Gulf and Western Industries

Last updated
Gulf and Western Industries, Inc.
Conglomerate
Industry Clothing, entertainment, industry, mass media, publishing
Fate Asset management; re-branded as Paramount Communications.
SuccessorParamount Communications
Founded1934 (as the Michigan Bumper Company)
Defunct1989
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Key people
Charles Bluhdorn, Martin S. Davis
OwnerCharles Bluhdorn (1958)
Subsidiaries

Gulf and Western Industries, Inc., (stylized as Gulf+Western) was an American conglomerate. Gulf and Western's origins date to a manufacturer named the Michigan Bumper Company founded in 1934, although Charles Bluhdorn treated his 1958 takeover (of what was then Michigan Plating and Stamping) as its "founding" for the purpose of later anniversaries. Through asset management, the company's non-publishing and entertainment assets were dismantled; with the company re-branding as Paramount Communications in 1989 after Paramount Pictures. The company's current remnants operate as Viacom and CBS Corporation.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Charles George Bluhdorn was an Austrian-born American industrialist.

Asset management refers to systematic approach to the governance and realization of value from the things that a group or entity is responsible for, over their whole life cycles. It may apply both to tangible assets and to intangible assets. Asset management is a systematic process of developing, operating, maintaining, upgrading, and disposing of assets in the most cost-effective manner.

Contents

History

Bluhdorn period

Under Bluhdorn the company diversified widely, leaving behind such things as stamping metal bumpers for a variety of businesses, including financial services, manufacturing, apparel and home, consumer and agricultural, auto parts, natural resources and building products, entertainment and publishing. A partial list of Gulf and Western's holdings between 1958 and 1982, with year of acquisition in parentheses:

Paramount Pictures Major film studio in America, specializing in film and television production, and distribution.

Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film studio based in Hollywood, California, that has been a subsidiary of the American media conglomerate Viacom since 1994. Paramount is the fifth oldest surviving film studio in the world, the second oldest in the United States, and the sole member of the "Big Five" film studios still located in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Hollywood.

Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation

Bohn Aluminum and Brass Corporation was a manufacturing company based in Detroit, Michigan and formed in 1924 from the merger of the General Aluminium and Brass Company and the C.B. Bohn Foundry Company. It produced a series of notable advertisements depicting applications of its product in futuristic environments. It merged into Universal American in 1963. Universal American merged into Gulf and Western Industries in 1966.

Taylor Forge was an engineering and manufacturing company founded by J. Hall Taylor in 1900 as the American Spiral Pipe Works. It was renamed Taylor Forge & Pipe Works in 1929 and acquired by Gulf and Western in 1967. In 1984, G + W divested itself of its Taylor Forge operations to private investors, forming Taylor Forge Stainless and Taylor Forge Engineered Systems which consisted primarily of the Paola, KS facility TF acquired from Fluor Corporation in 1959.

With the Paramount acquisition, Gulf and Western became parent company of the Dot Records label and the Famous Music publishing company. After Stax was acquired, that label became a subsidiary of Dot, although Dot was not at all mentioned on the label (rather, Dot and Stax were noted as subsidiaries of Paramount). Later on, the record operation was moved under Famous Music and renamed the Famous Music Group.

Dot Records American record label

Dot Records was an American record label founded by Randy Wood that was active between 1950 and 1979. The label was reactivated in 2014 through a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group and the Republic Records unit of Universal Music Group. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the label was discontinued in 2017.

Famous Music Corporation was the worldwide music publishing division of Paramount Pictures, a division of Viacom since 1994. Its copyright holdings span several decades and includes music from such Academy Award-winning motion pictures as The Godfather and Forrest Gump. It was founded in 1928 by Paramount’s predecessor, the Famous-Lasky Corporation, to publish music from its "talking pictures." Some of the classic songs in the Famous Music catalog that originated in motion pictures include "Moon River", "Thanks for the Memory", "Silver Bells", "Mona Lisa", "Where Do I Begin?", "Speak Softly, Love", "Up Where We Belong", "Footloose", "Take My Breath Away" and "My Heart Will Go On".

In 1967, the company also purchased Lucille Ball's Desilu Productions library, which included most of her television product, as well as such properties as Star Trek and Mission: Impossible , both of which would rank amongst its most profitable commodities over the years. Desilu was renamed Paramount Television.

Lucille Ball American actress, comedian and businesswoman

Lucille Désirée Ball was an American actress, comedian, model, entertainment studio executive and producer. She was the star of the self-produced sitcoms I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy, and Life with Lucy, as well as comedy television specials aired under the title The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.

Desilu Productions American production company

Desilu Productions was an American production company founded and co-owned by husband and wife Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. The company is best known for shows such as I Love Lucy, The Untouchables and Star Trek,. Until 1962, Desilu was the second-largest independent television production company in the U.S., behind MCA's Revue Studios, until MCA bought Universal Pictures and Desilu became and remained the number-one independent production company, until being sold in 1967.

Star Trek is an American media franchise based on the science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry. The first television series, simply called Star Trek and now referred to as "The Original Series", debuted in 1966 and aired for three seasons on NBC. It followed the interstellar adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and his crew aboard the starship USS Enterprise, a space exploration vessel built by the United Federation of Planets in the 23rd century. The Star Trek canon includes The Original Series, an animated series, five spin-off television series, the film franchise, and further adaptations in several media.

Gulf and Western sold Stax back to its original owners in 1970, and with it the rights to all Stax recordings not owned by Atlantic Records. A year before, Dot's non–country music roster and catalog was moved to a newly created label, Paramount Records (the name was previously used by a label unrelated to the movie studio; Paramount acquired the rights to that name in order to launch this label). It assumed Dot's status as the flagship label of Paramount's record operations, releasing music by pop artists and soundtracks from Paramount's films and television series. Dot meanwhile became a country label.

Atlantic Records American record label

Atlantic Recording Corporation is an American record label founded in October 1947 by Ahmet Ertegün and Herb Abramson. Over its first 20 years of operation, Atlantic earned a reputation as one of the most important American labels, specializing in jazz, R&B, and soul by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, Ruth Brown and Otis Redding. Its position was greatly improved by its distribution deal with Stax. In 1967, Atlantic became a wholly owned subsidiary of Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, now the Warner Music Group, and expanded into rock and pop music with releases by Led Zeppelin and Yes.

Country music, also known as country and western, and hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s. It takes its roots from genres such as American folk music and blues.

Paramount Records was a record label started in 1969 by Paramount Pictures after acquiring the rights to the name from George H. Buck. A previous Paramount Records, active between 1917 and 1932, had been unconnected to Paramount Pictures. The new Paramount label reissued pop releases by sister label Dot Records, which became a country label. It also released new albums from other pop musicians and soundtracks to Paramount films such as Paint Your Wagon, among others. Cast members of the Paramount Television series The Brady Bunch were signed, and the label issued several tie-in albums and singles.

Famous Music provided distribution for several independent labels, such as Neighborhood Records and Sire Records. Famous began distributing yet another independent label, Blue Thumb Records, in 1971, before buying it outright in 1972. In 1974, Gulf and Western sold the entire record operation to the American Broadcasting Company, which continued the Dot and Blue Thumb imprints as subsidiaries of ABC Records, while discontinuing the Paramount label altogether.

Neighborhood Records was a record label founded by Melanie Safka and her husband Peter Schekeryk in 1971. The label's biggest hit was her #1 single "Brand New Key".

Sire Records is an American record label that is owned by Warner Music Group and distributed by Warner Records.

Blue Thumb Records was an American record label founded in 1968 by Bob Krasnow and former A&M Records executives Tommy LiPuma and Don Graham. Blue Thumb's last record was released in 1978.

While working for Paramount, Barry Diller had proposed a "fourth network", but he could not convince the board of trustees/directors of the wisdom of this idea. Fox owner News Corporation was, however, interested in starting a network.

Early 1980s

On June 5, 1980, Gulf and Western unveiled an electric car, powered by a zinc chloride battery that would hold a charge for several hours and permit speeds of up to 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). By year's end, however, the U.S. Department of Energy (which had invested $15 million in the project) reported that the battery had 65% less power than predicted and could be recharged only by highly trained personnel. [6]

In 1981, former officials of Gulf and Western's Natural Resources Division led a buyout of New Jersey Zinc and made it a subsidiary of Horsehead Industries, Inc.

In 1983 Bluhdorn died of a heart attack on a plane en route home from Dominican Republic to New York headquarters, and the board bypassed president Jim Judelson and named senior vice president Martin S. Davis, who had come up through Paramount Pictures, as the new chief executive officer.

Martin Davis restructuring

Davis slimmed down the company's wilder diversifications and focused it on entertainment, and sold all of its non-entertainment and publishing assets. [7]

In 1983, Gulf and Western sold Consolidated Cigar Corporation to five of its senior managers.

Also in 1983, Gulf and Western sold the U.S. assets of Sega to pinball manufacturer Bally Manufacturing. The Japanese assets of Sega were purchased by a group of investors led by David Rosen and Hayao Nakayama.

In 1984, Gulf and Western divested itself of its many Taylor Forge operations to private owners. Taylor Forge's Somerville, NJ plant became Taylor Forge Stainless, while its facilities in Paola, KS and Greeley, KS became Taylor Forge Engineered Systems.

South Puerto Rico Sugar Co. (renamed) was sold to an investment group including The Fanjul Brothers in 1984. [8]

In 1985, APS auto parts, Kayser-Roth clothing and Simmons Bedding were sold to the Wickes Companies. The company, thus restructured, subsequently renamed itself Paramount Communications in 1989, and promptly sold The Associates to the Ford Motor Company.

Headquarters

The Gulf and Western Building (15 Columbus Circle in Manhattan) by Thomas E. Stanley, was built in 1970 for the Gulf and Western company north of Columbus Circle, at the south-western corner of Central Park. The building occupies a narrow block between Broadway and Central Park West and, at 583 feet (178 m), it commands the dramatic view to the north, as well as its immediate surroundings.

The top of the building sported a restaurant, The Top of the Park, which was never a full success even though run by Stuart Levin, famous for the Four Seasons, Le Pavillon, and other "shrines of haute cuisine," [9] and it being graced with Levin's own elegant signature sculpture by Jim Gary, "Universal Woman."

Similarly, the cinema space in the basement named Paramount after the picture company that Gulf and Western owned was closed as the building was sold.

Problems with the 45-story building's structural frame gave it unwanted fame as its base was scaffolded for years and the upper floors were prone to sway excessively on windy days, even leading to cases of nausea akin to motion sickness.

The 1997 renovation into a hotel and residential building, the Trump International Hotel and Tower (One Central Park West), by Costas Kondylis and Philip Johnson involved extensive renovation of both interior and facades. For example, the 45 stories of the original office tower were converted into a 52-story residential building, enabled by the lower ceiling height of residential spaces. The facade was converted with the addition of dark glass walls with distinctive shiny steel framing.

Famous Music

See also

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References

  1. "Gulf & Western Agrees to Merger". Toledo Blade. April 14, 1966. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  2. "South Porto Rico Sugar Company v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue".
  3. Government House, San Juan, P.R. United States War Department Annual Reports, 1920, Volume III, Nineteenth Annual Report of the Governor of Porto Rico, Appendix II. Report of the Executive Secretary of Porto Rico, Statement No. 6.--List of domestic corporations in legal existence on June 30, 1920, p 97.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. Maldonado, Deborah. "Multi-genre Reasearch(sic): The Sugar Cane Industry in Puerto Rico" . Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  5. "Whitecroft finds buyer for Ryder". The Glasgow Herald. March 4, 1981. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. "Energy Flashes". Mother Earth News. January–February 1981. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  7. "Martin Davis, 72; Created Modern Paramount". The New York Times , October 6, 1999
  8. Cole, Robert J. "Sugar Sale By G.&W". The New York Times. Retrieved 4 January 2016.
  9. Saxon, Wolfgang, Stuart Levin, 64, an Operator of Elegant Restaurants is dead, New York Times, December 21, 1994