Pathéscope 9.5 mm Mickey Mouse Film Box

9.5 mm film is an amateur film format introduced by Pathé in 1922. It was conceived initially as an inexpensive format to provide copies of commercially made films to home users.

The format uses a single, central perforation (sprocket hole) between each pair of frames, or images, as opposed to the more common configuration which has perforations on each side of the image. The single hole allowed more of the film to be used for the actual image. The perforation in the film is invisible to viewers.

The example I have only has one piece of film strip left within the cartridge and it is blank. So the film won’t be viewed by me anytime soon!

However, I bought this item for its display value, and not so that I could screen the film itself. I don’t have the special projector needed anyway. So… I just liked the box!

The sides of the box have a variety of information. The middle image above shows some numbers and text that seems to read ‘Band Master’. With some research on the Internet, I found that the number 30126 is a reference to the content of the film contained in the box, namely Barnyard Concert (1930), conducted of course by Bandmaster Mickey. It was an animated Black and White presentation with no sound.

The cartridge has the name of a different film than the one that should be in this box: At Home with Lions (no year found). This was a non-Disney ‘interest’ film and was a Black and White silent presentation. It also states that this copy was printed in England and was number 537 in the catalogue. So I have a mismatched set of box and reel.

From the early 1930’s, once Pathéscope had set up their own laboratories at Cricklewood, North London, they began preparing most film releases themselves. This began the UK numbering with the main series starting at 30000. So this helps us to date our artifact (the box, anyway) from the mid-30’s. A 90000 series began around 1957/58 when the Pathéscope company had been reorganized into Pathéscope (Great Britain) Ltd. So our artifact is no newer than the mid-50’s.

This little gem has been sitting on my display shelf for years and I never knew half of this information until I did the research for this post. I now know that I have a mismatched item and that my film is missing!

I’m not sure how I feel about this.

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