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Author Topic: Anyone have info on the distributor "Reel to Reel Films"?
Douglas Meltzer
Moderator

Posts: 4462
From: New York, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted December 08, 2010 01:36 PM      Profile for Douglas Meltzer   Email Douglas Meltzer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm curious about their location, types of films they released, etc.
Thanks!

Doug

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I think there's room for just one more film.....

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John W. Black
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 536
From: Deptford,N.J.
Registered: Mar 2008


 - posted December 08, 2010 09:39 PM      Profile for John W. Black   Author's Homepage   Email John W. Black   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Doug,the stories we could tell about them.He bought out remaining stock from Canterbury Films,mostly trailers and 200ft shorts.He also bought and sold used films.He didn't have any releases of his own.Disappeared mysteriously owing many poor folks more than a few ducats.Next time I see you,I'll give you the full story.It's pretty interesting~!

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Beat em or burn em,they go up pretty quick

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 09, 2010 06:07 AM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi guys-

I actually dealt with "Reel to Reel Films" some-what regularly in the late 80's, early 90's. I remember a little bit about them (actually one person, and I can't think of his name).

Reel to Reel came about during the second 'transition' period of the super 8 package movie business. The first transition was when most of the BIG companies (Marketing, etc.) were closing doors. The second transition was in the later 80's, when super 8 made its big come-back, feuled by collector's enthusiasm for the format, as well as Derann's big new contracts and releases (Disney, Fox, etc.).

I think Reel to Reel wanted to be sort of like the "Derann" of America. He did sell ex-Canterbury stock, but also released several titles himself (most coming from negatives he bought from U.S. companies like Reel Image in Connecticut, and Canterbury). Several Reel to Reel releases I bought were:

-Ten Commandments promo
-Brave Little Bat (Sniffles cartoon)
-Bashful Buzzard (cartoon)

One thing that I think hurt his business, was that his prices were higher than super 8 collectors had paid before. Then, it was right after all the "fire-sales", when you could get sealed releases for 5 and 10 dollars, so collectors werent quite ready to dish out 40+ dollars for a 200 foot color sound film.

I remember talking with the owner on the phone, and he said people were complaining about his prices, but said it was the only way he could make a profit.

Sorry some people lost money with him. I never had a problem with Reel to Reel not sending my orders.

James.

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Adrian Winchester
Film God

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From: Croydon, London, UK
Registered: Aug 2004


 - posted December 10, 2010 11:55 AM      Profile for Adrian Winchester   Email Adrian Winchester   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have a great trailer for 'Frenzy' that has a Reel to Reel box label, although the leader indicates that it was initially a Canterbury release. The label has an address of Franklin Square, NY.

Towards the end of the period that Canterbury were in business, I read that one of their forthcoming releases would be a promo for 'The Outer Limits'. I have never been able to establish whether there were ever any prints of this so I wondered if anyone familiar with Reel to Reel ever heard of this title?

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Adrian Winchester

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 24, 2011 11:32 AM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I believe someone did release that "Outer Limits" promo. I want to say either Canterbury Films or Reel Image (in Connecticut). That would make sense too, since Reel to Reel was using their negatives. I have yet to see an actuall print of this though.

James.

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 951
From: Athens,Greece
Registered: Jul 2008


 - posted December 24, 2011 04:43 PM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I don't remember any Outer Limits Promo, but I do have a Thriller Promo reel, (the early sixties Boris Karloff series) coming from Canterbury.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1258
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 25, 2011 09:28 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I knew the owner of Reel to Reel Films and also had made purchases from him.
He was personable, reliable, and shipped the films very fast. The company
printed in both 8mm and 16mm. He said it would cost as much to print 8mm as it did in 16mm.

There was a catalog and a company logo. I never has a problem with him and it was simple to pick up the phone and place an order. His prices were high. $40.00 for a L&H Sound short and $50.00 for The Stooges. The trailers and cartoons were more affordable.

This was before eBay and the internet existed. It was a pleasure to receive catalog mail lists, and during a time when I was in my young adult years and being able to afford films that I was unable to have as a youngster.

After Blackhawk Films closed, Reel to Reel was one of several dealers that operated into the '90's.

There was another man -Roger from Louisiana and he released new prints of 8mm Blackhawk Films and that was licensed by David Shepard.

Shepard then owned the Blackhawk Library and was interested in serving the film collector community by releasing the Blackhawk material in 16mm as Film Preservation Associates. Roger was the contact for the 8mm releases.

The Super 8 release of Angora Love was a silent Laurel & Hardy sound short that collectors requested to be printed with the original Vitaphone score. Later more short and feature films became available too.

These 8mm releases did not last more than one year.

Morecraft Films in California was also reliable, and the printing quality was superb and they always looked for the best negs for material.

Film Preservation Associates stopped printing 16mm in 2007.

Today, Shepard prepares vintage material and it's available on DVD, and through KINO.

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

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 28, 2011 02:02 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow- Thanks Michael!!

Thats an abundance of good information, and I'm recalling this even more now.

As you stated, Reel to Reel's prices were pretty high for the time. Even with the exchange rate for British pounds, a brand new 200 foot super 8 print would be cheaper from Derann. And most of the films he was re-printing had been sold off VERY CHEAP by the companies like Canterbury, who were "liquidating" their inventory.

Looking back now, we (the collector) can see that Reel to Reel wasnt being so unreasonable after all. The owner (wish we had a name) was trying to make a profit for his troubles. Who knows, maybe he'd still be releasing super 8 prints today if he had been able to sell more prints.

I too remember Roger. His super 8 company was "Media Arts Associates". I believe he changed the name of his company in the 90's, I don't remember if that was the old name or the new name. He re-released several Blackhawk titles, as you stated. One title was "Teacher's Pet" (Our Gang). I was going to buy a print, but he stated that the print was "sepia tone", so I chose not to. I'm not sure if all of his releases were sepia. Roger was a very nice guy, and a pleasure to do business with.

You also mentioned "Morecraft Films". I believe they were originally called "Crescent Films", and at some point "Penguin Films" (??). They had tons of titles, mostly public domain stuff. I found their quality acceptable, though some prints were a little soft. Sound was always very good though.

Ahh, memories.....

James.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1258
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 28, 2011 03:07 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Reel to Reel Films was headed by Dominick Vercillio.
Dominick was a collector. His interest was to keep the film hobby thriving during the video explosion.

It was a labor of love and a small profit was his only interest.
Dominick sold projectors and equipment.
He loved the GS 1200 and when things became tight, they were eventually sold off.

When I had difficulty finding a title, Dominick was not selfish and he encouraged me to subscribe to
The Big Reel. It was a newspaper film publication with articles, classified ads
and vendor sales lists.

Leon Norris and I had a good rapport with Dominick. It was a pleasure to chat about films and family.
In all, he was a very nice man.

Thunderbird Films upgraded their negs as they became available.

Morecraft Films had a great lab man and his name was Morgan. Morgan also once printed for Thunderbird Films.

I purchased from Morecraft, a high quality 200' reel titled: Announcements # 3.
The reel consists of color promos: "Coming Attractions," "Starting Friday," "Say no to cable T.V."
Concession stand goodies touting: "Let's all go to the lobby," and popcorn running around to the tune of All Around the Mulberry Bush.

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

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David M. Ballew
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 113
From: Burbank, CA USA
Registered: Nov 2009


 - posted December 28, 2011 07:32 PM      Profile for David M. Ballew   Email David M. Ballew   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Let me tell you a story about Reel to Reel:

Back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I was regularly receiving small sales circulars from Reel To Reel in Franklin Square, New York. Maybe it’s being generous to call them “circulars,” as they typically consisted of three or four Xeroxed sheets—typewritten, with the occasional graphic—and came in an ordinary, legal-sized envelope.

My senior year of high school, I was able to purchase from Reel To Reel a 3x400-foot Super 8 sound version of The Dirty Dozen. It was “new/old stock,” sealed, and at that time (late ’88 or early ’89), it still had vibrant color. I own this print to this day.

Money was tight in those days, though, and before I took the plunge, I agonized for weeks as to whether I should get The Dirty Dozen or a 600-foot digest of The Magnificent Seven. (Ironically, I would not even consider the 600-foot digest of The Great Escape which was also on offer, as I had never seen the film at the time and was not sure I would much enjoy it. The Great Escape is now one of my Desert Island Ten.)

I graduated high school and went into junior college. Money became even more scarce, but even so, it was always a pleasure to receive Reel To Reel’s mailings. There were always trailers, cartoons, shorts, and features, and I remember Dominick also had some late-model Eumig projectors for sale. I still had my Bell & Howell 33SR my parents had given me for Christmas back in, oh, ’82 or ’83, but man, how I coveted those Eumigs!

I first heard of Derann through the Reel To Reel circulars. In particular, I remember Supergirl and The Neverending Story being trumpeted in practically every mailing, along with other titles. At one point, Reel To Reel was offering Night of the Living Dead in feature-length prints, and, boy, how I wanted that one! But I recall the cost being in the $300 range. To me at the time, it might as well have been three million.

Cut to 1990 or ’91. A Reel To Reel circular arrives offering new/old stock Castle Films/Universal 8 monster digests, with sound! I almost leaped out of my skin. They were kinda pricey, but I somehow scraped together sixty bucks (or however much) and dashed out an order for Bride of Frankenstein (a classic by anyone’s standards) and Man-Made Monster (a guilty pleasure, one I’d wanted to own since I was a tyke).

And I waited. And I waited.

Finally, after about two or maybe three months with no sign of a package, I wrote to Dominick. He wrote back: The monster digests had been found in a warehouse in Europe, but there had been some kind of miscommunication, and my particular digests would not be forthcoming. He was very sorry, but wasn’t there something else he had on offer that I might want instead?

Being almost as much a cartoon and animation fan as I am a monster freak, I wrote back asking for two Warner Bros. cartoons, Brave Little Bat and Fifth-Column Mouse. They were in my hands not two weeks later, if I recall, and they were (to me) beautiful prints. They came in generic white boxes—very thin cardboard—stamped with the Reel To Reel insignia. I still have the films, on GEPE reels and in GEPE cases, but the flimsy original boxes became compost a long time ago.

As part of our correspondence, Dominick lamented that he was not making much of a profit from his business. According to him, so many of the collectors he was dealing with wanted to trade or exchange prints, but not so many wanted to buy. Being, as I have said, a poor student, I regretted that I was in no position to help him out by buying every ding-dang title he had for sale, as I gladly would have done.

Now, granted, I only ordered a few things from Reel To Reel, but I was very satisfied with the service and the product I received, and it made my heart glad to hear there were others out there who still held Super 8 in high regard.

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 29, 2011 08:05 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks guys for the additional insights!

And thanks for the name. I now remember it well.

Yes, Dominic had lamented to me as well about the lack of sales. In retrospect, I think his timing was just a few years off. At that time, Derann was basically "exploding" with hot new titles, like "Star Wars", "Aliens", tons of Disney features and shorts. Also, we in the U.S. were still finding incredible bargains of new-old stock sell-offs here, finding brand new 200 foot prints for average $10 dollars. There was no shortage of super 8 at that time, and I think Reel to Reel sort of got lost in the rush. I think if he were to run the business today, his business would do much better.

David- I also have Reel to Reel's "Brave Little Bat". A beautiful print for sure. I love the "Sniffles" character, and I had always hoped that Dominic or someone would have released the more popular Sniffles cartoon, where he drinks cough syrup, gets drunk, and befriends an electric razor [Smile] . Love that one.

James.

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1258
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 30, 2011 09:57 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
James,

Is this the one?
It's my utmost favorite.

Enjoy.

Bedtime for Sniffles

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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: 10034
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted December 31, 2011 12:54 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm pretty sure that my re-release of "Popeye Meets Sinbad The Sailor" was one of his print. The name does sound familiar.

By the way, I can heartilly recommend it!

When I bought it, I saw the screenshots on the auction and could tell that they were untouched, but there didn't seem to be a lot of difference between the existing print, and the print that I got in the mail!

Boy! What difference. My guess is that before they (or he) made his prints, he did some color restoration on the source negative. I do know that the negative itself was made in 1989 (as it states such on the leader), which leads me to think that perhaps it was a reel to reel release. It must however, be one of the late 80's early 90's companies, obviously.

I am still impressed that someone would make a brand new negative for the printing of it. The print doesn't give any of the hints of a "dupey" nature. Great contrast and exceedingly sharp!

If any of you folks love that film (as I do) definitely hunt down a print of this. By the way, it's on agfa stock and is far better than any release on super 8 that I have seen.

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

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James N. Savage 3
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1374
From: Washington, DC
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 31, 2011 06:06 PM      Profile for James N. Savage 3   Email James N. Savage 3   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Michael- Thanks for the link. That's a great Christmas cartoon- I love it! The Sniffles cartoon I was referring to is called "Naughty but Mice" (1939).

Osi- Yes, "Popeye meets Sinbad" was definately re-released by Reel to Reel, right about that time (1989). I remember, because I was thinking of buying when Reel to Reel first re-printed it, but had some pressing bills that kept me from doing so. I think Dominic was selling it brand new for $60 or $69 bucks at that time.

Its funny, I didn't know about color fading back then, but now I truly realize the advantage of the Reel to Reel re-prints- they are on low-fade stock. I'm glad to have some of them at least. [Smile]

James.

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 6845
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted December 31, 2011 06:27 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Funny,

During the time this company was active I was living within walking distance and had no idea it was there.

...life before the internet.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Michael De Angelis
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1258
From: USA
Registered: Jul 2003


 - posted December 31, 2011 06:32 PM      Profile for Michael De Angelis   Email Michael De Angelis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I grabbed what I could from Dominick, when he and Roger O. Williams
were the only game in town in the U.S.A.

Used Laurel and Hardy Blackhawk Films shorts were favorites. $30 - 40 dollars.

The Stooges were more expensive at $50.00 a shot.

I have two Laurel and Hardy trailers that I bought new from Dominick:
A Chump at Oxford and Saps at Sea. They're great quality and printed on color stock.
The films have a slight blue/green tint. Both are fun to watch and tough to find.

Steve,

I too found out that he lived down the block from me and when I lived in Elmont.

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

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Steve Klare
Film Guy

Posts: 6845
From: Long Island, NY, USA
Registered: Jun 2003


 - posted December 31, 2011 07:55 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I grew up in Garden City South and I went to elementary school and junior high in Franklin Square. (High School: Floral Park.)

Still the same, I was strictly silents until 2002 and in that time my "reel" hobby was fixing up an old car.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Osi Osgood
Film God

Posts: 10034
From: #399R K.O.A. Mountian Home, ID. 83647
Registered: Jul 2005


 - posted January 01, 2012 12:53 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
James ...

ThanX 4 verification of that.

This release is well worth the getting. There are other printings of this on low fade film stock. DErann, I believe printed it on LPP, and I know that Perry's re-printed, and I believe that a firm in New York also printed it on Agfa stock ...

However, all of those prints have a certian "dupey" look to the image. They are not as sharp, more grain and the colors have a slightly washed out look, (even on the Derann reprint, or did they just get copies from elsewhere and sell them?).

This 89 release was from a brand new negative, made in 89 and it's obvious that Reel to Reel put some love into it. It's shame that I have never seen, even on low fade stock, the same love put into the two follow-up Popeye's, ("Ali Baba" and "Aladdin")

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

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