Robert L. Lippert (March 31, 1909 - November 10, 1976) was a prolific film producer responsible for several films featured on MST3K, including Rocketship X-M and Lost Continent. He was also cinema owner who eventually owned a chain of 118 theatres.
Born in Alameda, California and adopted by the owner of a hardware store, Lippert became fascinated by the cinema at an early age. Young Lippert worked a variety of jobs in local theatres including projection and becoming an assistant manager. As a manager of a cinema during the Great Depression, Lippert encouraged regular attendance with promotions such as "Dish Night" and "Book Night."
Lippert went from cinema manager to owning a chain of California cinemas in 1942 during the peak years of theatre attendance.
Screen Guild Productions and Lippert Pictures
Dissatisfied with sometimes exorbitant rental charges from major studios, Lippert formed Screen Guild Productions in 1945 with a Bob Steele Western called Wildfire, made in Cinecolor. Screen Guild also rereleased many older B picture Westerns and made 22 pictures under the name of Screen Guild.
Lippert read a Life Magazine article about a proposed trip to and landing on the moon that he rushed his film Rocketship X-M into production. Its destination had to change to Mars to avoid copying George Pal's Destination Moon, even though Rocketship X-M was first into the cinemas.
Lippert had a reciprocal agreement with Hammer Films to distribute each other's films in their own countries.
When screenwriter Samuel Fuller wanted to break into direction, he agreed to direct the 3 films he had been contracted to write for Lippert (I Shot Jesse James, Baron of Arizona, and The Steel Helmet for no extra money.
20th Century Fox and Regal Pictures
When Darryl F. Zanuck announced his Cinemascope process, he faced hostility from many cinema owners who had gone to great expense to convert their theatres to show 3-D films that Hollywood had stopped making. Zanuck assured the cinema owners that they sould have a large supply of Cinemascope product by making Cinemascope lenses available to other film companies and started a unit, led by Lippert, called Regal Pictures in 1956 to mass produce B pictures in the process. Lippert's Regal produced 180 pictures.
Faced with the increasing costs of Hollywood Production, Lippert announced in 1962 that he would be making films offshore in England, Italy (The Last Man on Earth), and the Philippines.
Lippert maintained and expanded his chain of 118 theatres until his death. His son, Robert L. Lippert, Jr., followed his father into producing.
- ↑ Variety Obituaries 24 Nov 1976
- ↑ http://mst3k.booyaka.com/episodes/directors/robert_lippert.txt
- ↑ Fernett, Gene Hollywood's Poverty Row 1930-19501973 Coral Reef Publications
- ↑ ibid
- ↑ Fuller, Samuel. A Third Face Alfred A Knopf (2002)
- ↑ Fernett, Gene. Hollywood's Poverty Row 1930-1950 1973 Coral Reef Publications
- Robert L. Lippert at the Internet Movie Database