O'Conor Productions

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Brent Walker
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O'Conor Productions

Postby Brent Walker » Wed Jul 08, 2009 1:40 pm

Has anyone found much information about O'Conor Productions, or whether any films were released?

I've seen a few mentions in the LA Times between June and December 1922, that Bob O'Conor had left Hal Roach and was producing his own one and two-reel comedies on a states rights release basis, featuring Billy Franey and Eddie Boland (who also left Roach). However, I don't know if any were actually released (since they were states rights, they might have been but just had few takers), and Bob O'Conor was back at Roach playing Latin roles by 1927 or so.

Steve Massa
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Steve Massa » Wed Jul 08, 2009 9:32 pm

Hi Brent
Here's a couple of O'Conor items from the Motion Picture News. The first is from the 6/24/1922 issue (pg. 3342):

"O'CONOR BECOMES HEAD OF COMPANY
For five years Robert O'Conor served a grueling apprenticeship under Hal Roach, producer of Harold Lloyd comedies, and now he is a producer and head of the O'Conor Productions, producing and distributing the two-reelers featuring Billy Franey.

O'Conor has his office at the Caswell studios, Hollywood, and personally directs the various factors making up his new organization. The next in command is Gus Schumacher, who, as general manager, is in charge of production. F. E. Samuels, an old-timer in the states rights field, is general sales manager."


This next is from the 12/9/1922 issue (pg. 2949):

"FIRST OF THE O'CONOR TWO-REEL SERIES READY
O'Conor Productions at work on the West Coast are getting away to a good start. "When Knighthood Was in Flour" is announced as the title of the first two-reler made under its auspices. Grover Jones directed and Eddie Boland has been secured to co-feature with Bob O'Conor in the two-reel series."


Finally, here's four Billy Franey / O'Conor two-reelers that appeared in the current comedy releases in the August through Novenber 1922 issues. Since they were released on the states rights market there's no actual release date given:

HIGHLY POLISHED
HOT AND COLD
NO BRAINS
PEACE IN PIECES.

Steve

Steve Massa
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Steve Massa » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:11 am

Here's some more info from the 7/29/1922 Moving Picture World (pg. 371):

"SIX FRANEY'S READY
Six of the two-reel Billy Franey pictures are now ready according to the announcement from Gus Schumacher, general manager of O'Conor productions. The fifth and sixth just completed are "A Kissless Bride" and "This Way Out." A full list of exploitation accessories has been prepared for this series and is ready for distribution. Ward Hayes, who directed the first six pictures, has been re-engaged for the remainder of the series."

BTW, Ward Hayes was the son of comic Frank Hayes, and sadly died about a year after his father from peritonitis following appendectomy surgery.

Steve

R. Joseph Physician
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby R. Joseph Physician » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:39 am

I'll look in my '23 Wid's Yearbook and get back with you.
If You Do Not See The Name R. Joseph Physician At The Bottom Of The Above Post It Was Not Posted By R. Joseph Physician. Beware Of Imitators.

Tommie Hicks
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Tommie Hicks » Thu Jul 09, 2009 2:21 am

Were these distributed by Sandford?

Steve Massa
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Steve Massa » Thu Jul 09, 2009 8:26 am

Hi Tommie
It looks like O'Conor distributed them himself. Here's some quotes from an exhibitor ad for the series from the 7/1/1922 Moving Picture World (pg. 16):

"Direct from Producer to Exchange"

"You pay what they are worth - No More! Direct means better pictures for less money"

"Produced and distributed DIRECT by the O'Conor Productions."

The California address is given as 1107 North Bronson Ave., Hollywood, and for New York it's 220 42nd St.

Steve

Frank Flood
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Frank Flood » Thu Jul 09, 2009 10:19 am

O'Conor may have made at least some of these films earlier.

The "Pulse of the Studios" section in the 11/12/21 issue of Camera! indicates a two reeler was being made by O'Conor Productions at Brentwood Studios, 811 Fountain, Hollywood, starring O'Conor and Franey, and directed by Thomas LaRose. Gus Schumacher, was company manager, George Richter was the cameraman and John Warnack was the assistant director.

In the 12/24/21 Camera! issue, an O'Conor Productions film was in production at Caswell Studios, at 1107 Bronson Avenue (the former Bull's Eye / Reelcraft studio, by the way), also with O'Conor and Franey and with the same behind-the-camera staff.

Either it took O'Conor almost a year to get the Franey series in theaters, or he made a couple of the films, used them as pilots to secure financing and bookings, and then completed the series.

Other likely Eddie Boland titles from O'Conor are GHOSTS and SOMETHING ABOUT NOTHING. These seem to have been made later and shown in 1923.

Frank

Brent Walker
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Brent Walker » Thu Jul 09, 2009 12:16 pm

Thanks guys. The Times had short blurbs on some of this in June and December, but I figured the trades would have more info (and they did). Ward Hayes also directed at Roach after this...I'd love to find a photo of him, because I think he probably did some bit work at Keystone when his father was there (I have spotted Frank's daughter/Ward's sister Venice in a few Keystones).

R. Joseph Physician
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby R. Joseph Physician » Thu Jul 09, 2009 5:58 pm

R. Joseph Physician wrote:I'll look in my '23 Wid's Yearbook and get back with you.


Sorry, I misstyped. It's a '21 Wid's and I could find nothing of value to you in it.
If You Do Not See The Name R. Joseph Physician At The Bottom Of The Above Post It Was Not Posted By R. Joseph Physician. Beware Of Imitators.

Joe Moore
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Re: O'Conor Productions

Postby Joe Moore » Fri Jul 10, 2009 9:31 am

Frank Flood wrote:The "Pulse of the Studios" section in the 11/12/21 issue of Camera! indicates a two reeler was being made by O'Conor Productions at Brentwood Studios, 811 Fountain, Hollywood, starring O'Conor and Franey, and directed by Thomas LaRose. Gus Schumacher, was company manager, George Richter was the cameraman and John Warnack was the assistant director.

In the 12/24/21 Camera! issue, an O'Conor Productions film was in production at Caswell Studios, at 1107 Bronson Avenue (the former Bull's Eye / Reelcraft studio, by the way), also with O'Conor and Franey and with the same behind-the-camera staff.
Frank


I was just peaking ahead at the 12/31/21 issue of CAMERA (which I'll be transcribing and posting here in a few weeks) and see that the Pulse of the Studio listing for O'Connor Productions is still almost the same except that Charles Lamont has replaced Warnack in the AD spot.

Joe Moore


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