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RKO Radio Pictures Inc. was an American film production and distribution company. After United Artists, it was the fourth and last independent distributor of Walt Disney Productions' films until the founding of Disney-owned Buena Vista Film Distribution.

RKO's current incarnation, RKO Pictures LLC, has been active since 1989.

History

Pre-Disney

RKO was formed after the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chains and Joseph P. Kennedy's Film Booking Offices of America studio were brought together under the control of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in October 1928. RCA chief David Sarnoff engineered the merger to create a market for the company's sound-on-film technology, RCA Photophone. By the mid-1940's, the studio was under the control of investor Floyd Odlum.

Disney-related events

Soon after the appointment of a new production chief, Samuel Briskin, in late 1935, RKO entered into an important distribution deal with animator Walt Disney (Van Beuren consequently folded its cartoon operations) following Walt Disney Productions' issues with United Artists. From 1937 to 1956, the studio released Disney features and shorts; Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was the highest grossing movie in the period between The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Gone with the Wind (1939). While the Disney association was beneficial, RKO's own films were viewed as declining in quality and Briskin was gone by the end of the year. A dispute with RKO over the value of Disney's True-Life Adventures series of live-action documentary featurettes in 1953 led to Walt and his older brother Roy to set up their own distribution firm, Buena Vista Film Distribution.

Walt Disney is said to have bought the rights to RKO's version of Swiss Family Robinson (1940) in an effort to suppress its re-release and avoid comparisons to his 1960 film of the same name. 20 minutes of the RKO version were featured in the "Vault Disney" DVD release of the Disney version.

Dissolution

Maverick industrialist Howard Hughes took over RKO in 1948. After years of decline under his control, the studio was acquired by the General Tire and Rubber Company in 1955. The original RKO Pictures ceased production in 1957 and was effectively dissolved two years later, though the studio retained the copyrights to all their films and assets.

Revival

In 1981, broadcaster RKO General, the corporate heir, revived it as a production subsidiary, RKO Pictures Inc. In 1989, this business with its few remaining assets, the trademarks and remake rights to many classic RKO films, was sold to new owners, who now operate the small independent company RKO Pictures LLC.

RKO Pictures Japan

RKO Pictures Japan, Ltd. (日本RKO映画株式会社 Nihon RKO Eiga Kabushiki-gaisha) was the Japanese division of RKO Radio Pictures. Walt Disney Productions and the British Commonwealth Film Corporation acquired the division on July 5, 1959.[1] RKO Pictures Japan closed in 1974.

Disney films distributed by RKO Radio Pictures

Short films

  1. Mickey Mouse (following United Artists)
    1. Hawaiian Holiday (1937)
    2. Clock Cleaners (1937)
    3. Lonesome Ghosts (1937)
    4. Boat Builders (1938)
    5. Mickey's Trailer (1938)
    6. The Whalers (1938)
    7. Mickey's Parrot (1938)
    8. Brave Little Tailor (1938)
    9. Society Dog Show (1939)
    10. The Pointer (1939)
    11. Tugboat Mickey (1940)
    12. Pluto's Dream House (1940)
    13. Mr. Mouse Takes a Trip (1940)
    14. The Little Whirlwind (1941)
    15. A Gentleman's Gentleman (1941)
    16. Canine Caddy (1941)
    17. The Nifty Nineties (1941)
    18. Orphan's Benefit (1941)
    19. Lend a Paw (1941)
    20. Mickey's Birthday Party (1942)
    21. Symphony Hour (1942)
    22. Pluto and the Armadillo (1943)
    23. Squatter's Rights (1946)
    24. Mickey's Delayed Date (1947)
    25. Mickey Down Under (1948)
    26. Mickey and the Seal (1948)
    27. R'Coon Dawg (1951)
    28. Pluto's Party (1952)
    29. Pluto's Christmas Tree (1952)
    30. The Simple Things (1953)
  2. Silly Symphonies (following United Artists)
    1. The Old Mill (1937)
    2. The Moth and the Flame (1938)
    3. Wynken, Blynken and Nod (1938)
    4. Farmyard Symphony (1938)
    5. Merbabies (1938)
    6. Mother Goose Goes Hollywood (1938)
    7. The Practical Pig (1939)
    8. The Ugly Duckling (1939)
  3. Pluto
    1. Pluto's Quin-puplets (1937)
    2. Bone Trouble (1940)
    3. Pantry Pirate (1940)
    4. Pluto's Playmate (1941)
    5. Pluto, Junior (1942)
    6. The Army Mascot (1942)
    7. The Sleep Walker (1942)
    8. T-Bone for Two (1942)
    9. Private Pluto (1943)
    10. Springtime for Pluto (1944)
    11. First Aiders (1944)
    12. Dog Watch (1945)
    13. Canine Casanova (1945)
    14. The Legend of Coyote Rock (1945)
    15. Canine Patrol (1945)
    16. Pluto's Kid Brother (1946)
    17. In Dutch (1946)
    18. The Purloined Pup (1946)
    19. Pluto's Housewarming (1947)
    20. Rescue Dog (1947)
    21. Mail Dog (1947)
    22. Pluto's Blue Note (1947)
    23. Bone Bandit (1948)
    24. Pluto's Purchase (1948)
    25. Cat Nap Pluto (1948)
    26. Pluto's Fledgling (1948)
    27. Pueblo Pluto (1949)
    28. Pluto's Surprise Package (1949)
    29. Pluto's Sweater (1949)
    30. Bubble Bee (1949)
    31. Sheep Dog (1949)
    32. Pluto's Heart Throb (1950)
    33. Pluto and the Gopher (1950)
    34. Wonder Dog (1950)
    35. Primitive Pluto (1950)
    36. Puss Café (1950)
    37. Pests of the West (1950)
    38. Food for Feudin' (1950)
    39. Camp Dog (1950)
    40. Cold Storage (1951)
    41. Plutopia (1951)
    42. Cold Turkey (1951)
  4. Donald Duck
    1. Donald's Ostrich (1937)
    2. Self Control (1938)
    3. Donald's Nephews (1938)
    4. Good Scouts (1938)
    5. Donald's Golf Game (1938)
    6. Donald's Lucky Day (1939)
    7. The Hockey Champ (1939)
    8. Donald's Cousin Gus (1939)
    9. Beach Picnic (1939)
    10. Sea Scouts (1939)
    11. Donald's Penguin (1939)
    12. The Autograph Hound (1939)
    13. Officer Duck (1939)
    14. The Riveter (1940)
    15. Donald's Dog Laundry (1940)
    16. Mr. Duck Steps Out (1940)
    17. Put-Put Troubles (1940)
    18. Donald's Vacation (1940)
    19. Window Cleaners (1940)
    20. The Fire Chief (1940)
    21. Timber (1941)
    22. Golden Eggs (1941)
    23. A Good Time for a Dime (1941)
    24. Early to Bed (1941)
    25. Truant Officer Donald (1941)
    26. Old MacDonald Duck (1941)
    27. Donald's Camera (1941)
    28. Chef Donald (1941)
    29. The Village Smithy (1942)
    30. Donald's Snow Fight (1942)
    31. Donald Gets Drafted (1942)
    32. Donald's Garden (1942)
    33. Donald's Gold Mine (1942)
    34. The Vanishing Private (1942)
    35. Sky Trooper (1942)
    36. Bellboy Donald (1942)
    37. Der Fuehrer's Face (1943)
    38. Donald's Tire Trouble (1943)
    39. The Flying Jalopy (1943)
    40. Fall Out-Fall In (1943)
    41. The Old Army Game (1943)
    42. Home Defense (1943)
    43. Trombone Trouble (1944)
    44. Donald Duck and the Gorilla (1944)
    45. Contrary Condor (1944)
    46. Commando Duck (1944)
    47. The Plastics Inventor (1944)
    48. Donald's Off Day (1944)
    49. The Clock Watcher (1945)
    50. The Eyes Have It (1945)
    51. Donald's Crime (1945)
    52. Duck Pimples (1945)
    53. Cured Duck (1945)
    54. Old Sequoia (1945)
    55. Donald's Double Trouble (1946)
    56. Wet Paint (1946)
    57. Dumbell of the Yukon (1946)
    58. Lighthouse Keeping (1946)
    59. Straight Shooters (1947)
    60. Sleepy Time Donald (1947)
    61. Clown of the Jungle (1947)
    62. Donald's Dilemma (1947)
    63. Bootle Beetle (1947)
    64. Wide Open Spaces (1947)
    65. Chip an' Dale (1947)
    66. Drip Dippy Donald (1948)
    67. Daddy Duck (1948)
    68. Donald's Dream Voice (1948)
    69. The Trial of Donald Duck (1948)
    70. Inferior Decorator (1948)
    71. Soup's On (1948)
    72. Three for Breakfast (1948)
    73. Tea for Two Hundred (1948)
    74. Donald's Happy Birthday (1949)
    75. Sea Salts (1949)
    76. Winter Storage (1949)
    77. Honey Harvester (1949)
    78. All in a Nutshell (1949)
    79. The Greener Yard (1949)
    80. Slide, Donald, Slide (1949)
    81. Toy Tinkers (1949)
    82. Lion Around (1950)
    83. Crazy Over Daisy (1950)
    84. Trailer Horn (1950)
    85. Hook, Lion and Sinker (1950)
    86. Bee at the Beach (1950)
    87. Out on a Limb (1950)
    88. Dude Duck (1951)
    89. Corn Chips (1951)
    90. Test Pilot Donald (1951)
    91. Lucky Number (1951)
    92. Out of Scale (1951)
    93. Bee on Guard (1951)
    94. Donald Applecore (1952)
    95. Let's Stick Together (1952)
    96. Uncle Donald's Ants (1952)
    97. Trick or Treat (1952)
    98. Don's Fountain of Youth (1953)
    99. The New Neighbor (1953)
    100. Rugged Bear (1953)
    101. Working for Peanuts (1953)
    102. Canvas Back Duck (1953)
    103. Spare the Rod (1954)
    104. Donald's Diary (1954)
    105. Dragon Around (1954)
    106. Grin and Bear It (1954)
    107. The Flying Squirrel (1954)
    108. Grand Canyonscope (1954)
    109. No Hunting (1955)
    110. Bearly Asleep (1955)
    111. Beezy Bear (1955)
    112. Up a Tree (1955)
    113. Chips Ahoy (1956)
  5. Donald & Goofy
    1. Polar Trappers (1938)
    2. The Fox Hunt (1938)
    3. Billposters (1940)
    4. No Sail (1945)
    5. Frank Duck Brings 'em Back Alive (1946)
    6. Crazy with the Heat (1947)
  6. Goofy
    1. Goofy and Wilbur (1939)
    2. Goofy's Glider (1940)
    3. Baggage Buster (1941)
    4. The Art of Skiing (1941)
    5. The Art of Self Defense (1941)
    6. How to Play Baseball (1942)
    7. The Olympic Champ (1942)
    8. How to Swim (1942)
    9. How to Fish (1942)
    10. Victory Vehicles (1943)
    11. How to Be a Sailor (1944)
    12. How to Play Golf (1944)
    13. How to Play Football (1944)
    14. Tiger Trouble (1945)
    15. African Diary (1945)
    16. Californy 'er Bust (1945)
    17. Hockey Homicide (1945)
    18. A Knight for a Day (1946)
    19. Double Dribble (1946)
    20. Foul Hunting (1947)
    21. They're Off (1948)
    22. The Big Wash (1948)
    23. Tennis Racquet (1949)
    24. Goofy Gymnastics (1949)
    25. Motor Mania (1950)
    26. Hold That Pose (1950)
    27. Lion Down (1951)
    28. Home Made Home (1951)
    29. Cold War (1951)
    30. Tomorrow We Diet! (1951)
    31. Get Rich Quick (1951)
    32. Fathers Are People (1951)
    33. No Smoking (1951)
    34. Father's Lion (1952)
    35. Hello Aloha (1952)
    36. Man's Best Friend (1952)
    37. Two Gun Goofy (1952)
    38. Teachers are People (1952)
    39. Two Weeks Vacation (1952)
    40. How to Be a Detective (1952)
    41. Father's Day Off (1953)
    42. For Whom the Bulls Toil (1953)
    43. Father's Weekend (1953)
    44. How to Dance (1953)
    45. How to Sleep (1953)
  7. Figaro
    1. Figaro and Cleo (1943)
    2. Bath Day (1946)
    3. Figaro and Frankie (1947)
  8. Chip and Dale
    1. Chicken in the Rough (1951)
    2. Two Chips and a Miss (1952)
    3. The Lone Chipmunks (1954)
  9. Humphrey the Bear
    1. Hooked Bear (1956)
    2. In the Bag (1956)
  10. Other cartoons
    1. Ferdinand the Bull (1938)
    2. Education for Death (1943)
    3. Reason and Emotion (1943)
    4. Chicken Little (1943)
    5. The Pelican and the Snipe (1944)
    6. The Brave Engineer (1950)
    7. Morris the Midget Moose (1950)
    8. Lambert the Sheepish Lion (1952)
    9. Susie the Little Blue Coupe (1952)
    10. The Little House (1952)
    11. Melody (1953)
    12. Football (Now and Then) (1953)
    13. Pigs Is Pigs (1954)
    14. Social Lion (1954)

Feature films

Feature films (as RKO Radio Pictures)
  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
  2. Pinocchio (1940)
  3. Fantasia (1940)
  4. The Reluctant Dragon (1941)
  5. Dumbo (1941)
  6. Bambi (1942)
  7. Saludos Amigos (1942)
  8. The Three Caballeros (1944)
  9. Make Mine Music (1946)
  10. Song of the South (1946)
  11. Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
  12. Melody Time (1948)
  13. So Dear to My Heart (1948)
  14. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)
  15. Cinderella (1950)
  16. Treasure Island (1950)
  17. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
  18. The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men (1952)
  19. Peter Pan (1953)
  20. The Sword and the Rose (1953)
  21. Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953)
  22. Music Land (1955)
Feature films (as RKO Pictures)
RKO Japan
Title Title (Japan) Date of release (Japan)
Cinderella シンデレラ March 7, 1952
Pinocchio ピノキオ May 17, 1952
Alice In Wonderland ふしぎの国のアリス August 19, 1953
Peter Pan ピーター・パン March 22, 1955
Sleeping Beauty 眠れる森の美女 July 23, 1960
One Hundred and One Dalmatians 101匹わんちゃん July 27, 1962
The Sword in the Stone 王様の剣 July 18, 1964

Documentaries

  1. True-Life Adventures
    1. Seal Island (1948)
    2. In Beaver Valley (1950)
    3. Nature's Half Acre (1951)
    4. The Olympic Elk (1952)
    5. Water Birds (1952)
    6. Bear Country (1953)
    7. Prowlers of the Everglades (1953)
  2. People & Places
    1. The Alaskan Eskimo (1953)

Gallery

References

  1. "Disney, British Firm Co-Owns RKO Japan, Ltd."
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