Al Zimbalist

Alfred N. Zimbalist (March 3, 1910, Kiev, Russia – August 28, 1975, Los Angeles) was a producer of low-budget films such as Robot Monster, Monster from Green Hell, Cat-Women of the Moon, Watusi and Baby Face Nelson.

Al Zimbalist
On the set of Drums of Africa, 1963
Alfred Zimbalist

March 3, 1910
Kiev, Russia
DiedAugust 28, 1975 (age 65)
Los Angeles
Years active1951–1965
Spouse(s)Bernice Higgen
ChildrenDonald Zimbalist

Al Zimbalist was primarily known for B movies, science fiction, crime and horror.[1] Al Zimbalist's son, Donald R. Zimbalist (Feb 17, 1936 – Oct 6, 2004), was a frequent collaborator.

Early years

Al Zimbalist was the son of Nuchim Zimbalist (Russian: Нухим Цимбалист), a New York dressmaking foreman, and Feiga Fannie Weiner. Zimbalist was one of four children and immigrated to the US, arriving November 13, 1911, aboard the SS Lituania. He completed his education to the eight grade. It is unclear whether he had any familial connection with the producer Sam Zimbalist.

Movie career

Zimbalist started his career in the film industry when he joined the Stanley-Warner Theatres home-office in New York in 1929, working as an editor for the company's house organ, The Warner Club News. At 19, Zimbalist was said to be one of the youngest editors in the industry.[2] During this time, he was co-author and director of the Warner Gaieties and later executive assistant to producer Edward L. Alperson.[3] Zimbalist continued producing company club events when he joined the publicity and advertising department at RKO-Pathe in 1931.[4]

Zimbalist worked in theatres and publicity for the 1930s and 1940s, including stints at Warner Bros and RKO Theatres. In 1947 he was head of publicity for Film Classics.[5] He left Film Classics in 1949 and worked as an assistant on some Edward Albertson releases in 1951 and 1952.

In 1952 Zimbalist announced he had formed Motion Picture Artists to make moderate-priced "class exploitation films". These would include Miss Robin Crusoe, Half-caste Girl and La Virgin de Cadiz.[6] Of these only the first was made.

However he did produce Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) with Jack Rabin.

Zimbalist produced King Dinosaur and intended to follow it with White Slave Ring[7] but it was not made.

He formed ZS Productions with Irving Shulman to make a film based on the latter's unpublished novel about Baby Face Nelson. They partnered with Mickey Rooney's Fryman Enterprises to make Baby Face Nelson (1957).[8]


The film was popular enough for Zimbalist to be signed to MGM. His first film for them was Watusi a sequel to King Solomon's Mines (1950), using footage from that film.[9] The second was a remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) which also used King Solomon's Mines footage.[10]

Zimablist then made Valley of the Dragons at Columbia based on a Jules Verne novel. This movie made use of footage from One Million BC (1940).[11][12]

He then went back to MGM for Drums of Africa (1963), using footage from King Solomon's Mines once more. After Drums of Africa Zimbalist was going to make Jazz Jungle but it was never made.[13]

Later career

In 1964 he was going to make The Sea Creature for Jack Warner Jnr.[14] The film was never made. Zimablist set up at the Goldwyn studios and announced plans to make 12 films starting with Young Dillinger.[15] Young Dillinger used footage from Baby Face Nelson.[16]

After Young Dillinger he and star Nick Adams wanted to make Guns of the G Men but it was never made.[17] In 1969 he registered the title Sea of Tranquility but no film resulted.[18]

Select Credits


  1. Tom Weaver, John Brunas, Michael Brunas. Interviews with B science fiction and horror movie makers. McFarland 2006 p63
  2. Warner Bros. Claims to Have Youngest Editors. Exhibitor's Herald World 24 August 1929, P. 46.
  3. International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Pub. Co., 1954. p322
  4. Al Zimbalist with Pathe. Motion Picture Herald 27 June 1931, P. 48.
  5. By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1947, Aug 07). HOBBLE'S COMEDY OF '19 TO BE FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  6. By THOMAS M PRYORSpecial to The New York Times. (1952, Sep 19). PICKFORD REJECTS KRAMER FILM ROLE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  7. Schallert, E. (1954, Sep 14). Rathvon seeks 'embassy baby' cast; danny kaye to team with cantinflas. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  8. By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New York Times. (1957, Jun 19). MITCHUM TO MAKE THREE NEW FILMS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  9. Hopper, H. (1958, Apr 10). Roz russell may do 'mame' as musical. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  10. By, T. M. (1959, Mar 29). HOLLYWOOD DOSSIER. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  11. Scheuer, P. K. (1961, Jan 23). Marshall reported a 'miracle' find. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  12. THE KID'S A COMER. (1961, Feb 08). Chicago Daily Tribune (1923-1963) Retrieved from
  13. Scheuer, P. K. (1963, Apr 22). Salaried stars now slice up countries. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  14. 'See creature' first for jack warner jr. (1964, Jun 01). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  15. Scheuer, P. K. (1964, Nov 12). Location realism calls for ingenuity. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  16. Kelley, B. (1985, Mar 17). ASHLEY FINALLY MAKES THE TEAM. Sun Sentinel Retrieved from
  17. FILMLAND EVENTS. (1964, Dec 23). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  18. Robbs reminisce with miss raye. (1969, Aug 06). The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973) Retrieved from
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