For those of you not in the know, a Bell and Howell was a make of film projector issued to H.M. Ships for the showing of recreational films.  An Anamorphic lens is a type of lens which squeezes the width of an Angle compared with its height in a camera, and does the converse in a Projector. Surface ships had the luxury of space and therefore the distance between the projector and the screen was generous negating the need to use the anamorphic lens.  In diesel electric submarines, eight senior rates, packed into an unbelievably small space [which was their mess] watched their films with the projector no more than six feet from the screen which was a piece of white paper [usually half an old navigational chart] drawing-pinned to the back of the mess wooden sliding door.  Often during the showing of a film, that door would be opened [for operational and personal reasons] and the screen would disappear.  The attachment of the anamorphic lens [kept separately in its own little wooden box] reduced the picture to a postage stamp size without blurring it or distorting it.

GOOD OLD FRED was Fred Quimby and he produced [or did he direct ?] every cartoon which came out of the Tom and Jerry stable.  When his name appeared on screen, a loud cheer would go up shouting good old Fred. The music you hear is the classical opening of all Tom and Jerry Cartoons. If you want to listen to it again, click on your REFRESH button.

Just like my article about R.N. Laundries, this facility affected all in the navy, enjoyed by the upper and lower decks with the same enthusiasm.

The Royal Naval Film Corporation was a very important part of the navy having its headquarters in the MOD in Whitehall London. At the time of this BR Edition, the Governors were The Admiralty Board [Their Lordships]; the President was Lord Mountbatten and the Patron was HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, so no low key outfit by any means. The whole organisation was controlled and organised under BR 2186 "Recreational Films - Facilities & Conditions of Supply" and below I show you the full Book of Reference. The very first BR on this subject was issued in 1941 which was superseded in 1955 and again in 1961. This version dates from 1970 and supersedes the 1961 version. Historically interesting and who knows, it may even bring back memories for you.

This was the standard issue Bell & Howell 640, 16mm Optical and magnetic sound (1957) Projector

The last short cartoon was made in 1967.

After the war Bell & Howell machines were built under licence in the England by Rank-Gaumont at their factory in Mitchelldean, Gloucestershire. The 640 was the last British built blimp style Filmosound machine and was introduced in approx 1957. Reflecting its American parentage these machines ran on 110V and had switches that were up for on. These machines used the original Bell & Howell picture head mounted on a well designed amplifier/scanner. To minimise noise whilst running the mechanism was mounted inside a wooden blimp cabinet with doors that could be shut during the show. On the left hand side at 10 o'clock and on the top at 1 o'clock you can see the arms which carried the feed and wind spools.  This next picture shows the 'package' which included spare bits and the speaker system.  The microphone was used by professionals who wanted to make [or modify] their own movies. The top feed spool arm is not rigged. Note the transformer and the folded plastic cover underneath the transformer cables. When showing the films, the main film-lacing door [hinged to the right] and the operators switch door [hinged to the bottom] were shut, leaving just the projection flap open. The Type 202 was the
US version.


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