Sam Katzman

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Sam Katzman
Sam Katzman.jpg
Born (1901-07-07)July 7, 1901
New York City, New York
Died August 4, 1973(1973-08-04) (aged 72)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Occupation Film producer and director
Years active 1933-1973

Sam Katzman (July 7, 1901 – August 4, 1973) was an American film producer and director. Katzman produced low-budget genre films, including serials, which had proportionally high returns for the studios and his financial backers.[1]


Born to a Jewish family,[2] Katzman went to work as a stage laborer at the age of 13 in the fledgling East Coast film industry and moved from prop boy to assistant director at Fox Films.[3] He would learn all aspects of filmmaking and was a Hollywood producer for more than 40 years.[1]

After working as a producer of Bob Steele westerns at A. W. Hackel's Supreme Pictures, Katzman started his own studios, Victory Pictures and Puritan Pictures, in 1935. From 1935-40 Victory produced two serials and 30 features, including Western film series starring Tom Tyler and Tim McCoy.[4] Puritan ceased production in 1937.

In 1940, Katzman moved to Monogram Pictures and produced, under the names Banner Productions, Clover Productions and Four Leaf Productions, the East Side Kids features of the '40s and several films starring Bela Lugosi. In 1945 he moved to Columbia Pictures, filming a variety of serials, including the 15-chapter Superman serial of 1948, the Jungle Jim series of the late 1940s to mid 1950s — acquiring the nickname "Jungle Sam" — a variety of second features, including many filmed in 3D, and a string of rock-'n'-roll musicals in the '50s. His best known films are probably Earth vs. the Flying Saucers and The Werewolf (1956).

At MGM in the '60s, Katzman produced several Elvis Presley movies, as well as the Herman's Hermits film Hold On! and singer Roy Orbison's only film, The Fastest Guitar Alive.

He was the uncle of television producer Leonard Katzman. Sam Katzman died on August 4, 1973, in Hollywood. He is interred in the Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California.


NME - February 1962[5]

Selected filmography[edit]


  • Wheeler Winston Dixon. Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood. Southern Illinois University Press, 2005.


  1. ^ a b "Sam Katzman: He Makes The Serials.". The Sunday Herald (Sydney, NSW : 1949 - 1953) (Sydney, NSW: National Library of Australia). 20 September 1953. p. 15. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  2. ^ Jewish Virtual Library: "KATZMAN, SAM" 2008
  3. ^ p.48 Dixon, Wheeler W Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (September 1, 2005)
  4. ^ p. 438 Pitts, Michael R. Poverty Row Studios, 1929-1940: An Illustrated History of 53 Independent Film Companies, with a Filmography for Each McFarland & Company, 1 Jan 1997
  5. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 103. CN 5585. 

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