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Paul Bruening

The Mitchell has entered the building.

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Hello Gents,

 

It's a mutant Mitchell. Please look over the pictures and let me know what you think it is. Here's what I can tell about it. It's serial is actually NC 390. It's mag mount is wider than the standard Mitchell mag. I don't know what lens mount it is. It locks down on the lens' flange. It is a pellicle reflex. It has "Mark Armistead" engraved on the aluminum lens opening cap. It has a plate on the side of the viewer that says, "CC Camera Equipment Incorporated, 315 W 43rd St. New York, NY. Model # NCX, Serial # 390". It was the motor that was serial # 54 NC 754. It's a whopping 115V synchro motor.

 

What do you know about it?

 

Thanks, Paul

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I saw it on eBay and wondered what was with the viewfinder. A pellicle reflex - cool!

 

Paging Martin Hill..........

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I Googled Mark Armistead and got a page out of John Ford's Bio-bibliography. There was a Mark Armistead who was cinematographer on Ford's documentary, This is Korea!. I looked it up on IMDBPRO. The documentary was 35mm. Could this be the cam that shot that documentary? That was the only thing I could find, film-wise, for that name.

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Hey!I found more. There was a Mark Armistead who was the producer and inventor of a TV show called Instant Replay. This is getting cooler.

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There was also a Mark Armistead in the camera rental business back in the 1960's - '70's. They were located on the old Goldwyn lot on Santa Monica Blvd. at Formosa. Their inventory was mostly older stuff.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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That's a helpful tip John, thanks. I might get some more info from that.

 

Lol. No, Chuck. It's 4-perf 35mm. I checked that first. When I first pulled it out of the box, it occurred to me that his thing could be anything. Fortunately, it's only a little weird. Not completely weird.

 

Even though it's a little roughed up on the outside, the works are pristine. I mean perfect. What a lovely bit of American machinery.

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That's a helpful tip John, thanks. I might get some more info from that.

 

Lol. No, Chuck. It's 4-perf 35mm. I checked that first. When I first pulled it out of the box, it occurred to me that his thing could be anything. Fortunately, it's only a little weird. Not completely weird.

 

Even though it's a little roughed up on the outside, the works are pristine. I mean perfect. What a lovely bit of American machinery.

 

I think Mark Armisted Rentals were on Formosa Avenue, off of Santa Monica. they were a relatively small place.

 

F&B/CECO and CSC, both in NYC, modified Mitchells, Eyemos and 2709s to reflex and long before mictchell deigned to relex BNCs itself.

 

& the wider magazines for the NC are probably thicker for more sound deadening.

 

An NC movement with no film running throufh it has just the faintest whirr. All of the camera noise comes from the film flapping through and the motor.

 

Florman & Babbs merged with Camera Equipment company to form F&B/CECO.

The mount appears to be one of their turretless conversions.

It is a Mitchell std.mt. with the quick mount thumb screws instead of 4 actual screws.

 

One of the current TCM news features shows a similar camera pbeing used as the opening shot.

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I think Mark Armisted Rentals were on Formosa Avenue, off of Santa Monica. they were a relatively small place.

Yes, later on they did move off the lot to a small place North of Santa Monica Blvd. It was a walking distance move. Originally they were on the North West corner of the lot.

 

 

 

 

-- J.S.

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I may be late on this

Mark Armisted was John Ford's XO in the Field Photo Branch of the WWII OSS.

Mitchell and the Bell&Howell (2709 shuttle) were in the US Army's competition for a metric high speed 35mm camera pre-war, both qualified for the Army contract by redesigning their Hollywood standards.

Almost all of the studios except Republic went "off line" during the war, Armisted ended 1945 with more Michells under his command than any one on earth.

Armisted offered my father a pair of Kodak prism 16mm HS, but never delivered, setting up his rental biz instead.

He did show up at my mother's funeral in 1981.

 

Doug "1 inch" Freis started the pelical reflex modifications, he had been an engineer at Photosonics in the 1960's & i saw blueprints of his with one inch errors when i was building 16mm 1000fps pin reregistration cameras there. When BobAble was on the StarTrec Film in 1979, we were getting parts from Doug Freis, one inch out of print. Go Figure.

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My first film industry job was at Armistead's around 85. Dick Pierson was the manager and Jerry, Bob DeRose was the electronics guy, Ken Stone did the Cameras, Bob Payne did the BL's and Mags, Dave Swett did the heads and I was a driver that did the heads when Dave moved over to Otto Nemenz. I followed shortly after to Otto's Armisteads daughter was the owner, From what I understand, John and Mark were good friends, After WWII the military needed to unload its inventory, Armistead went to an auction in San DIego. Ford told him to "bid on that pile" and he went back to LA and opened for business. They never kept up with the times, We had the cameras on Fame and I remember seeing a mag case with "Lost In Space." At that time Otto was servicing the low budget film and music video boon, Clairmont had TV and Film and Panavision had everything but 16 for aii intents and purposes. Armistead just couldn't keep up and they eventually closed its doors. They had few BL's BNCR's and a few Fries, O'Connor 100's and a few Wprrel Heads. I think Hill Production Services bought everything from them and they have since shut their doors.

Edited by Tom Jensen

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