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Khan Manka, Jr. - The Chairman's Blog: February 2009 Archives

February 2009 Archives

Moguls and Dictators

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moguls_and_dictators.jpgGood morning.  I was recently sent a manuscript of an upcoming book called "The Moguls and the Dictators:  Hollywood and the Coming of World War II"

I was asked by the publisher (Johns Hopkins University Press) to read it and provide a pull quote - something along the lines of "Amazing" or "Epic storytelling" - stuff like that.  After reading the coverage of this "book" by one of my story people, the only quote I can give the publisher is this:  "I'm shocked and disappointed."  How can there be a book on any aspect of the History of Hollywood and not include Manka Bros.?

There is not one mention of Manka Bros. or the heroic efforts of my uncle, Harry Manka, during this critical time in America's history.  Not only should this book have MENTIONED Manka Bros., it should have been ABOUT Manka Bros.  Harry Manka was the driving force of the anti-Nazi movement in Hollywood before, during and after the war.  FOR SHAME!

As a needless reminder, here's a brief list of my Uncle Harry's (and to a lesser extent - Uncle Simeon, who was weak and mentally disturbed) accomplishments during the war:jaman.jpg

  • Founding member of the Jewish-American Moguls Against Nazism (or JAMAN).  Other members included Samuel Goldwyn, Louis B. Mayer and Harry & Jack Warner (whom we had to trick into joining.  We told them they had been accepted into the Los Angeles Country Club - which would never have happened.  They were so disappointment when they found out it was "just another Jewish do-gooder group").  JAMAN's key initiative was to produce no more films with Nazis shown as heroic or "good" - only as villains or "bad".

  • Manka Bros. produced the film "How To Kill Hitler" - which was released in 1938(!) and provided step-by-step instructions on how to kill Hitler.  The proceeds from the film were to help fund the new space rocket-like technology that was necessary to kill Hitler (but the U.S. State Department banned the film before its release.  Why?  No one knows.  I guess you'll have to build a time machine and go back and talk to those Fascists in person).

  • Uncle Harry wore an Army General uniform every day to the studio to remind his employees that there was a war on (he even once, jokingly no doubt, attempted to invade Walt Disney's studio and take a group of his key animators prisoners of war). 

  • Uncle Harry converted the writer's room for B-level writers and below (Building 43B today)  to a hand grenade manufacturing plant.  He once told the writers working there as a joke:  "You're no longer creating bombs to destroy this studio - you're creating bombs to destroy Hitler!"
And that's just a sampling.  It goes on and on...

What's next?  A book about Vietnam and ignoring Manka Bros.' pivotal role in the Gulf of Tonkin Incident

One day the publishers and writers of this country will recognize the importance of Manka Bros. to the American story and THAT DAY CANNOT COME SOON ENOUGH!

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - THE WORLD'S LARGEST MEDIA COMPANY

No More Award Shows...

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academy_awards_2009.jpg... I'm tired of being hungover.  The world is in the beginnings (yes, it's just the beginning) of a complete financial collapse and I'm sick fucking tired of just going to award shows, drinking champagne (and shots of Slivovitz) and drunk dialing Rebecca DeMornay (okay?  You win, Rebecca.  I won't call again - though I know you'll call me.  Call Sumner Redstone instead, he's very lonely right now).

Manka Bros. has very important things to do - though I'm not quite sure what they are.  I'm having lunch today with Terry Semel and that painter of light guy and, hopefully, we can come up with some kind of a global strategic plan for our company (and our industry).  I feel we aren't moving forward.

Please abandon your current crappy projects and start to rethink your businesses (including work on our horrendous 2009 Theatrical Slate).  You no longer have a mandate to win me an Oscar, Emmy or Grammy next year.  It's all so meaningless when the world is in danger of losing it all.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios

steven-spielberg-picture-2.jpgGood morning.

Most people would not look at Steven Spielberg and say "That guy looks like a world-class drinker.  That guy can really put it away."  But it's true.  I've never seen anyone attempt to drink so much.  And that's with one kidney!  I'm not saying it doesn't affect him.  It does.  He gets really sick and doesn't seem to care if he makes it to a toilet.

In the late 1970s, it was all drugs all the time and me and Stevie S. were constantly impaired (how do you make a movie like "Close Encounters" and not be fucked up?).  Things got so bad for me back then that I traded away the film rights to "Smokey and the Bandit" for one line of blow (I retained the book rights).  It wasn't even good shit, I think they cut it with Dove soap.

But I digress... Back to 2009...

So little Stevie S. and I are sitting at the Tonga Hut on our fourth beer and fifth shot when I asked him point blank how he could sign a deal with Disney - the company that passed on "E.T." - and not even talk to Manka Bros.  He told me without blinking, "because I need the money, Khan.  I desperately, desperately need the money and I know Manka Bros. doesn't have 'Spielberg-type' money."

I could tell it was a decision that pained him greatly so I left it at that and did not press him.  As Steve started to cry, "Fantasy" by Earth, Wind & Fire came out of the jukebox and he immediately lit up.  "I love this song!" 

He stood up a little wobbly and moved to the tiny dance floor and started singing in an odd falsetto...

earth_wind_fire.jpgEvery man has a place
In his heart there's a space
And the world can't erase his fantasies
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasise
All your dreams will come true right away

And we will live together
Until the twelfth of never
Our voices will ring forever as one

Every thought is a dream
Rushing by in a stream
Bringing life to your kingdom of doing
Take a ride in the sky
On our ship fantasise
All your dreams will come true miles away

Our voices will ring together
Until the twelfth of never
We all will love together as one

Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life a new degree
Bring your mind to everlasting liberty

As one

Come to see victory
In a land called fantasy
Loving life for you and me
To behold to your soul is ecstasy
You will find other kind
That has been in search of you
Many lives have brought you to
Recognise it's your life now in review

As you stay for the play
Fantasy has in store for you
A glowing light will see you through
It's your day shining day
All your dreams come true

As you glide in your stride
With the wind as you fly away
Give a smile from your lips and say
Are you free yes I'm free
And I'm on my way...

By the end of the song, Steve had taken off his pants and was attempting to go down into the splits like in the old days.  It didn't quite work out this time.  His knees buckled and popped.  I pulled my old friend back to the bar as "The Goodbye Girl" started to play on the jukebox.

Steve downed another shot - "I told Dreyfuss not to do that part.  He won an Oscar.  What a dumb fucking movie."

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios  

steven_spielberg.jpgSo my old drinking and snorting buddy Steven Spielberg signs with Disney to distribute all DreamWorks movies going forward - big fucking deal.  Manka Bros. will survive.  We've survived 90 years in this cut-throat-eat-your-young business and we'll survive another ninety.  It's going to take more than being shunned (and betrayed) by a director who's best film was 34 years ago to bring us down.   [Note to Bob Iger:  You can't just spend your way to success - one day you'll have to learn to develop your own fucking intellectual property.] 

The Manka Bros. Theatrical Group is the most well-positioned in the business.  DreamWorks would have been a nice addition, but certainly it's not something we desperately needed. 

I know many of you on the inside (hello - David Chang) are wondering what happened and why Manka Bros. was unable to get the deal done when it seemed so sure last week.  And for all you entertainment bloggers who missed the scoop, here's what happened.

tonga hut_small.jpgIn the early 1970s, Stevie S. and I were both just young punks in Hollywood.  My father, Harry, was the old-man-son-of-a-bitch head of Manka Bros. and I was the bass player and songwriter of King Khan - a band that was way ahead of its time (still is).  Stevie had just directed a TV episode of "Owen Marshall:  Counselor at Law" (starring Lee Majors and Arthur Hill) and felt his career was going nowhere.  The two of us used to hang out in a bar called The Tonga Hut in North Hollywood.  It was a great, dark, kitchy place with Easter Island heads on the wall, etc.  We had some great drunken times there and would sit from morning until night playing the same songs over and over on the jukebox.

Well, after the DreamWorks deal fell through with Universal, I decided to call my old friend and invite him out for a day of drinks at The Tonga Hut (thinking that the trip down memory lane might convince him to sign with Manka Bros. and become our main supplier of theatrical content).  To my surprise (and the fact that he only has one kidney), he accepted.  We met last Tuesday morning at The Tonga Hut.  The bar hadn't changed a bit. 

I ordered what used to be "our usual" - a shot of the house vodka (Gordon's) and the cheapest beer they had (Pabst Blue-Ribbon).  Five minutes later... we got another round and the conversation began.  As we ordered round-after-round, things really got interesting.

I don't want to go on too long (as I have several important meetings today).  I will continue this in Part 2 - tomorrow and go into our shocking conversation.

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company

clive_davis.jpgWords cannot express the disappointment I felt last night at the Grammy Awards.  Do you all realize how fucking embarrassing it was to be sitting right behind Clive Davis and hear HIS NAME called out by Whitney Houston giving him another fucking token lifetime achievement award?

I'M THE MOGUL that didn't sell off our music division even though the music industry has been in the shitter for years and will probably stay there.

I'M THE MOGUL who is willing to take huge risks on washed up artists such as Mac McCord and Seamus.

I'M THE MOGUL that can actually fucking play an instrument.  I'd like to see Clive Davis play the bass as good as me.  Shit, I'll even challenge him to a bass-off.  I was the driving force behind KING KHAN before this fucking corporate bullshit job forced itself onto to me.

I deserved that award from Whitney Houston - NOT CLIVE DAVIS!

lee_ann_womack.jpgAnd there I was, slogging my way from after-party to after-party with my date (country superstar Lee Ann Womack) without one fucking Grammy to carry around.  It seemed like everyone was carrying around a stupid Grammy.  That guy from the Honeydrippers (Robert Plant) needed someone to walk with him because he couldn't carry all of his Grammys.

Next year, this had better change.  It's two years in a row now that the Manka Music Group has been nothing but a joke at the Grammys.  Next year, this had better change or I will shut the whole thing and sell it to China!

khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios

Good morning.

christian_bale_small.jpgI have some very disturbing news. Following an incredibly profane and violent tirade on the set of Manka Bros.' upcoming family film "My Little Kitten", the lead actor, Christian Bale, has been fired from the production. This was not an easy decision. However, after you all hear the disturbing audio captured on the set, you will most likely agree with my decision.

From what I understand, Mr. Bale said these horrible things to one of the kitten wranglers named Shane. It was also said in front of children, parents, puppeteers and several members of PETA. I have put out an immediate offer to the great actor Russell Crowe to fill Mr. Bale's position.


 Christian Bale Fired from Manka Bros. Films "My Little Kitten"

Please join me in wishing Mr. Bale only the best in all his future endeavors (though they won't be with this studio).
khan_jr1_small.jpgKhan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. Studios

About Khan Manka, Jr.

Khan Manka, Jr. - Chairman & CEO - Manka Bros. StudiosKhan Manka, Jr. assumed the title of Chairman of the Board of Manka Bros. Studios - The World's Largest Media Company - following his father Harry Manka's death in 1976. Before that he was the member of several Southern California rock bands.

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