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RKO Pictures


GRAPHITE /Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO) logo

In 1941, during WWII, Samuel Goldwyn, who had maintained an independent production company since 1922, fell out with his then distribution company United Artists and signed a distribution deal with Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO). At RKO studios in 1940, the previous year, Walt Disney had made the acclaimed feature cartoon, Fantasia. The film Fantasia also incorporated into its soundtrack Modest Mussorgsky's composition, Night on Bald Mountain.

RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum) Pictures is an American film company. The company was formed in 1928 as a combination of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chains, Joe Kennedy's Film Booking Office (FBO) studio, the small American studio of Pathé, and the Radio Corporation of America's Photophone division. Kennedy had bought FBO in 1925, and taken control of KAO and its subsidiary, American Pathe, in 1927. RCA approached Kennedy about using Photophone for FBO pictures; from this came further talks, and the creation of Radio-Keith-Orpheum, announced in October, 1928.

Kennedy's role in the new company was to drive up the share price; he and his associates did so successfully, pushing RKO's price into the stratosphere even before film production had begun. Kennedy sold the last of his RKO stock in 1931, as the country, and RKO, tumbled into depression.

The prominence of the word "radio" in the corporate name "Radio-Keith-Orpheum" reflected RCA's 66% holding. It was claimed that the broadcasting-tower logo of the production arm, "Radio Pictures," was suggested by David Sarnoff himself.


Remote viewing drawing/RKO-Radio Keith Orpheum Sound Studios, Fantasound, 1940

RKO - Further information

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