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329 West 18th Street Suite #610
Chicago, Illinois 60616
(312) 243-1808

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Peter A. Nikulin Collection

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Collection Identifier: C.2021-09
Extent of collection
253 reels of 35mm film totaling approximately 66,550 feet; 127 reels of 16mm film totaling approximately 81,860 feet; various ephemera.
Inclusive Dates
circa 1940 - 1960
Bulk Dates
1945 - 1960
The Peter A. Nikulin Collection mainly consists of prints and elements from Kling Studios, Inc., a Chicago-based advertising and film production company. The collection's strength is in mid-century television; it contains prints and elements from episodes of "TV Kitchen" (an early example of the cooking show genre), "The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe" (a daily children's puppet show sponsored by Marshall Field), "Boxing from Rainbo," and "The Old American Barn Dance" (a televised version of the popular radio show). There are also a number of animated commercials for beer, ice cream, and ginger ale.
Kling Studios (was created by)
Kling Studios, Inc. was a commercial art and film production company founded by Robert B. Eirinberg and illustrator Wendell Kling in Chicago during the Great Depression.

The business grew rapidly, and in 1945, the company built a $500,000, 300,000-square-foot studio at 601 N. Fairbanks Ct, on Chicago's near north side. The firm also had offices in Hollywood, New York, Cleveland and Detroit. In 1950, its film and television production offshoot, Kling Film Productions, built what was then the largest film studio outside of Hollywood in an old roller rink at 1058 West Washington Blvd. The firm was a pioneer in combining art, photography and sales-promotion services in one location. The company was sold in the early '60s.

Kling Film Productions was responsible for many popular syndicated television programs in the early '50s, including The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe, The Old American Barn Dance, and Boxing from Rainbo. Fred A. Niles headed the division, which also produced industrial training films for companies such as Admiral Corporation, and advertisements for companies including Vernor's Ginger Ale, Ideal Dog Food, and Godchaux Sugar.
Custodial History
Kathlene Nikulin inherited the collection from her father, Peter A. Nikulin, after his death in 2012, and subsequently donated it to CFA in 2021. Kathlene believes her father purchased the films at an auction.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only digital copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
Rights can be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Publication Date
November 8 2022
Kling Studios
H5720 - Show #1 EFX Trk [W.P.]
King Calico Audition Print #58
SERIES I: The Adventures of Uncle Mistletoe
SERIES II: Boxing from Rainbo
SERIES III: Old American Barn Dance