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Republic Pictures' Eagle Flies Again

January 08, 1985| From the Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY — Republic Pictures, once a premier "B" movie maker but out of business for the last 20 years, is returning to the silver screen in 1985, with National Telefilm Associates changing its name and resurrecting the trademark Republic eagle.

The dream of seeing "the Republic eagle fly again" in film production is coming true, producer Aubrey Groskopf said after National Telefilm Associates shareholders voted during a special meeting to change NTA's name to Republic Pictures Corp.

NTA is primarily engaged in the syndication of motion pictures and television series, including "Bonanza," "I Spy" and "Get Smart," to an international market of stations. It has also been making inroads in the lucrative videocassette market.

In 1967, NTA bought out the old Republic's assets, including its logo and a film library containing more than 1,000 features. That collection includes 47 John Wayne films, seven Bob Hope comedies, six Cary Grant movies and the classic "Macbeth" with Orson Welles.

In its heyday, Republic produced such matinee serials as "Crash Corrigan," "Spysmasher" and "Radar Men From the Moon" and B movies including "Robin Hood of the Pecos," "Boots and Saddles" with Gene Autry, "Petticoat Politics" and "Rosy the Riveter."

But two decades ago, when Republic ceased film production, it seemed the eagle logo would be condemned for celluloid eternity to late-night television and movie revival houses.

Groskopf, who was nominated for an Academy Award in 1969 as best producer of a foreign film, "The Boys of Paul Street," said the resurrected Republic will waste no time before diving into its first production work since the mid-1960s.

Its first major film will be one designed not only to mark a return to movie making, but to cash in on nostalgia with a sequel to the classic "The Quiet Man" that starred late Wayne and Maureen O'Hara.

"No one can, obviously, replace Wayne, so his character will have died," Groskopf said. "But she (Miss O'Hara) is still alive and very much willing to star in the property as the mother of the two children that they had, on whom the story will focus."

Along with its renewed sortie into film production, Republic will continue NTA's competition in the videocassette market, Groskopf said.

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