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Warner Brothers

Trademark Lexicon

The brothers Samuel "Sam" Louis (1887-1927), Harry Morris (1881-1958), Albert "Abe" (1884-1967) and Jack Leonard Warner (1892-1978), whose father, a Polish shoemaker, followed in 1888 America emigrated, from 1903 onwards, projectionists traveled through Pennsylvania and Ohio with a used Edison Kinetoscope - a popular attraction at the fair at the time. They then opened two Nickelodeons in New Castle, Pennsylvania and founded a film distribution company. The first Warner cinema, the Cascade Movie Palace, opened in 1906, has since been restored and reopened in 2006. In 1911 Sam and Jack produced their first film ("The Perils Of The Plains") in St. Louis, Missouri, which was so bad it was never shown in a movie theater. Nevertheless, the brothers now concentrated entirely on film production. In 1917 they had their first success with the film "My Four Years in Germany".

WARNER BROS. PICTURES: In 1918 Sam and Jack Warner opened their own studio in Culver City / California, which was relocated to Hollywood in 1920 (5800 Sunset Boulevard). From these activities the company Warner Brothers Pictures emerged in 1923, which in addition to film production also dealt with film distribution and the acquisition and operation of cinemas (1924 acquisition of the cinema and distribution company Vitagraph Company). Sam Warner took care of the technology from then on, Jack ran the studio in Hollywood, Harry acted as president of the company, whose headquarters were then still in New York, and Albert was responsible for the film distribution and the cinemas.

SOUND FILM: The studio gained fame in 1927 with the film "The Jazzsinger", which is now considered the first sound film, although Warner Brothers had already presented the sound film "Don Juan" in 1926, the sound of which consisted only of the music of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Previously, the silent films in the cinemas had been accompanied musically by a piano player or an orchestra. The first language contribution in film history came from Al Jolson in "Jazzsinger": "Say, Ma, listen to this ...". Al Jolson, then a celebrated Broadway star, sang several songs in the film; the few monologues and dialogues were improvised.

VITAPHONE: The technology came from the AT&T subsidiary Western Electric. The Warner brothers, who had acquired the sole rights of use from Western Electric, called this pin-tone process, in which a gramophone record ran in sync with the film, Vitaphone. It was by no means the most modern technology, because as early as 1922 the Polish engineer Józef Tykociński-Tykociner and the German engineers Hans Vogt, Joseph Masolle and Joseph Benedict had independently developed the so-called optical sound process (the German process was called Tri-Ergon - »the work of three «). Lee de Forrest, who developed the triode (3-electron tube) in 1906, and his student Theodore Willard Case, are also named as inventors. In the optical sound process, the sound track is exposed between the individual images and the perforation holes in the film. During playback, a lamp lights up on the sound strip, which allows different amounts of light to pass through depending on the amplitude and frequency of the recorded sound signal. A photodiode located behind the film converts the light into an alternating voltage, which is then amplified and made audible through loudspeakers. However, the German film industry had shown no interest, presumably because the optical sound system was not yet fully developed. William Fox (Fox Film Corporation) acquired the Tri-Ergon patents for the North American market in 1927 and developed the Movietone process from it. The optical tone method (Western Electric Westrex, RCA Photophone) soon prevailed over the pin tone method and is still used today in addition to the magnetic sound method.

WITMARK, REMICK, HARMS, BRUNSWICK RADIO: Since the studios did not initially have their own composers and lyricists under contract, but had to obtain the finished pieces of music from music publishers, the producers soon came up with the idea of ​​founding their own publishers or buying something that already existed in relation to the existing song catalogs mostly made more sense. In 1928/29 Warner Brothers took over the three renowned music publishers Witmark, Remick and Harms and in 1930 the Brunswick Radio Corporation, the equipment and music department of the bowling ball manufacturer Brunswick-Balke-Collender. However, the manufacturing and distribution rights for the Brunswick records were passed on to the American Record Corporation (ARC) in 1931 and in 1941 Warner Brothers sold the Brunswick Radio Corporation to Decca Records.

STANLEY, FIRST NATIONAL: In 1928 Warner Brothers acquired the Stanley Company, which also owned shares in First National. In 1929, Warner took full ownership of First National, moving to his studio in Burbank, which is still the company's headquarters today. The studio at Sunset Boulevard 5800 was closed in 1937 and initially used as a sports park. Later it belonged to, among others, Paramount Television (from 1954) and Gene Autry's company Golden West Broadcasters (from 1967). The existing buildings of the studio have been under monument protection since 2002.

Warner Bros. was first known for dark gangster films in which later stars such as Edward G. Robinson (1930 "Little Caesar"), James Cagney (1931 "The Public Enemy") and Paul Muni (1932 "I am an escaped chain convict") ) earned their first spurs. In the 1940s and 1950s Errol Flynn (1935 "Under Pirate Flag", 1938 "Robin Hood - King of the Vagabonds", 1940 "The Lord of the Seven Seas"), Bette Davis (1938 "Jezebel - The Malicious Lady"), Humphrey Bogart (1941 “The Maltese Falcon”, 1942 “Casablanca”, 1946 “Dead Sleeping Soundly”, 1948 “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”), Marlon Brando (1951 “Endstation Sehnsucht”), Doris Day (1953 “Calamity Jane”) and James Dean (1954 "Beyond Eden", 1955 "... because they don't know what they're doing", 1956 "Giants") to the stars of the studio. In 1944, Warner Bros. acquired the cartoon film studio Leon Schlesinger Productions, which produced the cartoon series "Looney Tunes" (1930 - 1969; with the characters Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester and Speedy Gonzales) and " Merrie Melodies «(1931-1969).

STANLEY WARNER THEATRES: As part of the anti-trust campaign against the concentration of the Hollywood industry, Warner Brothers had to sell its cinemas in 1953; the split-off company traded as Stanley Warner Theaters. In the meantime it became increasingly clear that the studios could no longer bear the financial risk of the film business alone. The money for the prestigious large-scale projects increasingly came from outside financiers, who thus also gained more and more power over the film companies. In 1956 Harry and Albert Warner finally sold most of their company shares. Jack L. Warner, the youngest of the brothers, kept his shares for the time being and continued to be the studio boss in Hollywood. Under his direction, films such as “A New Star in the Sky” (1954), “Moby Dick” (1956), “Rio Bravo” (1959), “What Really Happened to Baby Jane” (1962), “My Fair Lady” were made "(1964)," Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? "(1966) and" Bonnie and Clyde "(1967).

WARNER BROS. RECORDS, WEA: In 1958 Warner Bros. entered the music business again with the branch Warner Bros. Records Inc. (Burbank / California). For years the company stayed afloat with very few artists such as Peter, Paul & Mary or the Everly Brothers. Acquisitions such as the Atlantic Record Corporation (1967; labels: Atlantic, Atco, East West), Reprise Records (1968) and Elektra Records / Nonesuch Records (1970) created a sizable music company that soon became active outside of the USA, including Canada (from 1967 Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Records of Canada Ltd., from 1970 Warner Bros. Records of Canada Ltd., from 1971 Kinney Music of Canada Ltd., from 1972 WEA Music Of Canada Ltd.), Great Britain (from 1969 Warner Bros. Seven Arts Records Ltd., from 1970 Warner Bros. Records Ltd., from 1971 Kinney Record Group Ltd., from 1972 WEA Records Ltd.), Australia (from 1970 Warner Bros. Records Pty Limited, from 1971 Kinney Music Pty Limited ., from 1972 WEA Records Pty Limited), Germany (from 1970 Kinney Music GmbH; from 1973 WEA Musik GmbH) and France (from 1971 Kinney Filipacchi Music SA, from 1972 WEA Filipacchi Music SA). The international sales organization was initially called Kinney Record Group International New York (after the Warner Bros. parent company Kinney National Services) and from 1972 WEA International Inc. (WEA = Warner-Elektra-Atlantic). The US sales, founded in 1971, traded as Warner-Elektra-Atlantic Distributing Corporation (WEA). In the next few years, WEA took over numerous other international record companies and music publishers, including 1973 Asylum Records (USA), 1980 Sire Records (USA), 1987 Chappell (GB), 1988 Teldec (D), 1988 Magnet Records (GB), 1991 Carrére (F), 1992 Erato (F), 1998 Rhino Records (USA), 2004 Maverick Records (USA), 2006 Roadrunner Records (NL) and 2013 Parlophone (GB).

SEVEN ARTS, KINNEY NATIONAL SERVICE: In 1967 Jack L. Warner sold his remaining company shares to the TV film production company Seven Arts Productions, founded in 1957 by the film producers Ray Stark and Eliot Hyman (Jack Warner worked as an independent film producer for several years afterwards). As early as 1969, Warner Bros. - Seven Arts merged with the New York company Kinney National Service. The Kinney Parking Company (named after Kinney Street in Newark, New Jersey) was run by professional gambler and bookmaker Emanuel "Manny" Kimmel, Sigmund Dornbusch and Mafia member Abner "Longie" Zwillman (known as "Al Capone of New Jersey «) Was founded. During Prohibition, the company rented its parking garages and garages to the Mafia, which stored illegal alcohol there. In 1960 the company went public and two years later it merged with the New York funeral home Riverside, which was run by Steve Ross (Ross had married the daughter of Riverside owner Edward Rosenthal in 1954). In 1966, Kinney merged with the National Cleaning Company. In 1967 Kinney National Services acquired the Ashley-Famous talent agency and National Periodical Publications / DC Comics (Superman, Batman) comic book publisher.

WARNER COMMUNICATIONS: After all non-media businesses were sold, Kinney renamed itself Warner Communications in 1972. Under the direction of Steve Ross, Manny Kimmel's son Caesar and Ted Ashley (founder of Ashley-Famous), who took over the management of the film studio, the former family business developed into a media giant that no longer only produced films (including 1971 »Uhrwerk Orange «, 1971» Dirty Harry «, 1973» The Exorcist «, 1974» Flaming Inferno «, 1975» Dog Days «, 1976» The Incorruptible «, 1978» Superman «, 1979» Meteor «, 1982» Blade Runner «, 1983» The Thorn Birds ", 1983" The Stuff the Heroes are Made of ", 1984" Once Upon a Time in America ", 1984" Police Academy ", 1985" Torches in the Storm ", 1986" Lethal Weapon - Two Steel-Hard Professionals ", 1987" Full Metal Jacket «, 1989» Batman, 1991 »JFK - Tatort Dallas«, 1982 »Bodyguard«, 1990 »Good Fellas - Three Decades in the Mafia«, 1993 »Falling Down«, 1993 »On the Run«, 1994 »Natural Born Killers ", 1999" Matrix ", 2004" Alexander ", 2001 - 2009 Harry Potter films) and sound carriers (including AC / DC, Alphaville, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Fleetwood Mac, Foreigner, Jackson Browne, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Phil Collins, Prince, Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Eagles, Van Halen) but gained a foothold in all branches of the entertainment industry. Warner Bros. Pictures was now, in addition to many other branches of the company (Atari game consoles, book publishers, comic books, TV stations, amusement parks, music publishers, records, New York Cosmos football club) only the film department of the group.

TIME-WARNER: In 1989, Warner Communications joined the New York publishing house Time Inc. (Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, In Style, Money, People, Sports Illustrated, Teen People, Time Magazine), which also includes the successful pay-TV broadcaster HBO (Home Box Office) belonged together. Shortly thereafter, TimeWarner acquired the TV production company Lorimar ("The Waltons", "Dallas", "Falcon Crest", "Flamingo Road") founded in 1968 by Mervyn Adelson, Irwin Molasky and Lee Rich. The TimeWarner group was now so widespread that even Gerald Levin, who had taken over the post of CEO after Steve Ross' death in 1992, freely asked a journalist "whether he actually knew which companies belong to his group" answered with "no".

TURNER BROADCASTING SYSTEMS (TBS): In 1995 there was another major merger: TimeWarner took over the TV company Turner Broadcasting System (Cartoon Network, CNN, Courtroom Television Network, TBS Superstation, TNT Turner Network Television, Turner Classic Movies, Turner Sports), that of media tycoon Edward (Ted) Turner III. had built up in Atlanta / Georgia since 1970. Irony of fate: The merger of TimeWarner and Turner Broadcasting made Ted Turner and his then wife, actress Jane Fonda, major shareholders of the TimeWarner corporation. The pretty daughter Henry Fondas had once stood in front of the cameras at the Warner Bros. film studio. And back then - at the beginning of her career - Jack Warner gave her well-intentioned advice that she should have her cheekbones broken if she was to succeed as an actress. He had to experience that he was quite wrong with his advice that was not followed, that the future fitness queen would one day own his studio, luckily not. He had died in 1978.

AOL: At the end of the new economy boom, TimeWarner was taken over by America Online (AOL), then the world's largest online service, in early 2000; the new company was now called AOL-Time-Warner (from 2003 TimeWarner again). The initially highly praised "unbeatable alliance" between the traditional media company and the young Internet company soon turned into a nightmare. At the end of 2009 TimeWarner sold AOL to its shareholders and brought the now independent company to the stock exchange.

WARNER MUSIC GROUP: The Warner music division - since 1990 Warner Music - was sold in 2003 to a group of investors consisting of Lexa Partners / Edgar Bronfman Jr., Thomas H. Lee Partners, Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners; the company now operates as Warner Music Group Corporation (New York). The company uses a stylized W as its logo, which the graphic designer, director and photographer Saul Bass (1920-1996) designed for Warner Communications in 1974. WMG operates numerous labels such as Asylum, Atlantic, Big Beat, East West, Elektra, Fueled By Ramen, Nonesuch, Parlophone (bought by Universal / EMI in 2013), Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros. Records, Warner Classics , Warner Music Nashville and Word. Like the other large music groups (Universal Music, Sony Music, EMI), Warner Music has been struggling with falling CD sales, illegal music downloads on the Internet and new competitors such as Apple (iTunes) since the turn of the millennium. In 2011 Warner Music was taken over by the Russian-American billionaire and investor Leonard Blavatnik (Access Industries).

Among the musicians who were under contract with the Warner labels Atlantic, Asylum, Elektra, Reprise, Warner Bros. Records and WEA (outside North America) or who had distribution agreements with their record companies (Curb, Island, Polar, Sire, Vertigo) among others

AT&T: In 2014 TimeWarner brought the magazine division to the stock exchange as an independent company (Time Inc.). TimeWarner Cable, founded in 1973, acquired Charter Communications in 2016. In 2018, TimeWarner was taken over by the telecommunications group AT&T and renamed WarnerMedia.