary's, Bringing Up Baby, Cat People, Cimarron, Citizen Kane, The Farmer's Daughter, Gunga Din, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Informer, King Kong, Kitty Foyle, Little Women, The Magnificent Ambersons, Morning Glory, Notorious, Suspicion and the classic Fred Astaire titles Carefree, Flying Down to Rio, Follow the Fleet, The Gay Divorcee, Roberta, Shall We Dance, Swing Time and Top Hat. Aside from its own productions, RKO also released Goldwyn, Disney and Selznick films such as The Best Years of Our Lives, Becky Sharp, It's a Wonderful Life, and a variety of Disney feature animation films up until 1954. The company continued as a major motion picture studio for more than 27 years. In 1948 Howard Hughes acquired a large share of RKO stock and gained control of the company. After a period of financial difficulties, the company ceased production in 1958, and the studio lot was closed and the real estate sold to Desilu. (Note: historical note based on information from Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick Library website.)
2042.5 Linear Feet (4085 boxes)
Property rights to the physical objects belong to UCLA Library Special Collections. All other rights, including copyright, are retained by the creators and their heirs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine who holds the copyright and pursue the copyright owner or his or her heir for permission to publish where The UC Regents do not hold the copyright.
The payroll cards in this collection are restricted. Inquiries regarding these materials should be directed, in writing, to Special Collections reference (spec-coll@library.ucla.edu).