1950's & 60's  The Peak & Television

 By 1950  there are over 2.000 16 mm film libraries in the  U.S.A.



                                             Snader & Studio Telescriptions


The very first short 16mm  musical films made specifically for television, were the Snader Telescriptions , produced by Louis Snader  between 1950 & 1952, These were 3 minute films of musical performances that were marketed to television stations for use in variety shows or as filler material. The name combines "Television" with "Transcription" to get "Telescriptions".  Studio Telescriptions were produced in 1952 & 53. Between the 2 companies more than 1000 short musical presentations were filmed for use as television filler between 1950 and 1954. The Snader Telescriptions were mostly of conventional pop performers or popular orchestras, while the Studio Transcriptions covered the entire musical landscape including rhythm and blues, classicaljazz, and country music performers.



Technicolor  loses it's hold on the color field with the introduction of Eastman Kodak's single strip color negative & printing film stock,  introduced in 1949, it was perfected by 1953. Unfortunately for 16 mm collectors their once beautiful Eastman color prints would turn to a rosy red within 2 to 10 years.





16 mm IB Technicolor,  is vastly improved with the introduction of gray track Technicolor which unlike the blue track was developed in 16 mm.

                                            TELEVISION & 16 MM FILM

16 mm film Fact:  

The first 15 years of live television in America survives to this day on 16 mm Kinescope film.




Howard Hughes sells  RKO Pictures. The first order of business the new owners does is sell their library of films to television in late 1955. This was the first major 16 mm feature film package for television. Buyers broadcast the package under a format called Movie Time USA . The major sponsor was C & C Cola, so C & C Film Corp. a division of Cantrell and Cochrane was formed. The films were provided free of charge or for a nominal fee in return for free advertising time. The point was to sell soda. C & C removed all traces of RKO from the prints. C & C was reborn in 1958 as Television Industries, Inc. In 1966, the company changed names again to Trans-Beacon Corp. The company finally went bankrupt in 1971. The library of RKO films was auctioned off, and United Artists became the owners. 

  The 1950's  LOGO'S we see on our favorite 16 mm prints


U.M.&M. T.V. Corporation was a consortium of television stations that bought up film libraries, headed by Charles M. Amory. They got the pre-1950 Paramount cartoons except for Popeye and Superman, along with most short subjects. U.M.&M.


In 1953, Warner Bros. sells to Sunset Productions, its library of black and white cartoons, except for the Harman-Ising Merrie Melodies. The Harman-Isling cartoons were sold to Guild Films. Warner Bros. at the time did not want their name associated with television, so Warners insisted that Sunset put their own title card at the start of the cartoon, omitting all references to Warner Bros.  Sunset sold their Warners  cartoons to Guild Films in the late 1950's. Guild Films was acquired by Seven Arts Associates in the 1960s. In 1967, Warner Bros. and Seven Arts merged, which resulted in Warners getting the rights back to the cartoons.


Associated Artists Productions (a.a.p.) was founded in 1949.   In 1956, a.a.p., bought all of the color pre-1948 Warner Bros. color cartoons, (Actually the last Warners cartoon they got was 'Hare Devil Hare' released July 24 1948) and the WB live-action film library.  a.a.p. also bought the Paramount Popeye cartoons, through a deal with King Features Syndicate.a.a.p. added their logo to the WB cartoons, and left the WB shield opening on.  So the Merrie Melodies theme played twice.  Also, WB animator Bob Clampett, was hired to help a.a.p. catalog the cartoons. This led to Clampett to produce Beany and Cecil cartoons for a.a.p.  Like Warners  Paramount, insisted that a.a.p. remove all of the references to Paramount, except in the copyrights at the bottom of the cartoon's titles. Paramount retained theatrical distribution rights at the time. In 1959, AAP was sold to United Artists for about $30 million.







16mm's FIRST THREAT     


AMPEX introduces the worlds first videotape recorder. The Ampex  VRX-1000 (later 

renamed the Mark IV) videotape recorder is introduced on March 14, 1956, at the National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters in Chicago. This is the world's first practical videotape recorder and is hailed as a major technological breakthrough.  It costs $50.000.  CBS goes on air with the first videotape delayed broadcast  Douglas Edwards and The News, on November 30, 1956, from Los Angeles.






20 years after Soundies came on the scene, SCOPITONE FILMS are introduced in

France.They were the early 1960s precursors to today's music videos. Scopitone Films 

were filmed on 35 mm Technicolor film, then reduced to 16mm (Using both Eastman &

Technicolor film). Magnetic soundtracks were used because it provided a higher fidelity

than optical, and were made to be shown on a Scopitone film jukebox using a 16 mm

projector. The Scopitone craze spread throughout Europe, particularly in West Germany

and England, before crossing the Atlantic to the United States in mid-1964. The Jukeboxes

were installed in a wide variety  of venues including Bars, Bowling  Alleys,  Camps,

dormitories, etc. Nancy Sinatra, Dion, Frank Sinatra Jr., Debbie Reynolds,Neil Sadaka,

& Paul Anka, weresome of the big musical stars of the time that made Scopitone films.

By the time the Scopitone craze fizzled out in 1967, approximately 1300 machines

were made in the USA. 







TWA is the first airline to begin regular in-flight movies showings on July 16 1961 , The film being 

shown is BY LOVE POSSESED, starring Lana Turner and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. on a flight between New York and Los Angeles    




    The first of the 3 major publications for 16 & 8mm collectors begins life. Samuel K.Rubin's The Classic Film Collector begins as a newsletter of 12 pages, and within 6 years becomes a 64 page plus tabloid where collectors could put in ads to buy & sell films. By the 1990's under the name CLASSIC IMAGES it strictly advertises posters & video's.


According to the Film Daily, 1962 Year Book Of Motion Pictures: The total 16 mm sound projectors in use in the U.S.   802,000





 On July 1st  with the merger of the Agfa Co. & the Gevaret Co., the Agfa-Gevaret  group is ready to take on

the company that dominates the photographic industry  Eastman Kodak. Agfa begins printing 16 mm & 35 mm professionally. Films printed on Agfa stock  is  preferred by collectors, as it does not fade.




Several hundred film collectors get together & form the Society For Cinephiles LTD  an association which holds annual conventions with members attending from all over the country. The Cinecons have been held in Chicago, Pennsylvania, Syracuse, Indiana & Hollywood. 16 mm films are shown & representatives from Blackhawk, Eastman Kodak & other film distributors would sit side by side with collectors & talk about film. The three day shows would usually be held over Memorial Day or Labor Day.


Fuji Film enters the North American market and gives competition to  Kodak & Agfa, printing 35 mm & 16 mm film. Fuji color is a fairly stable stock, much better than Eastman as most prints have not faded.

Kodak launches the SUPER 8 format. 



Strict rules on the exhibition of 16mm feature films in public

Since the 1930's 16mm film has always been a thorn in the side to theatre exhibitors, with this problem becoming even more serious in the 1960's.

The following are several articles from the Motion Picture Exhibitor in the mid 1960’s

Disney's 16mm Policy,

 Aug. 30 1967

New York-- The basic business of Walt Disney Production is to produce films for motion picture theatres and therefore Disney will not permit 16mm prints to be shown where they are in conflict with or competitive to any regular 35 mm commercial motion picture theatre.

This firm assurance of policy has been given to the nation’s exhibitors by Carl Nater, director of Walt Disney’s 16mm division, in response to inquiries by Fredric A. Danz, chairman of NATO’s non-theatrical competition committee.

Disney will not even permit schools or PTA’s to schedule Disney 16mm films on Saturdays, taking the position that Saturday showings will be in direct conflict with motion picture theatres.


Allied Seeks Assurances from 16mm Distribs to Avoid Unfair Showings

                             May 6 1964

DETROIT—In continuing discussions with the distributors of 16mm films on the serious & growing problem's of unfair 16mm competition, National Allied Motion Picture Theatre owners has insisted that 16mm prints of motion picture features available for theatre bookings should not be used in direct competition to commercial motion picture theatres.

Allied has defined direct and unfair competition as existing whenever the 16mm showing is open to the general public ; subject to an admission charge or solicited donation advertised or publicized in any media including newspapers, radio, posters etc.

Allied has further maintained that if schools and colleges are sincere in requesting 16mm features for educational purposes, they could not possibly object to restricting showings to classroom hours and to agreeing not to show the features on weekends.

Films Incorporated, the largest of the domestic 16mm film distributors, has expressed an willingness to cooperate with theatre owners

Films Inc., states that They are notifying all of their college and university accounts that in order to obtain 16mm bookings in the future, they must

agree to the following,


1- The film will only be shown at the time and place

     specified in the application, Each unauthorized 

     exhibition of the film will subject the applicant to

     additional rentals and penalties.

2- Entrance to the exhibition hall will be policed to

     insure that only students faculty will be permitted

     to enter, and the public will not be permitted to


3- There will be no off campus advertising or

     publicity to either students or and faculty or to

     the general public off-campus.

4- Films will not be shown on the weekend.


Editorial, Motion Picture Exhibitor

 April 15 1964

Had a vacation recently?  Whether you spent it in a posh resort or a shack in the woods, chances are the operators were presenting regular 16mm showings of theatrical films for their guests. Add to this the showings in colleges, schools, luncheon's etc., and you have a real problem for theatres forced to pay top terms and charge top admission prices. Admittance in most cases  is supposed to be restricted to students or members or patrons, but that just isn't always the case. The cumulative effect of these non-theatrical showings can't help but hurt theatres. Sidney Cohen of N.Y.  Allied has been a leading figure in this fight , but no one man has won a war. It takes a united effort. Natually, there are cases where 16mm films are shown to shut-ins, etc. and no one minds that. It is the unjustified competition that is riling exhibitors.




A polyester base film is introduced by Eastman Kodak, in Oct. under their trade name of Estar. The process which was around for nearly 20 years, originally developed by Dupont under the name Mylar Polyester film, it came into Kodak's hands in 1956.  Estar film supposedly was to be less likely to scratch and unable to rip which meant that the life of the print would be a lot longer, but there were reports of damaging projectors. Even though it was far from a perfect film stock, by the 1990's Estar was the only film being used by the big three,  Kodak, Agfa, & Fuji. 

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