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Lettris is a curious tetris-clone game where all the bricks have the same square shape but different content. Each square carries a letter. To make squares disappear and save space for other squares you have to assemble English words (left, right, up, down) from the falling squares.
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|Owner(s)||Independent (1935–1959, 1986–1994)
National Telefilm Associates (1959–1986)
Spelling Entertainment Group (1994–1999)
Republic Pictures was an independent film production-distribution corporation with studio facilities, operating from 1934 through 1959, and was best known for specializing in westerns, movie serials and B films emphasizing mystery and action.
The studio was also responsible for financing and distributing one Shakespeare film, Orson Welles' Macbeth (1948) and several of the films of John Ford during the 1940s and early 1950s, and for developing the careers of John Wayne, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
Created in 1935 by Herbert J. Yates, a longtime investor in film and music properties and founder and president of film processing laboratory Consolidated Film Industries, Republic was the result of a union of six smaller Poverty Row studios.
In the depths of the Great Depression of the 1930s, Yates' laboratory was servicing many Poverty Row studios. In 1935 Yates saw a chance to become a studio head himself. Six established Poverty Row companies (Monogram, Mascot, Liberty, Majestic, Chesterfield and Invincible) were all in debt to Yates' lab. He prevailed upon these studios to merge under his leadership (or otherwise face foreclosure on their outstanding lab bills). Yates' new company, Republic Pictures Corporation, was established as a collaborative enterprise focused on low-budget product.
Acquiring and integrating these six companies allowed Republic to begin life with an experienced production staff, a company of veteran B-film supporting players and at least one very promising star, a complete distribution system and a functioning and modern studio. In exchange for merging, the principals were promised independence in their productions under the Republic aegis, and higher budgets with which to improve the quality of the films.
After he had "learned the ropes" of film production and distribution from his partners, Yates began asserting more and more authority over their film departments, and dissension arose in the ranks. Carr and Johnston left and reactivated Monogram Pictures; Darmour resumed independent production for Columbia Pictures; Levine left and never recovered from the loss of his studio, staff and stars, all of whom now were contracted to Republic and Yates. Freed of partners, Yates presided over what was now his film studio and acquiring senior production and management staff who would serve him as employees, not experienced peers with independent ideas and agendas.
In its early years Republic was itself sometimes labelled a "poverty row" company, as its primary products were B movies and serials. Republic, however, showed more interest in, and provided larger budgets to, these films than many of the larger studios were doing, and certainly more than other independents were able to. The heart of the company was its westerns, and many western-film leads, among them John Wayne, Gene Autry, Rex Allen and Roy Rogers, became recognizable stars at Republic. However, by the mid-1940s Yates was producing better-quality pictures, even mounting big-budget fare like The Quiet Man, Sands of Iwo Jima, Johnny Guitar and The Maverick Queen.
In 1947 Republic incorporated animation into its Gene Autry feature film Sioux City Sue. It turned out well enough for the studio to dabble in animated cartoons. After leaving Warner Bros. in 1947 (reportedly due to angering his peers at the studio's cartoon division for taking credit that was not really his), Bob Clampett approached Republic and wound up directing a single cartoon, It's a Grand Old Nag, featuring the equine character Charlie Horse. Republic management, however, had second thoughts due to dwindling profits, and discontinued the series. Clampett took his direction credit under the name "Kilroy".
From the mid-1940s Republic films often featured Vera Hruba Ralston, a former ice-skater from Czechoslovakia who had won the heart of studio boss Yates, becoming the second Mrs. Yates in 1949. She was originally featured in musicals as Republic's answer to Sonja Henie, but Yates tried to build her up as a dramatic star, casting her in leading roles opposite important male stars. Yates billed her as "the most beautiful woman in films," but her charms were lost on the moviegoing public and exhibitors complained that Republic was making too many Ralston pictures. Years later John Wayne admitted that the reason he left Republic in 1952 was the threat of having to make another picture—he had endured two—with Miss Ralston. Yates remained Ralston's biggest supporter, and she continued to appear in Republic features until its very last production.
With production costs increasing, Yates organised Republic's output into four types of films: "Jubilee", usually a western shot in seven days for about $50,000; "Anniversary", filmed in 14 to 15 days for $175,000 to $200,000; "Deluxe", major productions made with a budget of around $500,000; and "Premiere", which were usually made by top-rank directors who did not usually work for Republic, such as John Ford, Fritz Lang and Frank Borzage, and which could have a budget of $1,000,00 or more. Some of these "Deluxe" films were from independent production companies that were picked up for release by Republic.
Although Republic made most of its films in black and white, it occasionally would produce a higher-budgeted film, such as The Red Pony (1949) and The Quiet Man (1952), in Technicolor. During the late 1940s and 1950s Yates utilized a low-cost Cinecolor process called Trucolor in many of his films, notably Johnny Guitar (1954), The Last Command and Magic Fire (1956).
Republic was one of the first Hollywood studios to offer its film library to television. In 1951 Republic established a subsidiary, Hollywood Television Service, to sell screening rights in its vintage westerns and action thrillers. Many of these films, especially the westerns, were edited to fit in a one-hour television slot. Hollywood Television Service also produced television shows filmed in the same style as Republic's serials, such as The Adventures of Fu Manchu (1956). Also, in 1952 the Republic studio lot became the first home of MCA's series factory, Revue Productions. While it would appear that Republic was well suited for television-series production, it did not have the finances or vision to do so. Yet by the mid-1950s, thanks to its sale of old features and leasing of studio space to MCA, television was the prop holding up Republic Pictures. During this period Republic produced Commando Cody: Sky Marshal of the Universe; unsuccessful as a theater release, the 12-part serial was later sold to NBC for television distribution. Talent-agent MCA exerted influence at the studio, bringing in some high-paid clients for occasional features, and it was rumored at various times that either MCA or deposed MGM head Louis B. Mayer would buy the studio outright. From 1953–1954 Republic produced The Pride of the Family, a situation comedy on ABC starring Paul Hartman, Fay Wray and Natalie Wood. From 1954–1955 the studio produced Stories of the Century, starring and narrated by Jim Davis. The syndicated series was the first western to win an Emmy Award.
As the demand and market for B-pictures declined, Republic began to cut back, slowing production from 40 features annually in the early 1950s to 18 in 1957. A tearful Yates informed shareholders at the 1958 annual meeting that feature-film production was ending; the distribution offices were shut down the following year. In 1959 Republic sold its library of films to National Telefilm Associates (NTA). Having used the studio for series production for years, CBS bought Republic's studio lot; today it is known as CBS Studio Center, and in 2006 became home to the network's Los Angeles stations KCBS-TV and KCAL-TV. In 2008 the CBS Network relocated from its Hollywood Television City location to the Radford lot. All network executives now reside on the lot.
The studio's parent company, Republic Corporation, survived for some years on Yates' other interests, among them Consolidated Film Laboratories and a company that manufactured household appliances. Other than producing a 1966 package of 26 "Century 66" 100-minute made-for-TV movies edited from some of the studio's serials to cash in on the popularity of the Batman television series, Republic Pictures' role in Hollywood ended with the sale of the studio lot.
During the early 1980s NTA re-syndicated most of the Republic film library for use by then-emerging cable television, and by 1986 found itself so successful with these product lines that it bought the Republic Pictures name and logo. A television-production unit was set up under the Republic name, and offered, among other things, the CBS series Beauty and the Beast and game show Press Your Luck (the rights to the latter series have since acquired by FremantleMedia). There were also a few theatrical films, including Freeway, Ruby in Paradise, Dark Horse, Live Nude Girls and Bound. The "new" Republic also began marketing the original's serial library on videotape.
In 1993 Republic won a landmark legal decision reactivating the copyright on Frank Capra's 1946 RKO film It's a Wonderful Life (under NTA, they had already acquired the film's negative, music score, and the story on which it was based, "The Greatest Gift").
On April 27, 1994, Spelling Entertainment (headed by Aaron Spelling) acquired Republic Pictures. Soon after, Spelling consolidated its many divisions, reducing Republic Pictures to a marketing brand-name. Republic's video division shut down in 1995, allowing the video rights to the Republic library to be leased to Artisan Entertainment, while the library itself continued to be released under the Republic name and logo. By the end of the decade, Viacom bought the portion of Spelling it did not own previously; thus Republic became a wholly owned division of Paramount. Artisan (later sold to Lionsgate Home Entertainment) continued to use the Republic name, logo and library under license from Paramount.
Republic Pictures' holdings consist of a catalog of 3,000 films and TV series, including:
Today, as a result of the Viacom/CBS corporate split of 2006, Republic's holdings are divided. CBS Television Studios owns most ancillary rights to Republic's television output (while sharing the copyrights with Republic itself), while the theatrical side is owned outright by Viacom's Paramount Pictures. As of 2009, television distribution of the Republic theatrical films is by Trifecta Entertainment & Media (under license from Paramount).
Lions Gate Home Entertainment's home video rights initially expired in late 2005, but have since regained video rights to Republic's theatrical film library (except It's a Wonderful Life--the video rights to that and several other films, as well as Republic's TV library now are with Paramount Home Entertainment, with the TV shows released through the CBS DVD label). Paramount handles internet distribution of the Republic films via iTunes and Epix.
Outside the US, video rights to the Republic film and television library are divided. For example, Universal Studios Home Entertainment owns the UK rights (they also own UK DVD rights to the TV series Twin Peaks, despite other Spelling/Republic shows being distributed by Paramount there), and Paramount itself handles distribution in Australia and New Zealand.