|Born||in Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA|
|Died||in Burbank, California, USA (natural causes)|
|Birth Name||Samuel Zachary Arkoff|
Mini Bio (1)
By the early 1950s, future movie mogul Samuel Z. Arkoff was a brash 30-ish lawyer scratching out a living by representing his in-laws and the Hollywood fringe, which included many of now infamous director/angora-clad transvestite Edward D. Wood Jr.'s social circle. As a shark, Arkoff was physically imposing and capable of scaring the snot out of anyone who opposed him. One of his penny ante clients was Alex Gordon, a screenwriter who had submitted an unsolicited script to Realart Pictures, an outfit that was profitably re-releasing 20-year-old movies, often under new titles conjured up by its owner, Jack Broder. One such film, Man-Made Monster (1941), had just been re-issued as "The Atomic Monster", coincidentally the same title of Gordon's screenplay. Arkoff, smelling blood in the water, paid Broder a visit and, incredibly, obtained a $500 settlement. Broder's sales manager, James H. Nicholson, was dumbfounded by Arkoff's ability to extract a dime, let alone $500, out of his notoriously tightfisted boss. He met with Arkoff and proposed a partnership, which led to the formation of American Releasing Corp. in 1954. The company's first release was Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954), a low-budget feature by 29-year-old producer'Roger Corman'. Made for less than $50,000, it netted $850,000 and Corman was brought into the fold as a silent partner. By 1955 the company was renamed American-International Pictures, generally known as AIP in the industry. Initially focusing on westerns on the premise that shooting on location was cheaper than renting space in a studio. Although the films were profitable, Arkoff was unhappy with the returns and solicited theater owners for advice on what types of films filled seats.
By the mid-'50s, thanks to television, movie audience numbers had dwindled considerably, with the key demographic now teenagers and young adults, who craved horror movies and, especially, drive-ins (where they could gather together without their parents). AIP jumped into the horror genre with both feet and made a fortune. Under the aegis of Nicholson and Arkoff, the company survived in a constricting industry by catering to the whims of the teenage trade and adapting to trends. AIP's long (350-plus) roster of kitsch classics, running the gamut from horror to rock-'n'-roll, from juvenile delinquency to Italian muscle men and from Edgar Allan Poe to Annette Funicello, have formed their own unique niche in film history. His company became infamous for clever advertising schemes that were often more entertaining than the films themselves. Arkoff never tolerated egos and his films were more often than not profitable, thanks to tight budgets and a clear understanding of the company's target market. After Nicholson's 1972 resignation, Arkoff assumed full control of the company and remained in charge until the 1979 merger with Filmways prompted his own departure. He then became the head of Arkoff International Pictures.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jack Backstreet (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)
|Hilda||(1945 - 26 July 2001) (her death)|