When pioneer producer Samuel Goldfish and Broadway impresarios Edgar & Archibald Selwyn teamed up in 1916 they blended their names to be Goldwyn Pictures. A joke at the time said the other combination would have been Selfish.
In 1918, GP bought the Triangle Pictures lot producer Thomas Ince had owned for three years. Goldfish, who’d already changed his name to the better sounding Goldwyn, was notoriously hard to work with. While partnered with Jesse Lasky & Adolph Zucker, who co-founded Paramount, they voted him out in Sept. 1916. He sold his stock for $900,000 and started GP. When Lowe bought GP for $4.7M, Sam’s partners had already forced him out. Loew purchased Sam’s GP shares for $600,000 to finalize the merger.
Loew knew GP lacked strong management. His attorney, J. Robert Rubin, remembered a producer with a small East L.A. studio who Loew had previously met and liked — Louis B. Mayer. Loew bought Mayer’s company for $76,500 and hired Mayer to run Metro-Goldwyn (pictured – logo). Mayer insisted that his production head, Irving Thalberg, come with him.
Loew’s deal required Mayer & Thalberg to deliver at least 15 films in their first two years. They actually did so before six months of Year One had passed! To no one’s surprise, Mayer’s name was soon added, making the new studio M-G-M.