One of the major majors of Hollywood’s Golden Era. In fact, it remains — after many corporate transformations — one of Hollywood’s dominant studios.
The company has a rich, storied and complicated history. It was founded by its four brothers, descendants of Polish-Jewish immigrants, who began as rudimentary movie exhibitionists showing films in such rustic locales as the mining towns of Pennsylvania and Ohio. In 1918, the brothers opened the first Warner Brothers on Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard. (The company name was formalized in 1923.)
We’ve restricted our focus here to Warner Brothers as it was during the classic period roughly from the Thirties to the late Forties. The studio under the four brothers was not always smoothly run but it churned out memorable titles in many genres — musicals, horror, so-called ‘women’s pictures,’ cartoons and most notable of all, gritty gangster films.
Warners was considered to be perhaps the most reliable source of screen entertainment during the Thirties and Forties — withing strict budget limitations, of course. Casablanca,The Maltese Falcon, Now Voyager, Yankee Doodle Dandy and Mildred Pierce were all released by Warner Brothers.
Ok, let’s get on with our Warner Bros. Quiz. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.
1) Question: As mentioned, WB was formed by four brothers all with the anglicized surname of Warner. Can you name them?
2) Question: Which one of the following did NOT establish stardom at WB? a) Errol Flynn, b) Joan Crawford; c) Rin Tin Tin; or d) Warren William.
3) Question: Friction among the four founding brothers resulted from an unusual sale arrangement of WB in the Fifties. What happened? a) Each of the four declared the others to be mentally incompetent to run the studio; b) The studio’s new buyer reneged on a promise to pick up all financial liabilities; c) One of the brothers undercut the other three in an under-the-table deal with a banker; d) None of the above.
4) Question: Two of the studio’s most famous actresses took WB to court over contract issues. Who are they, and which one won her case? a) Joan Blondell; b) Barbara Stanwyck; c) Bette Davis; or d) Olivia de Havilland.
5) Question: Which one of the following rose to the highest executive ranks and then went on to control another large studio, making it a strong competitor to WB? a) Hal Wallis; b) Harry Cohn; c) Bryan Foy or d) Darryl F. Zanuck.