Filmways, Inc. was a television and film production company founded by American film executive Martin Ransohoff in 1960. It is probably best remembered as the production company of CBS' "rural comedies" of the 1960s, including The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction, and Green Acres, as well as the comedy-drama The Trials of O'Brien, the western Dundee and the Culhane, the adventure show Bearcats!, the police drama Cagney & Lacey, and the sitcoms Mr. Ed and The Addams Family.
Filmways acquired famous companies throughout the years, such as Heatter-Quigley Productions (for Hollywood Squares), Ruby-Spears Productions and American International Pictures.
- 1960: Filmways, Inc. was formed by Martin Ransohoff;
- 1966: The company acquired Heatter-Quigley Productions;
- 1969: Filmways bought Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma County, California, outside of San Francisco.
- 1972: Ransohoff left Filmways, Inc.
- 1974: The company acquired book publisher Grosset & Dunlap from American Financial Group;
- 1975: Filmways, Inc. bought syndicator Rhodes Productions;
- 1978: The company acquired Ruby-Spears Productions;
- 1979: Filmways bought American International Pictures;
- 1980: Rhodes broke apart from the company by becoming independent;
- 1981: Ruby-Spears Productions was sold to Taft Broadcasting;
- 1981: Sears Point Raceway was sold;
- 1982: The company sold Grosset & Dunlap to G. P. Putnam's Sons;
- 1982: Filmways, Inc. merged with Orion Pictures.
Announcements at the end of productions
Most productions ended with the announcement, "This has been a Filmways Presentation", with Donna Douglas providing the voice-over for the color episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies, although Green Acres featured a specialised rendition with Eva Gabor ("This has been a Filmways presentation, dahling.").
Ownership of television properties
Today, most of the Filmways library, including Green Acres, The Addams Family, Cagney & Lacey, Death Wish II (a Cannon film), The Hollywood Squares, and Mister Ed is owned by MGM (successor-in-interest to Orion which it purchased in 1998, and also owners of the Cannon Films library).
- CBS holds ownership rights to The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction. Viacom (the parent of CBS from 1999-2005, actually started as CBS' syndication arm) syndicated these two programs since the 1970s.
- Filmways has co-produced Eye Guess, This Face is Familiar, and Personality with Bob Stewart Productions. Those three game shows are currently owned by Sony Pictures Television (SPT). SPT co-distributed the MGM library for a short time.
Notes and References
- http://www.gt-racing.co.uk/circuits/northamerica/searspoint.html Sears Point