RKO Pictures

American film production and distribution company

RKO Pictures is a company in the United States that makes and sells movies. It was first known as RKO Radio Pictures, Inc. RKO was an acronym for Radio-Keith-Orpheum, the original parent company of RKO Radio Pictures.[1] It was one of the Big Five studios of Hollywood's Golden Age. The company was made by the merger of the Keith-Albee-Orpheum (KAO) theater chain and the Film Booking Offices of America (FBO) studio in October 1928. It was put together by David Sarnoff of RCA. His goal was to create a market for RCA's photophone, which was their sound-on-film technology. By the mid-1940s, the studio was under the control of investor Floyd Odlum.

RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
IndustryMotion pictures
FoundedOctober 23, 1928; 95 years ago (1928-10-23) (original)
2009; 15 years ago (2009) (revival)
FounderDavid Sarnoff
DefunctMarch 7, 1959; 65 years ago (1959-03-07) (original)
Headquarters11301 West Olympic Boulevard,
Los Angeles, California, US

RKO is well known for the musicals it made in the 1930s. These starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Other well-known actors got their start at RKO. Among these were Katharine Hepburn, Robert Mitchum, and Cary Grant. Many praise RKO's work on film noir. Val Lewton's low-budget horror movies are also praised by movie critics. RKO made two of the most famous movies in history. These are King Kong and Citizen Kane. They also made movies with other studios. These include the well known It's a Wonderful Life and Notorious. RKO also took care of sales for movies made by Walt Disney from 1937 to the mid-1950s. They also took care of sales for Samuel Goldwyn.

In 1948, Howard Hughes took over RKO and this lead to a time of decline. Then in 1955, it was bought by the General Tire and Rubber Company. RKO stopped making new movies in 1957, and mostly shut down two years later. In 1959, the assets of RKO moved to a new company called RKO General. In 1981, RKO was revived under the name RKO Pictures Inc. In 1989, it was sold to new owners. They run it using the name RKO Pictures LLC.


  1. "RKO Radio Pictures, Inc". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 7 November 2018.

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