|Born||April 18, 1903|
|Died||January 10, 1983|
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Years active||1936 - 1965 (film)|
Finney was educated at the City College of New York, and became an engineer at Western Electric. He entered the motion picture industry as a prop man for silent-comedy producer C. C. Burr. Finney was a born salesman and his persuasive ideas landed him a job with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as press sheet editor. He advanced to managerial posts in studio advertising departments, with gradually increasing responsibilities, at Pathé, United Artists, Monogram Pictures, Republic Pictures, and Grand National Pictures.
Grand National gave Finney his first chance at producing films, in 1936. He established Boots and Saddles Pictures and made a successful series of singing cowboy westerns starring his discovery Tex Ritter. When Grand National ceased operations in 1939, Finney moved his business to Monogram.
Finney became an independent producer in 1941. Occasionally Finney would be hired to make low-budget features for Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC); some of these were good enough to be distributed by the more prosperous Monogram studio. Some of Finney's later productions were released by Robert L. Lippert's Screen Guild Productions, and others by a major distributor, United Artists.
Finney's wide knowledge of film properties was helpful to him as a producer. He often incorporated elaborately staged file footage from other films into his own films, making the new productions appear more costly than they actually were. This became a drawback by the 1950s, when Finney's stock shots looked noticeably older than the new footage. Finney retired from production in 1952.
Edward Finney found a new outlet for his large library of old films in the 1950s: the lucrative home-movie field. He reprinted dozens of features and shorts, and offered them to collectors in the 16mm and 8mm formats.
In 1959 Edward Finney read newspaper accounts of singing star Gloria Jean now working as a hostess in a restaurant favored by movie people. Finney, a Gloria Jean fan of long standing, decided to make his own Gloria Jean movie and reactivated Boots and Saddles Pictures. The new film was the lightweight comedy Laffing Time, co-starring Finney himself (as comedian "Eddie Finn") and veteran comic El Brendel. Finney later added old action footage to it and retitled it The Madcaps. This version was released to theaters in 1964. A third version, Tobo the Happy Clown (1966), added footage from antique comedies and was aimed at the kiddie-matinee market; Finney played the title role.
Tobo the Happy Clown was Edward Finney's last theatrical production. He serviced the home-movie community into the late 1970s.