Poverty Row Studios, 1929–1940

An Illustrated History of 55 Independent Film Companies, with a Filmography for Each


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About the Book

From the beginning of the sound era until the end of the 1930s, independent movie-making thrived. Many of the independent studios were headquartered in a section of Hollywood called “Poverty Row.” Here the independents made movies on the cheap, usually at rented facilities where shooting was limited to only a few days. From Allied Pictures Corporation to Willis Kent Production, 55 Poverty Row Studios are given histories in this book. Some of the studios, such as Diversion Pictures and Cresent Pictures, came into existence for the sole purpose of releasing movies by established stars. Others, for example J.D. Kendis, were early exploitation filmmakers under the guise of sex education. The histories include critical commentary on the studio’s output and a filmography of all titles released from 1929 through 1940.

About the Author(s)

Michael R. Pitts has written more than 40 books on motion picture history and entertainment and has also compiled more than three dozen volumes of local history and genealogy. He lives in Chesterfield, Indiana.

Bibliographic Details

Michael R. Pitts

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 542
Bibliographic Info: 98 photos, index
Copyright Date: 2005 [1997]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2319-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1036-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      vii

Victor Adamson Productions      3
Ajax Pictures      14
Allied Pictures Corporation      19
Ambassador-Conn-Melody Pictures      29
Artclass Pictures      42
Atlantic Pictures Corporation      48
Beacon Pictures      52
Beaumont Pictures      58
Big 4 Film Corporation      62
Biltmore Productions      70
Burroughs-Tarzan Enterprises      73
Capital Film Exchange      79
Chesterfield-Invincible      83
Colony Pictures      116
Commodore Pictures Corporation      125
Continental Talking Pictures      131
Crescent Pictures      134
Diversion Pictures      141
Empire Pictures Corporation      146
First Division      153
Freuler Film Associates      158
Ken Goldsmith Productions      162
Hollywood Pictures      167
Robert J. Horner Productions      169
Ideal Pictures Corporation      176
Imperial Distribution Corporation      179
Jack Irwin Productions      192
J.D. Kendis      195
Willis Kent Productions      203
Liberty Pictures Corporation      215
Majestic Pictures Corporation      222
Mayfair Pictures Corporation      238
Metropolitan Pictures      254
Oscar Micheaux Pictures      261
Peerless Pictures      268
Bud Pollard Productions      272
Principal Distributing Corporation      277
Progressive Pictures      286
Puritan Pictures Corporation      291
Regal Distributing Corporation      300
Reliable Pictures Corporation      305
Resolute Pictures      321
Road Show Attractions      324
Fanchon Royer      329
Showmen’s Pictures      334
Sono Art-World Wide Pictures      339
Spectrum Pictures      358
Stage and Screen Productions      368
Superior Talking Pictures Corporation      374
Supreme Pictures Corporation      378
Syndicate Film Exchange      392
Tiffany Productions      405
Times Exchange      429
Tower Productions      433
Victory Pictures Corporation      438

Index      451

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “a useful source for a little-known subtopic of film history”—Choice
  • “much useful information that cannot be found elsewhere”—Film Quarterly
  • “superb…handsome tome…monumental…amazing”—Wrangler’s Roost
  • “Pitts is clearly an expert in this field”—ARBA; “fills an important gap…valuable”—Past Times
  • “a solid work…recommended”—Classic Images
  • “hard to put down…. Lots of never before seen pictures”—Serial Report
  • “fascinating…a rich eighty-page index makes this reference work a handy tome”—Screen
  • “a must have reference book!”—Trail Dust
  • “an amazing job”—Cliffhanger
  • “excellent”—Westerns & Serials
  • “monumental”—Under Western Skies
  • “illustrations are astounding…a ‘must-have’”—Little Shoppe of Horrors
  • “excellent…superb…heartiest recommendation”—Western Clippings