Happy Birthday, Sam Katzman.

Sam Katzman
(July 7, 1901 – August 4, 1973)

Here’s producer Sam Katzman with Little Richard on the set of Don’t Knock The Rock (1956). It’s a Rock N Roll picture directed by Fred F. Sears. Little Richard does “Long Tall Sally” and “Tutti-Frutti” in it. You need to see it.

Click it make it legible.

Sam Katzman was born on this day back in 1901. As a little kid, I noticed that his name turned up in the credits of a whole lot of movies I really liked. And for all the joy his cheap little pictures have given the world — everything from the Batman serial to the Jungle Jim movies to The Werewolf (1956) to Harum Scarum (1965) with Elvis, he should have a postage stamp, a national holiday, something. He sure made my world a better place.

Incidentally, today is Fred F. Sears’ birthday, too. Wonder if a great big birthday cake was ever shared on the Columbia lot?

14 Comments

Filed under 1956, Elvis Presley, Fred F. Sears, Jungle Jim, Sam Katzman

14 responses to “Happy Birthday, Sam Katzman.

  1. john k

    Could not agree more Toby,I grew up watching the likes of
    HOP HARRIGAN,BRICK BRADFORD and BLACKHAWK and
    many others at Saturday morning picture shows.
    Later Sam’s B Pictures were often far more entertaining than the
    main feature.
    Would love that fabulous Sam Sci Fi/Horror set of several years ago to
    get a Blu Ray upgrade.

    Like

    • The Werewolf on Blu-Ray would be a dream come true! Anyone at Mill Creek looking at this by chance?

      What I’ve been noticing lately (and I’ve been on a real Katzman kick) is how much production value he got from existing sets and stuff around Columbia. His pictures look much bigger than their budgets would indicate.

      If you haven’t seen it yet, folks, The Crooked Web (1955) is terrific. One of the best crime pictures Sam produced. It’s in the second Kit Parker noir set and it’s worth the price of admission. A really cool little movie with enough plot twists for three movies.

      Like

    • This got me to wondering: what Katzman movies ARE available on Blu-Ray?

      Two Monograms with Bela Lugosi — Return Of The Ape Man and The Invisible Ghost.

      Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers and It Came From Beneath The Sea are available in various sets in various parts of the world.

      The Miami Story from the first of the Kit Parker noir sets. With the second set, there will be a few more: The Crooked Web, New Orleans Uncensored and Rumble On The Docks. The third volume adds one more, The Tijuana Story.

      Hard to believe Harum Scarum and Kissing Cousins are DVD only.

      Like

  2. john k

    Lots of Sam on DVD especially from the late lamented Sony MOD series
    and their lovely transfers.
    One DVD that seems to get lost in the mix and I’m surprised that it wasn’t
    included on the Parker sets is THE HOUSTON STORY which more than
    bears out your previous comment of just how much Sam and his film-
    makers squeezed out of trim budgets
    THE HOUSTON STORY is a crackerjack little movie and it’s better
    than THE CROOKED WEB as well..

    Like

  3. john k

    THE GIANT CLAW ( I just cannot understand how anybody cannot
    love this movie!) was released on Blu Ray in 2017 by Germany’s
    Anolis Entertainment…..great transfers/high prices.
    Gary at DVD Beaver reviewed it at the time saying that the high def
    presentation made the wires even more visible!
    Just look at those screen grabs and drool…..as Gary says no Blu Ray
    collection is complete without this movie…..amen.

    Like

  4. Walter

    Toby and John K, I have a lot of fond memories of Producer Sam Katzman’s low budget gems. There is an obscure movie of his out there that I would like to see, because it is one of the few American movies to be set during the First Indo-China War(1946-54). It was inspired by the success of A YANK IN KOREA(1951), also by Producer Sam Katzman. I’ve seen A YANK IN KOREA, although it was when I was a youngster. As far as I know, A YANK IN INDO-CHINA has never been on VHS or DVD. Has anyone ever seen it?

    A YANK IN INDO-CHINA stars John Archer, Douglas Dick, Jean Willes, Maura Murphy, Hayward Soo Hoo, Don C. Harold Fong, Roy Mallinson, Leo Penn, and Kam Tong.

    Like

    • I’ve never seen A Yank In Indochina, but I liked the Korea one. Katzman was very good at finding fads and things in the news he could exploit with a cheap, quick and often surprisingly good movie.

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  5. Walter

    I guess I’m tired. Don C. Harvey is in the cast and A YANK IN INDO-CHINA was filmed in December, 1951 and released in April, 1952. In the UK it was known as HIDDEN SECRET(1952)

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  6. Walter

    Toby, you’re certainly right about Sam Katzman’s keen sense of exploiting a recent news item or trend in infancy. Case in point, the Hollywood Sunset Strip “Curfew Riots” or “Hippie Riots,” which began on November 12, 1966. Katzman had a production crew filming on December 9, 1966 and finished filming 12 days later. The movie THE RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP was in theaters by March 1, 1967.

    Believe you me, THE RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP is certainly a current affairs exploitation epic in maximum overdrive. The movie stars Aldo Ray, Mimsy Farmer, Michael Evans, Laurie Mock, Tim Rooney(Mickey’s son), Hortense Petra(Mrs. Sam Katzman), Gene Kirkwood(producer of ROCKY, 1976), and John Hart(the Lone Ranger). Actually this is a well made entertaining movie, which deserves its cult status.

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    • Riot On Sunset Strip is the perfect example of Sam’s genius. He made it for MGM but they moved too slow to get it in theaters when it was still hot, so Sam took it to AIP instead and they hopped on it.

      Saw that one as a kid and loved it. Might be the first time I got hip to The Standells!

      Like

  7. Walter

    Toby, I think part of THE RIOT ON SUNSET STRIP being a cult movie is the era music that was used and the performance of Mimsy Farmer.

    Like

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