Castle Films

Castle Films (known as Universal 8 from 1977) was a film distributor founded in California by former newsreel cameraman Eugene W. Castle (1897–1960) in 1924.

Castle Films TM


The company originally produced business and advertising films. By 1931 it had moved its principal office to New York City.

In 1937, Castle branched out into 8 mm and 16 mm home movies, buying newsreel footage and old theatrical films for home use. Castle's first home movie was a newsreel of the Hindenburg explosion.[1] That same year, Castle launched his "News Parade" series, a year-in-review newsreel; travelogues followed in 1938. Castle also released sports films, animal adventures, and "old time" movies. The films were sold at camera shops, in department stores, and by mail-order catalog. Castle Films were extensively advertised in national magazines.

Castle Films 1942 newsreel about the Doolittle Raid, Yanks Bomb Tokyo

Castle obtained home-movie rights to cartoons from several animation studios, including Terrytoons (1938), Ub Iwerks (1941), and Walter Lantz Productions (1947). During World War II it produced numerous documentary and training films for the U.S. armed services.[2] In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Castle released a series of 16 mm "Music Albums" assembled from the Soundies musical shorts, combining three 3-minute songs into each nine-minute subject.

Castle Films distributed two dozen Christmas subjects over two decades, the first being Christmas-Time in Toyland (released in 1939) and the last The First Christmas (in 1959). The perennial in this category was The Night Before Christmas, a live-action dramatization of the poem; this 1946 release remained in print for 26 years.

In 1947, United World Films, Inc., the non-theatrical division of Universal Pictures, purchased a majority stake in Castle Films.[3] Castle subsequently became a Universal subsidiary, drawing upon the studio's library of vintage films (with Abbott and Costello, W. C. Fields, Boris Karloff, James Stewart, etc.). The merger with Universal also brought to Castle the Walter Lantz cartoons with Woody Woodpecker, Andy Panda, Oswald Rabbit, and Chilly Willy. In the 1950s, Castle released a highly successful series of Hopalong Cassidy excerpts, licensed from the series' star William Boyd. When Universal was purchased by MCA Inc. in 1962, Castle also gained access to the pre-1950 Paramount Pictures sound feature films owned by MCA's TV division, releasing sequences from Cecil B. DeMille's spectaculars and Marx Brothers comedies, among other Paramount titles. Newsreels edited from NASA footage of U.S. space flights were timely in the 1960s. Castle's most popular series was its line of science-fiction and horror films, many featuring the Universal Classic Monsters Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Invisible Man. The series launched in 1957 and grew to 30 titles.

Castle Films changed its name to Universal 8 in 1977 and experimented with longer-length films, but the era of home video brought an end to Universal's home-movie enterprise in 1984. Universal 8 dealt mostly in excerpts, but Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (founded in 1980) offered feature films in their entirety on videotape. Collectors abandoned the excerpts in favor of the complete movies.

The complete inventory of Castle Films (more than 1,000 titles over 40 years) is listed in Scott MacGillivray's book Castle Films: A Hobbyist's Guide, ISBN 0-595-32491-6.

The largest U.S. competitor of Castle Films was Official Films, until rival movie studios entered the marketplace, including Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers and United Artists (under the Ken Films brand name), and 20th Century-Fox.

See also


  1. ^ Thomas M. Pryor, "Newsreels for the Home", The New York Times, July 4, 1937, p. 100
  2. ^ Theodore Strauss, "Of One Man's Castle", The New York Times, April 4, 1943, p. X3.
  3. ^ "United World, Inc., Buys Castle Films", The New York Times, January 2, 1947, p. 22. Eugene Castle became vice president of United World, but resigned in 1949. "Business Notes", The New York Times, December 13, 1949, p. 55.

External links

CNBC Indonesia

CNBC Indonesia is an Indonesian television channel owned by Trans Media in collaboration with NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast. It was launched on 10 October 2018.

Chilly Willy

Chilly Willy is a funny animal cartoon character, a diminutive anthropomorphic penguin living in Alaska, but lives in Antarctica in the New Woody Woodpecker Show. He was created by director Paul Smith for the Walter Lantz studio in 1953, and developed further by Tex Avery in the two subsequent films following Smith's debut entry. The character soon became the second most popular Lantz/Universal character, behind Woody Woodpecker.

Chris Alexander (editor)

Chris Alexander is a Canadian magazine editor, film critic, director, musician, composer and freelance writer. Alexander was a member of the Toronto Film Critics Association and was an editor of film website and a writer for The Toronto Star's daily newspaper Metro News. In 2010 he became the editor-in-chief of Fangoria magazine, a position he held until September 2015, when he stepped down in favor of pursuing his directorial and music career. Alexander also stated that he intended to continue to contribute editorial content but that he also intended to focus on Delirium, a Full Moon Features magazine he launched with filmmaker Charles Band.Alexander has previously written for Rue Morgue and also worked as the editor of the official magazine for the rock band Kiss. Alexander has also worked as a radio personality for AM 640 on The John Oakley Show from 2004 to 2009 and for Rue Morgue Radio from 2004 to 2007. He has composed music for several horror films and productions such as the radio drama series Fangoria's Dreadtime Stories. In 2006, Alexander participated in the Raging Boll stunt in Vancouver, boxing genre filmmaker Uwe Boll.His 2012 film Blood for Irina won the Best Experimental Feature Film award at the 2013 PollyGrind Film Festival.In 2017 he co-founded Fantasm Media , a publishing entity devoted to producing licensed magazines spotlighting major names in film and pop culture. The first issue was dedicated to director George A. Romero. The second issue announced was the official KISS poster magazine. Alexander left the company in 2018 to focus on other projects, including his roll as the associate editor of Rome-based Italian horror film periodical Asylum Magazine.

Alexander is also the co-founder of Toronto-based horror and cult film convention Horror-Rama.

His 4th feature film Blood Dynasty was released digitally via Alexander's Castle Films label, a co-production between Alexander and director/producer David De Coteau. The film is set for a Blu-ray/DVD release in late 2019.

Alexander's 5th feature film was Space Vampire, an experimental science fiction horror film . The film has yet to be released.

Alexander was announced as one of the directors attached to Full Moon's Deadly Ten project.. Production is set to begin on Necropolis:Legion in June, 2019.

ComiColor Cartoons

The ComiColor Cartoon series was a series of 25 animated short subjects produced by the Ub Iwerks studio from 1933 to 1936. The series was the last produced by the studio; after losing distributor Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1934, the Iwerks studio's senior company Celebrity Pictures (run by Pat Powers) had to distribute the films itself. The series was shot exclusively in Cinecolor.

Most of the ComiColor entries were based upon popular fairy tales and other familiar stories, including Jack and the Beanstalk, Old Mother Hubbard, The Bremen Town Musicians, and The Headless Horseman. Grim Natwick, Al Eugster, and Shamus Culhane were among the series' lead animators/directors, and a number of the shorts were filmed using Iwerks' multiplane camera, which he built himself from the remains of a Chevrolet automobile.

All of the ComiColor cartoons are now available in the 2004 Region 2 ComiColor DVD set released by Mk2/Lobster in France. Many are available in Region 1, in particular on the Cartoons That Time Forgot series.

Dark Castle Entertainment

Dark Castle Entertainment is an American film production label and a division of Silver Pictures, a production house formerly affiliated with Warner Bros. It was formed in 1999 by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis, and Gilbert Adler. Susan Downey was the Vice President of Development until February 2009, a term running congruent to her tenure as a VP of Production at parent company Silver Pictures.

Dark Castle Entertainment's name pays homage to William Castle, a horror filmmaker from the 1950s and 1960s. When first formed, the goal was to remake Castle's horror films. After two remakes, it moved on to producing original material, along with remakes of non-Castle films. Starting with RocknRolla, the company began producing films in genres other than horror. While most of the company's films were initially poorly reviewed by critics, their 2009 film Splice eventually received better reviews.

Dark Castle Entertainment originally acquired the US rights to The Loft, as they did for Splice, with the intention of releasing the film through Warner Bros. When Joel Silver moved his office to Universal Pictures, he took Dark Castle, and the film, with him. Universal planned to release the film on August 29, 2014, but the studio pulled it from the schedule in favor of As Above, So Below. Universal and Dark Castle dropped the film, which was then picked up by Open Road Films and released on January 30, 2015.Jason Blum reportedly has spoken to Silver twice about doing a co-production with Blumhouse Productions for Universal to distribute, but have yet to find the right project.

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Little Black Sambo (film)

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Scott MacGillivray

Scott MacGillivray (born June 29, 1957) is an American non-fiction author specializing in motion picture history.

His book Laurel & Hardy: From the Forties Forward, revised and expanded in 2009, chronicles the later films of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Some of his other books are The Soundies Book: A Revised and Expanded Guide (2007, co-authored with Ted Okuda), Gloria Jean: A Little Bit of Heaven (2005, co-authored with Jan MacGillivray), and Castle Films: A Hobbyist's Guide (2004, foreword by Okuda).

MacGillivray has been the chairman of the Boston chapter of the international Laurel and Hardy society The Sons of the Desert since 1977, and is the longest-tenured chairman in the organization. His commentaries appear on 20th Century-Fox's DVD set The Laurel and Hardy Collection, Volume 2.

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Ted Okuda

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Two on a Guillotine

Two on a Guillotine is a 1965 American horror film produced and directed by William Conrad and starring Connie Stevens. The screenplay by John Kneubuhl and Henry Slesar is based on a story by Slesar.It was the first in a series of low budget suspense dramas for Warner Bros, the others being My Blood Runs Cold and Brainstorm.(There was meant to be a fourth, The Thing at the Door, but it ended up not being made). These were inspired by the success of William Castle films.

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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (formerly Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Universal Studios Home Video, MCA/Universal Home Video, MCA Home Video, MCA Videodisc Inc. and MCA Videocassette Inc.) is the home video distribution division of American film studio Universal Pictures, owned by the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast.

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