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Series III. California Pictures Corporation, approximately 1919 to 1965, 1941 to 1956

Level of Description




Scope and Contents

The California Pictures Corporation series (approximately 1919-1965) consists of records pertaining to the company's film production and corporate operations. Film-related records depict the production side of the 1947 film The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, as well as the initial filming of the 1950 Hughes Production film, Vendetta, which Preston Sturges initially directed and produced. Other film-related materials include production logs, actor and writer contracts, scripts, and photographic prints relating to the two films. The corporate records include publicity, financial, and legal materials detailing the creation, management, and dissolution of California Pictures.


1919 to 1965
bulk 1941 to 1956


28.80 Cubic Feet (24 boxes, 18 oversized boxes, 2 flat files, and 1 unboxed item)
46.88 Linear Feet
To request this item in person:
Collection Number: MS-01036
Collection Name: Howard Hughes Film Production Records
Box/Folder: N/A

Biographical / Historical Note

In early 1944, Preston Sturges left Paramount Pictures at the end of his contract, and later that year to form California Pictures Corporation with Howard Hughes, a short-lived film production company that only produced one feature film in two years. Hughes backed the corporation financially while Sturges served as the president and executive producer-director. California Pictures sole film, The Sin of Harold Diddlebock in 1947, which RKO Radio Pictures, Incrporated re-released in 1950 as Mad Wednesday was Harold Lloyd's return to film after a break. After a number of disagreements while filming Vendetta, Hughes initiated a clause in the agreement with Sturges to acquire majority ownership of the company. In response, Sturges refused to continue working on the picture and dissolved their partnership, effectively ending California Pictures as a production company in October of 1946. Hughes Productions would eventually release Vendetta in 1950, with distribution from Hughes' recently acquired RKO Radio Pictures.


Anderson, John. "Hollywood's Clown Prince." The Washington Post (1974-Current file). September 16, 1990. Accessed September 17, 2020.

"Sturges and Hughes Disagree on Policy, End Partnership in California Pictures." New York Times (1923-Current file). October 31, 1946. Accessed September 17, 2020.


These records are organized into three sub-series:

III.A. The Sin of Harold Diddlebock, 1944-1951;

III.B. Vendetta, 1941-1952;

III.C. Corporate records, 1919-1965.