RKO Pictures was founded in 1929 as a movie-producing studio. A number of famous actors and directors have had RKO contracts at one time or another - Katherine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, Lucille Ball and Cary Grant among them. RKO produced many classic movies, including King Kong, Citizen Kane, and It's a Wonderful Life.

Formed from the merger of the Radio Corporation of America (better known as RCA) and Keith-Albee-Orpheum, RKO is short for Radio-Keith-Orpheum. The company also distributed more than 20 films for Walt Disney, including Fantasia. When Howard Hughes purchased nearly a million shares of RKO stock in 1948, he gained control of the company and cut more than half of the staff, then sold many of the studio's classic titles. In 1952 he shut down operations completely to weed out supposed Communist sympathizers. The studio lot was eventually sold to Desilu in 1955. In 1989, Dina Merrill and Ted Hartley purchased RKO with the intention of bringing back the Golden Age of Hollywood.


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