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Slow Fade to Black: The Decline of RKO Radio Pictures

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  11 ratings  ·  3 reviews
Slow Fade to Black completes Richard B. Jewell’s richly detailed two-part history of the RKO film studio, which began with RKO Radio Pictures: A Titan Is Born, published in 2012. This second volume charts the studio’s fortunes, which peaked during World War II, declined in the postwar period, and finally collapsed in the 1950s. Drawing on hard-to-access archival materials, Jewell chroni ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 22nd 2016 by University of California Press (first published March 8th 2016)
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Jason Pettus
There's no way to call A Titan is Born and Slow Fade to Black, the two-book series by USC professor Richard B. Jewell chronicling the rise and fall of the old RKO Radio Pictures movie studio, as somehow riveting or fascinating; even Jewell himself admits that these are corporate histories instead of creative histories, the main point being to show that the ever-changing line-up of C-level executives at RKO is what doomed it to go out of business a mere thirty years after it started with great fanfare. (Bo ...more
Benjamin
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The second part of Richard B Jewell's corporate history of RKO focuses on its decline and eventual extinction. RKO was never a stable, well-managed company but, under Howard Hughes, took a nosedive of mismanagement and questionable business decisions from which it never fully recovered. Its final owner sold the lot to Desilu, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's television production company; so, in 1957, one of the major companies of Hollywood's Golden Age vanished forever. Jewell's examination is pre ...more
Peter M. B.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hollywood
This is the second half of the definitive history of RKO. It's well-written and thoroughly researched. As someone interested in the films of classic Hollywood, I found Jewell's two-volume history of the business side of the studio surprisingly engaging.

For this second book, I only wish the author had covered the final management's reasons for suddenly shutting down the studio, rather than selling out, in a bit more depth. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in classic Hollywood an
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