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King Brothers Productions

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

King Brothers Productions
IndustryFilm production

King Brothers Productions was a film production company[1] active from 1941 to the late 1960s. It was founded by the Kozinsky brothers, Frank (1 April 1913 – 12 February 1989), Maurice (Maury) (13 September 1914 – 2 September 1977), and Herman (4 July 1916 – 20 July 1992), who later changed their surname to "King".[2] They had notable collaborations with such filmmakers as Philip Yordan and William Castle and are particularly remembered today for employing a number of blacklisted writers during the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 1950s. Some of their films include Dillinger (1945), Suspense (1946), Gun Crazy (1949), Carnival Story (1954), The Brave One (1956—which earned writer Dalton Trumbo a Best Screenplay Academy Award), Gorgo (1961), Captain Sindbad (1963), and Heaven With a Gun (1968).


Joseph Kozinsky (d 1950)[3] was a New York fruit merchant who fathered five children, the brothers Frank, Maurice and Herman, and two sisters. The family moved to Los Angeles in the 1920s. The brothers did various odd jobs including selling newspapers and shining shoes before getting into slot machines. They borrowed $250 and built an empire up to 19,000 machines.[4][5] They also branched into race horses.

In 1940 they, along with their sister Nettie Segal, were charged with tax evasion.[6][7]

Entering the Film Industry

The same year, Maurice Kozinsky looked at getting into slot machine movies. They formed Hollywood Quality Pictures Incorporated to develop slot machine projectors and met with Cecil B. De Mille to source films. Morris later recalled:

De Mille, he has an inferior complex. It takes two weeks to get into see him. Well, we didn't like that. We're just plain businessmen. We finally told him we had to get some pictures. He said he was going to get Sally Rand to make some. Then he said he had a deal with some trapeze artists. Well, you know yourself, you're out with a gal relaxing in a bar, you don't want to see no bubble dancer or acrobat. You want to hear some good music. You want something with class. You want to see Bing Crosby maybe. That was the trouble. De Mille might make big epics but for us he didn't have no class.[2]

The Kozinskys decided to abandon slot machine projecting for actual film production. Morris said he told his brother Frank:

What is this racket, anyway? If De Mille can do it, why can't we? We're clever guys, we couldn't lose more than ten or twenty thousand dollars. Maybe we should make a movie. Then maybe we can forget how he made us look like mugs.[2]

The brothers knew Hollywood personalities like Louis B. Mayer and Frank Capra from the racetrack and asked them for advice. "So we had to go ahead", said Morris. "Or else we would have looked cheap to Mayer and Capra because we'd told them about it."[2]

They formed KB Productions and made the film Paper Bullets, releasing through Producers Releasing Corporation in exchange for $19,500 and 50% of the profits. The movie was shot at Talisman Studios over six days. It was a success and the brothers were launched as film producers.[2]

In 1942 the Kozinskys changed their name to "King".[8]

They had an enormous success with Dillinger (1945). Morris told the press at the time:

Nobody discovered us – we discovered ourselves. We didn't come in to this business as paupers and we won't go out of it as paupers ... It's like this- we're honest and our door is open to everybody. We've got no overhead – our overhead begins when we start shooting and ends the day we put the film in the can. That's the way we do business and we're not going to stop until we get an Academy Award and land one of our pictures in the Radio City Music Hall.[9]

Dillinger was written by Philip Yordan, who would work for the brothers on numerous occasions. He later described them:

Frank was like a 300-pound Chinaman. Always a big cigar in his mouth and a drawer full of Hershey bars. Always wondering why he was so fat because, he says, "I don't eat." Maurice had been a prize fighter and would always have black coffee, but he was heavy too. When I first met them ... they weren't gangsters but they had [investments in] slot machines and they were probably running something [illegal] in town. Nobody questioned it. They had a few bucks, not rich, but they had a few bucks ... They were very honest. And they always paid me.[10]

The Kings had a production assistant, Arthur Gardner, who later recalled "Frank was the smartest brother and the leader. Maurie watched the money and Hymie just kind of tagged along ... Frank had a good story mind and supervised everything ... I believe Frank King would have succeeded in any business. He was a sharp as a tack."[11]

In 1945 they announced plans to make their most expensive film yet, the musical Golden Girl starring Belita.[12] Instead they put her in a drama, Suspense.[13]

New Company

In September 1950 the King Brothers changed how they financed their films. They publicly floated their company, getting permission to use a million $1-par shares. They issued $300,000 worth of shares and used it to finance Drums in the Deep South.[14] $300,000 was later raised for The Syndicate. The King Brothers paid $70,000 for 70,000 of their own shares. There were over 700 shareholders and the King Brothers took 50% of the profits.[15]

The King Brothers later sued RKO for mismanaging the distribution and sale of three of their films, The Brave One, Carnival Story and Drums in the Deep South, claiming $6,030,000 in damages.[16]

Select Filmography

Unmade Films

In popular culture

Frank Kozinsky was portrayed by actor John Goodman and Hymie (Herman) Kozinsky was portrayed by actor Stephen Root in the 2015 film Trumbo.[32][33]


  1. ^ Thompson, Howard (March 30, 1961). "The Amazing Transparent Man (1960) Two Horror Films". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h THOMAS BRADY (Oct 12, 1941). "HITTING THE JACKPOT: The Kozinsky Brothers Muscled Into the Movies to Get Even With De Mille". New York Times. p. X4.
  3. ^ "Obituary 2 -- No Title". Los Angeles Times. Jan 28, 1950. p. 10.
  4. ^ Treanor, Tom (Nov 12, 1941). "The Home Front". Los Angeles Times. p. 1A.
  5. ^ Richard L. Coe. (Apr 24, 1954). "He's Been Around For a Long Time". The Washington Post and Times Herald. p. 21.
  6. ^ "U.S. Will Delve Into CAMOA: Grand Jury Summons Lawyer and Kent Parrot in Income Tax Inquiry U.S. Will Delve Into CAMOA". Los Angeles Times. May 8, 1940. p. A1.
  7. ^ "Tax Evasion Laid to Three: Two Brothers and Sister Indicted After Inquiry Into CAMOA Member". Los Angeles Times. May 9, 1940. p. A1.
  8. ^ "RAISED EYEBROWS DEPARTMENT". New York Times. Jan 11, 1942. p. X4.
  9. ^ a b c d A.H. WEILER (June 3, 1945). "BY WAY OF REPORT: The King Brothers Hit the Film Jackpot --C. Bennett, Producer, Etc.--Addenda Bennett, Inc. The 'Spider's' Webb Close Shave". New York Times. p. X3.
  10. ^ McGilligan, Patrick. Backstory 2: Interviews with Screenwriters of the 1940s and 1950s. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1991.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Nov 11, 1945). "Belita, Ice Star, Veers to Film Dramatic Roles: Skating Ballerina in New Picture Makes Impressive Shift to Serious Portrayals". Los Angeles Times. p. B1.
  13. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Mar 10, 1946). "BELITA, JILL OF ALL TRADES: Experiment Garlogs Girl Competition?". New York Times. p. X3.
  14. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (Sep 5, 1950). "Tim Holt Leatherneck; Directors Pick Huston; King Bros. Celebrating". Los Angeles Times. p. A11.
  15. ^ THOMAS F. BRADY (Apr 8, 1951). "HOLLYWOOD AGENDA: Capra and Stevens Will Leave Paramount In Production Policy Change--Addenda Poor Starts Turning Point Stock Dealings More Color". New York Times. p. 101.
  16. ^ THOMAS M. PRYOR (Nov 5, 1958). "FILM GROUP FILES SUIT OF $6,030,000: King Brothers Alleges Trust Violations in 3 Releases -- Doris Day in Musical". New York Times. p. 43.
  17. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Apr 6, 1942). "DRAMA: Susan Hayward to Vie With Ghostly Veronica". Los Angeles Times. p. 8.
  18. ^ "SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD: Warners to Make Movie About Variety and Its Founder -- to Revive 'Our Town' Film". New York Times. Feb 2, 1944. p. 17.
  19. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. Feb 5, 1943. p. 17.
  20. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. Apr 17, 1943. p. 13.
  21. ^ "Paramount Buys Rights to 'Immortal Wife'". New York Times. Mar 17, 1945. p. 17.
  22. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. Feb 9, 1945. p. 21.
  23. ^ "SCREEN NEWS: Wanger Pays $200,000 for New Lehmann Novel". New York Times. Apr 24, 1945. p. 30.
  24. ^ Frank Daugherty (Sep 14, 1945). "Letter From Hollywood". The Christian Science Monitor. p. 4.
  25. ^ "Of Local Origin". New York Times. July 17, 1945. p. 7.
  26. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (Aug 23, 1946). "Tufts, Bendix, Hayden and Lund Feel 'Blaze'". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  27. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Sep 30, 1946). "'Salome' to Star Welles, New British Sensation". Los Angeles Times. p. A3.
  28. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Aug 18, 1947). "DRAMA AND FILM: Peggy Cummins' Mama Authors Peters Story". Los Angeles Times. p. A3.
  29. ^ Schallert, Edwin (Oct 11, 1950). "George Murphy Does Cop; Eddy Deal Negotiated; Madison Signed by Kings". Los Angeles Times. p. B13.
  30. ^ Schallert, Edwin (July 31, 1951). "Drama: George O'Brien to Star in Science Story; Tony Martin Festival Guest". Los Angeles Times. p. B5.
  31. ^ Scheuer, Philip K. (Sep 3, 1951). "Drama: Gloria Swanson Likes Dress Designer Yarn; Kings Boost Tiomkin". Los Angeles Times. p. A7.
  32. ^ "Trumbo reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  33. ^ Debruge, Peter (September 13, 2015). "'Trumbo' Review: Bryan Cranston Clears Blacklisted Writer's Name". Variety. Retrieved December 6, 2015.
This page was last edited on 18 December 2021, at 15:29
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