Fearless Camera Company, 8570 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, California                  1931-1932?



Black-enameled 1,000-foot 65mm magazine for the Fearless Camera Company's 65mm Super-Film Camera.  The Fearless 65mm Super-Film Camera could be special ordered with any of the accepted or experimental wide gauges of the period.  Another Fearless model, the Convertible 35-50 Camera, could accommodate any film gauge between 35mm and 50mm, by changing out movements, sprockets, rollers and magazines.  


According to A/V A to Z, An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Media, Entertainment and other Audiovisual Terms by Richard W. Kroon, 1964, Fearless Super Pictures was the trade name for a widescreen process similar to VistaVision, developed in 1929 by Captain Ralph G. Fear of the Cinema Equipment Company in Hollywood.  Captain Fear described his process in the August, 1929 issue of American Cinematographer.  Like VistaVision, Fearless Super Pictures were photographed and projected using standard 35mm film, but with an image rotated 90 degrees to run along the strip of the film. Also per this reference, Fearless Super-Film was the trade name for a 65mm film camera (70mm release print) developed by Captain Fear of the Cinema Equipment Company in Hollywood in 1930.


Ralph Gordon Fear was a design engineer for the Glenn L. Martin Aircraft Company in Cleveland in 1918. He was also granted Patent No. 2,079,960 dated May 11, 1937 for a Combined Printing and Recording Machine while residing in Los Angeles, California, and Patent No. 1,972,555 dated September 4, 1934 for a Kinetographic Apparatus.


Captain Ralph G. Fear formed the Cinema Equipment Company located at some point at 755 Seward Street in Hollywood, California.  The company carried the Fearless brand of accessories that included finder brackets and automatic clutches manufactured to fit the Bell & Howell 2709 and the Mitchell Standard motion picture cameras.  By August, 1929, the name "Fearless Equipment Company", located at 7160 Santa Monica Boulevard was appearing in advertisements and on January 1, 1930, the company's name was changed to "The Fearless Camera Company" of the same address. April, 1930 saw the roll out of the new Fearless Silent Super-Film Camera.  By 1934, Fearless company ads no longer appeared in The International Photographer, although their products continued to be referenced under various supply house ads and in classified ads for motion picture equipment.


By 1935, Motion Picture Camera Supply, Inc., 723 Seventh Avenue, New York City, had become the Eastern Representative for Fearless products.



     From The International Photographer, July,1929        Courtesy of The Online Books Page



     From The International Photographer, January, 1930        Courtesy of The Online Books Page



Fear was granted Patent No. 2,007,468 dated July 9, 1935 for the magazine's design.  With no Fearless maker's tag and a black enameled finish, this magazine's manufacture probably dates to about 1933-1934. It should be noted that Fearless' magazine patent incorporated a top center-mounted bolt to secure the magazine to the camera, similar to Bell & Howell's magazines.  However, Fearless' production models eliminated this feature, using a mount more similar to the Mitchell's.  

These black magazines followed Fearless' earlier production green enameled magazines that are believed to have been manufactured from 1930 to about 1931:



           Green-enameled 1,000' Fearless Camera Convertible 35-50 50mm Magazine


Based upon the few black magazines encountered, they appear to have no Fearless maker's tag. Numerous Fearless magazines found new life when Fearless Cameras were being reconfigured for use in Thomascolor about 1942, and again when these same Fearless Cameras were once again being reconfigured in the early 1950's by Mitchell Camera Corporation for Todd-AO.  These first (or prototype) Todd-AO cameras used Fearless magazines, some of which have been found marked Todd-AO.  These Todd-AO marked versions were also equipped with "feet" like a pot trivet, allowing them to be placed on a flat surface for loading/unloading without the pulleys touching the surface. Later on, Mitchell Camera Corporation would build the Todd-AO Mitchell BFC (Blimped Fox Camera), now utilizing 65mm Mitchell-built magazines.


Although the exact number of Fearless Cameras manufactured is unknown, relatively few were made and only a handful survive in museums and private collections.




      From The International Photographer, June, 1930        Courtesy of The Online Books Page




                      Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



                        Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office



                         Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office