Grahame N's Web Pages
Amateur Cine World magazine advert Dec1950
This is a very simple and short page! Birmingham Commercial Films appear to have been a camera shop plus a commercial division providing film processing, titling, servicing etc. The processing, titling departments traded under the name of Birco Films I recall.
Thanks to a previous employee of Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd. - Stan White, who ran the commercial still photography department in the 1950s, a little more is now known about the company. The Lozells Road address was the original Harold Juggins photographic studio, established in the late 19th century. Later it became Birmingham Commercial Films with Harold Juggins (son of the founder) owner and managing director. By the 1950s the company traded from Lozells Road and Paradise Street; later taking over Kodak's retail premises on Corporation Street. At that time the company was mainly shooting 16mm films for industry and the beginnings of TV news. Stan knew nothing about the 8mm, 9.5mm & 16mm "Film Cameo" printed film releases - probably an enterprise of Harold Juggins himself. Incidentally, Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd. continued producing the local event and newsreel footage for the ATV commercial television network up to about 1959.
Amateur Cine World magazine advert Oct1951
In the Amateur Cine World magazine around 1951, they had advertised for amateur film productions. The short series of "Film Cameos" that appeared shortly afterwards is presumably the result of these requests. The first three titles were released in 9.5mm - the prints being provided from Pathéscope via their triple print 9.5mm from special 35mm stock system. The films were called '1 reel', but the length on 16mm and 9.5mm was actually 150 foot, giving a running time per 'reel' at 16frames/second of around 6 minutes.
The first advertisement for the series of "Film Cameos" was in the Amateur Cine World magazine dated December 1950. As can be seen from the later ACW dated October 1951 advert pictured above, a further two titles arrived, but only available in 8mm and 16mm. This seems to be the sum total of B.C.F. (Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd.) "Film Cameo" printed film releases.
Use this link to watch a short film of the Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd. film unit loading their newsreel van and setting off to film the troops in Cyprus. I wonder if one of the fellows we see is actually the main man Harold Juggins? - BCF LINK
©GLN '96 INTERNATIONAL 9.5 FILM CATALOGUE - NUMERIC ORDER LISTING 09/04/2003 --------------------------------------------------------------- 9.5mm Number 9.5mm Film Title Class. Issue-Delete Original Film Title Date 1 M(BC) 1 BAD TEMPER (THE) Comedy B/W Silent 51- :BAD TEMPER (THE) ??/??/51*GB 2 M(BC) 2 CLUMSY COPPER (THE) Comedy B/W Silent 51- :CLUMSY COPPER (THE) ??/??/51*GB 1 M(BC) 3 ON THE RIGHT TRACK Interest B/W Silent 51- :ON THE RIGHT TRACK ??/??/51*GB ( 3 entries )
'Film Cameo' film boxes (200ft spools)
The back of a 'Film Cameo' film box
1. In "The Bad Temper" (subtitled "Movie Moral No.1"), we see Sammy the Poltergeist as a cure for bad temper. Sammy causes a nuisance for a gardener who will throw stones at the cat (mostly stop frame animation involving a folding chair). In the end, the gardener is persuaded to befriend the pussy (no, not Mrs Slocumbe's!) with a saucer of milk. A good print, but not sure about '150ft of rib-tickling comedy' as described in the advert at the top of this page!
2.Listed as '2 reels', this release "The Clumsy Copper", being 2 x 150ft, just fits a 300ft 9.5mm spool nicely. This film stars the same fellow who has trouble with the cat in the garden in "The Bad Temper" - but here he is a policeman on the beat getting ticked off by the sergeant for having a crafty cigarette whilst on duty. With help from Sammy the Poltergeist he manages to catch some burglars and win praise from his sergeant. A cast of thousands, well five I guess - I wonder who they were - sadly probably all dead by now (except for Sammy perhaps?). Can anyone help .... watch the YouTube upload to check.
3. Having just viewed "On The Right Track" it's actually not a bad production, and a decent print. There are good shots of an excellent model railway - this has many rail lines including twin tracks and multiple track junctions etc. The layout has scaled scenery including farms and villages. As we watch the various trains progressing, some of the road vehicles are cleverly animated so that lorries deliver to farms etc. We are told that this fantastic layout was built by E.Rankine Grey and H.Hunter Wild who are filmed operating the layout. It would be interesting to learn who actually made this film, although my copy is missing the main titles so there may be a credit there.
Thanks to film archivist Dino Everett from America, we now have the credits for "On The Right Track" - (Dino's copy is complete!) - " Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd present / Film Cameo No. 3 On The Right Track / The production of this film has been made possible by the kind co-operation of E.Rankine Grey Esq., The Exhibition Railway, Boscombe, England / This film is dedicated to those enthusiasts who by their skill and craftmanship build model railaways / Glen Dale ". So it's what was a Model Railway exhibition, and down here in the south at the seaside (Boscombe is part of Bournemouth) - I'll check this out.... (gln19Jan2016).
The Model Railway exhibition shown in the film "On The Right Track" was located in Halebrose Chambers, Christchurch Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hants, UK in the 1950s and 1960s - and run by E. Rankine Grey and H. Hunter, I guess, as mentioned in the film. There was a guide book "The Model Railway" written by Ransome/Grey - keep an eye on ebay if you really want a copy!! (All this info. for just one cheapskate film - is it worth my efforts?? - gln19Jan2016)
Watch my 9.5mm silent copy of Film Cameo No.1 "The Bad Temper" on YouTube
Watch my 9.5mm silent copy of Film Cameo No.2 "The Clumsy Copper" on YouTube
Watch my 9.5mm silent copy of Film Cameo No.3 "On The Right Track" on YouTube
(Note - these were all transferred at 24fps, but were probably filmed at 16fps, sorry - it avoids strobing)
Just the bottom of a full page advert in the Amateur Cine World magazine April 1955
By 1955 Birmingham Commercial Films Ltd's retail division had two 'Camera House' shops in Corporation Street and Paradise Street, but they had given up on these 'Film Cameos' - the last stocks being sold off at bargain prices. And at the time, I missed this advert - perhaps could have got all three titles at a bargain price! But I was only 10 at the time and only armed with a Pathéscope 'Ace' projector!
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Created 09 April 2003 ........... Last updated: 02 November 2019 .............
95flmcatbcf.htm ................ ©MM3 Grahame .L. Newnham
03Jun2011 - udated - many thanks! - to Stan White, now of Ontario,Canada. / 05Jan2016 'On the Right Track' film box scan, extra text & video link added
19Jan2016 - Credits of "On The Right Track" added - thanks Dino! and a YouTube transfer!
02Jan2017 - YouTube uploads of my 9.5mm copies of "The Bad Temper" & "On The Right Track" added
04Jan2016 - YouTube upload of my 9.5mm copy of "The Clumsy Copper" added / 08Jan2017 - April 1955 'selling off' advert added
02Nov2019 - Film box back photo added