A former WWII POW whose productions laid the groundwork for one of Germany's biggest local box-office hits, producer Horst Wendlandt hit a nearly five-decade-long stride with his numerous adaptations of the works of writers Edgar Wallace and Karl May. Born Horst Gubanow to Russian parents in 1922, the future producer became an apprentice at Tobis Filmkunst at the age of 15. Subsequently captured and forced into labor in the French coal mines, Wendlandt joined Arthur Brauner's CCC following the war. Wendlandt's next fateful move would be to Rialto, the company he would eventually run, in 1961. Taking control of the company that had recently acquired the rights to the entire catalog of Edgar Wallace's detective thrillers in 1972, the following years found roughly 30 books translated into films under Wendlandt in the coming years. Serving as a popular showcase for up-and-coming German talent, the Wallace films also proved a lucrative draw at the box office throughout the 1960s. Soon thereafter approached by his son with the idea of adapting 19th century writer Karl May's series of Wild West adventures, a series of popular Eurowesterns followed. Those films, many of which were international co-productions, would eventually lay the foundation for the wildly popular 2002 parody Manitu's Shoe. In late August 2002, Wendlandt succumbed to cancer in Berlin, Germany. He was 80.