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|Fate||Purchased by Coca-Cola on June 18, 1985, who later folded the company into Embassy Communications. Currently an in-name-only unit of Sony Pictures Television|
ACT III Communications (in part)
Embassy Communications, Inc. (1982-1985)
The Coca-Cola Company (1985-1986)
- 1 History
- 2 Theatrical movies released by major studios
- 3 About the theme songs
- 4 Notable actors and actresses
- 5 Notable TV Programs/Studios and tapings by Tandem Productions
- 6 References
In the early years, Yorkin and Lear initially established Tandem specifically for television production. The company produced several variety and dramatic television specials such as the Fred Astaire specials, Henry Fonda and the Family, An Evening with Carol Channing and The Scene '66, to name a few. Tandem was also at hand for various unsold pilots throughout the 1950s and 1960s, including Henry T., Meet Me at Danny's and Barnaby (not to be confused with Barnaby Jones). The company also financed the production of theatrical films, some of which were released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and United Artists.
Lear and Yorkin later turned their focus on situation comedy. The first success in that genre was All in the Family, which was based on a British sitcom Till Death Us Do Part. Before the series made its debut on January 12, 1971, Yorkin and Lear shot two unsold pilots for the series: one in 1968 called Justice For All and the other in 1969 titled Those Were the Days. Production for the series began in late 1970, following the third pilot episode which was picked up by CBS. More successful shows were also produced by Tandem; they were Maude (1972–1978), Good Times (1974–1979), and finally Sanford and Son (1972–1977). All four of those shows had the in-credit notice displayed at the end A Bud Yorkin-Norman Lear Tandem Production. In 1977, Viacom Enterprises secured domestic and international television syndication rights for All in the Family which hit off-network reruns in Fall 1979. Columbia Pictures Television took over distribution for the series by 1991. In 1978, Tandem produced Diff'rent Strokes, which was the only show not to be produced by Yorkin nor Lear. Archie Bunker's Place was produced in 1979, Sanford in 1980 and Gloria, the final series to be produced by Tandem in 1982. Not many more shows were produced under the Tandem name, but many other shows were being produced under TAT Communications Company during the early 1980s.
The name Tandem Productions was chosen because when launching their company, Yorkin and Lear were said to feel like two men riding uphill on a tandem bicycle.
Norbud Productions, Inc. is a crediting company name for Tandem Productions by the first names of Bud Yorkin and Norman Lear that was formed in 1970. This name lasted until 1973 on Sanford and Son.
Bud Yorkin Productions and TOY Productions
After Yorkin ended his partnership with Lear in 1975, he joined forces with writers and producers Saul Turteltaub and Bernie Orenstein (who wrote some episodes and produced Sanford and Son from 1974 to 1977) and established Bud Yorkin Productions, Inc. He still remained as the executive producer of the series. The first sitcom was Grady and it was spun-off from Sanford and Son starring Whitman Mayo. The series was canceled after twelve episodes due to low ratings.
In 1976, Yorkin, Turteltaub, and Orenstein established TOY Productions, and the first sitcom for the company was What's Happening!!. The series was suggested by an American International Picture Cooley High written by Eric Monte.
On February 19, 1979, TOY Productions was acquired by Columbia Pictures Television and launched a new series and co-produced the sitcom One in a Million. After the cancellation, TOY Productions was folded.
P*I*T*S (an acronym which stands for "Pie In The Sky") Films was the television distribution arm of Tandem Productions launched in 1978 to distribute their parent company's programs (the only exception was All in the Family, which at the time was distributed by Viacom). P*I*T*S Films was reincorporated as Embassy Telecommunications in 1982.
After Norman Lear bought Avco Embassy Pictures, he dropped the name "Avco" and reincorporated T.A.T. Communications to Embassy Television. All series that were still produced by T.A.T. (such as The Facts of Life, The Jeffersons, Gloria, and One Day at a Time) were produced under the Embassy name. All shows by Tandem Productions that were off the air were distributed by Embassy Telecommunications. In 1983, Ken Stump, the former associate producer for Tandem Productions and T.A.T. Communications was made in charge of production for Tandem Productions and Embassy Television.
June 18, 1985, Norman Lear and Jerry Perenchio sold Embassy Pictures Corporation to Coca-Cola for $485 million, but then Coke sold Embassy Pictures to Dino De Laurentiis since De Laurentiis didn't want to release his movies through a major studio anymore. Coke's plan was to keep the television output alive and to spin-off the other labels that weren't part of the deal. De Laurentiis later folded Embassy Pictures with the formation of De Laurentiis Entertainment Group. Majority of the motion picture holdings are currently licensed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and StudioCanal. However, Columbia Pictures still retains Crimewave and Saving Grace (both co-distributed by Embassy Pictures). SPE also has the television rights to the Avco Embassy Film The Fog (1980) since the revival in 2005.
After the sale of Embassy, CPT also produced the sitcom What's Happening Now!! along with LBS Communications (Colex). The same year, Diff'rent Strokes was moved to ABC from NBC. Tandem Productions was by then reduced down to an in-name-only division of Embassy Television and was renamed to Tandem Licensing Corporation. In 1986, Diff'rent Strokes was canceled from ABC due to low ratings and Tandem Productions was abandoned. Embassy Television merged with Embassy Telecommunications and Tandem Productions to form Embassy Communications (later became part of Columbia/Embassy Television in November 1986). However, Tandem still remained as an in-name-only division of Embassy Communications until February 8, 1988 when it became in-name-only to Columbia Pictures Television and in turn an in-name-only sub-division of ELP Communications. CPT still retained the television rights to those Embassy movies by Joseph E. Levine, Avco Embassy Pictures, and Lear/Perenchio's Embassy Pictures.
In 1986, Coca-Cola spun-off and sold Embassy Home Entertainment to Nelson Holdings, Inc. and became Nelson Entertainment that was also not part of the plan for Coke to keep the home video arm due to RCA's venture with Columbia Pictures Home Video that would've conflicted the joint venture if Coke kept EHE.
Theatrical movies released by major studios
Motion pictures produced by Tandem Productions, Inc. and other companies.
- Come Blow Your Horn (1963, distributed by Paramount Pictures); (Essex-Tandem)
- Never Too Late (1965, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures);
- Divorce American Style (1967, as Tandem Enterprises, Inc. and distributed by Columbia Pictures);
- The Night They Raided Minsky's (1968, distributed by United Artists);
- Start the Revolution Without Me (1970, as Norbud Productions and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures);
- Cold Turkey (1971, distributed by United Artists);
- The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973, distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures).
- Blue Collar (1978, as T.A.T. Communications Company and distributed by Universal Pictures);
About the theme songs
Norman Lear wanted his theme songs to be sung by a choir. But for All in the Family, Carrol O'Connor and Jean Stapleton decided to sing the theme. Until 1972, the theme song for Maude was sung by the choir. As years passed, the remaining series by Lear were led by choirs. They were Good Times, The Jeffersons, and One Day At a Time.
Notable actors and actresses
Tandem, TOY, and ELP Communications used the same actors and actresses to appear on different television programs.
- John Amos (Tandem)
- Marla Gibbs (ELP)
- Esther Rolle (Tandem)
- Demond Wilson (Tandem)
- Carroll O'Connor (Tandem)
- Ernest Lee Thomas (TOY)
- Todd Bridges (Tandem, TOY, ELP)
- LaWanda Page (Tandem, ELP)
- Kim Fields (Tandem, ELP)
- Gary Coleman (Tandem, ELP)
- Charlotte Rae (Tandem, ELP)
- Nathaniel Taylor, Jr. (Tandem, TOY)
- Whitman Mayo (Tandem, ELP)
- Hal Williams (Tandem, TOY, ELP)
- Helen Martin (Tandem, TOY, ELP)
- Isabel Sanford (Tandem, ELP)
- Sherman Hemsley (Tandem, ELP)
- Michael Evans (Tandem, ELP)
- Jean Stapleton (Tandem, ELP)
- Sally Struthers (Tandem)
Notable TV Programs/Studios and tapings by Tandem Productions
- All in the Family at CBS Television City (1971-1975) and Metromedia Square (1975–1979)
- Maude at CBS Television City (1972-1975) and Metromedia Square (1975–1978)
- Sanford and Son at NBC Studios in Burbank (1972-1977)
- Good Times at CBS Television City (1974-1975) and Metromedia Square (1975–1979)
- Sanford Arms at NBC Studios in Burbank (1972-1977)
- Diff'rent Strokes at Metromedia Square (1978–1982), Universal Studios By Compact Video (1982–1985) and ABC Television Center (1985–1986)
- Sanford at NBC Studios in Burbank (1980-1981)
- Archie Bunker's Place at CBS Television City (1979-1982), Universal Studios by Compact Video (1982-1983)
- Gloria at Universal Studios by Compact Video (1982-1983)
- Grady (1975)
- What's Happening!! (1976–1979)
- Carter Country (1977–1979)
- One in a Million (1980)
- One of the Boys (1982)
- Sony Global - Affiliated Companies (Outside Japan) Sony.net
- "Paramount-Tandem to Produce TV Pilots". Broadcasting: p. 93. 1959-11-09.
- "Tandem's 2 Year Plan Includes TV, Movies". Broadcasting: p. 65. 1966-01-10.
- "New TOY". Broadcasting: p. 39. 1979-02-19.
- TAT Communications Company - IMDb
- Blue Collar (1978) - Company credits - IMDb