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Columbia Pictures is a major Hollywood studio, now owned by Sony via its Sony Pictures division and based at the old Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot in Culver City, California. Columbia was represented by the "torch lady", a conflation of the Anthropomorphic Personification of America as "Columbia" with the torch of "Liberty Enlightening the World".

Columbia started as CBC Film Sales in 1924, hit the big time with the outstanding and multi-Oscar winning success of It Happened One Night in 1934, and became a reliable front-runner after World War II. Since it didn't own any theaters, it wasn't as affected by the Fall of the Studio System, and emerged as a leader in Hollywood in The '50s while the Big Five were left reeling by the United States vs. Paramount Pictures decision. And while the rest of the industry was scared to death of the new medium of television, Columbia wholeheartedly embraced it, becoming one of the first big names to enter television production. Columbia started an entire division named "Screen Gems" to manage its television properties, and produced several well known shows over the years. (Screen Gems is also well known for its 1965–74 "S From Hell" Vanity Plate, which has acquired a cult following on the Internet.) By 1974, Columbia Pictures Television traded under its own name. CPT was merged with TriStar Television in 1994 to create Columbia TriStar Television, and the operation was renamed Sony Pictures Television in 2002.


As Columbia entered The '60s, however, its brand became increasingly wishy-washy, with the studio producing both old-fashioned fare and New Hollywood-type movies. It nearly went bankrupt in the early 1970s before it was saved by a radical overhaul of the management, a partnership with Warner Bros., and a series of high-profile star vehicles. By 1982, Columbia was healthy again and was purchased by an unlikely suitor: Coca-Cola. The marriage didn't last long, though, as Columbia had few hits during this time (aside from the blockbuster Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid franchises). After making two key purchases in the mid-1980s (Norman Lear's and Merv Griffin's television holdings) and two major flops in Ishtar and Leonard Part 6, Coke spun the company off in 1988 under the newly formed Columbia Pictures Entertainment entity, owning 49% of the the stand-alone company. During the same year, CPE acquired the remaining stake of TriStar Pictures (which Columbia partially owned at the time) from CBS and HBO following another major flop, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, bringing them fully to the fold and merging them with Columbia. Sony bought CPE in 1989 (including the merged Columbia/TriStar), renamed it to Sony Pictures and has held onto the two studios since, with mixed results. Due to these ownerships by prominent consumer brand-names, too many films from the studio to count feature Product Placement from the owners. (The Sony logo now appears before the Columbia logo just to drive it in.)


While also owned by Sony since 1988, Columbia Records has otherwise no relation with the film studio. Columbia did operate several record labels of its own in the past: Colpix Records from 1958-66 (notable for Nina Simone, The Marcels, James Darren, Shelley Fabares and Paul Petersen among others), Colgems Records in association with RCA from 1966-70 (which issued The Monkees' albums), Bell Records (home of The Partridge Family and Tony Orlando and Dawn) from 1969 to 1974note , and finally Arista Records from 1974 until Columbia sold the label in 1979.

Films produced and/or distributed by Columbia include:

Live-action and animated TV shows produced by Screen Gems or Columbia Pictures Television include:


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