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Author Topic: Optical Prints
Barry Attwood
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1387
From: Enfield, U.K.
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted July 25, 2005 01:08 PM      Profile for Barry Attwood   Email Barry Attwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Dear Kevin,

Yes your right, the 8mm Airline cartridge could hold about 2 hours of optical film (Film like "Death On The Nile" Optical are slightly cut because of this), and if they used a striped film you would have cut that down by about 15-20 min with acetate stock and slightly less with polyester. Plus using optical soundtracks you had no magnetic head wear, no build up of mag stripe etc. which could effect picture and sound quality.

Another fine optical print is the 1980's remake of "The 39 Steps"

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Jean-Marc Toussaint
Film God

Posts: 2389
From: France
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted July 25, 2005 01:12 PM      Profile for Jean-Marc Toussaint   Author's Homepage   Email Jean-Marc Toussaint   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Barry: thanks.
I also have "The Go-Between" by Joseph Losey. It's turned pinkinsh, though...

JM

--------------------
The Grindcave Cinema Website

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Mike Peckham
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1461
From: West Sussex, UK.
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 25, 2005 01:36 PM      Profile for Mike Peckham   Email Mike Peckham   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Funny how this thread keeps coming back, I'm glad it does though because the whole Airline print thing fascinates me. Just when you think you have covered all the prints ever to make it on to the market, another one pops up. I have been looking for a long time for 'On Golden Pond' if any one comes across a copy for sale any where please let me know. I was also surprised to hear that Ghost Busters is around somewhere too, I shall be looking out for that one as well...

Derek Simmonds wrote about Airline Prints in the Winter 1998 issue of FFTC and as there seems so much interest in the subject I have taken the liberty of reproducing it here.

Full credit of course goes to the Late Great Derek Symmonds and the Film For The Collector Magazine.

quote:
A few years ago I was at Rank Film Labs in Denham, having gone there to collect some work they had produced for us. I was having a chat with Roy Hubbard, the manager of the department at that time, when a gentleman entered the room. He was introduced to me and it was explained that he worked for the company that provided 8mm optical prints for the airlines. This fascinated me, and being the film fanatic that I am, I wanted to know more. I stayed and talked with him for nearly two hours, and eventually he said “next time you’re down here, give me a ring and I will come and collect you and take you round our place”. I made sure that I visited the labs the next week, and before setting out I telephoned my new found friend. He promised to come along to the labs and we would then go on to his main depot. When I left the labs, following the car in front, I was more than a little surprised to find we were heading towards the Technicolor Labs, near Heathrow Airport. We swung through the main gates, drove round the main building and ended up at the rear of the labs. There I saw a sign SUNSTRAND, and it was then that I realised that this was the company that I had come to visit.

I was led into a small office, and told that most of the prints were printed at Technicolor Labs in New York, whilst Rank Labs also provided prints of their own titles and some of the British TV material, but it was explained that the airlines preferred the material that was printed in New York since Technicolor ‘coated’ the sound tracks and this rendered much better results.

If you compare an 8mm Optical Print made in the UK against an American print, you will note that the optical track is almost pure black and white, whereas the track on a British print is dark blue. This results in the British track giving a lower level of volume and certainly more track noise, hiss and plops. Rank would never give any reason for not coating the optical tracks on 8mm prints. I hasten to add, that all 16mm prints made by the lab at the lab at that time, were coated to give optimum performances. One can only assume that in their opinion, 8mm was just not important enough for them to provide this extra service.

I was then told that a lot of the prints carried multi-tracks; the main track always being in English. But, on some prints there was another track, just on the edge of the sprocket holes, much like the balance track on a magnetic print, and this track was mostly French, German or Spanish.

I was then taken into the room where the films were checked upon return from the air craft, and where new prints were being put on to giant spools for polishing. I was astounded at the number of prints in the room – it must have been at least five or six thousand! Can you imagine standing in front of five or six thousand full length 8mm sound feature, 99% of which were never going to be offered to the collector?

When the prints came in from the various labs, they were in the same number of roles as the 16mm prints, since they had been taken from the 16mm negatives. For aircraft use they need to be on one continuous reel, so the first job was the splicing together of all the various reels. The films were then coated with a silicone polish, and then flat wound into a giant cartridge, as one continuous roll, ie; the film came form the outer edge of the large roll, went through the projector gate and sound head and wound back onto the inside of the roll. This is the reason that the films were coated with silicone, to make them very smooth and slippery, and to avoid emulsion build up and scratching. After this they were put onto projectors, the same Technicolor machines that the airlines used, each print was run, and then the prints shipped to various airlines. At one time there were twenty projectors running, checking films. These specially made machines had Xenon lamps, and the sound out put was remarkably good. Much better than the quality received through those dreadful earphones they give you on the plane!

Once the films had served their purpose, they were returned to the various dumps around the world and supposedly junked. I was at SUNSTRAND at one time when they destroyed about 500 feature films, and an official from the film industry stood there whilst they put an axe through every print. ( I don’t think I have ever got over the shock).

It seems that some prints have got out from various dumps, and have found their way onto the market. I must say that a few years ago I did persuade Warner Bros and Columbia to sell us a few prints, which they did. I think we had about ten titles in all and about fifty copies of each. But sadly, the airlines soon stopped using 8mm, when cheaper, video copies became available, and as far as I am aware, no 8mm prints are now made for airline use. If you are offered an ex-airline print, make sure they are not turning pink, as most of them were printed at the time when Eastman stock was suspect.

Mike [Cool]

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Auntie Em must have stopped wondering where I am by now...

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Tom Photiou
Film God

Posts: 4798
From: Plymouth U.K
Registered: Dec 2003


 - posted July 25, 2005 02:27 PM      Profile for Tom Photiou   Email Tom Photiou   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Good boy Mike, the reader who asked Mr Simmonds about the airline prints was me, Dereck must have had a fit when he saw prints being destroyed to stop them getting out [Eek!] . WHAT A RIDICULOUS WASTE. And for what. Now you can get almost anything you want on crappy pirated DVDs.

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Andreas Eggeling
Master Film Handler

Posts: 467
From: R.I.P.
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted July 25, 2005 03:21 PM      Profile for Andreas Eggeling     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have had some years ago "The Osterman Weekend" 3 x 600 english optical sound.

My formerly optical print "Little Shop Horrors" is now with magnetic stereo sound, one of my favorit 8mm films which are worth to take with in the grave.

[ July 25, 2005, 04:35 PM: Message edited by: Andreas Eggeling ]

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Kevin Faulkner
Film God

Posts: 4071
From: Essex UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 25, 2005 04:56 PM      Profile for Kevin Faulkner         Edit/Delete Post 
I remember that item in FFTC well. It made me shudder with horror at the point when Derek said they axed 500 prints. Well done for letting us read that again Mike.
I have been updating the list in the first thread and its now up to a healthy 56 titles.

Kev. [Smile]

--------------------
GS1200 Xenon with Elmo 1.0...great combo along with a 16-CL Xenon for that super bright white light.

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Barry Attwood
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1387
From: Enfield, U.K.
Registered: Aug 2003


 - posted July 26, 2005 02:46 AM      Profile for Barry Attwood   Email Barry Attwood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Kevin,

I have had also copies of "Back To The Future" Pt.s 1 & 2, they had an English optical track but with large RED Japanese language sub-titles (if you can call them that, as they covered a 3rd of the screen area when anyone spoke). I also have had some really weird titles like the first "Nightmare On Elm Street", now you have got to remember all Airline titles were meant for general viewing, so imagine the horrible editing some of these had, but filmakers soon learnt, especially with nudity, as they filmed portions of their movies twice, once for the cinema (everything hanging out and on display), and once for the Airline / TV cut (Bra and top on etc.).

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Kevin Faulkner
Film God

Posts: 4071
From: Essex UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted July 26, 2005 05:15 AM      Profile for Kevin Faulkner         Edit/Delete Post 
Thats incredible Barry. I have to say I would love to see one of these Japanese prints.
I never gave nudity etc a thought and yes I can imagine how awful some of them would end up once the scisors had been introduced.
I will add those to the list later.

Kev.

--------------------
GS1200 Xenon with Elmo 1.0...great combo along with a 16-CL Xenon for that super bright white light.

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Martyn Bennett
Junior
Posts: 13
From: Redditch Worcestershire
Registered: Sep 2004


 - posted July 26, 2005 03:44 PM      Profile for Martyn Bennett   Email Martyn Bennett   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
ROMANCING THE STONE.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10124
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted July 28, 2005 11:46 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Don't forget "Yellowbeard" on optical sound. I used to have a print of that on optical! It didn't do well in the theaters, but I found it's dry humor quite funny :

(pile of dead bodies)

"What happened here?"
"The Plague."
"The plague?!!"
"All sudden like, lucky I was out!"
"That man has a sword in him."
"He fell on it."

Hah!!

--------------------
"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Ricky Daniels
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 584
From: London & Kent UK
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted July 31, 2005 07:59 AM      Profile for Ricky Daniels   Email Ricky Daniels   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
...add 'American Graffiti' to the Super 8 Optical sound list.

I forgot I have a print, it's 2.35:1 LETTERBOXED/MATTED and quite red! I haven't played it since I bought it a few years back, it was sold to me as 'in good condition' via a USA website!! What can I say, you live and learn to ask the right questions next time, anyway it was a 'bargin'. [Roll Eyes]

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Eberhard Nuffer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 141
From: Stuttgart, Germany
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 01, 2005 04:08 PM      Profile for Eberhard Nuffer   Email Eberhard Nuffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi altogether,

in Germany we have a nice quarterly on film collecting, MOVIE, published by the LUMIERE FILMCLUB. For about seven years now, in any issue of MOVIE one airline print has been reviewed. Among the prints reviewed, there were the following titles not included in the list yet:

1941 (Spielberg)
D.A.R.Y.L.
A Boy Named Charlie Brown
Arthur
Diamonds are Forever
Fatal Attraction
Good Morning Vietnam
Never Cry Wolf
Rear Window
Seems Like Old Times
Star Trek IV
Swing Shift
The Spy Who Loved Me
The Untouchables
Tootsie
Trading Places
Witness

I do have another airline print, "Yellowbeard" in my own collection. And, sorry to correct: Shouldn't the title "Lady in Red" read "Woman in Red" instead? (At least if you mean the Gene Wilder movie; I also have an airline print of this one).

I think the decision for optical sound instead of magnetic tracks had a lot to do with financial reasons: With optical prints, the soundtrack is copied in the same work step as the picture, whereas magnetic prints need a second run through a striping machine and a third run to record the sound information to the stripe.

Whereas in the field of amateur filmmakers, it was important to offer recording facilities, so projectors were designed for magnetic sound and the sound system of package movies was adapted to the existing "hardware", airlines had no need to adapt to the rest of the super 8 market: They had their own projection facilities for which the prints were struck, and as they had a lot of prints made, optical sound was considerably cheaper.

Best regards,

Eberhard

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10124
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 02, 2005 11:18 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do you think you'd ever part with Yellowbeard? I've always been partial to that film! (fingers crossed)

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Eberhard Nuffer
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 141
From: Stuttgart, Germany
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 02, 2005 12:48 PM      Profile for Eberhard Nuffer   Email Eberhard Nuffer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Osi,

I have already thought about selling "Yellowbeard", but I doubt that you are still after this title when I tell you that my print shows first signs of fading: Although there is still plenty of colour left, a tendency towards brown/pink is clearly visible.
Luckily, my print of "Woman in Red" seems to hold up well (fingers crossed!!!)

Eberhard

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10124
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 02, 2005 02:20 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
How brown or pink? I've ran into a number of prints that are browning but quite nice. It wouldn't seem to be both brown and also pink, as pink denotes Eastman stock, brown denotes Kodak SP stock.
In other words, is the color just fine with a slight browning, or color honestly gone bye bye/ I don't expect a virgin print, of course, but one that will still have a lot of mileage.

Your welcome to hotmail me. By the way, would you happen to have or know anyone who has "Never Cry Wolf" that they'd like to depart with ?

--------------------
"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1261
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted August 03, 2005 03:15 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is a wonderful posting about 8mm optical films.

It reminds me of my personal collection of optical prints, which stirs up memories of film friends that I have met along the way in life. These are friends that have shaped my appreciation of film, helping me build a collection, and which brings us together in this wonderful hobby.

I hope that this sentiment is appropriate for this posting, although the rest of this could probably be placed over by the General Yak Thread.

Anyway here's the story, it's about a film friend and his name was Arthur Stephan. He lived in Michigan, and was originally from New Jersey.

Arthur was a musician and collector, and he took pride in showcasing his films on a monthly basis to the public. His Silent Film Society in Ann Arbor, Michigan was well known for close to 30 years and it showcased mostly silent films which he either scored himself or obtained scored music from various sources.

Over time, Arthur decided to let go of some of his Standard 8mm and Super 8mm prints, all the while by managing to maintain his film society. As years past, it was more and more difficult to maintain a public space to showcase the films.

Over the last few years the wear and tear of searching and showcasing, albeit his poor health kept him going. Unfortunately his body could not keep up, and ultimately the Fox Theatre in Michigan also gave the society the boot out the door. Public sentiment in local news articles also tried to rally the continuation of the society in a public forum.

Well, he tried to maintain a good attitude about it, and although that the availability of space was not available, he had a good philosophy about not dying along with the society. He said that he could not die, because he still had so many bills to pay.

We spoke for many hours over the phone, and he would tell me that while growing up in N.J., the site of the Laurel and Hardy 'clothes tree' at the start of the beginning of a program, would alone have the audience cheering in hysterics.

Other nostalgic memories contain traveling to NYC's Capitol Theater for a full program of The Wizard of Oz, followed by a live stage show appearance with Judy Garland, Ray Bolger and Bert Lahr. Arthur said that he sat through the program twice that day.

(I relayed this story to my father-in-law, and he too saw Bob Hope and Pearl Bailey at the Capitol, after a screening of: That Certain Feeling. It was a time long ago, when Stars showcased their live talent after a full screening.)

Any way, Arthur always promised me a box of Super 8 Optical Features, only for the price of shipping.

Imagine that! He only needed to have a chance to find the time to ship it.

I never wished to press him about shipping it,due to his poor health because that was not important to me. But more importantly than receiving that package, I did receive a good friendship, but lost a good, kind and generous friend that had a storage of memories and was always cheerful to share a moment and chat about film. By all means, what's more important than that?

Essentially, that is what we are about.

I will never forget him, and his presence in me will live on forever.
Thanks for allowing me to share this memory of Arthur and film, along with the good people here on the forum.

Michael

--------------------
Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
hobby that we love!

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10124
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 03, 2005 06:15 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hey Mike, did you ever find out what happened to his film collection? It's always sad to hear when, (as I did years ago) that a film collector passes on, leaves his collection to his ungrateful kids, who end up tossing them out or giving them to the salvation Army(who usually toss out those kind of things because there's no immediate "profit" to them) or whatever. It always burns me up. Someday, when I pass on, I will no doubt have found a good film friend who I can give my collection to who will value it, or mail out films others have envied, to those people that valued them, at least then, you know it'll go to someone who'll cherish them as you did!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Jan Bister
Darth 8mm

Posts: 2629
From: Ohio, USA
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted August 03, 2005 11:14 PM      Profile for Jan Bister   Email Jan Bister   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Michael, what an awesome story. Thanks for sharing it. Like Arthur, I'm more and more thinking about "coming out" and showing my collected films to an audience, perhaps my church community or some friends of my wife's and mine... after all (it seems to me) what fun is it to watch movies by yourself [Frown] I think the real fun is in setting up your projector and everything and running the show for others to be amazed by [Wink] Now I just need to bug my wife about calling that co-worker of hers who expressed an interest in seeing my SECRET OF NIMH feature, so the three of us can get together and actually watch it [Big Grin] I've had the film for months now and STILL haven't seen it... [Roll Eyes]

--------------------
Call me Phoenix. *dusts off the ashes*

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Mal Brake
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 586
From: Neath, South Wales, UK
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted August 04, 2005 04:30 AM      Profile for Mal Brake   Email Mal Brake   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just rediscovered this thread. Some years ago I noticed at one of Derann's Open Days an optical print of the first 'Columbo' with Peter Falk. Can't remember the title (too lazy to look it up at the moment!)
Mal

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I'm gonna live forever or die trying

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1261
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted August 04, 2005 02:31 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi 'ya Gang,

Thanks for the support. Unfortunately I never heard what had
happened to the film collection.

Life is too short.

Michael

--------------------
Isn't it great that we can all communicate about this great
hobby that we love!

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Jan Bister
Darth 8mm

Posts: 2629
From: Ohio, USA
Registered: Jan 2005


 - posted August 07, 2005 08:53 AM      Profile for Jan Bister   Email Jan Bister   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Will you look at this one...!

http://cgi.ebay.com/James-Bond-The-Living-Daylights-Super-8-Color-Sound_W0QQitemZ6422037160QQcategoryZ63821QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

A full-length super-8 optical print of a James Bond feature... (unfortunately in Spanish, and no way to re-record!)...

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Call me Phoenix. *dusts off the ashes*

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Klaus Kohlmann
Junior
Posts: 9
From: Germany
Registered: Oct 2004


 - posted August 10, 2005 01:08 PM      Profile for Klaus Kohlmann   Email Klaus Kohlmann   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hello Mike,

please add the following airline optical movies to the list:

You only live twice (James Bond 007)
Moonraker (James Bond 007)
For your eyes only (James Bond 007)
Superman II
Superman III
Superman IV

All of the movies are a little abridged. For example, the Bond-movies have no end-credits. In the Superman III airline print the scenes with the PISA tower are missing.

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Colin Robert Hunt
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 226
From: Milton Keynes Buckinghamshire
Registered: Aug 2005


 - posted August 10, 2005 02:17 PM      Profile for Colin Robert Hunt   Author's Homepage   Email Colin Robert Hunt   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just like to add my one and only optical print. It's Ben Hur on 6 X 600ft reels so looks like the full version. I bought this a few years back at a very cheap price. It's a pan and scan not bad quality but a little red. Had every intention of buying a Elmo with optical playback. This so far has not happened.

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10124
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted August 10, 2005 06:00 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wouldn't mind finding a copy of Superman 2. But boy, Ben Hur, full length, now THATS A SUPRISE, as most of the features were cut down to a little under 2 hours. I'm betting that this was a special release for extra long flights, or something. I'm really baffled by that one!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Tom A. Pennock
Master Film Handler

Posts: 250
From: Battle Creek, MI. USA
Registered: Apr 2004


 - posted August 12, 2005 10:47 PM      Profile for Tom A. Pennock   Email Tom A. Pennock   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
More S8 Optical Airline Prints:

The Earthling (1980)
The Golden Seal (1983)
Live & Let Die (1973)
Day Of The Dolphin" (1973) Has two magnetic soundtracks. Main stripe track is in English.Balance magnetic track is in Norwegian. Print was used for transatlantic flights. In adapted scope for Mike Nichols!!!

Off Gauge:
I just recently picked up a loose LPP "low fade" reel number two from "Octopussy" (1983) which is a reel from a 16mm airline print. Superb quality!!!

Mike:

I enjoyed your posting about Art. I was a close friend for years. I have no idea what happened to his film collection. He did mail me a kinescope of "A Salute To Stan Laurel" as a gift a few months before passing away. I think the "Ann Arbor Silent Film Society" might just have inherited Art's silent film collection and equipment. I did write a letter to Art's nephew telling him how much Art's friendship meant to me. Ironically your posting was very near Art's birthday which was August the 4th. I miss Art's letters very much. His society lives on!!!

Best, Tom

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