When did B movies make their debut?
During the Depression, “B” movies were coupled with “A” movies to produce a double-billing at U.S. theaters. This was a desperate effort of film studio heads to draw in budget-conscience audiences with meager allowances for entertainment. By the 1940s, Columbia Pictures and MGM had perfected the “B” flick to the point that it was difficult to tell it from an “A” picture. “B” movies were profitable, and Universal Pictures turned out an average of one B-film each week. Most B-films took from 7 days to 3 weeks (including Saturdays) to make. Scant time was spent on rehearsals or costume fittings. Work was plentiful for actors in the 1940s and 1950s, and appearing in ten or more B-films a year was not unusual. Few got rich as A-film actors did, but acting in B-films provided a comfortable and dependable living.