Hugh McCollum

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Hugh McCollum
Born(1900-03-09)March 9, 1900
Ridley Park, Pennsylvania
U.S.
Died March 16, 1968(1968-03-16) (aged 68)
Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, California
U.S.
Years active 1929-1960
Spouse(s) Josephine Chippo

Hugh McCollum (March 9, 1900 March 16, 1968) was an American film producer best known for his credits on Three Stooges short subject comedies.

A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing.

Contents

Career

McCollum was born in the Philadelphia suburb of Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. He attended the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia and later matriculated at the University of Pennsylvania for one year. [1] In 1929, McCollum was hired as a secretary to the Columbia Pictures head Harry Cohn. He gradually worked his way up the corporate ladder, and when the studio's short-subject department became successful enough to support two units, department head Jules White led the first unit, and Hugh McCollum was placed in charge of the second. [1]

Philadelphia Largest city in Pennsylvania, United States

Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Ridley Park, Pennsylvania Borough in Pennsylvania, United States

Ridley Park is a borough in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 7,002 at the 2010 census. Ridley Park is the home of The Boeing Company's CH-47 Chinook helicopter division.

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

McCollum and Ed Bernds

In 1945, McCollum gave Columbia sound engineer Edward Bernds an opportunity to write scripts for the shorts department, and then to direct. His first assignment in the director's chair was the Three Stooges film A Bird in the Head (1946). Bernds was excited at his big chance, but was shocked when he saw that popular Stooge Curly Howard was ill, having suffered several minor strokes prior to filming (something Jules White failed to mention to Bernds). [2] Years later, Bernds discussed his trying experience during the filming of A Bird in the Head:

Edward Bernds American film director

Edward Bernds was an American screenwriter and director, born in Chicago, Illinois.

<i>A Bird in the Head</i> 1946 film by Edward Bernds

A Bird in the Head is the 89th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1946 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

Curly Howard American comedian as one of the Three Stooges

Jerome Lester Horwitz, known professionally as Curly Howard, was an American vaudevillian comedian and actor. He was best known as a member of the American farce comedy team the Three Stooges, which also featured his elder brothers Moe and Shemp Howard and actor Larry Fine. Curly Howard was generally considered the most popular and recognizable of the Stooges. He was well known for his high-pitched voice and vocal expressions, as well as his physical comedy, improvisations, and athleticism. An untrained actor, Curly borrowed the "woob woob" from "nervous" and soft-spoken comedian Hugh Herbert. Curly's unique version of "woob-woob-woob" was firmly established by the time of the Stooges' second Columbia film, Punch Drunks (1934).

Bernds feared that his directing days would be over as soon as they began if A Bird in the Head (featuring a sluggish Curly) was released as his first effort. Hugh McCollum acted quickly, and reshuffled the release order of the films Bernds had directed (Bernds had also completed Micro-Phonies and The Three Troubledoers (1946) in addition to A Bird in the Head). As a result, the superior Micro-Phonies (in which Curly was on his mark) was released first, securing Bernds's directing position. Bernds would forever be indebted to McCollum for this act of kindness; henceforth, McCollum produced all of Bernds's Stooge films. [3]

<i>The Three Troubledoers</i> 1946 film by Edward Bernds

The Three Troubledoers is a 1946 film directed by Edward Bernds and starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. It is the 91st short film released by Columbia Pictures starring the comedians, who released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

<i>Micro-Phonies</i> 1945 film by Edward Bernds

Micro-Phonies is the 87th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1945 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

McCollum continued to function as a short-subject producer, in close collaboration with writer-director Edward Bernds and writer Elwood Ullman. Columbia's comedy stars alternated between the McCollum and Jules White units. Unlike White, who personally directed most of his productions, McCollum preferred to concentrate on the business aspects of production, and directed only a few films. McCollum's attention to the studio's business activities paid off when he arranged to use sets and costumes commissioned for important Columbia feature films. This efficient, money-saving arrangement gave McCollum's productions a much glossier look than usual.

Elwood Ullman was an American film comedy writer most famous for his credits on The Three Stooges shorts and many other low-budget comedies.

When Bernds was unavailable, McCollum directed Hula-La-La (1951), a South Seas satire with the Stooges.

<i>Hula-La-La</i> 1951 film by Hugh McCollum

Hula-La-La is the 135th short film released by Columbia Pictures in 1951 starring American slapstick comedy team The Three Stooges. The comedians released 190 short films for the studio between 1934 and 1959.

Dismissal from Columbia Pictures

Both McCollum and Bernds often clashed with White, and when Columbia downsized the shorts department in 1952, White convinced the studio executives that two units were no longer necessary, resulting in McCollum's dismissal. Out of loyalty to McCollum, Bernds resigned as well, leaving White to run the entire short subject department alone. This left White as the sole director of the Stooges films from late 1952 to 1957 when the Stooges' contract with the studio expired. [4]

Later years

After Columbia, McCollum became the production manager for Gene Autry's Flying A Productions, [1] then served as production manager for Jack Wrather Productions, a position he continued until his retirement. [5] [6]

Hugh McCollum died on March 16, 1968, in the Corona del Mar section of Newport Beach, California. [7]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Okuda, Ted; Watz, Edward (1986). The Columbia Comedy Shorts. McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. pp. 224, 225. ISBN   0-89950-181-8.
  2. 1 2 Lenburg, Jeff; Joan Howard Maurer; Greg Lenburg (1982). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Citadel Press. p. 76. ISBN   0-8065-0946-5.
  3. 1 2 Fleming, Michael (2002) [1999]. The Three Stooges: An Illustrated History, From Amalgamated Morons to American Icons. New York: Broadway Publishin. pp. 79, 80. ISBN   0-7679-0556-3.
  4. Forrester, Jeff (2002). Three Stooges: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the Most Popular Comedy Team of All Time, p. 102. Donaldson Books, ISBN   0-9715801-0-3
  5. Lenburg, Jeff; Maurer, Joan Howard; Lenburg, Greg (2012-01-01). The Three Stooges Scrapbook. Chicago Review Press. ISBN   9781613740859.
  6. "Hugh McCollum". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
  7. Answers.com