Lew Grade

Lew Grade, Baron Grade, OStJ, KC*SS (25 December 1906 – 13 December 1998), born Louis Winogradsky,[2] was a British media proprietor and impresario.

Originally a dancer, and later a talent agent, Grade's interest in television production began in 1954 when, in partnership, he successfully bid for franchises in the newly created ITV network, which led to the creation of Associated Television (ATV). Having worked for a time in the United States, he was aware of the potential for the sale of television programming to American networks. The Incorporated Television Company (ITC; commonly known as ITC Entertainment) was formed with this specific objective in mind. Grade had some success in this field with such series as Gerry Anderson's various Supermarionation series such as Thunderbirds, Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, and Jim Henson's The Muppet Show. Later, Grade invested in film production, but several expensive box office failures caused him to lose control of ITC, and ultimately resulted in the disestablishment of ATV after it lost its ITV franchise.[3]


The Lord Grade

Lord Grade in 1997, artistic portrait by the Earl of Snowdon
Born
Lovat or Lev Winogradsky

25 December 1906
Died13 December 1998 (aged 91)
London, UK
Resting placeLiberal Jewish Cemetery, Willesden, London, UK
Nationality Russian (1906–1912)
British (1912–1998)
Other names
  • Louis Grad (as professional dancer)
  • "The Dancer with the Humorous Feet"
Education Rochelle Street Elementary School
Occupation
Years active1926 to mid-1990s
Organization Incorporated Television Company (ITC)
Associated Television (ATV)
Home townBethnal Green, London, UK
Television The Julie Andrews Hour (1972-73)
The Muppet Show (1976–80)
Jesus of Nazareth (1977)
Board member of
  • Grade Organisation
  • Embassy Communications International (Chairman, CEO; 1982–85)
  • Associated Communications Corporation (Chairman, CEO; 1973–82)
  • ITC Entertainment Chairman, Managing Director; 1958–82)
  • Royal Shakespeare Theatre (Governor)
Spouse(s)Kathleen Sheila Moody (m. 1942)
Children1
Relatives Bernard Delfont (brother)
Leslie Grade (brother)
Rita Grade Freeman (sister)
Michael Grade (nephew)
Awards
Military career
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branchRoyal Artillery
Battles/warsWorld War II
Notes

Early life

Grade was born in Tokmak, Taurida Governorate, Russian Empire to Isaak and Olga Winogradsky.[4] In 1912, when Grade was five years old, the Jewish family emigrated to escape Cossack violence and anti-Semitism, from Odessa via Berlin to Brick Lane in Bethnal Green in the East End of London.[5]

Isaak worked as a trouser-presser while his three sons (Grade and his younger brothers, Bernard (later Bernard Delfont) and Leslie) attended the Rochelle Street Elementary School near Shoreditch, where Yiddish was spoken by 90% of the pupils. For two years the Winogradskys lived in rented rooms at the north end of Brick Lane, before moving to the nearby Boundary Estate.[6]

Early professional life

At the age of 15, Grade became an agent for a clothing company, and shortly afterwards started his own business. In 1926, he was declared Charleston Champion of the World at a dancing competition at the Royal Albert Hall.[4] Fred Astaire was one of the judges.[3] Grade subsequently became a professional dancer going by the name Louis Grad; he changed this name to Lew Grade, which came from a Paris reporter's typing error that Grade liked and decided to keep.[7] Decades later, the then octogenarian Lord Grade once danced the Charleston at a party Arthur Ochs Sulzberger gave in New York.[8]

Signed as a dancer by Joe Collins (father of Jackie and Joan Collins) in 1931,[9] around 1934, Grade went into partnership with him and became a talent agent in their company Collins & Grade. Among their earliest clients were the harmonica player Larry Adler and the jazz group Quintet of the Hot Club of France.[10]

Following the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, Grade became involved in arranging entertainment for soldiers in Harrogate,[7] and later joined the British Army. He was discharged after two years when an old problem with swelling of the knees, which had earlier ended his dancing career, recurred.[10] In 1945, the arrangement with Collins having been terminated, Grade formed a partnership with his brother Leslie (Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd., or the Grade Organisation). That year, the brothers travelled in the United States, where they developed their entertainment interests. His connections included, among others, Bob Hope and Judy Garland, who performed in Britain for the first time.[10] The brothers became the main bookers of artists for the London Palladium in 1948, then managed by Val Parnell for the Moss Empires Group owned by the family of Prince Littler.[11]

Media career

Television: 1954–62

In 1954, Grade was contacted by the manager of singer Jo Stafford, Mike Nidorf,[12] who notified him of an advertisement in The Times inviting franchise bids for the new, commercial ITV network.

Assembling a consortium that included impresarios Val Parnell and Prince Littler, the Incorporated Television Programme Company (ITP), which soon changed its name to Incorporated Television Company (ITC; also known as ITC Entertainment), was formed. ITC's bid to the Independent Television Authority (ITA) was rejected on the grounds of its conflict of interest from its prominence and involvement in artist management.

The Associated Broadcasting Development Company (ABD) had gained ITA approval for both the London weekend and Midlands weekday contracts, but was undercapitalised; Grade's consortium joined with the ABD to form what became Associated Television (ATV). Reflecting his background in variety, Grade's favourite show[13] and a success for the new company was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (1955–67, 1973–74), one of the most popular programmes on British television in its day. Grade did not avoid the other end of the cultural spectrum, and from 1958 Sir Kenneth Clark began to talk about the history of art on television.[14]

Meanwhile, Grade committed the funds for what would become the first trans-Atlantic success of the ITP subsidiary: The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955–60), commissioned by UK-based American producer Hannah Weinstein. ITC became a wholly owned ATV subsidiary in 1957,[15] That same year ATV established a music publishing division with ATV Music and gained a half interest in Pye Records in 1959,[16] later Pye became a wholly owned subsidiary.

Television: 1962–68

Grade was deputy managing director of ATV under Val Parnell until 1962, when he became managing director having contrived to have the board oust Parnell.[11] Grade soon decided that the Midlands deserved its own regular soap opera as a rival to Coronation Street. Crossroads, much derided but ultimately a serious challenge to Granada's series in the ratings, began its initial quarter century run in November 1964.[17]

ITC's success continued and had many internationally successful TV series, leading Howard Thomas, managing director of the Associated British Corporation (ABC), to complain that Grade distributed programming for "Birmingham, Alabama, rather than Birmingham, England".[18] These series included The Saint (1962–69), which was sold to over 80 countries,[19] and two featuring Patrick McGoohan: Danger Man (1960–68) and The Prisoner (1967–68). These series, exclusively thrillers, were normally used as summer replacements for American-made programmes until the mid-1960s.[20] While many of Grade's series used American actors in lead roles (The Baron and Man in a Suitcase, for example) it was those series which used an exclusively British cast, such as The Saint (and The Avengers, made by another ITV contractor), which were more successful in the United States.[21]

In 1962, AP Films became a subsidiary of ITC. Co-founded by Gerry Anderson, AP Films produced the children's marionette puppet ("Supermarionation") series during the 1960s, Thunderbirds (1965–66), and (as Century 21), Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons (1967–68). After a screening of the pilot for Thunderbirds ("Trapped in the Sky", 1964), Grade insisted that the episodes be lengthened to fill a one-hour slot.[22] Unusually for children's television series, these colour programmes were generously budgeted for the time (Grade paid £22,000 per episode), and has been successfully repeated internationally.[23]

In 1966, Grade's companies were re-organised again to form the Associated Communications Corporation (ACC). That year, The Sunday Times investigated the interconnected nature of the companies controlled by Grade and his two brothers, Bernard Delfont and Leslie Grade. Their firms, effectively amounting to a "cartel", were agents for most of the major talents in acting as well as entertainment and controlled theatres in both London and the rest of the UK and ATV was a major provider of televised entertainment.[13]

Later television productions

The following year, ATV lost its London franchise to what would become London Weekend Television (LWT);[24] at the same time, however, ATV's Midlands franchise was expanded to run throughout the week from July 1968. Through ATV Music, Grade acquired Northern Songs, gaining control of the Lennon–McCartney song catalogue.[25]

Foreign sales remained strong for a time (valued at $30 million in 1970)[26] and the ACC received the Queen's Awards for Export in both 1967 and 1969.

Some of the 1970s distributions performed poorly: these included The Julie Andrews Hour (1972–1973), which aired for only one season on the ABC Television Network in the United States. This received positive reviews and seven Emmy Awards, including the title Best Variety Series. The action shows The Protectors (1972–74) and The Persuaders! (1971–72),[15] were not especially successful. Anderson moved to live action science fiction shows UFO (1969–71) and Space: 1999 (1975–77). After Space: 1999, Gerry Anderson made no new series for ITC, but maintained a connection with Grade until Grade lost control of his companies in 1982.

In the mid-1970s Grade approached American puppeteer Jim Henson, who was in need of assistance for his latest TV project. Henson wanted to create a new variety show starring his Muppet characters, but had been dismissed by American networks on account of his contributions to children's programmes such as Sesame Street (from 1969). CBS came close to agreeing to broadcast The Muppet Show, but only if it was during a syndicated block of its programming. After watching one of Henson's pilots and recalling a special made in one of his studios Grade allowed Henson to realise his project in Britain (the series was recorded at ATV's Borehamwood studio, later bought by the BBC, primarily used for "Eastenders", and confusingly named BBC Elstree, easily causing confusion with the other Elstree Studios) and distributed internationally by ITC. Grade's action was instrumental in bringing The Muppet Show to the screen in 1976 and ensuring its success.

Grade's other accomplishments in TV included the mini-series Jesus of Nazareth (1977), which was successfully sold to the American market and secured a record-breaking $12 million in revenue. Several years in preparation, the deal with the Italian broadcaster RAI and director Franco Zeffirelli was announced in August 1974.[27]

Film

Grade approached Blake Edwards to revive the Pink Panther franchise as a TV series, an option Edwards was not keen on,[28] but he did work on developing scripts. Eventually, he persuaded Grade to finance the property as a feature film project with he and Peter Sellers waiving their fees in return for a profit-sharing arrangement.[29] Both men's careers had not been prospering for a few years.[30] Only Grade's second big budget feature,[11] ITC produced the eventual film The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), while United Artists (UA), who had earlier rejected the project themselves, gained distribution rights and a 5% share of the profits.[31] Distribution in other countries was undertaken by ITC. The Return of the Pink Panther was a commercially successful release.[11]

It also prompted Grade to move into the film industry, where he had success with Farewell My Lovely (1975).[32] Other films of the period made with Grade's involvement include the co-releases The Boys From Brazil (1978) with 20th Century Fox and Movie Movie (also 1978) with Warner Brothers. He was a producer on the Ingmar Bergman films Autumn Sonata (1978) and From the Life of the Marionettes (1980). Grade was executive producer of The Muppet Movie (1979) and The Great Muppet Caper (1981); Orson Welles portrayed a studio executive named "Lew Lord" in the first film. One domestic British film made by the ITC subsidiary Black Lion Films, The Long Good Friday (1980) was purchased and released by HandMade Films after Grade and his company had effectively disowned it for, in Grade's reputed opinion, seeming to be sympathetic to the IRA.[33]

Grade's backing of an expensive "all-star" flop was to prove decisive. Of Raise the Titanic (1980), an adaptation of the novel by Clive Cussler, Grade himself observed that "It would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".[4][15] The film was panned by critics and, after costing $36 million, returned only $8 million in rentals.[34] This and other expensive box office failures – including Saturn 3 (1980) and The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – marked the end of Grade's involvement in major film production. Despite this, several of the most critically acclaimed films produced by Grade were released after the failure of Raise the Titanic: these included On Golden Pond (1981) and Sophie's Choice (1982), both winners of Academy Awards, as well as The Dark Crystal (1982), which was Jim Henson's final project created in association with ITC.

Later years

In 1980, Grade's standing in the mass media industry was damaged by two events: the poor reception to Raise the Titanic, and a decision that, effective from 1 January 1982, ATV Midlands would be permitted to keep its licence only on the condition that it terminate its association with Grade and ITC (ultimately leading to its re-branding as Central Television). Grade resigned his position in the company while it underwent a series of partnerships and mergers. In 1982, he lost control of ACC to Robert Holmes à Court, who dismissed him and all his staff.[3]

Grade was brought in by American producer Norman Lear in June 1982 to head the London division of Embassy Communications International involved in the production and distribution of films and television programmes.[35] Subsequently, he became a producer of Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Starlight Express.[36] After Coca-Cola had bought Embassy, he became the head of a new venture, the Grade Company, in 1985, and was elected a vice-president of the Loews Group chain of cinemas in the United States.[4][37] The Grade Company produced adaptations for television of works by novelist Dame Barbara Cartland; he owned the rights to 450 of her romances.[34]

By the mid-1990s, Grade had returned to ITC to head the company one final time until his death in 1998. Grade was a member of the Founding Council of the Rothermere American Institute at the University of Oxford.

Honours

Knighted in 1969,[38] Grade was created a life peerBaron Grade, of Elstree in the County of Hertfordshire on 22 June 1976.[39] He chose Elstree as his territorial designation because ATV's main studios were based there.

Death

Grade died of heart failure, 12 days short of his 92nd birthday, on 13 December 1998 in London. To celebrate Grade's life and mark the centenary of his birth, BBC Radio 2 transmitted two special one-hour tribute programmes on 24 and 25 December 2006.

References

  1. ^ "Person Page 19133". The Peerage. 23 October 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2013. Lew Grade
  2. ^ Horace Newcomb, Encyclopedia of Television
  3. ^ a b c "Lord Grade of Elstree, showman, died on December 13th, aged 91". The Economist. 17 December 1998. Retrieved 31 December 2013. [H]e felt betrayed when in 1982 he lost control of Associated Communications Corporation, the parent company of his television and other interests, to Robert Holmes à Court, an Australian. Lord Grade had felt so close to the Australian that he allowed him to buy 51% of the voting shares. Holmes à Court then deposed him in a boardroom coup and purged the company of all his staff, even, Lord Grade noted sadly, his tea lady. Later, he observed waspishly, "Robert died quite a young man, for all his millions".
  4. ^ a b c d Hoge, Warren (14 December 1998). "Lew Grade, 91, Flamboyant Shaper of British TV and Movies". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  5. ^ Palmer, Alan Warwick (2000) [1989]. The East End: Four Centuries of London Life. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press. p. 106. ISBN 0813528267. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  6. ^ Bethnal Green: Building and Social Conditions from 1876 to 1914: a History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 126–32; retrieved 14 November 2006.
  7. ^ a b Television Greats: Lew Grade, Television Heaven entry.
  8. ^ Brozan, Nadine (22 May 1992). "CHRONICLE". New York Times. Retrieved 31 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Joe Collins, Dynasty Star's Father". Chicago Tribune. 12 April 1988. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  10. ^ a b c Faith, Nicholas (14 December 1998). "Obituary: Lord Grade". The Independent. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  11. ^ a b c d Sergio Angelini "Grade, Lord Lew (1906–1998)", BFI Screenonline
  12. ^ Carl Ellis: Lew Grade, Part 3: the War and After Archived 5 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine, TV Heroes, Transdiffusion.
  13. ^ a b Michael Palmer and Jeremy Tunstal Media Moguls, Routledge, 1991, p. 112
  14. ^ Jonathan Bignell ""And the Rest is History: Lew Grade, Creation Narratives and Television Historiography", in Catherine Johnson and Rob Turnock (eds.) Itv Cultures: Independent Television Over Fifty Years, Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005, p. 50
  15. ^ a b c Sergio Angelini: ITC, BFI screenonline.
  16. ^ Louis Barfe Where Have All the Good Times Gone? The Rise and Fall of the Record Industry, London: Atlantic Books, 2005, p. 134
  17. ^ John Williams "Crossroads - The 1960s", BFI Screenonline
  18. ^ Carl Ellis Lew Grade, Part 4: Embracing the 1950s Archived 28 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine, TV Heroes, Transdiffusion.
  19. ^ James Chapman Saints and Avengers: British Adventure Series of the 1960s, London: I.B Tauris, 2002, p.100
  20. ^ Stuart Hood "Export Backlash", The Spectator, 25 November 1966, p. 12
  21. ^ Chapman, Saints and Avengers, p. 11
  22. ^ "Thunderbirds". Classic TV Info. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  23. ^ Gilhooly, Rob (26 December 2001). "Still F.A.B. after all these years". The Japan Times. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  24. ^ Richard G. Elen; ATV, BFI screenonline.
  25. ^ Philip Norman Shout!: The Beatles in Their Generation, New York: Fireside, 2005, pp. 422-24
  26. ^ Entrepreneurs: Top Grade, TIME, 4 October 1971.
  27. ^ Martin Sullivan " A television Jesus", The Spectator, 23 August 1974, p. 15
  28. ^ Obituary: Blake Edwards, telegraph.co.uk, 16 December 2010
  29. ^ Julian Upton Fallen Stars: Tragic Lives and Lost Careers, Manchester, Headpress, 2004, p.28
  30. ^ Bob Thomas "Pink Panther Sequel Spelled Success", The Blade (Toledo, Ohio), 17 November 1975, p. 18
  31. ^ Roger Lewis The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, London: Arrow Books, 2004 [1994], p. 845n.
  32. ^ "Sir Lew Grade the new knight in shining armour for British films", The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland, 27 October 1975, p. 14.
  33. ^ Mark Duguid "Long Good Friday, The (1979)", BFI Screenonline; accessed 24 December 2015.
  34. ^ a b Howell Raines "Lew Grade, at 81, Retains His Zest for a Deal", New York Times, 17 April 1988.
  35. ^ Cuff, Daniel F. (24 June 1982). "Lord Grade Joins Norman Lear Team". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  36. ^ Bennetts, Leslie (23 February 1987). "A Transformed Starlight Express Strives Towards Broadway Opening". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  37. ^ "Lew Grade Biography (1906-1998)". Film Reference. Retrieved 12 August 2017.
  38. ^ "No. 44790". The London Gazette. 14 February 1969. p. 1705.
  39. ^ "No. 46943". The London Gazette. 24 June 1976. p. 8773.

Further reading

External links

2013 British Academy Television Awards

The 2013 British Academy Television Awards nominations were announced on 9 April 2013. The award ceremony was held at the Royal Festival Hall in London on 12 May 2013.

Bunsen Honeydew

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew is a Muppet character from The Muppet Show, performed by Dave Goelz. He is a bald, green-skinned, bespectacled, lab-coated scientist who would do periodic science segments from "Muppet Labs, where the future is being made today." The character has no eyes, only completely transparent, lensless glasses, giving the appearance of a stereotypical absent-minded intellectual. His first name is derived from Robert Bunsen, after whom the Bunsen Burner was named. His last name is a reference to the honeydew melon, which his head is virtually shaped like. It is also a reference to Honeywell Labs, a technology company which aired TV commercials ("That someday is today ... at Honeywell") well-known at the time of the original Muppet Show.

Honeydew's experiments usually cause great harm to his very nervous and long-suffering assistant Beaker, a nearly mute Muppet with a shock of reddish hair. Honeydew worked alone in the first season of The Muppet Show, but from the second season onward, the luckless Beaker would always be present.

Some of the inventions that were created and tested included: edible paper clips, a gorilla detector, hair-growing tonic, banana sharpener, a robot politician (played by Peter Ustinov) and an electric nose warmer. In response to the ancient quest of alchemy to turn lead into gold, Honeydew created a device that turned gold into cottage cheese.

Desperate Characters

Desperate Characters is a 1971 American drama film produced, written, and directed by Frank D. Gilroy, who based his screenplay on the 1970 novel of the same name by Paula Fox.

Gerry Anderson

Gerry Anderson (born Gerald Alexander Abrahams; 14 April 1929 – 26 December 2012) was an English television and film producer, director, writer and occasional voice artist. He remains famous for his futuristic television programmes, especially his 1960s productions filmed with "Supermarionation" (marionette puppets containing electric moving parts).

Anderson's first television production was the 1957 Roberta Leigh children's series The Adventures of Twizzle. Supercar (1961–62) and Fireball XL5 (1962) followed later, both series breaking into the US television market in the early 1960s. In the mid-1960s Anderson produced his most successful series, Thunderbirds. Other television productions of the 1960s include Stingray and Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons.

Anderson also wrote and produced several feature films whose box office performance was unexceptional. Following a shift towards live action productions in the 1970s, he had a long and successful association with media impresario Lew Grade and Grade's company ITC, continuing until the second series of Space: 1999.

After a career lull when a number of new series concepts failed to get off the ground, his career began a new phase in the early 1980s when audience nostalgia for his earlier Supermarionation series (prompted by Saturday morning re-runs in Britain and Australia) led to new Anderson productions being commissioned. Later projects include a 2005 CG remake of Captain Scarlet entitled Gerry Anderson's New Captain Scarlet.

Goodbye Again (TV series)

Goodbye Again (1968) is a series of four hour-long television programmes made by ATV for the British TV network ITV to re-unite Peter Cook and Dudley Moore and recreate their very successful BBC comedy series Not Only... But Also.

The head of ATV, Lew Grade, offered Cook and Moore a lucrative contract and the opportunity for network exposure in the USA. Whilst earlier attempts by the BBC to make another show with the duo had been turned down, they accepted Grade's offer with its promise of a larger production budget. Four shows were recorded, three in April/May 1968 and the fourth a year later. They were aired in the USA under the Kraft Music Hall Presents banner in 1969.

A two-hour compilation of material from the four shows was released on DVD in 2005 under the title The Very Best of Goodbye Again. Except sketches recorded outside on film, all other original material is presented in black and white. The show was originally produced in colour and a colour clip was used as late as 1981 in a ITV Central documentary called Closed circuit (The Elstree Story).

Green Ice

Green Ice is a 1981 British adventure film starring Ryan O'Neal. It was also released under the name Operation Green Ice.

ITC Entertainment

The Incorporated Television Company (ITC), or ITC Entertainment as it was referred to in the United States, was a British company involved in production and distribution of television programmes.

In My Mind (film)

In My Mind is a 2017 British documentary film about Patrick McGoohan and the making of the The Prisoner, the late 1960s allegorical science-fiction TV series. The documentary was created and narrated by Chris Rodley for the 50th anniversary of the release of the TV series in the UK. The film follows the events surrounding Rodley's visit to interview McGoohan in 1983 for a 1984 documentary about the making of the original series.It premiered at 'Fall In', a celebration of the Prisoner TV series held at the original outdoor location of Portmeirion in north Wales and was released on Blu-ray Disc on 30 October 2017.

Les Misérables (1978 film)

Les Misérables is a 1978 British made-for-television film adaptation of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. The film was written by John Gay, produced by Lew Grade, and directed by Glenn Jordan (no relation to star Richard Jordan). The film originally aired on U.S. television on CBS on 27 December 1978.

Leslie Grade

Leslie Grade (3 June 1916 – 15 October 1979), born Laszlo (or Lazarus) Winogradsky, was a British theatrical talent agent. In 1943, he co-founded the Grade Organisation (also known as Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd) with his elder brother, the impresario and producer Lew Grade (1906–98). During the 1940s, the company became the UK's most successful light entertainment talent agency.

Moss Empires

Moss Empires was a company formed in Edinburgh in 1899, from the merger of the theatre companies owned by Sir Edward Moss, Richard Thornton and Sir Oswald Stoll. This created the largest chain of variety theatres and music halls in the United Kingdom. The business was successful, with major variety theatres in almost every city in Britain and Ireland, and was advertised as the largest group in the world.

In 1932, impresario and producer George Black oversaw the merging of GTC (General Theatre Corporation) with Moss Empires variety circuit. Black became in charge of the new company Moss Empires Group and controlled a chain of 53 theatres all over the UK. In 1938, Black became the joint managing director of Moss Empires making him one of London's most powerful producers.

The group had grown to over 50 theatres when Stoll withdrew his to run them as a separate business. After some 30 years the Moss and Stoll companies reunited under Prince Littler. The company ended its promotion of music halls during the 1960s, due to increasing competition from other entertainment media.

The first Royal Command Variety Performance was planned for Sir Edward Moss's Edinburgh Empire in the Coronation year 1911 but it burned down and instead was held at the London Palace Theatre in 1912, owned then by Sir Alfred Butt, a competitor of Moss, who later joined its alliance; with many subsequent performances being given at the London Palladium. In 1945 Val Parnell became managing director of Moss Empires.

In 1964, Stoll Moss was acquired by Lew Grade; it later became part of his Associated Communications Corporation. ACC was acquired by Robert Holmes à Court in 1982.The company continues as Really Useful Theatres, formed from the sale of the Stoll Moss theatres by Janet Holmes à Court to RUG Theatres, during January 2000. They continue to manage six theatres, the London Palladium, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, the New London, the Adelphi, Her Majesty's and the Cambridge Theatre.

Movie Movie

Movie Movie is a 1978 American double bill directed by Stanley Donen. It consists of two films, Dynamite Hands, a boxing ring morality play, and Baxter's Beauties of 1933, a musical comedy, both starring the husband-and-wife team of George C. Scott and Trish Van Devere. A fake trailer for a flying-ace movie set in World War I entitled Zero Hour (also starring Scott) is shown between the double feature.

Barry Bostwick, Red Buttons, Art Carney and Eli Wallach also appear in both segments, with Harry Hamlin, Barbara Harris and Ann Reinking featured in one each. The script was written by Larry Gelbart and Sheldon Keller.

Northern Songs

Northern Songs Ltd was a limited company founded in 1963, by music publisher Dick James, artist manager Brian Epstein, and songwriters John Lennon and Paul McCartney of the Beatles to publish songs written by Lennon and McCartney. In 1965, it was decided to make Northern Songs a public company, to reduce their income tax burden.

After Epstein died in 1967, Lennon and McCartney sought to renegotiate their publishing deal with James, but early in 1969 James and his partner sold their shares in Northern Songs to Britain's Associated Television (ATV), giving no warning to Lennon or McCartney. Lennon and McCartney attempted to gain a controlling interest in Northern Songs but their bid failed, as the financial power of Lew Grade ensured that Northern Songs passed into the control of ATV. Allen Klein (then de facto Beatles manager) attempted to set up a deal for Apple Corps to buy out ATV, but this also failed.

McCartney once informed Michael Jackson about the financial value of music publishing, as Jackson had enquired about the process of acquiring songs and how songs were used. According to McCartney, Jackson then said, "I'm going to get [the Beatles' songs]". ATV Music was later purchased by Jackson, although both McCartney and Yoko Ono, Lennon's widow, were notified of the sale, but did not bid themselves. Jackson later merged his published catalogue with Sony Corporation of America's to form Sony/ATV Music Publishing. Northern Songs was dissolved in 1995 after the merger, and is now a part of Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

Raise the Titanic (film)

Raise the Titanic is a 1980 adventure film produced by Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment and directed by Jerry Jameson. The film, which was written by Eric Hughes (adaptation) and Adam Kennedy (screenplay), was based on the book of the same name by Clive Cussler. The story concerns a plan to recover the RMS Titanic due to the fact that it was carrying cargo valuable to Cold War hegemony.

Although the film starred Jason Robards, Richard Jordan, David Selby, Anne Archer, and Sir Alec Guinness, it received mixed reviews by critics and audiences and proved to be a box office bomb. The film only grossed about $7 million against an estimated $40 million budget. Producer Lew Grade later remarked "it would have been cheaper to lower the Atlantic".

Reg Hill

Reginald Eric "Reg" Hill (16 May 1914 – 1999) was an English model-maker, art director, producer, and freelance storyboard artist. He is most prominently associated with the work of Gerry Anderson.

Something to Believe In (film)

Something to Believe In is a 1998 film directed by John Hough and starring William McNamara, Tom Conti, and Maria Pitillo.

The Cassandra Crossing

The Cassandra Crossing is a 1976 Technicolor Italian-British disaster/thriller film in Panavision directed by George Pan Cosmatos and starring Richard Harris, Sophia Loren, Martin Sheen, Burt Lancaster, Lee Strasberg, Ava Gardner and O. J. Simpson about an infected Swedish terrorist who plagues a train's passengers as they head to a derelict arch bridge.

With the backing of the European media tycoon Sir Lew Grade (the head of the British broadcast network ATV) and the Italian film producer Carlo Ponti, the international all-star cast was expected to attract a widespread audience, with rights sold prior to filming, to both British and American distributors. Ponti also saw the production as a showcase for his wife, Sophia Loren.

The Julie Andrews Hour

The Julie Andrews Hour was a television variety series starring Julie Andrews that was produced by ATV and distributed by ITC Entertainment. It aired on the ABC network in the United States.

In order to secure Andrews, Sir Lew Grade and ABC offered her a generous five year contract which included not only Andrews starring in a weekly television variety show, but also allowing her to do films. In 1963, when another major star, Judy Garland, was signed to a weekly television variety series, it failed to catch on with the public. One of the main reasons for its demise was its constant change of format and the fact that critics and audiences felt that Garland was not shown off to her best advantage. In order to avoid that error, Andrews asked producer Nick Vanoff what the premise of the show would be about. Vanoff immediately answered her by saying "Julie Andrews ... without Julie Andrews there is no Julie Andrews Hour."

The premiere installment of the show was presented on Wednesday, 13 September 1972 at 10:00 P.M. ET. As a way of introducing Julie Andrews to the vast television audience, the entire hour of the first episode showcased the singer performing in musical numbers ranging from her years on Broadway (The Boy Friend, My Fair Lady, and Camelot) to her motion picture career (Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, and Star!). Appearing with Andrews on this episode were impresssionist Rich Little and comedienne Alice Ghostley (who had appeared with Andrews in the 1957 CBS live television version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella). Both Little and Ghostley would become semi-regulars. The series received unanimously rave reviews, unfortunately, its time slot proved to be daunting because it was up against the popular CBS detective series, Cannon. Another reason for the low ratings was that the lateness of the hour was not conducive to family viewing since children were in bed by that time. On Thanksgiving Eve, 22 November 1972, The Julie Andrews Hour devoted an entire episode saluting Walt Disney. To make it more of a "family special", ABC switched the time slot of The Julie Andrews Hour that night to 8:30 P.M. and The ABC Wednesday Movie Of The Week to 9:30 P.M. The ratings improved a little, so ABC then made a decision to alternate Andrews' time period each week. (One week it would be 10:00 P.M., and the next week it would be 8:30 P.M.) This continued until January 1973, when the series was moved to Saturday nights at 9:00 P.M. The ratings went from bad to worse, as Andrews' chief competition was The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show (both highly rated series) on CBS. (Ironically, Moore had been Andrews' co-star in the 1967 hit film, Thoroughly Modern Millie.)

Andrews was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (for Best Actress In A Leading Role — Musical Or Comedy Series for the show); she lost out to Jean Stapleton in All in the Family. When the 1972-1973 Emmy Award nominations were announced,The Julie Andrews Hour received an impressive ten nominations. Despite this achievement plus the rave reviews, ABC announced it was cancelling the series after its 24th episode in April 1973. After Andrews completed the last installment of the program, she and her husband Blake Edwards left for Barbados to film The Tamarind Seed which was part of her contract agreement with ABC and ITC. In May, 1973, The Julie Andrews Hour went on to win seven Emmy Awards out of its ten nominations, including the Outstanding Variety Musical Series award given to the show's producers, Nick Vanoff and William O. Harbach, and the star.In recognition of all the awards her show received and as a consolation to her series being cancelled, ABC offered Andrews five variety specials which were produced in England between 1973 and 1975, also under the auspices of Lew Grade. This was also arranged to help fulfill Andrews's five year contract. However, after her fifth special aired in the spring of 1975, the contract was mutually dissolved. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, several edited episodes of The Julie Andrews Hour were shown on syndicated stations throughout the United States as "specials".

The Scarlatti Inheritance

The Scarlatti Inheritance is the first of 27 thriller novels written (the last four of them left in the form of manuscripts, later finalized by ghost writers) by American author Robert Ludlum.

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