This is topic Blackhawk Films Case Question in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Mathew James (Member # 4581) on March 04, 2015, 03:28 PM:
Hi All,
I am curious if anyone can tell me the differences with the blackhawk super 8mm film cases.
For example, several of the films I have collected of blackhawk come in the Pink Cases, all mag sound prints. I have a couple pinks that are silent, but generally I only try to purchase sound... I also have a handful of the same in Green casing.
What is the difference.

The reason I ask is that I have noticed that sometimes 2 titles, pretty much identical in title and condition, get different prices. The green covers seem to get more, or at least the sellers try to ask more. Am I seeing things?
Posted by Zechariah Sporre (Member # 2358) on March 04, 2015, 09:25 PM:
Shorty will be able to give the best answer to this. However, the pink boxes were the earlier Laurel & Hardy films and then around 1975-76??? I think they switched over to green boxes, and then later on yet they switched to a silver box (79ish). Blackhawk was always trying to find better negatives for their films. I think latter on they were able to update many of the Laurel & Hardy films, however, as I understand it, that was happening about the time they were switching to silver boxes. In my observation of buying quite a few Laurel & Hardy films it seems like the pink and the green boxed ones have been pretty comparable in fact I think I've had pink boxed ones that are nicer then the green boxed print.
Posted by Mathew James (Member # 4581) on March 05, 2015, 11:33 AM:
Thanx very much for that info.
Yeah, so far i cannot tell the difference on my current prints either in regards to box colour. I just noticed, for example that one auction has a green box items with several bids, whereas over the past few weeks the same print had none or little bids, same claimed quality, so it puzzles me. I ended up buying the pink box for the print in question and I felt it was a great print. Thanx for the help!
Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on March 05, 2015, 12:13 PM:
The reason for the difference in going prices that the green and silver boxes get may be because collectors are aware that the pink cartons are definitely older prints which may have more wear and tear.
Posted by Vidar Olavesen (Member # 3354) on March 05, 2015, 01:33 PM:
Overall, I think my pink box Blackhawks are better than the green ones. I do not own a silver box one.

Maybe just something in my head, but that's how I percieve it
Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on March 05, 2015, 02:29 PM:
I agree. The prints in the pink boxes are definitely better in brightness and sharpness than the prints in the green and silver boxes. I have duplicate titles in different colored boxes and I, too, have noticed a difference in quality. I know Blackhawk changed labs sometime in the mid to late 70s and this may very well be why. I wonder if it had something to do with the fire Blackhawk suffered shortly before the end of the home movie era.
Posted by Mathew James (Member # 4581) on March 05, 2015, 03:24 PM:
Thanx guys for the input.

What year span is this green one? It looks like there are a couple different green covers? I am not sure I have these in my collection. Unless this is a standard 8mm as opposed to super 8:

This is the kind i have:
Posted by Brad Kimball (Member # 5) on March 06, 2015, 08:55 AM:
The L&H case is most likely '77/'78. The silver boxes I have go back to '79/'80 which is when I first started receiving prints in them. The top picture is a green case that Blackhawk was utilizing all throughout the '70s that I can recall. These were more often for various silent subjects. Again, I'm strictly going from what I have in my collection and some catalogs I know I tore the order blanks out from.
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on March 06, 2015, 11:53 AM:
Matthew ...

If you "reeley" get into collecting Blackhawk, attempt to get the titles of your choice in the later silver box editions, as Blackhawk made brand new negatives of they're earlier titles and in nearly every case, the image quality was better than they're earlier releases of the same title!
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on March 06, 2015, 01:33 PM:
Who needs me anymore - the answers are all forthcoming - Shorty
Posted by Mathew James (Member # 4581) on March 06, 2015, 06:20 PM:
Thanx all!
Shorty, Do you agree with everyones findings here, or is there more to share on these boxes? So far, in summary, I am assuming:
1. Silver Boxes are the main goal.
2. Greens are newer than Pink and may be better, but will depend on who had them beforehand, or how BH printed these particular reels- basically a poke-and-hope.
Thanx in advace,
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on March 09, 2015, 02:41 PM:
Silver medallion releases came from new negs, often in origin with prsitine 35 reductions or top 16 pre-print - I'd go after these, especially in the Roach area, also Griffith, Lloyd, Keaton, and those marked with an 875 or 880 denote a scored picture, Blackhawk employed the finest (in the Chaplin Mutuals, the Van Beuren music/efects tracks were employed) - Olive Green boxes (when it was Lee Enterprises on the box-front), were nice, occasionally the 1975 negs weren't all up to snuff, so as it says, chance and examination (If you can hold the film through light, or perhaps run a bit, see if the opening is muddled, then seek out a better print)- Pink boxed L&H were the first-pressed, so to speak, on average top quality - Blackhawk did their best, what we have is what is around - Especially, the L&H silents, thsoe 35 negs (most of them anyway), are just not around, and Blackhawk saved what they could - Most any silent films are going to show some age, only natural - that is the Roach section, now if you want to go to other areas of Blackhawk, that's another story [Smile] Cheers from Shorty
Posted by Joe McAllister (Member # 825) on March 13, 2015, 04:31 AM:
I seem to remember a thread that suggested someone was working on a book detailing Blackhawks history and all their releases, anyone know what became of that?
Also what era were the blue and black boxes?
Posted by Osi Osgood (Member # 424) on March 13, 2015, 12:24 PM:
Ya see, and that's why we need you, Shorty!!! I could have never given that accurate of info to the fellow! [Big Grin]
Posted by Roger Shunk (Member # 2836) on March 13, 2015, 11:53 PM:
This thread is reminding me of that folk song from the 60's "Little Boxes On The Hilltop" written by folk singer Marviana Reynolds. [Smile]
Posted by Panayotis A. Carayannis (Member # 1220) on March 14, 2015, 02:48 AM:
Come on Shorty,when are you going to finish that book?
Posted by Roger Shunk (Member # 2836) on March 14, 2015, 08:35 AM:
That's why they call shorty the FILM GOD!! [Cool]
Posted by Winbert Hutahaean (Member # 58) on March 14, 2015, 10:12 AM:

I once compiled here about Blackhawk generic box and some of the boxes haven't been mentioned here.

This following thread may also be of your interest: Fun with Blackhawk Boxes

Posted by David Ollerearnshaw (Member # 3296) on March 14, 2015, 05:10 PM:
I think Blackhawk films were only imported by Regent Films here in the UK. The shop in Blackpool when I went was full of film stuff. Paradise.
Posted by Mathew James (Member # 4581) on March 14, 2015, 05:39 PM:
Those are great links Winbert. Thanx!
I especially like the Silver Box in the 2nd link under Michael De Angelis' post for L&H's 'The Finishing Touch'. That must be about the finest box i've seen for L&H.
Thanx everyone else as well for your input and comments.
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on March 15, 2015, 12:46 PM:
You guys outclass me anytime - Blue and light-brown boxes came with the advent of Blackhawk in 8mm editions (1952), also plain boxes with a stamp were issued - That Blackhawk book was the brainchild of John Black and I, he had some articles about it printed in past issues of REEL-IMAGE - He was the one who did much research and even interviewed Martin Phalen at a time it needed to be done (he was about 95 then) - I give all credit to that man's dedication in trying to work on a book, we talked about alot of plans for it - What became of John's other papers, etc, is probably still at his family's home - Shorty
Posted by Joseph Randall (Member # 4906) on June 15, 2015, 08:02 PM:
The Blackhawk box can be a good indicator if it is actually the original box. I've received many Blackhawks that were in Blackhawk boxes, but not the original. Sometimes the wrong title was crossed out in ink and re-written. So always check that you are getting the original box as far as the seller knows. There's still always the chance that a silver box Laurel and Hardy might have originally been in a green box. As Stan says in GOING BYE-BYE!: "It could happen."

I'm not sure that Blackhawk automatically switched over to the silver boxes when they got newer negatives. They might have used some green L&H boxes that were left over rather than throw them out. Or they could have had only silver boxes left and some older prints that needed a box. "It could happen."

For the following, consider the L&Hs only.

IMHO, Blackhawk didn't get new negatives of every title for the "silver box era". In their bulletins, they usually made a big deal for a major upgrade in pre-print material. I recall upgrades for TWO TARS, BIG BUSINESS, and SONS OF THE DESERT were mentioned in their bulletins in the mid to late '70s. TWO TARS and BIG BUSINESS also had their original main titles restored, in 1975 and 1977, respectively. These could have originally been in either pink or green boxes. I had a sliver box TWO TARS that wasn't as good as my green box copy. The upgraded BIG BUSINESS was made from the European negative, while an improvement image-wise, was shot from a different camera angle.

Never publicized at the time, they upgraded WAY OUT WEST. The earlier copies have all original main titles, while the upgraded one has a combination of Blackhawk titles and original.

You really need to go title by title with Blackhawk L&Hs when discussing the best printings. I've only rarely had 2 copies to compare, but as you know you can learn a lot from other collectors. Sometimes the lab might have had a bad day. I returned a handful of prints to Blackhawk back in the day, usually for poor sound, and usually received a better copy in return.
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on June 16, 2015, 07:08 AM:
No, WAY OUT WEST always had Blackhawk and origianl titles - The Silver-boxed editions WERE top-quqlity, or at least the best they could get from better negs - I feel Blackhawk DID utilize better pre-print, thus heralding the arrival of newer boxes and material - True also, the green boxes had a sharp contrast but some focus problems (HOG WILD and MEN O WAR, particularly) - Even the pink issues had this problem - BIG BUSINESS and TWO TARS were the best from the silver editions, I think, then the "Vitaphone-Scored" silents which came in the green were of singular value - You know, the same could be argued with reagrds to Columbia, Castle and Ken quality, though they had no re-releases - Oddly enough, only L&H went through a 3-box metamorphasis, not Chaplin, Our Gang, no one else - Shows you great artistry knows no bounds - Shorty
Posted by Joseph Randall (Member # 4906) on June 16, 2015, 02:07 PM:
The first Blackhawk WAY OUT WEST, which I had a copy of at one point, was taken from Film Classics where they blotted out Leo the Lion on all original title cards. My current copy starts with Blackhawk's "WAY OUT WEST starring Laurel and Hardy", followed by the rest of the original credits.

My TWO TARS silver box print was printed too dark, so I sold it and kept the green box one, before eventually upgrading it to 16mm.

At some point, OUR RELATIONS was upgraded to use mostly original titles, though my copy has all Blackhawk titles. Image quality is top notch, though.

So the Chaplins never came out in the silver box? If they did, I doubt the Mutuals were re-restored after Shepard's Hurculean restoraton effort in 1975. I have some titles in pre-restoration and post-restoration, and in some cases pre is better -- notably THE RINK. One has scenes missing from the other, and vice versa. Blackhwak made a big deal out of this in 1975, so wouldn't they have made a big deal in the late '70s if they truly upgraded their L&H prints?
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on June 16, 2015, 03:41 PM:
They would have - L&H stand on their own merit in popularity, even outdoing Chaplin - So the hype went Chaplin's way, also he was still alive (1975), and with at that time TV programs about these films - The Chaplin Mutuals are still excellent from the 1975 standpoint (Super 8mm Scored), 16's are about similar - David accomplished a superb job of it, really - Shorty
Posted by Joseph Randall (Member # 4906) on June 16, 2015, 08:18 PM:
There was a lot of fanfare when they "found" the Pie Fight from BATTLE OF THE CENTURY. I use quotes since they simply lifted it from the Youngson compilations, so those scenes were never really lost. A similar big deal, rightly so, was made when they found the sound discs from UNACCUSTOMED AS WE ARE.

I would have preferred a silver L&H box rather than a generic one -- I mean I even have a WOMAN IN GREY chapter in the silver box. I doubt they upgraded pre-print for WOMAN IN GREY.

Some of my best L&H prints are in Eastin-Phelan pink boxes -- and I know they are original boxes since I got them right from Blackhawk in the '70s.

I forgot to mention date codes on the film itself -- a much more reliable indicator of when the film was printed rather than the color of the box.

And we haven't talked about the one-piece flimsy box vs. the sturdy 2-piece with the black bottom. Some of my best prints came in the flimsy box.
Posted by Joe Caruso (Member # 11) on June 17, 2015, 05:51 AM:
Prefer the 2-piece box, makes for attractive storage and more durable than the flap-top ones, nothing against them, as it's the print we want to be in nice condition - This is the on-going debate I have with others, particularly the 16mm collectors, saying why I bother with the box - My counter is always, you are getting 2 collectible items; The original darn-near box and the film - A Castle film isn't, without the box and for my money, neither is a Blackhawk - Shorty
Posted by Joseph Randall (Member # 4906) on June 17, 2015, 02:35 PM:
I agree that you gotta have the Castle box -- just doesn't seem the same without it.

I don't care as much with Blackhawks since they were mostly generics, albeit some were specific for "Hal Roach", "Mack Sennett", "Chaplin", and of course "L&H." I never did get a L&H in the film-specific box which I think was only for Standard 8mm.

My flap-top Blackhawks now have the film itself in cans with the boxes stored safely away.

I like Universal 8 boxes if the film inside is a U-8. There are many Castle films in U-8 boxes, often with a photo from the wrong film -- several Abbott and Costellos.

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