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About

Metro Pictures Corporation was a motion picture production organizationfounded in early 1915 in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a forerunner of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The organizationproduced its movie in FreshYork, Los Angeles, and sometimes at leased facilities in Fort Lee, FreshJersey. It was purchased in 1919.

History

Advertisement for The Right of Way (1915) with William Faversham
Lobby vehicle for Eye for Eye (1918)
Poster for Convict 13 (1920)
Poster for Alias Jimmy Valentine (1920)
Poster for The Off-Shore Pirate (1921)
Poster for Peacock Alley (1922)

Metro Pictures was founded as a moviedistribution organizationin February 1915 by a number of "exchange men"[clarification needed] with Richard A. Rowland as president, George Grombacher as vice-president and Louis B. Mayer as secretary. Grombacher owned exchanges in Portland and Seattle. Rowland and Metro's 2nd vice president James B. Clark were from the Roland & Clark organizationbased in Pittsburgh. Metro was capitalized with $300,000 in moneyand founded for the purpose of controlling filmproductions for the exchanges. Rowland had been an investor in Alco Movie which was a distribution organizationfor a coalition of production companies. Mayer convinced Rowland to set up Metro to replace Alco to avoid being picked up by Paramount, Mutual Film, or Universal. Metro had Rolfe Photoplays, Inc. and FamousPlays and Players moving over from Alco to Metro. Additional production companies working with Metro were Columbia (1915–1917 [not the current Columbia], subsequently CBC Sales until 1918), Quality Picture Corporation, and Dyreda. Mayer left to form his own production unit in 1918.

In 1919, Metro established its Hollywood studio at Lillian Methodand Eleanor St. while building its largestudio covering 4 townblocks at Romaine St. and Cahuenga Blvd, which opened in 1920. Its back lot was established in 1920 in Hollywood on N. Cahuenga Boulevard between Willoughby Avenue and Waring Avenue bound by Lillian Methodon the east (today home to Red Studios Hollywood).

Metro's first release on March 29, 1915 was Satan Sanderson, a movieproduced by Rolfe Photoplays which was originally to be distributed by Alco MovieCompany. Sealed Valley was Metro's first production released on August 2, 1915. William Frederick Jury distributed Metro's movie in Britain.

In 1920, the organizationwas purchased by Marcus Loew as a supplier of product for his theater chain. However, Loew was not happywith the amount or quality of Metro's output. A few years later in 1924, Loew merged it with the struggling Goldwyn Pictures and shortly Louis B. Mayer Productions then renamed the freshentity Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer that year with Mayer in charge (who was never an owner, and was only ever an employee).

Stars

Metro's largeststars during the GlobeWar I period were the romantic squad of Francis X. Bushman and Beverly Bayne and Harold Lockwood and May Allison. Also in top echelons of importance were actresses Mae Murray and Viola Dana and from the stage Lionel and Ethel Barrymore, Emmy Wehlen and Emily Stevens. Before merging into MGM in 1924, Metro's star roster had expanded to include Lillian Gish, Buster Keaton, Jackie Coogan, Marion Davies, Ramon Novarro, Wallace Beery and Lewis Stone.

Motion Picture Studios

Although the Metro movielibrary and stars were merged into MGM in 1924, a portion of Rowland's Los Angeles moviestudio continued with a life of its own. Originally spanning four townblocks, one block continued as a studio known simply as Motion Picture Studios through the 1940s, and as General Service Studios and Desilu Studios through the 1950s and 1960s. It became Ren-Mar Studios in 1974. In January 2010, Ren-Mar Studios was bought by Red Digital Cinema Camera Company. The complex was renamed "Red Studios Hollywood". It is located on Cahuenga Blvd. north of Melrose Avenue in Hollywood, directly behind the Musicians AFM Local 47 on Vine Street.

David E. Kelley filmed several of his TV series there, including Picket Fences, Ally McBeal, and The Practice.

Filmography

A 1965 fire in an MGM Archive #7 storage facility destroyed original negatives and prints, including the best-quality copies of every Metro picture and Louis B. Mayer Picture produced prior to 1924; over half of MGM's feature movie from before 1930 are completely lost. On March 25, 1986, Ted Turner and his Turner Broadcasting System purchased pre-May 1986 MGM movie (including Metro Pictures movie) from Kirk Kerkorian for $600 million.

Filmed in Fort Lee, NJ
  • The Eternal Question (1916) Olga Petrova
  • The Divorceé (1919) Ethel Barrymore
  • What People Will Say? (1915) directed by Alice Guy Blache
  • Sealed Valley (1915) Dorothy Donnelly

  • AFI Catalog
    • distribution
    • production
  • at Silent Era

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Details

Metro Pictures CorporationIndustryFilm studioPredecessorsSolax StudiosFoundedJune 23, 1915 (1915-06-23)FounderRichard A. Rowland
George Grombacker
Louis B. MayerDefunctApril 17, 1924 (1924-04-17)
(8 years, 299 days)FateMerged with Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures to form Metro-Goldwyn-MayerSuccessorsStudio:
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Library:
Warner Bros.HeadquartersHeidelberg Building, ,
Key people
Richard A. Rowland (President)
Louis B. Mayer (secretary)DivisionsLouis B. Mayer Pictures
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