Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Martin Ransohoff R.I.P.

Martin Ransohoff, co-founder of Filmways and movie producer, died on December 13 2017 at the age of 90.

Martin Ransohoff was born on July 7 1927 in New Orleans, Louisiana. He went to Wooster School in Danbury, Connecticut. He attended Colgate University in Hamilton Village, New York, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history in 1948. He worked at various odd jobs before getting a job at Caravel Films in 1950 where he worked as a salesman, writer, and producer.

In 1952 he co-founded Filmways with Edwin Kasper. Mr. Kasper would leave the company after five years. Initially Filmways produced commercials before moving into television show production in 1959 with 21 Beacon Street. In 1961 the company produced their first hit show, Mister Ed. Filmways would go onto produce some of the most successful shows of the Sixties, including The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, The Addams Family, and Green Acres. In 1962 Martin Ransohoff entered film production, producing films for both MGM and Filmways (whose films were distributed by MGM) and later Columbia and Paramount. In the Sixties Mr. Ransohoff produced such films as Boys' Night Out (1962), The Wheeler Dealers (1963), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Loved One (1965), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), Castle Keep (1969), and Catch-22 (1970).

It was in 1972 that Martin Ransohoff left Filmways. He continued to produce movies throughout the Seventies, including Fuzz (1972), Save the Tiger (1973), Silver Streak (1976), Nightwing (1979), and A Change of Seasons (1980).  In the Eighties Mr. Ransohoff produced such films as American Pop (1981), Hanky Panky (1982), Class (1983), Jagged Edge (1985), The Big Town (1987), Switching Channels (1988), Physical Evidence (1989), and Welcome Home (1989).  In the Nineties he produced the films Guilty as Sin (1993) and Turbulence (1997).

As both the head of a television production company and as a movie producer Martin Ransohoff was in many ways brilliant. It is notable that while president of Filmways, the company produced some of the most successful shows of all time. In fact, episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies still rank among the highest rated television programmes in the United States. It was after Mr. Ransohoff left Filmways that the company's fortunes took a sharp turn for the worse. As a movie producer Mr. Ransohoff also saw a good deal of success, producing such films as Boys Night Out, The Americanization of Emily, Ice Station Zebra, Catch-22, and Jagged Edge. Even when one of Martin Ransohoff's films did not initially see success, such as The Loved One and The Fearless Vampire Killers, they might later develop cult followings. Martin Ransohoff certainly had a knack for knowing what audiences wanted to see.

No comments: