FEARLESS CAMERA CONVERTIBLE 35-50 50MM MAGAZINE 

Fearless Camera Company, 7160 Santa Monica Boulevard, Hollywood, California                  1930-1931

 

 

   

 

Model AD-8, green-enameled 1,000-foot 50mm magazine for the Fearless Camera Company's Convertible 35-50 Camera.  Built for 50mm widescreen, the Fearless Convertible 35-50, could easily be adapted to 35mm or any film gauge in between 35mm and 50mm, by changing out movements, sprockets, rollers and magazines.  

 

In 1930, the Fox Film Corporation and the Society of Motion Picture Engineers collaborated on what may have been the only attempt at a 50mm format.  From my research so far, it appears that no motion pictures were ever commercially released in 50mm.

 

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, May, 1931        Courtesy of The Online Books Page

 

  

    From The International Photographer, May, 1931        Courtesy of The Online Books Page

 

  

    From The International Photographer, May, 1931        Courtesy of The Online Books Page

 

  

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

 

 

    

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

 

 

     

 

Fear was granted Patent No. 2,007,468 dated July 9, 1935 for the magazine's design.  Taking into account Fox Film's experimentation in 1930 with 50mm, the magazine having " PATS. PEND." on the maker's tag and an article in The International Photographer featuring the Fearless Camera Convertible 35-50 dated May, 1931, indicates this magazine's manufacture to be 1930 or 1931. 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 that of the Mitchell. These green-enameled magazines, representing Fearless' earliest production, were followed by black-enameled magazines:

                  Black-enameled 1,000' Fearless 65mm Super-Film Magazine

 

Based upon the few black-enameled 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 "T-AO" for 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 65mm Super-Film, or Fearless Convertible 35-50 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