This is topic Americom Home Movies in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on February 14, 2008, 01:03 PM:
Years ago I picked up this little gem from the past, does anyone know the background to the company that once produced them?


Graham. [Smile]
Posted by Philippe Cuypers (Member # 55) on February 14, 2008, 01:26 PM:
hi ! graham, the company was americom 8mm home video, just like on the front of the box, nice little short, they made a lot of different shorts, horror, cartoon, etc, a fun film, all the best philippe cuypers.
Posted by Joe Taffis (Member # 4) on February 14, 2008, 02:00 PM:
my favorite was The Curse of Frankenstein...great cover artwork!, and a nicely edited little 200' digest. I don't know about the company [Smile]
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on February 14, 2008, 02:28 PM:

I have a number of Americom films, and none of them came with instructions, though it wasn't hard to figure out. Finally, I bought one of their few 400 footers and sure enough......


The 400' versions came with a 2-sided record.
I remember posting this list on the old Forum.


Start projector on tone!

Posted by Keith Ashfield (Member # 741) on February 14, 2008, 04:18 PM:
I had a few of these Americom releases back in the 1960's- Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (2 parts) and Curse of Frankenstein. I remember the set-up very well. Put the spot on the film in the gate of the projector - place "floppy disc" on record turntable and wait for the voice to say "Start projector on TONE".
It was great fun as I remember, having sound to the picture even though it was invariably out of sync two thirds of the way through the 200ft reel. Happy days [Smile] [Smile]

[ February 14, 2008, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: Keith Ashfield ]
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on February 14, 2008, 04:49 PM:
Hey Doug, you by chance have a list from Walton-Mountain (Official)? Need to know the code number on an A&C BEAUTY AND THE BATH, also the run of Leon Errol and Edgar Kennedy they released - Thanks, Shorty
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on February 14, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Sure! Let's allow this thread to stay on topic and I'll start a new one.

Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on February 14, 2008, 09:36 PM:
I have the 2 "Frankenstein" releases mounted on a 400' reel and the sound is recorded on a mag stripe. I didn't do it - I bought it on Ebay a while back. It must be a home-made version being that I don't recall any of the Americom titles being sound editions, but oddly enough this reel I have is also in colour although it's pretty horribly faded. it's still a nice curio. I also have the "Dracula" and both "Fu Manchu" editions - all 3 are in B&W Silent with the accompanying record. I agree that the editing was just as good as any Castle title. Americom's editing was steps ahead of Ken - right up there with Castle and Columbia.
Posted by Graham Ritchie (Member # 559) on February 15, 2008, 02:40 AM: thats how to get it is in sync [Smile] did not no about those dots, thanks for that and will try it out this weekend any more informatation regarding the company and its product would be great.

Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 16, 2008, 02:54 PM:
I thought they were so cool back in the 70's. Before I had a sound projector, I bought a couple these. I had the first two parts of Voyage. The first part "Frogmen", was o.k., but the second part, "Sea of Mines", was action-packed, with great explosions, etc. Also, the beautiful Barbara Eden was in it!

I still have "Cosmic Monsters". Its fun, with terrible FX [Wink] .

Posted by Brian Hendel (Member # 61) on February 16, 2008, 03:43 PM:
I personally love collecting these Americom titles. I am very nostalgic about them - also remembering the days before I had real sound films. A number of Americom titles were actually released in magnetic sound editions. Curse of Frankenstein, Horror of Dracula, 3 Stooges and Snow White, Ulysses, and a couple of Popeye titles were all released in color/sound. They still had the subtitles since Americom probably couldn't afford different negatives. The sound prints were all regular 8 since it was 1965 and super 8 was still on the horizon. The color on most of their prints has faded red, although one of my Popeyes isn't too bad. Another fun title worth picking up is their "Art Film" called Bon Soir with Annette Vadim frolicking around a Paris apartment with cool 60's jazz to play along on the disc. I think they planned on a "Bon Soir" series but only ended up releasing the one title.

As for Americom, they were mainly a flexi-disc record production company located in midtown Manhattan. They only dabbled in film for a couple years... They also made those old pocket flexi-disc single records as well as the old discs that used to come with magazines and booklets. Not sure when they finally went under.
Posted by Adrian Winchester (Member # 248) on February 16, 2008, 07:51 PM:
One thing I don't undrstand about these is why the films were not run at 24fps - did some silent projectors only run at 18fps?

Doug - I didn't know they released any 400' films, so I wondered what title yours was?
Posted by Brian Hendel (Member # 61) on February 16, 2008, 08:17 PM:
I believe many early silent projectors were only 18fps - although some did offer speed control which really helped with synching the records up... Americom only released two 400'ers... When Comedy Was King and Let's Have a Party which was a compilation of clips from their cartoons/comedies. I'm desperately looking for the "Party" reel if anyone has one.
Posted by Ricky Daniels (Member # 95) on February 17, 2008, 03:37 AM:
Hi Adrian,

The idea was to offer a sound option to silent projector owners and hence the sales pitch along the lines of 'Sound movies for silent projectors' and everything geared for 18fps projection.

I still have 'Curse of Frankenstein', 'Birth of Frankenstein' and 'Horror of Dracula' all in color. These films brought me and my school chums many hours of enjoyment back in the 70's in the early days before Vhs. They've all now sadly turned RED (the prints not my chums!).

BTW Nice to see the old adverts Doug, somewhere I have an Americom ad with a great Horror of Dracula/Curse of Frankenstein double bill poster and if I ever find it I'll post it here! Any more adverts anyone?

Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on February 06, 2009, 11:03 PM:
I also have the a 400' reel of both "Curse" and "Birth" edited in the correct order (I think) with the sound on a mag stripe. I also got it on Ebay. However, the reel has several splices that were done well, but I hate hearing the "ka-chink" every time one passes through through the aperture. The sound is ever so slightly out of sync (probably not detectable to a non-collector) and the color is beet red. I would never show it to anyone but myself - it wouldn't exactly justify to any of my friends why I even buy 8mm/16mm film and not just settle for the dvd if my "Curse" reel is an example of what film collecting has to offer.
Posted by Tony Stucchio (Member # 519) on February 09, 2009, 08:10 PM:
Notice how the ad says "Free record"? That's brazen nonsense.
Might as well have said "Free reel" included.

I ate at a restaurant today -- and they provided the plate, the knife, and the fork free!

Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on February 09, 2009, 10:49 PM:
I feel the record was free being that the prices don't reflect an inflate to include the cost of the record.
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on February 10, 2009, 12:19 AM:
can we say this is "a primitive DTS" sound system... [Big Grin]

Posted by Gary Crawford (Member # 67) on February 10, 2009, 07:14 AM:
If you listen to the records, they were processed so that they would match the silent speed of the average projector, but still maintain the proper pitch. You can hear the wavering in the sound..especially the music...which is the processing kicking in.
Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on February 10, 2009, 08:28 AM:
I distinctly recognize the waver you're speaking of in "Birth" at the point when Paul says to Victor near the end of the digest "You promised to destroy it......" The word 'promised' is very dragged out. In "Horror Of Dracula" it's noticeable in the scene where Van Helsing is instructing Michael Gough's housekeeper what to do "If you don't....She will die" and in the chase music at the end. Aww hell, this is why we love this stuff - sure it was flawed and not precise, but when you're a 12 year old boy and vhs/laserdisc/dvd/blue-ray/ipod weren't even invented yet - this stuff was tops. Especially if your choices were silent horror movies with sound on cheap records or endless amounts of reels of home movies taken from 1957 to 1967 of every event that resulted in having the entire family together in some relatives' backyard or your grandparents 2nd honeymoon in California (snore).
Posted by John W. Black (Member # 1082) on February 12, 2009, 12:22 AM:
Americom was distributed by Columbia.My 200ft Curse came with instructions,as if they helped!
Posted by Eberhard Nuffer (Member # 410) on May 23, 2009, 05:44 PM:
Hi guys,

does anybody know which Laurel & Hardy feature the Americom excerpt "House Guests" (F19) was taken from? (I have not seen it). Was it from "The Big Noise"?

Were all of Americom's Popeye cartoons also available in coulour prints, or were just some of them? Were there colour versions of the Beetle Bailey cartoons as well?

I have seen that there were also 50ft editions of some of the films. Who can tell some titles?

Thanks for your help!

Posted by Tony Stucchio (Member # 519) on May 23, 2009, 07:15 PM:
Posted by Eberhard Nuffer (Member # 410) on August 03, 2009, 05:14 PM:
As we will be publishing an article about "Americom" in the next issue of "Cine 8-16" (a German magazine for film collectors and hobby film makers), I'm still hoping to get some more informations from you guys out there.

-Can anybody confirm if Americom's four-parter "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" was taken from the TV series rather than from the feature? (I have found conflicting informations about this)

-Has anybody seen F10: "Zorro the Avenger"? Is this the American version starring Guy Williams (1959, dir Charles Barton), or is it an Italian movie (1962) starring Frank Latimore?

-which of the Americom cartoons were also available in colour?

-there were 50ft "short editions" at least of some of the films. It seems that some of those 50 footers contained footage which was not included in the 200 ft versions. Can anybody give additional informations about this?

Thank you very much!

[ August 04, 2009, 11:23 AM: Message edited by: Eberhard Nuffer ]
Posted by Douglas Meltzer (Member # 28) on August 03, 2009, 06:01 PM:

The 4 excerpts from "Voyage" were taken from the 1961 feature film. I've never come across F10!

Posted by Eberhard Nuffer (Member # 410) on August 04, 2009, 11:26 AM:
Hi Doug,

thanks a lot!
Does anybody else have some informations about the cartoons and the 50ft versions?
Posted by Eberhard Nuffer (Member # 410) on November 13, 2009, 04:39 AM:
Following our "Americom" article in "Cine 8-16", a reader has told us, that F10 "Zorro the Avenger" was even imported to Germany in 1974, where it was sold as "Zorro, der Rächer" - with the original record in English language. We have still not found out if it is the American or the Spanish version, but we will print his letter (along with a nice cover scan of "Zorro" he has sent us) in the following issue.
Posted by Lee Whelann (Member # 1857) on December 17, 2009, 02:24 PM:
Hi Guys, thats interesting reading. I've been trying to find out more about these fantastic looking and feeing disks.

Has anything else come up about these since the last post??
In my recently acquired collection I have 13 of these disks and 9 have the accompanying films including Zorro the Avenger.
Would be good to find out a little more about them.
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on February 11, 2012, 03:04 PM:
Just for the sake of asking, does anyone have an MP3 of the soundtrack to Americom's "Cosmic Monsters"?
Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 11, 2012, 05:43 PM:
Hi David-

I do have the "Cosmic Monsters" film with record. I'll try to convert it to MP3 later this week for you.

Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on February 28, 2012, 11:39 PM:
Hi, James,

Did you have any success with the "Cosmic Monsters" MP3?

Either way, thanks for the reply and the effort!

Posted by James N. Savage 3 (Member # 83) on February 29, 2012, 07:35 AM:
Hi David-

Not yet. I have an LP converter that I will hook up to a computer at home. Once I get it all hooked up, I'll try to do the transfer. Maybe a week or two (busy work schedual). Hang in there, I'll PM you when its ready.

Posted by William Olson (Member # 2083) on November 04, 2013, 04:15 PM:
I still have "The Curse of Frankenstein" 200' digest film in it's original packaging with record. I haven't run the film and synced the record in decades but I'm glad I still have it. Glad to see others out there remember Americom.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on October 30, 2014, 05:05 PM:
Zorro The Avenger is the 1962 version with Frank Latimore.
Posted by Luigi Castellitto (Member # 3759) on June 10, 2019, 04:53 PM:
A curiosity: I have "Horror of Fu Manchu", be careful, in SUPER 8. The synchro has never been good, even of 2,3 seconds difference image/sound. Ok, all Americom aren't precise, but I have my own idea: having the Americom released films in both format, 8mm and Super 8 , is it possible that the difference of frames/audio between the two formats (56fps for R8 and 18 fps for S8) influenced the Super 8 version? Which is of lesser synchro because the flexdisc is the same? I guess it's the same because I don't think they electronically slowed disc for both Super and 8mm, too much work for that little difference.
To the advantage of the R8 because it was the most published...
How about?
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on June 11, 2019, 02:34 AM:
I have "The Big Noise which was very difficult to sync as for quite long passages it has only train noises (wheels over track). Having seen a recent TV showing of the film, apart from the completeness of the sequence, I wonder why they used this part as the release as the ending would have been easier to keep in sync when playing.
Posted by Luigi Castellitto (Member # 3759) on June 11, 2019, 08:46 AM:
Brian, Americom that you have is 8mm or Super8?
Posted by Brian Fretwell (Member # 4302) on June 11, 2019, 09:16 AM:
Super 8.
Posted by Luigi Castellitto (Member # 3759) on June 13, 2019, 01:23 AM:
Anyone have any tricks to get the Americoms in sync a bit? [Smile]

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