The Famous Players-Lasky Antitrust Case
Independents Defect from the Studios
Testimony of Samuel Goldwyn
New York Telegraph - May 2, 1923:
. . . Samuel Goldwyn, formerly head of the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation,
testified that after the formation of that company in 1917, great difficulty was
experienced by the company in getting its pictures shown in important cities,
due to control of theatres by the Paramount-Famous Players interests and the
franchises of the Associated First National.
Mr. Goldwyn said he entered the motion picture business in 1923 [sic 1913]
when, in partnership with Jesse L. Lasky, he formed the Jesse L. Lasky Feature
Play Company. Cecil B. DeMille was also associated with them, he said. This
company produced its first picture in the Spring of 1914, he testified, and at
this time the Paramount Company was organized to distribute films and films of
The output of these two concerns did not furnish continuous programs
throughout the year, and so the Paramount Company itself became a producer, Mr.
Goldwyn said. This arrangement was unsatisfactory to the Company, and
negotiations were begun for the consolidation of the Lasky Company with Famous
Players, with the expectation that Paramount could be induced to join, making
one big company.
The Famous Players Lasky combination was effected and then a $25,000,000
corporation was planned to include the Paramount and some other interests. The
deal was not consummated due to inability of all parties to agree as to the
time. The proposal, however, served to influence the Paramount Company to make
the merger complete, the Famous Players-Lasky team commemorates its
takeover of Paramount Pictures in 1916. Jesse L. Lasky,
Adolph Zukor, Sam Goldfish (Goldwyn), Cecil B. DeMille, and Al
Kaufman. Their newly-formed enterprise would suffer its first internal
dissension as Goldwyn would be forced to resign only a few weeks after
this photo was taken.
This consolidation of Famous Players and Lasky took place in 1917 [sic], and
following this, in connection with other proposed measures, Goldwyn said, he
went to California. While he was away from New York, Adolph Zukor, who
represented the Famous Players interests, wrote a letter to the board of
directors saying that either he or Goldwyn must leave the organization, the
Upon his return to New York, Lasky, who had been his partner in the beginning
and is his brother-in-law, came to him and told him of the Zukor letter, Goldwyn
said, and announced his intention of voting for Zukor. Goldwyn said he was thus
forced to resign.
After he left the Famous Players Company, Mr. Goldwyn said, he formed the
Goldwyn Pictures Corporation, and it was then that he found it very difficult to
obtain a showing for his pictures, due to the control of theatres by the
Paramount-Famous Players interests and the Associated First National. . . .
About 1917 the contract which the Famous Players Company had with Mary
Pickford expired, Mr. Goldwyn said, and Miss Pickford, having learned that
Charlie Chaplin had made a contract with First National for eight pictures at
$1,075,000, insisted on $10,000 a week. This made it necessary for the Famous
Players-Lasky Company to get more for her pictures than could be obtained under
their contract with Paramount. Thus came into being the Artcraft Company, which
later added several other stars. . . .
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