Alfred N. Zimbalist (March 3, 1910, Kiev, Russia – August 28, 1975, Los Angeles) was a producer of low-budget films such as Robot Monster, Monster from Green Hell, Cat-Women of the Moon, Watusi and Baby Face Nelson.
March 3, 1910
|Died||August 28, 1975 (age 65)|
Al Zimbalist was primarily known for B movies, science fiction, crime and horror. Al Zimbalist's son, Donald R. Zimbalist (Feb 17, 1936 – Oct 6, 2004), was a frequent collaborator.
Al Zimbalist was the son of Nuchim Zimbalist (Russian: Нухим Цимбалист), a New York dressmaking foreman, and Feiga Fannie Weiner. Zimbalist was one of four children and immigrated to the US, arriving November 13, 1911, aboard the SS Lituania. He completed his education to the eighth grade. He was a first cousin to Hollywood producer Sam Zimbalist.
Zimbalist started his career in the film industry when he joined the Stanley-Warner Theatres home-office in New York in 1929, working as an editor for the company's house organ, The Warner Club News. At 19, Zimbalist was said to be one of the youngest editors in the industry. During this time, he was co-author and director of the Warner Gaieties and later executive assistant to producer Edward L. Alperson. Zimbalist continued producing company club events when he joined the publicity and advertising department at RKO-Pathe in 1931.
Zimbalist worked in theatres and publicity for the 1930s and 1940s, including stints at Warner Bros. and RKO Theatres. In 1947, he was head of publicity for Film Classics. He left Film Classics in 1949 and worked as an assistant on some Edward Albertson releases in 1951 and 1952.
In 1952, Zimbalist announced he had formed Motion Picture Artists to make moderate-priced "class exploitation films". These would include Miss Robin Crusoe, Half-caste Girl and La Virgin de Cadiz. Of these only the first was made.
However he did produce Cat-Women of the Moon (1953) with Jack Rabin.
He formed ZS Productions with Irving Shulman to make a film based on the latter's unpublished novel about Baby Face Nelson. They partnered with Mickey Rooney's Fryman Enterprises to make Baby Face Nelson (1957).
The film was popular enough for Zimbalist to be signed to MGM. His first film for them was Watusi a sequel to King Solomon's Mines (1950), using footage from that film. The second was a remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man (1959) which also used King Solomon's Mines footage.
In 1964 he was going to make The Sea Creature for Jack Warner Jnr. The film was never made. Zimbalist set up at the Goldwyn studios and announced plans to make 12 films starting with Young Dillinger. Young Dillinger used footage from Baby Face Nelson.
- Tom Weaver, John Brunas, Michael Brunas. Interviews with B science fiction and horror movie makers. McFarland 2006 p63
- Warner Bros. Claims to Have Youngest Editors. Exhibitor's Herald World 24 August 1929, P. 46.
- International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Pub. Co., 1954. p322
- Al Zimbalist with Pathe. Motion Picture Herald 27 June 1931, P. 48.
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- "THE KID'S A COMER". Chicago Daily Tribune. February 8, 1961. ProQuest 182828339.
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