Anthony J. Xydias
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|Anthony J. Xydias|
May 22, 1879|
|Died||October 27, 1952
Anthony J. Xydias (May 22, 1882 in Tinos – October 27, 1952) was a film producer for such films as Heroes of the Alamo (1937), Devil's Canyon (1935), and Five Bad Men (1935). His career took off after he opened a theater in Dallas, Texas in 1906. From this came a chain of successful theaters.
A former exhibitor, Greek-born American film executive Anthony J. Xydias founded Sunset Pictures in 1922. He wanted to produce inexpensive Westerns starring former rodeo rider Jack Hoxie. Despite their meager budgets, the Hoxie oaters proved well above par for the period, but Xydias found himself without a star when Hoxie left in favor of Universal. Kenneth MacDonald, whom Xydias chose from the ranks of supporting players, did not fill the bill and was quickly replaced by J.B. Warner, a lanky cowboy from Nebraska. Warner died of tuberculosis after only six Westerns.
Xydias then turned his attention to saluting the country that had received him so warmly by producing a series of historical melodramas featuring heroes from America's past. In short order, Sunset released Kit Carson Over the Great Divide (1925), Buffalo Bill on the U.P. Trail (1926), Daniel Boone Through the Wilderness (1926), Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo (1926), General Custer at Little Big Horn (1926), and finally, Sitting Bull at the Spirit Lake Massacre (1927). He retired due to ill health in 1931.
Xydias returned to the scene six years later with the promise of remaking his six historical "epics," this time, of course, with sound. In the end, only Heroes of the Alamo was actually produced and it proved the slipshod affair expected from the veteran penny pincher. The film reused the silent battle scenes from Davy Crockett at the Fall of the Alamo and was later sold to Columbia Pictures with Xydias's name removed from the credits when Columbia released it in 1938.
Retired from the movie business following the less than spectacular reception of Heroes of the Alamo, Xydias was unfortunate enough to be caught behind enemy lines while visiting the Philippines in 1941. He spent the duration of the war in the infamous Santo Tomas camp.