Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Samuel Goldwyn

I was watching TCM recently, and a movie produced by Samuel Goldwyn appeared upon my screen. It’s funny, because Samuel Goldwyn’s name was actually Sam Goldfish. I don’t know why, exactly, he changed it, but my guess is he felt that Goldfish, while a nice animal for children, isn’t the best name for a movie mogul. So he changed it to Goldwyn.

Why did he change it to Goldwyn? Well, it’s kind of an interesting story if you care about old movies, which most people don’t. But Sam Goldfish entered into a production company called Goldwyn with a family called Selwyn. And they came up with the name by merging their names into, that’s right: Goldwyn. And after this company dissolved, like most of his did (reportedly he was hard to get along with), he decided that Goldwyn sounded better than Goldfish, so he legally changed his name to Goldwyn.

Well, that appropriation did not sit well with the Selwyns, and so they sued him. I would love to have been there to see that case argued in court. He stole the last three letters of our name! Well, can you still use them? Yes, but these are the three most important letters in the alphabet to us, and he’s disgracing them! So, then, nobody should be able to use the letters W, Y, or N without your approval? Exactly! Okay, case dismissed.

But they didn’t have to sue him to hurt him: all they had to do was wait and watch him do it to himself. Samuel Goldwyn got kicked out of pretty much every company he co-founded, mostly because people didn’t like him. Goldwyn was a silent movie production company, and he got kicked out of that. Then, he co-founded MGM (The G stands for Goldwyn, or Goldfish, if you prefer), and he got shut out of that company too (and they even kept his brainchild of the lion logo at the beginning of every movie!).

So, finally, Sam Goldfish, um, I mean, Goldwyn, struck out on his own, and he produced some of the greatest movies ever made. No, really. He was still a jerk everyone hated, but once he had his own company he couldn’t get kicked out of, he made good.

So I guess the lesson here is: Trust no one, never work with other people because they will stab you in the back every time, and start your own business! (Entrepreneurs rule, man!) And with YouTube, everyone can! And if they can’t make a decent movie, there’s always YouPorn, I guess…