Marcus Loew and Nicholas Schenck

Pioneering movie moguls

Barely known today, and colleagues for the wildest years of movie history, these two men had one calling in common: They commanded Loew’s Inc., the distribution company that served Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, but which also increasingly nagged at and affected the creative output at that great studio. Loew was the son of an Austrian waiter, born in New York; he was amiable, kind and often regarded as a saint. Nick Schenck came from Russia at the age of 9, worked at first as Loew’s assistant and never provoked charges of sainthood. From furs and real estate, Loew broke into nickelodeons and theaters. Loew’s Inc. was established in 1920. Four years later it bought Metro and led the merger of MGM. Schenck took over when Loew died and lasted so long he was able to fire Louis B. Mayer. He nearly survived long enough to behold “Zabriskie Point.”

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