Producer Alex Gordon in Person!
Alex Gordon began his career as a press representative for Gene Autry, and went on to become a leading producer of independent films in the mid-50s, using the best veteran directors, cinematographers and actors in his B films. Among his many productions are Apache Woman, The Day the World Ended, Shake Rattle and Rock, Flesh and the Spur, Reform School Girl, Bounty Killer and Requiem for a Gunfighter. In addition, Gordon, with his knowledge and love of films and his photographic memory, instigated, organized and supervised the Twentieth Century Fox Studio Archive program, which involved a world-wide search that turned up at least 300 “lost” films including rare John Ford, Tom Mix, Murnau, Hawks and Walsh. Gordon continues to be one of the world's great film archivists.
Tonight Gordon will discuss the emergence of A.I.P., the void it filled and the trends it set with its teen-age and science-fiction pictures and the unique timing that enabled A.I.P. to flourish.
“With the advent of television, the smaller motion picture producing companies unloaded their product to the new medium while the majors regarded it as the enemy. Movies on television in the early 1950s consisted mainly of old ‘B' program westerns, independent pictures going back to the earliest days of sound, and the occasional bigger film not handled by the major companies.
“When Columbia and Universal sold off some programmers for TV, these were handled by independent TV syndicators with the major company labels and trademarks removed, so that exhibitors could not accuse their suppliers of selling them out. Thus, Gail Pictures, Flamingo and Hollywood Television Company were some of the ‘presenters.'
“With ‘B' product all over the tube, the majors stopped producing these pictures. RKO Radio and Republic ceased operations and there was a sudden void in the supply of exploitable programmers at reasonable rental rates for the drive-in theaters and action houses. The timing was right for A.I.P.” --Alex Gordon.
Alex Gordon, along with Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson, arranged with producer Roger Corman a deal which resulted in the creation of a new company, American Releasing. Corman and Gordon then produced pictures separately for American, and Corman directed Gordon's first two features, Apache Woman and The Day the World Ended. Edward L. Cahn directed the other Gordon productions for American.