Former gag-man (for Buster Keaton), propman, studio manager and assistant director who turned out his first feature-length film in 1944. Karlson hit his stride in the 1950s with a brace of gritty crime melodramas noted for their realistic detail and graphic violence. Foremost among these were "Scandal Sheet" (1952), "99 River Street" (1953) and three 1955 films: "Tight Spot"; "Five Against the House"; and "The Phenix City Story" (in which the lead actor wore the actual clothes of the murder victim on whose story the film was based). Although he received a measure of critical attention and developed something of a cult following, Karlson remained a B director for the duration of his career. He scored a box-office success in 1973 with "Walking Tall."