In 1936, when most distributors saw 16 mm
films only as a rental market, Castle realized the potential in the
mm home market & the ownership of films by collectors market.
His first two
"THE CORONATION OF
KING GEORGE" and "THE
the early 1940's Scenics, reality shorts & Terrytoon cartoons
made up the bulk of Castle's sales. You could buy a 3
minute "Star Spangled Banner" recorded on 16 mm film with patriotic scenes in the background for $2.75. Castle
was famous for his yearly
News Parades from 1937 to 1975, he narrated
some of the newsreel shorts himself. Castle Films were sold in 16 &
8 mm, silent & sound versions in all the major department stores,
toy stores, camera shops etc. By the middle 40's a one reel
Castle sound short cost $17.50 in 16 mm, & $5.50 in 8 mm.
BOY MEETS DOG
1938, Walter Lantz produces a Technicolor cartoon called Boy Meets Dog (based on the comic
Fellers"). This was a soft-sell commercial for
planned to give theaters 50 cents a seat to run the cartoon, but something happened,
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
theatrically by Universal, and is in Public domain
offered the earliest color films for sale in 16 mm with the UB Iwerks
library of cartoons in the original stunning Cine-Color
process in 1941
page). He made a lucrative deal to sell Soundies in 1944 under the name
Music Albums'. When
Official Films got the rights to sell the soundies in 1946, Castle countered by compiling "Music Albums" of segments taken from Universal's musicals.
These "Albums" proved to be an even bigger windfall for Castle than "Soundies."
In December of
1946 Eugene Castle sells 75 percent interest in the company to United World Films,
million. At the time, Castle Films had a gross annual income of about $130 million.
United World Films is absorbed by Universal in 1947. Universal, in 1949, adds
condensations of their comedy films, including Abbott & Costello,
W.C. Fields, their extensive Western collection including Tom Mix &
Hopalong Cassidy films and their entire cartoon collection to the Castle
catalog of films.
In 1949 Castle Films also released 9 Walter Lantz cartoons in the stunning
Technicolor process, but the cost in printing was too high and was abandoned in
1951 for the cheaper Eastman color.
The Abbott and Costello condensations became so
popular that in late 1951 Bud and Lou filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Universal and Castle Films.
One year later, the suit was settled out of court.
1n 1959 Castle starts
selling condensations of their horror films, beginning with Abbott &
Costello Meet Frankenstein. During the 1960's the horror & science fiction shorts
had become Castle's headline attractions. In 1971 prices range from from $2.25
for 8mm silent "Headliners", Super 8 "Complete" shorts, for $6.95
to $29.95 for 16mm with optical sound. Universal operates Castle Films under their United World Films
umbrella till 1976
and then renames it Universal 8 & 16. Selling 8 &
16mm 20 min. condensations of much later films like Airport, Smokey and the Bandit, Rooster Cogburn, and Jesus Christ Superstar.
By 1984 with the Video
Tape revolution well underway Universal 8 had disappeared.