Lorimar Productions, Inc., later known as Lorimar Television and Lorimar Distribution, was an American production company that was later a subsidiary of Warner Bros., active from 1969 until 1993. It was founded by Irwin Molasky, Merv Adelson, and Lee Rich. The company's name was a portmanteau of Adelson's ex-wife, Lori, and Palomar Airport (now McClellan-Palomar Airport) in San Diego, California.
Company logo from 1978 to 1986 before the merger with Telepictures
|Industry||Television and film production|
|Founded||February 1, 1969|
|Founder||Irwin Molasky, Lee Rich |
|Defunct||July 14, 1993|
|Headquarters||Culver City, California, U.S.|
|Parent||Lorimar-Telepictures, Warner Communications Inc., WarnerMedia |
Early years and merger with Telepictures (1969-1987)
In the late 1960s, after a bank loan of $185,000 that Merv Adelson planned to furnish Lee Rich with, Lorimar Productions was founded. Prior to Lorimar, Rich had an established reputation; first as an advertising executive at Benton & Bowles, then as a television producer, co-producing (with Walter Mirisch) successful series such as The Rat Patrol.
Lorimar initially produced made-for-television movies for the ABC Movie of the Week. Rich bought the script to an adaptation of Earl Hamner Jr.'s novel The Homecoming and subsequently sold the rights to CBS. The Homecoming: A Christmas Story, airing during the 1971 holiday season, was a ratings success, and served as the pilot for Lorimar's first major hit, The Waltons, which premiered in 1972. Throughout the 1970s, Lorimar produced a number of hit shows, including Eight Is Enough; of these, the most popular by far was Dallas. In 1980, Lorimar purchased the bankrupt Allied Artists Pictures Corporation, in order to revive the company from bankruptcy.
In the 1984-1985 season, three of the top 10 shows in the United States were produced by Lorimar; Dallas, Knots Landing, and Falcon Crest. In the mid-1980s, Lorimar's output swung toward family-friendly sitcoms; among these were The Hogan Family (initially titled Valerie), Perfect Strangers, and Full House, which were produced by Miller-Boyett Productions.
In 1985, Lorimar announced their intention to buy a 15% share in the then-troubled Warner Communications company. In 1986, Lorimar, in an attempt to expand into first-run syndication, merged with television syndication firm Telepictures, becoming Lorimar-Telepictures; later that year, they purchased the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studio lot in Culver City from Ted Turner. Around that same year, Rich left the company and moved to MGM.
Purchase by Warner Communications and merger with Warner Bros. Television (1988-1993)
In 1988, Lorimar-Telepictures's production arm became Lorimar Television; however, the L-T distribution business remained until 1989. In January 1989, Lorimar was purchased by Warner Communications, which was merging in March that year with Time Inc. to form Time Warner, one of the world's largest media companies, now headquartered in the Time Warner Center in New York City. Lorimar's distribution business was folded into Warner Bros. Television Distribution and became Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution; since then, the Telepictures name has been resurrected as both a production company (circa 1990), and once again as a syndication company (1996, after the Turner merger).
The former MGM studio lot was sold to Sony to house Columbia Pictures, TriStar Pictures, and Sony's other operations, which were later named Columbia Studios and is now Sony Pictures Studios. Lorimar continued as a production company until July 1993, when it was folded into Warner Bros. Television, for "economic issues" as a result of declining syndication sales. The last series to premiere under the Lorimar name was Time Trax, as part of the Prime Time Entertainment Network programming block.
Les Moonves, who would later become the Chairman and CEO of CBS Corporation, was the president and CEO of Lorimar Television from 1990 to 1993. Moonves then became the chairman of Warner Bros. Television after the merger with Lorimar.
Key components Lorimar owned
Additionally, Lorimar owned key components of the film library of the defunct Allied Artists film studio (originally Monogram Pictures), which includes Cabaret and Papillon; these, too, are now owned by Warner. After the merger with Telepictures, they also took possession of the Rankin/Bass animation house, along with the post-1973 library of that company, including its entry into the 1980s animation market, ThunderCats, which ran until 1989; a Warner Bros. Animation-produced revival show aired on Cartoon Network for one season in 2011.
Lorimar was not restricted to producing television programs; they also sporadically produced theatrical motion pictures, most of which were originally distributed by other studios. Lorimar's entrance into feature films was predominantly sanctioned by Adelson; Rich was vehemently against it. This asset was among the many factors that led to Rich's exit from the studio in 1986.
In 1985, they had a film production unit known as Lorimar Motion Pictures (or, sometimes, as Lorimar Pictures). In January 1987, the film unit was renamed Lorimar Film Entertainment to coincide with its newly formed in-house distribution unit. In 1988, Lorimar made a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Under Warner, Lorimar continued to make theatrical films until 1990. The theatrical film library of Lorimar was folded into Warner Bros. Pictures.
Warner Bros. now owns most of Lorimar's catalogue, though a few films remained with their original distributors.
In 1984, Lorimar purchased Karl Video Corporation (KVC), also known as Karl Home Video, which was named after its founder, Stuart Karl (1953–1991). KVC, which was best known for producing the bestselling Jane Fonda workout videos, was renamed Karl-Lorimar Home Video after the acquisition. Relationships between Lorimar and Karl grew sour, which forced Karl to resign in March 1987. Karl-Lorimar continued to exist under the name Lorimar Home Video until it closed sometime later. Lorimar Home Video closed in 1989 and was folded into Warner Home Video.
In 1979, Lorimar formed Lorimar Records whose first release was the soundtrack to the film The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. The label would have very few artists signed to it. It was mainly distributed by Columbia Records, but it was also distributed for one album from The Coyote Sisters by Motown Records via the Morocco subsidiary. Lorimar Records' final release was the soundtrack to Action Jackson (1988) which in that case was distributed by Atlantic Records.
- The Good Life (with Screen Gems, 1971–1972)
- The Waltons (1972–1981)
- Apple's Way (1974–1975)
- The Runaways (TV film, 1975)
- Sybil (TV film, 1976)
- Helter Skelter (TV miniseries, 1976)
- Eight Is Enough (1977–1981)
- Dallas (1978–1991)
- A Question of Guilt (TV film, 1978)
- Kaz (1978–1979)
- Knots Landing (1979–1993)
- Skag (1980)
- Flamingo Road (1980–1982)
- Falcon Crest (1981–1990)
- King's Crossing (1982)
- Boone (1983)
- Just Our Luck (1983)
- Hunter (1984–1991, distribution only until 1988)
- Christopher Columbus (TV miniseries, 1984)
- ThunderCats (1985–1989)
- Gulag (1985; co-produced by HBO)
- SilverHawks (1986)
- Act of Vengeance (1986; co-produced by HBO)
- Love Connection (1986–1993; co-produced by Lorimar Television and distributed by Warner Bros. Television, 1989–1993)
- Mama's Family (1986–1990 version, 1986–1989 distribution only)
- ALF (1986–1990)
- Valerie/The Hogan Family (1986–1991)
- Perfect Strangers (1986–1993)
- The People's Court (1986–1989; distributed by Warner Bros. Television 1989–1993)
- She's the Sheriff (1987)
- The Comic Strip (1987)
- Full House (1987–1993)
- Gumby (1988)
- Midnight Caller (1988–1991)
- Paradise (1988–1991)
- Freddy's Nightmares (1988–1990)
- Studio 5-B (1989)
- Nearly Departed (1989)
- I Know My First Name Is Steven (1989)
- The People Next Door (1989)
- Island Son (1989-1990)
- Family Matters (1989–1993)
- Stephen King's It (TV mini-series, 1990)
- Doublecrossed (1991; co-production with HBO)
- Dark Justice (1991–1993)
- Reasonable Doubts (1991–1993)
- Sisters (1991–1993)
- Step by Step (1991–1993)
- O Pioneers! (TV film, 1992)
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures (1992)
- To Grandmother's House We Go (TV film, 1992)
- Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (1992–1993)
- Time Trax (1993)
- Getting By (1993)
- It Had to Be You (1993)
- Island City (TV film, 1994)
Theatrical feature films
Most of Lorimar's film and television library, with several exceptions, is now owned by Warner Bros. Several of Lorimar's films are still owned by their original distributors or third parties, which are marked with an asterisk (*).
|February 28, 1971||The Sporting Club||distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures*|
|July 19, 1972||The Man||in association with ABC Circle Films; distributed by Paramount Pictures*|
|November 7, 1974||The Tamarind Seed||in association with ITC Entertainment*; distributed by Avco Embassy Pictures|
|February 9, 1977||Twilight's Last Gleaming||distributed by Allied Artists; co-production with Bavaria Media GmbH*|
|December 23, 1977||The Choirboys||distributed by Universal Studios*|
|June 29, 1978||Fedora||inherited from Allied Artists, distributed by United Artists; co-produced by Bavaria Media GmbH*|
|October 6, 1978||Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?||originally distributed by Warner Bros.; WB summarily relinquished the rights, but reclaimed them after the Lorimar/WB merger|
|August 10, 1979||Americathon||distributed by United Artists|
|October 16, 1979||Avalanche Express||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|November 6, 1979||The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh||distributed by United Artists|
|December 19, 1979||Being There||distributed by United Artists|
|February 15, 1980||Cruising||distributed by United Artists|
|May 23, 1980||Carny||distributed by United Artists|
|July 18, 1980||The Big Red One||distributed by United Artists|
|March 20, 1981||The Postman Always Rings Twice||co-production with MGM; distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|April 24, 1981||Night School||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|May 5, 1981||Second-Hand Hearts||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|June 5, 1981||The Sea Wolves||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|July 1, 1981||S.O.B.||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|July 30, 1981||Victory||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|February 12, 1982||Love & Money||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|August 13, 1982||An Officer and a Gentleman||co-production with Paramount Pictures*|
|October 8, 1982||Fast-Walking||distributed by Pickman Films|
|October 8, 1982||Lookin' to Get Out||distributed by Paramount Pictures|
|October 21, 1983||The Dead Zone||in silent partnership with Dino De Laurentiis Corporation, distributed by Paramount Pictures, who still owns major rights today*|
|March 16, 1984||Tank||distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*|
|July 1984||Scream for Help|
|July 13, 1984||The Last Starfighter||distributed and co-produced by Universal Studios*|
|January 31, 1986||Power||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|June 27, 1986||American Anthem||distributed by Columbia Pictures|
|August 14, 1986||The Boy Who Could Fly||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|December 25, 1986||The Morning After||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|August 28, 1987||The Fourth Protocol||U.S. distribution; produced by The Rank Organisation*|
|September 16, 1987||In the Mood||a co-production with Kings Road Entertainment|
|September 18, 1987||Orphans|
|October 2, 1987||Big Shots||distributed by 20th Century Fox|
|November 1987||Hearts of Fire|
|November 6, 1987||Made in Heaven|
|November 11, 1987||Siesta||U.S. distribution|
|January 15, 1988||Return of the Living Dead Part II|
|February 12, 1988||Action Jackson|
|April 15, 1988||Tokyo Pop||distributed by International SpectraFilm|
|April 22, 1988||World Gone Wild||pickup from Apollo Pictures for U.S. theatrical distribution|
|April 29, 1988||Two Moon Junction||pickup from DDM Film Corporation for U.S. theatrical distribution; produced with The Samuel Goldwyn Company*|
|September 9, 1988||Running on Empty||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|December 21, 1988||Dangerous Liaisons||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|October 29, 1988||Moonwalker||distributed internationally by Warner Bros.|
|February 24, 1989||Bert Rigby, You're a Fool||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|The Toxic Avenger Part II||distributed and co-produced by Troma Entertainment*|
|March 24, 1989||Dead Bang||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|April 14, 1989||See You in the Morning||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|August 23, 1989||Cookie||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|October 20, 1989||Next of Kin||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|November 3, 1989||Second Sight||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
|August 24, 1990||The Witches||distributed by Warner Bros.*|
- Lee Rich Interview: Archive of American Television. Retrieved on November 24, 2010.
- Los Angeles Times
- Lippman, John (1993-07-14). "Warner Bros. Consolidates TV Production : Hollywood: Leslie Moonves, who had been president of Lorimar, will head the studio's new division". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- Associated Press. "Movie Deal." Merced Sun-Star (January 17, 1987)
- Stevenson, Richard W. (1988-02-07). "TROUBLED ENTREPRENEUR: Stuart Karl; From Fonda and Hart To Flops and Hot Water". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- Howe, Tom. "Stuart Karl - Who's Who in RCA VideoDisc". www.cedmagic.com. Retrieved 2018-01-03.
- "The Postman always rings twice / an Andrew Braunsberg production ; produced in association with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ; produced by Charles Mulvehill and Bob Rafelson ; directed by Bob Rafelson" (PA0000100011 / 1981-05-04). United States Copyright Office.