Victor Animatograph 1930
The Victor Animatograph Company is the first to introduce a 16 mm
sound projector, using the Warner Brother's 35mm Vitaphone
sound-on-disc method, employing a vertical turntable with a
floating pendulum tone-arm, mounted on a rocker support. Needless to say the
venture was not a success. It was Kodak laboratories, after 3 years of
experimentation, that set the standard for the
future with the development of 16 mm sound on film in 1930, with
perforations down the left side and the soundtrack on the right.
Since America was in the mist of the Great Depression, people could not
afford the expense of the 16 mm equipment. Kodak was looking for a more
inexpensive film gauge that would gain a wider acceptance. They introduced a new
Cine Kodak 8.
In Sept. 1932,
RCA Victor gets into the 16mm home market by demonstrating the first
sound-on-film 16 mm projector to the photographic trade, called the Photophone
Junior Portable, it's on the market the following year.
March 14, George Eastman, aged 77, writes suicide note--"My work is done. Why
wait?"--and shoots himself.
announces in February, the formation of it's 16 mm sound-on-film
library, on a variety
400 ft educational subjects.
Bell & Howell
introduces it's sound-on-film
Filmosound projector and the following year opens
it's Filmosound film library for sound 16 mm rentals.
A magazine devoted to the Home Movie Industry begins
it's publication. Published monthly by
Ver Halen Publications it offers
articles about film collecting, with great advertisments from
Castle, Official, Hollywood Film Enterprises,
WALTER O. GUTLOHN CORPERATION
is founded Gutlohn, a doctor, and Harry Kapit, an attorney, is the
first independent national 16mm rental library, Gutlohn dies in 1938,
company continues operation by his partner Kapit and Gutlohn's widow.
The corperation is one
of the first to distribute sound 16 mm films, on disc, followed by sound
on film, The CORP. is sold
in 1945. Always involved with universities
the company pioneered film libraries in schools. The Company and itís
3.000 16mm films is sold in 1945 to a theatrical & television
DeVry introduces itís first sound-on-film projector
Era of color photography begins
color film, based on
three colored emulsions, is introduced.
Era of color photography begins. Kodachrome becomes the first commercially
successful amateur color film on 16 mm. The following year it's
introduced in 8 mm and 35 mm slides. Kodachrome color
energizes amateurs and helps establish home moviemaking as a phenomenon.
Home Film Libraries Inc.
Started by Orton
Hicks in his home in 1927, as a part time business. By 1929 the company
grew large & profitable enough that he went into it full time. He began
supplying 16 mm projectors and Hollywood features to small steamship lines that
couldn't afford the investment of the 35 mm equipment that the big ship lines
could. In 1935 to make Hollywood sound features available to 16 mm
renters, Hicks made a deal with Paramount to release their features to Films
Inc., making Paramount the first studio to release sound features on 16
mm. By the early 1960's Films Inc. was the number 1, 16mm distributor in
America. It reached it's peak in 1983 by grossing over 30 million dollars that
year. By the early 90's with the bottom falling out of the 16 mm rental
business, Film Inc. hits hard times & is out of business by 1996.
Kodak introduces it's first sound-on-film 16 projector,
the Sound KODASCOPE Special Projector.
formed in 1924, by
Eugene Castle (1897-1960),
former Pacific Coast film editor at Fox Movietone, on
an investment of $10.000, which grew into one of the largest
supplier of shorts & feature condensations to the home market, started
his business by distributing industrial films and documentaries free to
schools and colleges with sponsors paying the costs. In
1936, when most distributors saw 16 mm films only as a rental market,
Castle realized the potential in the 16 mm home market & the ownership
of films by collectors market.
His first two
OF KING GEORGE" and "THE
Click on the
logo to check out more on
An ad in the 1936
color!, Realizing the revolutionary nature of color on 16 mm,
KODASCOPE LIBRARIES INC. has contracted with DUNNING OF
HOLLYWOOD for exclusive production &
16 mm short subjects.").
Two of the first 400 ft. Dunning color live subjects the Kodascope Libraries
offers are "Maude Miller" & Romany Love.
Click on ad below to enlarge Kodascope, Dunning ad.
In 16 mm color & sound.....Another example of
Kodascope Libraries efforts to provide the finest for rental
The above proclamation introduced Disney's Silly Symphony's in the new
color process in 1937.
Dunning color had the range of greens & reds but lacked the blues. The
did not last long.
Color would not gain wide acceptance in 16mm until Cinecolor & Kodachrome begins
printing on 16mm stock in the 1940ís. Dunning was distinguished by it's emerald
green soundtrack. Dunning was distinguished by it's
emerald green soundtrack.
Click on ad below to enlarge the Kodascope, Dunning
Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. is founded in 1937 and begins renting 16 mm films to
non theatrical revenues like cruise lines, hospitals, churches, recreation
departments, high schools, elementary schools and various other institutions.
Privately owned by the Swank family. Swank is one of the few rental companies
still operating by the 21st
century with over 1,000 employees.
Agfa, a company formed in 1867, as a color factory in Germany, introduces a 16
amateur cine film.
EVOLUTION OF THE 16 MM FILM by A.F. VICTOR President of the
Victor Animatograph Corperation for the Film Daily Yearbook- 1938
Although primarily the 16 mm film was intended for amateur use, it
has in these 15 years developed into new although not unexpected
channels. From being an amazing plaything , 16 mm now has become one of
the greatest mediums for education & other purposes. The second step in
the evolution of 16 mm to it's present use was it's adoption
by industrial organizations . The next and presumably final step was the
adoption of 16 mm for educational purposes through out the schools
of the world. 16 mm film is not intended by either the sponsors nor by
most of those engaged in the manufacture of film & apparatus to replace
35 mm film for entertainment purposes. It is a fact that the larger
manufacturers of both of these things clearly understand that the
16 mm industry would be retarded were it to encroach on the legitimate
theater field, and for that reason both manufacturers of film &
apparatus have tried in every way to discourage the showing of
entertainment pictures on 16 mm. in competition with local theaters.
BOY MEETS DOG
Walter Lantz produces a Technicolor cartoon called Boy Meets Dog (based on the
comic strip "Reg'lar Fellers"). This was a soft-sell commercial for
Bristol-Myers' Ipana toothpaste. Bristol-Myers
planned to give theaters 50 cents
a seat to run the cartoon, but something happened, and the deal with Lantz fell
through. Castle bought the cartoon (removing two plugs for Ipana) and releases
it for the home market in black & white in 1940. It was never released
theatrically by Universal, and is in Public domain
Founded by Leslie Winik,
Castle's biggest competitor is formed in
1939 to produce, for
sale, in 16 mm, instructional shorts, but within a year they found
a more valuable 16 mm market in public domain Keystone Chaplin shorts,
which the company added music & sound effects. In the early 1940's Official
acquired the rights to the Van Beuren cartoons. They changed many of the film
titles and renamed characters. Tom & Jerry became Dick & Larry, and Cubby
Winik entered independent production & sold Official films in 1945 to a
who expanded the company's overall
business, listing over 300 titles for sale by 1948. Official Films in 1948
scooped Castle films and acquired the rights to the "Soundies" shorts (Castle
films had the rights in 1946 & 47) and began selling them in groups of 3 under
the program "Musical Film Revues" for $17.50 each. Official also issued
many individual Soundies with their original titles,
During the 1950's the company packaged a series of Soundies for Television. They
were the earliest company to sell the Roach 'Our Gang' sound shorts in the
In 1950 Official films got involved with the blossoming
Television Industry, syndicating live action television shows including
"Peter Gunn", "Adventures of
Robin Hood", "Secret File,
U.S.A." (1955) TV Series, "Survival" (1964) TV Series.
In 1969, Official Films changed its name to Official Industries.
marks the beginning
of the end for the historic
The company becomes a division of
Eastman Kodak stores. While the libraries are still renting the old
silent prints, Kodak had not printed any new silent tinted movies since
the early thirties, when 16 mm sound films caught on. The Universal
sound films & shorts that the Libraries were renting the past 4
years, including the 1936 Showboat & My Man Godfrey were transferred to
the Bell & Howell Filmosound libraries
which were handling most of Universal films, no new additions of
the Kodascope catalogs were
issued and the libraries finally ceased operations completely by
1944. Many of the old Amber tinted prints found their way
into collectors hands.
Eastin Entertainment Films is
in 1939, named after the Indian tribe that once lived on the land where
Davenport Iowa now stands. The company was founded by Kent D. Eastman in
his home in Galesberg Ill in 1927. Eastin, a film collector, would
buy packages of 16 mm films from companies that went bankrupt and then
resell them to collectors (actually the first film dealer). By the mid
30's he was so successful renting & selling films, that he was
Eastin-Phelan Corporation. In 1952 the
company begin's a big expansion by making a deal with the
Hal Roach Company for non-theatrical rights to their Laurel & Hardy
features & the Roach shorts. They made a limited deal for the rights to
the Fox Movietone Newsreels & some of Foxes shorts. Kent Eastin was such
a railroad buff that he released a series of very popular railroad
shorts. Blackhawk became the most prestigious of all the companies that
sold films. Under the guidance of Eastin, Blackhawk worked with the
American Film Institute by funding them in the acquisition and restoring
of early silent films in return for the rights to sell them. In the
1970's Super 8 overtook the popularity of 16 mm & became the biggest
moneymaker for Blackhawk. The original owners sold the company in 1975.
When Republic Pictures bought the company in 1986 they, turned it into
strictly a video operation.
ESSEX FILM CLUB OF NUTLEY, NEW JERSEY
is founded by movie lover Robert E. Lee, He was the dean of film society
operators, and the club becomes the oldest continuously operated film
society in the US operating up to his death in 1992. Running both 16mm & 35mm
the club offered one double feature program a month. Lee also offered 16 mm
prints for sale to collectors, under the title Griggs Moviedrome. Named after
John Griggs, his company begin's as a small business offering copies of films
from Greggs personal collection, by the middle 1970's it's 40 page catalog
contains some of the best quality prints available from over 200 features &
shorts in both 8mm & 16mm.
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