Warner Brothers. Shield to Shield?

“At least it’s a Warner Brothers picture.” “Warner Brothers, are we in the right theater?” “Ya, da, da, da, da, da!!!” “Da, da, da, da, da, da!!!” Yes Jonah. You are. 7 Warners pictures and 8 MSTs hail from the shield studio. Untamed Youth (1957), The Black Scorpion (1957), Teenagers from Outer Space (1959), Hercules Unchained (1959), The Mask 3D (1961), The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), Moon Zero Two (1969). Sumuru was riffed twice and Catalina Caper (1967) begins with the Warner logo.

Established in 1923, Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner created the company and straightaway bought the rights to The Gold Diggers. Yet it was a German Shepherd Rin Tin Tin whose overnight celebrity lifted Warner Brothers to prominence. The grosses of Where the North Begins (1923) were so huge, Jack Warner called Tin “The Mortgage Lifter” and the dog became Warner’s top star. Future Fox Head Darryl F. Zanuck was a leading producer for Warner and Jack’s second-in-command from 1928 to 1933. German director Ernst Lubitsch started making films there in 1924. The Marriage Cycle (1924), Lady Windermere’s Fan (1925), So This Is Paris (1926). The Marriage Cycle earned glowing reviews turning into a big hit. Lubitsch departed two years later as John Barrymore exploded in Beau Brummel (1924) growing into the face seen by millions. Scoring a loan from Goldman Sachs in 1924, Warners secured the Vitagraph Company gaining national distribution.

By 1925, Sam Warner lobbied for synchronized sound to be added to their productions. Warner Brothers partnered with Western Electric to design Vitaphone allowing music and effects tracks to be included on their release of Don Juan (1926) and the shorts that came before it. Live recorded sound and music and actual taking were heard ahead of the movie. Though initially a failure financially, Paramount almost acquired the process prior to Sam pushing ahead on a full-length feature starring Broadway’s Al Jolson singing, dancing, and talking called The Jazz Singer (1927). Blowing audiences away, it single-handedly launched the talking era. With their release of Jazz Singer, Lights of New York (1928), The Singing Fool (1928), and The Terror (1928), Warner rode the talkie to become a major Hollywood player.

Moving out of Poverty Row, grabbing a bigger studio lot, and buying a major theater chain, Warner’s inroads continued. The first all-talking all-color musical On with the Show! (1929), Gold Diggers of Broadway (1929), The Show of Shows (1929), Sally (1929), Bright Lights (1930), Golden Dawn (1930), Hold Everything (1930), Song of the Flame (1930), Song of the West (1930), The Life of the Party (1930), Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1930), Under a Texas Moon (1930), Bride of the Regiment (1930), Viennese Nights (1931), Woman Hungry (1931), Kiss Me Again (1931), 50 Million Frenchmen (1931), Manhattan Parade (1932). Most of these were Technicolor musicals.

Purchasing further chains of theaters amidst The Great Depression and forming Warner Bros Music, the musicals lost their popularity and Warners axed musical numbers from many releases then advertising them as straight comedies. Transitioning to the horror pics Doctor X (1932) and Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), the studio tried again with song and dance and 42nd Street (1933) dazzled. Footlight Parade (1933), Wonder Bar (1934), Broadway Gondolier (1935). They saved Warner from bankruptcy but this success was not to last. Captain Blood (1935) opened the floodgates into swashbucklers and from there gangster movies starring James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart.

The woman’s pictures of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, the Warner Bros Cartoons we’ve all grown up with, The Maltese Falcon (1941), Casablanca (1942), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951), Strangers on a Train (1951), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), The Searchers (1956). Warner Brothers is unmissable. Critic Andrew Sarris commented, “Movie for movie, Warners was the most reliable source of entertainment through the thirties and forties” and beyond. They have possibly the richest film library and besides the classics there are so many B movies and genre flicks that are MST worthy or deserving to be seen. One could go on. But I have to stop. Mean Machine or Smooth Operator?




The Weird Butt Network.


Ok, last one, I promise.


Note: 7 Warner productions were MST episodes. The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967), Moon Zero Two (1969), Untamed Youth (1957), The Black Scorpion (1957), Teenagers from Outer Space (1959), Hercules Unchained (1959), The Mask 3D (1961). Sumuru starred in 2 episodes and one can spot the the familiar emblem on Catalina Caper (1967). Links to discussion on these shows are attached below.


KTMA 18. The Million Eyes of Sumuru (1967)

111. Moon Zero Two (1969)

112. Untamed Youth (1957)

113. The Black Scorpion (1957)

204. Catalina Caper (1967)

404. Teenagers from Outer Space (1959)

408. Hercules Unchained (1959)

SPOILER DISCUSSION: Episode 1309, The Million Eyes of Sumuru

SPOILER DISCUSSION: Episode 1311, The Mask 3D. (PLEASE NOTE: This thread is NOT the Open Thread Discussion for tonight’s livestream premiere)


The Warner Brothers: The Making of an American Studio. Interview with David Thomson.

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How Warner Bros Started - The Story of Warner Bros.

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Warner Bros Documentary.

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Inside The Warner Bros Ranch.


Warner Bros Logo History.

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A Warner Brothers Cartoon Documentary.

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Warner Bros Studio Classics Tour.

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75 Years of Laughter - The Jack Warner Story.

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Family Feud: The History of Warner Bros.

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Jack L. Warner’s Irving Thalberg Award - 1959.

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James Garner on working for Jack Warner.

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Warner Bros Studio Tour Burbank California.

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History of Looney Tunes.

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The Reign of Chuck Jones.

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The Rise of Porky, Daffy, and Termite Terrace.

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