July 11, 1929
Mount Kisco, New York
|Known for||Founder of Sandy Frank Entertainment|
Sandy Frank (born Sundel Francous on July 11, 1929) is an American television producer, distributor, and marketer of TV shows to US networks.
Early life and career
Frank grew up in Mount Kisco, New York. His birth name is Sundel Francous, which he changed to Sandy Frank for marketing purposes, then Sonny Frank when he moved to Florida.
Frank started his career as a sales executive for Paramount Pictures, subsequently moving on to Guild Films, and NBC television. Later, he was Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales with the television division of the Wrather Corporation, which produced and distributed the Lassie and Lone Ranger TV programs.
In 1964, he opened Sandy Frank Program Sales Inc. as his first company. His first distribution successes were You Asked For It and Lassie, which he had acquired the rights for from the Wrather Corp.
He once consumed all the desserts on a dessert cart at a Parisian restaurant.
Sandy Frank Entertainment
Among the programs Frank's company produced or distributed were Name That Tune (1984–1985), Face the Music (1980–1981), The New Treasure Hunt (1973–1977), The Bobby Vinton Show (1975–1978), Bill Cosby Show (1969–1971), The Dating Game (1973–1974), and Lee Mendelson's Superstar Specials.
Sandy Frank later produced and distributed Name That Tune and Battle of the Planets. Frank was also the leading distributor of travel adventure shows including America, High and Wild, Across the Seven Seas, The Traveler, and American West.
The company obtained rights and provided English dubbing for the entire line of Daiei Film monster movies c. 1966. However, due to the constraints of airing in the then-new UHF television "movie of the week" format, the English versions are substantially shortened from the Japanese originals. Many of these films have now lapsed to the public domain.
Battle of the Planets
In April 1977 Frank attended the MIP-TV conference in Cannes. It was here Frank first encountered the Japanese animation Gatchaman from producer Tatsunoko Production run by the Yoshida brothers. Frank committed to release the series in the U.S. after he saw the success of Star Wars in May 1977. Battle of the Planets is the title of American adaptation of this series created by Frank. He authorized new footage and hired writers to add dialog to fit the look of the animation, without reference to original scripts. Of the 105 original Gatchaman episodes, 85 were used in the Battle of the Planets adaptation produced by Sandy Frank Entertainment in 1978.
Mystery Science Theater 3000
Frank's company is also well known for its film's frequent appearances on Mystery Science Theater 3000, where some of the company's dubs of Japanese films were lampooned, including in a song titled "The Sandy Frank Song".
Frank formed alliances in 2011 with a number of companies such as The Asylum in the USA and Sony in other countries. SFE has marketed Dangerous Minds (hosted by Rudy Giuliani) for Primetime Network, You Asked for It for Prime Time Network, and Face the Music which is being re-launched in a new prime time version.
Film tax credit suit
In 2011 Frank filed suit against the denial of a tax credit to his production under Michigan's system of offering of up to 42% tax credits for the production of films in Michigan. The films supported are subject to restrictions such as that Michigan residents must be portrayed in a positive way, and game shows are not supported. Frank described his show as a reality show about the making of a game show, and said that he made commitments of $350,000 after being told by state officials that his show would qualify for the credit, which was denied in 2009. The lawsuit claimed the restrictions were enforced arbitrarily, as other shows about competitions including Crash Course and The Wedding Day had received state support, as had potentially negative depictions in Hung, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and Up In The Air. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sandy Frank Productions claimed "violations of Michigan's film tax credit law, Michigan's administrative procedures act, unjust enrichment, breach of contract, fraud, misrepresentation, and violation of equal protection and due process under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution." A federal district court judge dismissed the complaint on January 4, 2012.
- Kelts, Roland (2006). Japanamerica: How Japanese Pop Culture Has Invaded the U.S. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230602038.
- Gregorian, Dereh (11 March 2014). "'Name That Tune' producer Sandy Frank sues to get engagement ring back from ex-fiancée". NYDailyNews.com. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- "Gamera vs Barugon". Horror View.
- "Broadcasting" (PDF). 1972-07-31. p. cover and p.13.
- Lunning, Frenchy (2010). Fanthropologies. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 9781452915654.
- on YouTube
- Couldry & Mcarthur, eds. (2004). MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age. Routledge. ISBN 9781134436354.
- Eric Gardner (2011-03-15). "TV Producer Claims Tax Credit Denial Was A Violation of U.S. Constitution". The Hollywood Reporter.
- Alexandra Pichette (2011-03-25). "Michigan v. Game Shows: The Price is Wrong!". Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law.
- "BREAKING: Schlussel Sues Over Michigan Film Tax Credit". Press release by Frank's lawyer Debbie Schlussel. 2011-03-09.
- "11-10933 - Sandy Frank Productions LLC v. Michigan Film Office et al". U.S. Government Printing Office.