Los Angeles is the 35mm theatrical capital of the world,
Chicago in the 30's, 40's, 50's & 60's
is considered the
home movie capital of the world. Most of the major
has their corporate
headquarters there, including:
Incorporated', 'Bell & Howell', 'Victor Animatograph
Co.', 'Ideal Films Inc', 'DeVry Inc', 'Coronet Films','Ampro
Corperation' ,'Walter O. Gutlohn Corperation', 'Encyclopaedia Britanica Films', &
'Library Films Inc.'. 'Blackhawk' began life in a
Chicago suburb before moving to Iowa. There were also smaller
companies to numerous to mention.
is a movie jukebox. You put in a dime and get a 3 minute movie
short, with sound, called a 'soundie'.
Proclaimed Look magazine in the
November 19, 1940 issue
mm Soundies were
conceived in 1940 and introduced in Jan. 1941. Soundies were
by several companies including Minoco, Globe, and RCM Productions,
son James Roosevelt, Herbert Mills,& Sam Coslow a song
writer. If you were a teenager on a
out with friends at the local soda shop,chances were you
would come across a contraption called the Panoram,
a wood cabinet Jukebox machine. You would toss in a coinand using rear
projection a musical number would appear on
the screen, usually the popular & not so popular big band & vocalists of the day. Eight soundies
were spliced together on a reel which ran in
a continuous loop. One
reel was released each week, with more hitting the Panorams at holidays and
other peak periods.
The top Black performers of the
day including Fats Waller, Dorothy Dandridge,
The Mills Brothers and Nat King Cole as well as future stars Because of
the War, the unpopularity of soundies with Movie exhibitors &
problems with the Film Projectionist
Unions, Soundies finally came to an end in the summer of
than 2,000 were produced
from 1940-46, most by the Soundies Distributing
America. Today they
are very collectable 16 mm items.
AND THE HOME MARKET
O. Gutlohn Inc. was the first company to offer soundies for limited sale
& rent in 1942. Striking
a deal with the Soundies Distributing Corp.
the company sold them with the reversed
in 1945 Castle Films sold new prints Soundies to the home market, under the
name 'Castle Music Albums'. Each Castle reel contained 3 soundies, usually
with the same theme, with all original titles removed. . Some of the
compilation titles were ‘Songs Of The South’,’Romantic Melodies’,’
Rhythm In Rhapsody’ ,’Songs Of The West"
total of 101 different soundies were acquired from the Soundies
In 1947 Official Films scooped Castle and took
over the copy writes and ended Castle Films association with Soundies.
Official Films sold new prints under the name Musical Film Revues, they
were sold in groups of 3 numbers, and like Castle films, corrected the
backward image and removed all the original credits. Official also
many individual Soundies with their original titles,
Official promoted the name Soundies in their advertising and on the
film packaging, but the Soundies name doesn’t appear on the films
Films sold used copies of the original prints shown in the Panoram in
the late 1940’s.
the early 50’s they sold over 300.000 soundies by acquiring
collections from film libraries.
survey in 1940 by the Motion Picture Division, Department Of Commerce
said that in American high schools & colleges, 6,059 silent 16 mm
projectors & 6,384 sound 16 mm projectors are in use.
& CASTLE FILMS
the late summer Cine-color,
established in 1932, as a result of the financial failure of
Multicolor Corp, installs equipment for making 16mm,
& 8mm two
color prints. Cine-color,
uses two negatives in the camera and prints are
made direct from the original negative without recourse to intermediate films.
first company to make use of the new 16mm Cinecolor process is Castle Films in
that year includes 12 Ub Iwerks Comi-color cartoons. (click on ad below)
price in stores for
a brand new complete
16mm Cine-color Castle cartoon is $33.50. Cine-color
had the range
& reds but
the greens, a much better process than the 2 color
By 1951 Castle
ends their association with Cine-color and stops selling the
Cine-color cartoons when the company
abandons it’s 2 color process for their new 3 color system
In 1954 Cinecolor goes completely out of business
and its assets are bought by Technicolor.
Brother used Cine-color for a short time in 1948, when Technicolor went on
strike, for several of their cartoons. Hal Roach also used Cine-color for some of
his short subjects produced in 1947-48
World War 2
War 2 provided a huge expansion for 16 mm films.
proved that 16mm was fully capable of doing the job
of instructing and entertaining the
inductees of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
Armed Forces practically filmed the whole war in 16 mm. War
training films were commissioned by the government in 16
mm and production
of them moved into high gear.
Suddenly the demand for
16mm brakes loose. The armed forces were producing more 16mm
film for training films than
all of the Hollywood film Industry.
All branches of the armed
services demanded more projectors than all the factories could
supply. All production materials were soon given high priority.
The film producers were called upon to supply 16mm prints of
even late releases, for entertainment of the services.
processing laboratories, libraries, mushroomed into action.
home front Castle Inc.
made a killing selling a variety of
battle footage in short
subjects, with such exciting titles like:
ROME FALLS TO THE
ALLIES', 'JAPAN SURRENDERS', 'YANKS
ISLANDS', INVASION OF EUROPE,
BOMBS OVER EUROPE,
begins printing Kodachrome
commercial use, color shorts, travelogs,
from all the major studios, by the middle 1940's 16mm
is part of all rental
May 10 1942 MGM's
Tarzan's New York
was the first film shown free to servicemen overseas.
A 16 mm copy was sent to Iceland and shown 10 May 1942.
Technicolor is introduced in 16
mm. for the home market including
the armed forces & schools
Technicolor was distinguished by it's bright
unfortunately the soundtrack tended to fade over
time, resulting in
of sound. 16 mm Blue
Track Technicolor was printed in 35 mm
and cut from the center of a 35 mm print, then sliced
right down the middle, so two 16
mm prints would be made from one 35 mm print, this
process lasted until 1955.
Example of Blue Track IB Technicolor film
formed in 1943, The new company is off and running with a gift from the
250 silent films from the Eastman Teaching Films of the 1920's. Second
Encyclopaedia Britannica takes it's film making very seriously, According to a
article in 1944, the company will not release any pictures to schools that
or characters for the sake of entertainment. By 1970 the company has produced
direct to video features of today, the 16mm industry made
films for the non theatrical market. SUNDOWN
RIDERS, a full length 16 mm
feature, (56 minutes) is released by a company
called Major 16mm Film
color, the western stars Russell Wade, Jack Kirby
& Andy Clyde, direct Lambert Hillyer,
it cost $30.000 & was filmed in 8 days. Alas, the 16 mm market was not of sufficient size and scope in 1944 to warrant a full years' worth of "Sundown
up and released in 1948 by Astor
for theatrical 35mm showings.
begins distributing their features & shorts in 16 mm around the world
except the U.S. because the
motion picture exhibitors considered 16mm a box office threat. It would
be another 10 years before MGM would release any 16 mm feature film
in this country.
trade paper for the 16mm industry begin's publication.
the second major release in 16mm
Kodachrome color. Produced and released by Planet Pictures Inc.
Adventure film is set in the tall timber country, The cast includes John
Day, Nancy Brinckman, Eddie Kane and supplying
comedy relief is perennial scene stealer of Hollywood westerns Si Jenks,
Film is released for
unrestricted showings everywhere in December.
of the most rapidly developing phases of 16mm non theatrical production
the religious educational
film. Currently this field is attracting almost as many producers as the
and training films field, While there are instances of individual
churches and religious groups
producing their own films, producers such as Cathedral Films of
Hollywood, founded in 1939,
are making notable
progress, their films having found notable acceptances among churches
throughout the nation.
of this movement is the noteworthy work done by the Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Missouri,
Ohio and other states. Paul Kiehl, of the Missouri Synod relates the
problems faced in
this unique church undertaking. "No
one has ever heard of laying out $50.000 in cold cash for a religious
film-not even Hollywood.
The need was there, but who would take the chance. There was no
box-office guarantee on returns. It had never been done before. We got
the money-and in eight short production days it was spent. But we had a
film nearly an hour long".
THE POWER OF GOD was
the first religious feature produced professionally in
16mm by any Protestant church. It can be safely said that it is now
making history in religious films."
POWER OF GOD
produced for the Lutheran Synod of
by Roland Reed
Productions of Hollywood. Independent
producers of church films are always heartened by
news of progress in the realm of
16mm devotional pictures.
by David Smart, a magazine publisher
founder of Esquire magazine, always
fascinated with 16 mm film & education, he combines the two &
begins producing educational films. The first film the company produces
and releases is the classic, campy
starring a 19 year old, future Bewitched star Dick York. Smart's company becomes the leading
producer of educational films. Coronet shot all of it's films in color
and released them both in black & white & color. Coronet
produced it's last film in 1968, but continued selling films from it's
library. By 1973 Coronet
sold it's one-millionth film. In the 1980’s Paramount
bought Coronet Films.
buys Bell & Howell's Filmosound
Library, who in turn gets out
the rental business. Universal then incorporates it into their new 16 mm rental outlet United
World Films. They also acquire Castle films the following year..
is the next major studio to distribute it's films in 16 mm, but like
MGM, worldwide, not the U.S.
McGraw Hill Book Company
is the first publishing firm to get into the 16 mm field.
is founded by Saul Turell & Robert
Rhoades, The company produces &
distributes 16mm educational short
for a 1947
advertisement of UNITED WORLD FILMS
16 ,one of the first 16 mm
film societies is formed by Amos Vogel in New York City, The societies
aim was not only to show to the public great artistic films but to
present documentaries to make people aware of the world around them. By
the end of the decade there are over 200 16mm film societies in the
16 MM BROADENS ITS SOCIAL
report by William Kruse President, Allied Non-theatrical Film Assoc. for FILM
DAILY YEARBOOK on the state of the 16mm Film Industry in 1947
16mm motion picture is being put to work by more educators, clergymen,
club-leaders, doctors, sales managers, engineers & just plain folks
than ever before. The largest percentage of increase in the narrow film
industry is among full-time audio visual education specialists in
schools & colleges, from 175 in 1946 to 1,000 in 1947, film
libraries have increased from 376 to 425, film whole sellers from 35 to
70. Projector manufacturers are today able to turn out more 16mm
sound projectors than had been produced all told prior to W.W. 2, 1948
should add 50,000 to 80,000 new 16mm sound projectors to the possibly
80,000 now in use in the U.S.A.
entertainment front there is virtually no known user of any form of 16
mm film that does not on occasion use his projector for the showing of
entertainment film. He may buy such films outright from his local camera
store, borrow then from his library, or rent them from regular 16mm channels.
One library alone offers over 5000 titles for rent. There
are more than 4.000 retail establishments in the USA where 16 mm films
can be obtained. Although none of these films coincide with current
theatre fare, some exhibitors look upon any non-theatrical showing of
entertainment film as a box-office threat.
ever been seen like the unique capacity of the 16mm film to go right out
where the people are- in church, or school, or home- and tie right into
their regular way of life while demonstrating all the while what a fine
thing the movies really are.......
Ansco color is made
available in 16mm & 10 million feet is expected to be
The first and only time a home movie company makes IB Technicolor available to collectors,
unfortunately briefly, is Castle Films in 1949 & 50. Castle makes a deal with Technicolor to release,
probably at Universal's urging, nine Walter Lantz cartoons (2 Woody Woodpeckers, & 7 Swing
Symphony's) in the stunning color process. The Blue Track Castle cartoons looks great but the
expense is very high and Castle's association with TECHNICOLOR ends in 1951.
And after the war ads for 16 projectors were popping up like never before in magazine
click on examples below:
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