Thursday 29 April 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy #6-8: Bell and Howell

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Used by permission of Alan Davis

Alan Davis (in his Unknown Bellamy section of his website) shows three images next to each other (numbers 6-8 as I have labelled them here). I can reveal they are actually advertising for a cine-camera as you might guess. 

Movie Maker June 1967 cover

Movie Maker - note the two separate words (unlike MovieMaker in the USA) was a magazine that began as a new title in March 1967 (and ran till October 1985) and was published by Fountain Press Limited, publishers of many books on photography too. I confess I have only ever seen the one I own - June 1967 - and you know why I have that issue in particular! The cover shows a woman - hardly visible, ironically - behind a film projector and the magazine cost 3/6d.

The title began life through the incorporation of Amateur Cine World, 8mm Movie Maker and Cine Camera. The British Library states it also incorporated Film Making as well, but that's not in the one I own, and they say its later title was Making Better Movies. This glossy black and white magazine is 28 x 20.5cm and was published on the second Thursday of the month "preceding the month for which it is dated"- well, in June 1967 anyway! The Editor was Tony Rose, the Assistant Editor Alan Cleave and the Art Editor Anthony-Brian Grant. The Advertising Manager was John Patrick. It contains loads of advertising but also "How-to-do-it" features, Special Features, News and Reviews- one of which is by Denis Gifford: "Films to Buy"! Gifford commissioned Frank Bellamy for his comic Ally Sloper, which became Bellamy's last comic strip ever in 1976, so is too far-fetched to assume he put a word in for Bellamy? Or maybe it all went through an agency and is just coincidence!

Anyway our focus today is on Bell and Howell's "The Optronic Eye: Report on the Bell and Howell Optronic Eye Super 8 camera in action" which appears over three right-hand pages (which any advertising person will tell you costs more than any left-hand page) - p309, 311, 313.

The first thing I notice in Alan Davis' rescued Polaroid (see top of article) is the lettering is surprisingly not by Frank Bellamy but added later. However it seems obvious Bellamy left space in the designs for boxes containing text.

Movie Maker June 1967 p.309

The first page introduces us to this simpler Super 8 camera with cartridge loading capability. I felt the way the guy is holding the device in the first panel looked awkward but this is demonstrated properly by the lady on the instruction manual below

The script is a bit stilted in order to show off all the features and our protagonist uses phrases like ""I don't tolerate mistakes, I gritted" and ""Nix", I grunted"!

Movie Maker June 1967 p.311

The second page ignores "Uncle Arthur" and moves to the father of the bride who obviously knows how to do it properly but is outdated. I'd love to know who the model for this was, as he looks like a politician to me, but I suspect he can't be. The last panel is empty of text.

Movie Maker June 1967 p.313

The last page has Bell and Howell's technical sheet  for three versions of the camera at £49.19.0, £79.15.0 and lastly £125.0.0 The advert states the camera was developed as a result of "cooperation with official U.S. Government Moon-shot experiments" - whatever that means. The Bell & Howell Research Center in Pasadena certainly looked at spectroscopy at this time. I like the line on this page that seems to thing we are, I presume, secret agents: "Further Classified Information: All agents to memorise"!

Unfortunately, despite having access to the Bellamy's financial accounts for the period (for which I'm ever grateful to Nancy Bellamy) I can't find anything attributed to the brand or any agency that can be identified.

So we can tick off those three images now! 

NEXT: Unknown Bellamy # 9 - that comic strip.

Thursday 22 April 2021

Unknown Frank Bellamy: INTRODUCTION

FRANK BELLAMY "Unknown artworks"

Alan Davis (does he need an introduction?) has given me permission to reproduce some of the Bellamy artwork on his website, thus making it a lot easier to discuss individual pieces and see if anyone out there can help identify what they are? Yes, it's been 45 years since Frank Bellamy left us but anyone following this blog will know we have found a lot, we knew nothing about previously.  Alan has other images that are worth discussing but for now we'll get started on identifying these pieces.


So if we use Alan's Unknown page as our starting point, I've given each image a number to help remember what we will have covered and help me keep clear in my own mind which image I'm talking about, as they have no titles. I shall blog each different image as separate entries to make it easier to update as we go.

Alan Davis' Unknown Frank Bellamy work

There are 18 images, and we now know what several of them are:

  • #1-5: "Pawley's Peepholes"
  • #6-8: The Bell and Howell advert from Movie Maker (June 1967) - I'll blog the published version soon
  • #9 is a strip but what???
  • #10 confirms that not only did Bellamy draw two strips on Walls Wonderman but also drew some 'point-of-sale' material
  • #11 is from the Radio Times article on Orville and Wilbur Wright 
  • #12 is an astronaut pulling strings and money is involved - BUT what is it???
  • #13 is a Castrol GTX advert but I've never seen it published. I'll say more about this one later
  • #14 is John Bull and the New Year 1973 BUT where was it published, if at all?
  • #15 Farnborough Air Show- I'll blog the other stuff some time soon.
  • #16 The "WSA+P bridge" was a commission for an individual who worked for W. S. Atkins and Partners - an engineering firm
  • #17&#18 I think are the two images for the early 1960s BBC TV programme Focus (16 May 1960) but again I'll say more

Have you got any thoughts on these? I'd love to see what you think? My next article will cover these in as much detail as I can round up.