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Hollywood's Dark Lord - Harry Manka: 1883 - 1976 - Khan Manka, Jr. - The Chairman's Blog

Hollywood's Dark Lord - Harry Manka: 1883 - 1976

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harry_manka.jpgNormally, I'm too busy to talk about my father's death but I have a little time this morning before a very important mogul-only lunch.  So I have a few minutes (and a very nice Bloody Mary - thank you Vicky) to talk about my dad.

Harry Manka was a real prick.  Not just to me but to all of my mothers (he had six wives - I've never really been sure which one was my real mother). 

But people outside the family loved Harry Manka.  He was called Hollywood's Dark Lord for his habit of holding certain actors and writers hostage in the attic of Building 23 on the studio lot (dubbed "The Tower") until they gave in to his demands. 

Harry Manka had an amazing ability to stay alive.  Most people thought he would die from his sixth heart attack in 1958 - but he would go on to have three more and two strokes over the next 18 years.  He drank a bottle of Crown Royal every day, smoked three packs of unfiltered Camel Turkish Gold cigarettes every day and smoked a box of cigars every day. 

Dad-Dad loved horrible movies and television shows because he was constantly making them.  During the early 1970s, he nearly bankrupt our family and the studio with such gems as Escape From Satan's Planet and Black Illiad.

manka bros studio_1918_small.jpgBut this is not a day to piss on my father's grave.  This is a day to remember a man who co-founded the World's Largest Media Company (though it wasn't the largest when I took over in 1976) with my two Uncles - the great Khan Manka (Sr.) who died tragically in 1937 before I was born; and crazy Simeon Manka (1882 - 1958) who died on Hollywood Blvd. wearing only a sandwich board that read "Benny's World of Beef"

I vaguely remember the day of Harry Manka's death.  I received a call from C.J. Siegal, my dad's personal assistant, who told me he was killed on the golf course after being hit with an errant tee shot.  We knew nothing could kill my dad and suddenly he dies after being hit with a golf ball?  It was crazy.  To this day, no one has confirmed who hit the ball that killed my dad.  But we know.  He was playing with Bob Hope, Joey Levitch and President of the U.S. - GERALD FORDWho do you think killed Harry Manka?

king khan_3.jpgC.J. was horrified when I told him I wouldn't be able to come to the house later to be with the family because my band - King Khan - was getting ready for a very important gig at the Starlite Room in North Hollywood.  Plus, later that night I had tickets for Jefferson Starship at the Forum.  Being the son of a movie mogul, I always got backstage passes and nothing was going to stop me from using them.

On the day of his death, I was named Chairman & CEO of Manka Bros. Studios.  I did not want this job.  I wanted to smoke dope and drop acid with my Hollywood friends.  I didn't want to wear shoes and go to an office.  I could feel that my band was really starting to take off.  But C.J. Siegal reasoned with me and said I could immediately sign my own band to the Manka Bros. Records label and record a real album.  This convinced me to take the job. 

But after two weeks in that giant office with movie stars and directors begging you to make their movies, I quickly dropped the band and never recorded that album.  I realized being a media mogul is so much more impressive than being in a garage band.  No matter how good our version of "Smoke On The Water" was. 

So, here we are, 34 years later, and Manka Bros. is the World's Largest Media Company

I'll leave you with one final thought - one of the last things my father ever said to me:  "If you're going to waste your life - go ahead and kill yourself.  I'll even give you the pills or the gun to do it!" - Harry Manka (1883-1976).

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

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Jay McBee said:

And what a 34 years it has been! Congratulations, sir.

Jay McBee - President - Manka Bros. Television Group

Hollywood Producer said:

Ah, the Dark Lord died today. I've heard stories. I didn't know about "The Tower" though. What building is that today?

Kevin Ablett said:

Hi Khan,
I must admit: Until I was looking up Ari Gold's real life character, and followed the web train to your blog, I had never heard of you or your company. I find that amazing, strange, and somewhat sad that the world's largest media company is largely unknown to every average joe six pack in the world. It seems like the only people that know you exist are other moguls. At the same time, I find your story quite interesting and do feel it's one that needs to be told. Your family. The circumstances surrounding you becoming the CEO. I LOVED your keynote at the World Economic Forum (although something tells me it is your style in those moments that is precisely why nobody knows Manka appears that the other moguls are censoring you!) Perhaps if you were more 'predictable' and 'amenable' you would get more publicity? Another thing I noticed is that looking over your theatrical archives, I have never heard of 98% of the movies you guys have made in the last 30 years..what gives? Is there some fantastic business model in making $1-million movies and getting $4-million in box office sales? Is that your business strategy?
It's funny reading your posts about all the big CEO's..these guys all sound like pompous, insecure, sad retards. Who did they have to blow to get those jobs?

Anyway, you sound like an interesting character with an interesting story. A bit of a narcissist now that you've been doing this so long (power corrupts..absolute power corrupts absolutely), and for that I think your business has suffered more than you'd care to admit or are probably capable of admitting (another symptom of a narcissist). It almost sounds like many of your employees and associates tolerate your antics merely because they have no choice. I guess you never saw Spiderman (not a manka film) with the quote ' with great power comes great responsibility', because for a self-proclaimed hippy you sure have lost sight of what's real and what's important in this world. With such a massive company at your command, you are in the unique and enviable position of doing so much good in the world, and it appears you'd rather piss it away watching baseball games, hanging out with people you don't even like, talking about things you don't give a shit about, all the way to becoming the biggest mogul in the world that nobody's ever heard of...

You can shout if from the rooftops all day long, but who gives a shit if nobody's listening?

It's really too bad because you I believe you truly COULD be the world's GREATEST every sense of the word. Why? Because your past gives you the unique ability to not be a total sell out. Yet, sadly, it seems like you've become a tragic victim of your own largesse (I don't think success is the right word to use here.)

Forgive me if you deem my note insulting. I respect your bravery for your comments to the world's bankers and your willingness to tell it like it is, and wish more people would refuse to 'tow the line', but I also think you're shitting the bed on using your incredible power and influence to do something meaningful in this world, instead of just bankrolling yet another D-movie.

Keep doing what you're doing and the world outside of hollywood's little silicon bubble will never know you existed.

Make a few tweaks and you and your business could be the most incredibly positive force in global media.

Otherwise, I fear you'll end up like Sumner Redstone and Michael Eisner!

In truth & light,


Britney Tell said:

Bibamus, moriendum est. (Let's drink, death is inevitable.)--Seneca the Elder (ca. 55 B.C.--37 A.D.)

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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