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Encyclopedia > Hal Roach

Harold Eugene Roach, Sr. (January 14, 1892November 2, 1992) was a United States film and television producer from the 1910s to the 1980s. January 14 is the 14th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1892 (MDCCCXCII) was a leap year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... A film producer oversees the making of movies. ... A Television producer oversees the making of television penis programs. ...

Contents


Biography

Early life and career

Hal Roach was born in Elmira, New York to a family of Irish Catholic extraction. It was at his grade school in Elmira that a very young Hal Roach was impressed by a speech presented by a great American humorist, Mark Twain. Elmira is a city located in Chemung County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 30,940. ... Irish Catholics are persons of predominantly Irish descent who adhere to the Roman Catholic faith. ... Primary or elementary education consists of the first years of formal, structured education that occurs during childhood. ... A humorist is an author who specializes in short, humorous articles or essays. ... Samuel Langhorne Clemens (November 30, 1835 – April 21, 1910), better known by his pen name Mark Twain, was an American humorist, novelist, writer, and lecturer. ...


After an adventurous youth that took him to Alaska, Hal Roach arrived in Hollywood in 1912 and began working as an extra in silent movies. When he came into an inheritance he began producing short comedies in 1915 with his friend Harold Lloyd, who portrayed a character known as "Lonesome Luke." Short subject is an American film industry term that historically has referred to any film in the format of two reels, or approximately 20 minutes running time, or less. ... 1915 (MCMXV) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... Harold Clayton Lloyd (April 20, 1893–March 8, 1971) was an American actor and film maker, most famous for his hugely successful and influential silent film comedies. ...


Success as a comedy producer

During the 1920s and 1930s, he employed Will Rogers, Max Davidson, the Our Gang kids, Charley Chase, Harry Langdon, Thelma Todd, ZaSu Pitts, Patsy Kelly and, most famously, Laurel & Hardy. Will Rogers. ... Max Davidson (1875 - 1950) was a movie comedian of the Jewish style. ... A poster for the 1931 Our Gang comedy Love Business featuring depictions of (from left to right): Pete the Pup, Jackie Cooper, and Norman Chubby Chaney. ... Charley Chase Charley Chase (October 20, 1893-June 20, 1940) was an American comedian, screenwriter and film director, best known for his work in Hal Roach short film comedies. ... Harry Langdon an American silent comedian who fared badly in sound films. ... Thelma Todd (July 29, 1905 - December 16, 1935) was an American film actress. ... Zazu Pitts (1894-1963) sporting her famous bob hairstyle ZaSu Pitts (January 3, 1894–June 7, 1963) was a United States movie actress. ... Patsy Kelly was an American film comedienne, who was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 12, 1910. ... Laurel and Hardy Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy were the members of the most famous comedy duo in film history. ...


During the '20s Roach's biggest rival was producer Mack Sennett, and in 1925 Roach hired away Sennett's supervising director, F. Richard Jones. Mack Sennett Mack Sennett (January 17, 1880 – November 5, 1960) was an innovator of slapstick comedy in film. ... Frederic Richard Jones (September 7, 1893 - December 14, 1930) was an American director and producer. ...


Roach released his films through Pathé until 1927, when he went to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He would change again in 1938 to United Artists. He converted his silent movie studio to sound in 1928 and began releasing talking shorts early in 1929. In those days before dubbing, foreign language versions of the Roach comedies were created by re-shooting each film to create Spanish, French, and sometimes Italian and German dialogue phonetically. Laurel & Hardy, Charley Chase, and the Our Gang kids (some of whom had barely begun school) were required to learned the foreign dialogue phonetically, often working from blackboards hidden out of camera range. Pathé or Pathé Frères is the name of various businesses founded and originally run by the Pathé Brothers of France. ... For alternate meanings of MGM, see MGM (disambiguation). ... The current United Artists logo (also used during the 1980s). ...


In 1931, with the release of the Laurel & Hardy film Pardon Us, Roach began producing full-length features. The increasingly less profitable short subjects were gradually phased out by 1936, with only the Our Gang series continuing until 1938, when Roach sold the contracts of the Our Gang cast members and the series name to MGM. Roach turned wholly to producing features, the most memorable of which were Topper (1937), Of Mice and Men (1939) and One Million B.C. (1940). To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Topper is a 1937 comedy film which tells the story of a stuffy, stuck-in-his-ways man who is haunted by the ghosts of a fun-loving married couple. ... Of Mice and Men is a 1939 film based on the novel by John Steinbeck with the same title. ... This article needs to be wikified. ...


Hal Roach, Sr. was called to active military duty in June 1942, at age fifty, and the studio output he oversaw in uniform was converted from entertainment features to military training films during World War II. Combatants Allies: Poland, British Commonwealth, France/Free France, Soviet Union, United States, China, and others Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan, and others Casualties Military dead: 17 million Civilian dead: 33 million Total dead: 50 million Military dead: 8 million Civilian dead: 4 million Total dead: 12 million World War II...


Hal Roach in 1947-1948 became the first Hollywood studio to go into an all-color production schedule, making four short features in Cinecolor, although the increased production costs did not result in increased revenue. In 1948, with his studio deeply in debt, Roach re-established his studio for television production, with Hal Roach, Jr. producing shows such as The Stu Erwin Show and My Little Margie, and independent producers leasing the facilities for such programs as Amos 'n' Andy and The Abbott and Costello Show. Cinecolor is an early subtractive color-model two color film process, based upon the Multicolor system of the 1920s. ... My Little Margie is a situation comedy that ran first on CBS and then NBC from 1952 to 1955. ... Illustrator J.J. Goulds 1930 drawing of Amos and Andy for New Movie Magazine Amos n Andy was a situation comedy popular in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s. ... The Abbott and Costello Show, a half-hour television sitcom starring the popular comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello that originally aired 1952-1954, is regarded among the most influential comedy programs in history. ...


Later years

Roach retired in the late 1950s having sold his studio in Culver City, California to his son, Hal Roach, Jr., who in 1962 lost it to creditors. The 14.5 acre (237 m²) studio, once known as "The Lot of Fun", was torn down in 1963 and replaced by light industrial buildings, businesses, and an automobile dealership, where a plaque marks the studio's location. Hal Roach, Jr. died in 1972. Culver City is a city in western Los Angeles County, California. ...


Hal Roach, Sr. resumed producing, occasionally worked on projects related to his past work for two more decades and was still planning a "come back" comedy when he was 96 years of age.


Hal Roach Studios, now reduced to a film library, was bought by a Canadian company and primarily handled the business of keeping its library in the public's eye, and licensing products based upon their classic film series.


In the early 1980s, Hal Roach Studios was one of the first studios to venture into the controversial business of film colorization, creating digitaly colored versions of several Laurel & Hardy features, the Frank Capra film It's a Wonderful Life, and other popular films. Colorization in Sin City Film Colorization is a film alteration process that involves adding color to a black and white film. ... Frank Capra Frank Capra (May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) was an American film director and a major creative force behind a number of highly popular films. ... Its a Wonderful Life is a 1946 Frank Capra film, produced by his own Liberty Films, and released originally by RKO Radio Pictures. ...


In the 1980s, Hal Roach Studios produced Kids Incorporated in association with old business partner MGM. From 1988—1990, while producing Kids Incorporated, Hal Roach Studios changed its name to Qintex (not to be confused with the Australian company of the same name). Program logo (1983-1992) Kids Incorporated (also known as Kids Inc. ...


In the years that followed, the Roach company changed hands several more times. Independent television producer Robert Halmi bought the company in the early 1990s, and it became RHI Entertainment. A short time later, this successor company was acquired by Hallmark Entertainment, and today runs as a division of Hallmark (with Lions Gate Home Entertainment as home video output partner). In that same decade, a new incarnation of Hal Roach Studios (operated by the Roach Trust) was established, and today this new version of the company has released classic films on DVD, many of which are from Roach's own archival prints of his films, while others are public domain titles mastered from the best available 35mm elements. Hallmark Cards, a privately owned company based in Kansas City, Missouri, is the largest manufacturer of greeting cards in the United States. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Lions Gate Films. ...


Hal Roach was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, where he recounted experiences with such stars as Stan Laurel and Jean Harlow; he even did a brief, energetic demonstration of a hula dance. Late Night with David Letterman was a nightly hour-long comedy talk show on NBC hosted by David Letterman. ...


At age 92, he was presented with an honorary Academy Award in 1984. In the spring of 1992, not long after his 100th birthday, Roach once again appeared at the Academy Awards ceremony, hosted by Billy Crystal. When Mr. Roach rose from the audience to speak during the ceremony, the sound system did not pick up his words. Crystal quipped "What do you expect? He started in the silent era!" Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent film awards in the United States and most watched awards ceremony in the world. ... Billy Crystal Billy Crystal (born March 14, 1947 in Long Beach, New York) is an American actor, writer, producer, and film director. ...


Hal Roach was two months away from his one-hundred-and-first birthday, when he died on November 2, 1992, at his home in Bel Air, California from natural causes. November 2 is the 306th day of the year (307th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 59 days remaining. ... 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday. ... Bel-Air is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles, California. ...


He was married twice, and had a number of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He is buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, New York, where he had grown up. Woodlawn Cemetery is the name of a cemetery in Elmira, New York, United States. ... Elmira is a city located in Chemung County, New York, USA. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 30,940. ...


Books

  • Richard Lewis Ward. A History of the Hal Roach Studios. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Ward, A History of The Hal Roach Studios (270 words)
With this stable of stars, the Roach enterprise operated for forty-six years on the fringes of the Hollywood studio system during a golden age of cinema.
In A History of the Hal Roach Studios, Richard Lewis Ward meticulously follows the timeline of the company’s existence from its humble inception in 1914 to its close in 1960 and, through both its obscure and famous productions, traces its resilience to larger trends in the entertainment business.
This first history of the Hal Roach Studios is enhanced by numerous illustrations, appendixes that offer financials and synopses of the studio’s films and television series, and an extensive filmography.
Hal Roach Studios, Inc. - Delaware (1423 words)
Roach turned wholly to producing features, the most memorable of which were Topper (1937), Of Mice and Men (1939) and One Million B.C. Hal Roach and World War II Hal Roach, Sr.
Hal Roach was a guest on Late Night with David Letterman in 1982, where he recounted experiences with such stars as Stan Laurel and Jean Harlow; he even did a brief, energetic demonstration of a hula dance.
Hal Roach Studios, reduced to a film library, was bought by a Canadian company that primarily handling the business of keeping the library in the public eye and licensing products based upon the classic film series.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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