Producer Walter Mirisch began at Monogram Pictures after World War II as assistant to studio head Samuel "Steve" Broidy (whose printed signature appears on this piece). He convinced Broidy that the days of low-budget films were ending, and in 1946, Monogram created a new unit, Allied Artists Productions, to make costlier films.
At a time when the average Hollywood picture cost about $800,000 (and the average Monogram picture cost about $90,000), Allied Artists' first release, It Happened on Fifth Avenue
(1947), cost more than $1,200,000. Subsequent Allied Artists releases were more economical but did have enhanced production values; many of them were filmed in color.
The studio's new policy permitted what Mirisch called "B-plus" pictures, which were released along with Monogram's established line of B fare. Mirisch's prediction about the end of the low-budget film had come true thanks to television, and in September 1952, Monogram announced that it would only produce films bearing the Allied Artists name. The studio ceased making movies under the Monogram brand name in 1953 (but was later reactivated by Allied Artists International). The parent company became Allied Artists, with Monogram Pictures becoming an operating division.
Allied Artists did retain a few vestiges of its Monogram identity, continuing its popular Stanley Clements action series (through 1953), its B-Westerns (through 1954), its Bomba, the Jungle Boy adventures (through 1955), and especially its breadwinning comedy series with The Bowery Boys (through 1957 with Clements replacing Leo Gorcey). For the most part, however, Allied Artists was heading in new, ambitious directions under Mirisch.
For a time in the mid-1950s the Mirisch family had great influence at Allied Artists, with Walter as executive producer, his brother Marvin as head of sales, and brother Harold as corporate treasurer. They pushed the studio into big-budget filmmaking, signing contracts with William Wyler, John Huston, Billy Wilder and Gary Cooper. But when their first big-name productions, Wyler's Friendly Persuasion
and Wilder's Love in the Afternoon
were box-office flops in 1956–57, studio-head Broidy retreated into the kind of pictures Monogram had always favored: low-budget action and thrillers. Mirisch Productions then had success releasing their films through United Artists.
Allied Artists ceased production in 1966 and became a distributor of foreign films, but restarted production with the 1972 release of Cabaret
and followed it the next year with Papillon
. Both were critical and commercial successes, but high production and financing costs meant they were not big money makers for Allied. In 1975 Allied distributed the French import film version of Story of O
but spent much of its earnings defending itself from obscenity charges.
Monogram/Allied Artists survived by finding a niche and serving it well. Probably the best-known tribute paid to Monogram came from French New Wave pioneer Jean-Luc Godard, who dedicated his 1960 film Breathless to Monogram
, citing the studio's films as a major influence.
The company lasted until 1979, when runaway inflation and high production costs pushed it into bankruptcy. The post-1936 Monogram/Allied Artists library was bought by television producer Lorimar; today a majority of this library belongs to Warner Brothers
Entertainment. The pre-1936 Monogram library became incorporated into that of Republic, today a part of Viacom-owned Paramount Pictures
Following the 1980 bankruptcy and dissolution of Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, Allied Artists Records sought to expand its trademark and service mark rights to include all forms of entertainment, including those previously held by Allied Artists Pictures Corporation. By 1988, Allied Artists Records claimed recording artists such as Lionel Richie, Lawrence Welk, Bob Seger, and Ted Nugent, Coolio, David Hasselhoff and Renegade. In 2000, it was announced that Allied Artists Records would issue a Spanish Language recording by actor David Hasselhoff.
Today, Allied Artists International, Inc. produces and distributes entertainment products including motion pictures, television productions, DVDs, music CD's, entertainment software, music publishing and other entertainment-related media.
Monogram Pictures is a division of Allied Artists International, somewhat ironic given the fact that Allied Artists originally sprang from Monogram Pictures. However, as Allied Artists emerged as the predominant brand, Monogram Pictures took a backseat and was dormant for many years. Allied Artists has recently renewed the Monogram Pictures trademarks and announced new productions under the Monogram banner.
Allied Artists Pictures, the flagship film group division of Allied Artists International, Inc., is ranked within the top one thousand film production and distribution companies worldwide, out of more than two hundred and fifty thousand studios listed by the Internet Movie Database.
Close Up of Vignette:
Common Stock, specimen, mid 1900’sPrinter: Security-Columbian Bank Note Company Dimensions:
8” (h) x 12” (w)State: CA-California Subject Matter: Sports and Entertainment
| Motion Pictures
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| Specimen Pieces Vignette Topic(s): Allegorical Featured
| Allegorical Mercury
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| Company Logo Featured Condition:
No fold lines, punch hole and stamp cancels in signature areas and body, some toning and edge faults from age.