Wednesday, July 15, 2020

MOGULS: Louis B. Mayer, Part Three

Louis B. Mayer’s new studio was a respectable operation, though Mr. Mayer quickly realized that he lacked the capital and talent to produce the sort of pictures that would really make him a fortune. His business acumen, which served him well in arranging deals, wouldn’t get him much further in Hollywood. He would find the talent part of the equation at Carl Laemmle’s Universal Pictures. A young, talented producer named Irving Thalberg captured Mayer’s attention and he quickly offered him a job whenever he grew tired of working at Universal. Luckily for Mayer, Thalberg would bring his immense talent to Louis B. Mayer Pictures and they became a powerhouse in the burgeoning film colony.

The powerhouse duo would attract the sort of attention that would Eventually solve Mayer’s problems with financing his films. Marcus Loew, owner of Loew’s Theaters, was desperate to acquire a steady stream of pictures for his theaters. To accomplish this, he purchased Mayer’s former employers- Metro Pictures. Their output was lackluster, so Marcus purchased Samuel Goldwyn’s studio, which had been producing higher quality content. Things improved, but  Loew’s headquarters were in New York, seemingly worlds away from Hollywood. Louis B. Mayer had the business acumen that Marcus Loew felt was needed to keep his west coast operations running profitably and efficiently. Loew combined Metro Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Productions to form Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer-

The new film company would become known as MGM and Louis B. Mayer would be well on his way to becoming the most powerful man in Hollywood.