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RKO Radio Pictures

Radio-Keith-Orpheum, more commonly known as the RKO Corporation or RKO Radio Pictures, Incorporated, was formed in 1928 and produced many influential and commercially successful films by the late 1940s. In 1948, Howard Hughes purchased the Atlas Corporation’s controlling interest of RKO for $8,835,500. During his seven years in control of RKO, Hughes enacted strict anti-communist measures, which led to mass firings and a public and drawn-out legal battle with Paul Jarrico over his credit in The Las Vegas Story. Hughes was also the first film studio executive to comply with the United States Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Paramount Pictures, Inc., ending the practice of "block booking." As the first of the "Big Five" studios to divest RKO's theatre business from film production, Hughes signaled the end of the monopoly system that had shut out independent film producers for decades. Hughes' actions at RKO led to in lawsuits from company stockholders over mismanagement. In response, Hughes acquired complete control of RKO in 1954, purchasing all of the remaining stock shares for a total of $23,500,000. Within two years, he began negotiating with the General Tire and Rubber Company, selling the company in July of 1955.


"RKO Board Okays Hughes Bid to Buy Company; Stockholders Vote Set". The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California). 14 Feb 1954, Sunday, Page 27.

O'Brian, Jack. "700 'A' Pictures for TV, as Hughes Sells RKO Control". The San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco, California). 16 Jul 1955, Saturday, Page 16.

"Movies Must Sell Interest in Theatres". The San Mateo Times (San Mateo, California). 4 May 1948, Tuesday, Page 16.

Leab, Daniel J. "How Red Was My Valley: Hollywood, the Cold War Film, and I Married a Communist." Journal of Contemporary History 19, no. 1 (1984): 59-88. Accessed September 17, 2020.

“Legacy”. RKO Pictures. Accessed September 17, 2020.