Walton Films of London, established in 1948 and closed down in 1983, was one of the most respected 8mm distributors in the world. In general, quality of their releases was high, and many films have been popular among collectors for years. The two catalogs we have uploaded here clearly show how Walton’s output evolved between 1958 and 1976.
All titles in the 1958 catalog could be ordered on standard 8mm (super 8 would only be introduced in 1965), 9.5mm and 16mm. Interestingly, about half of the releases (5 pages) are travel films and other documentaries. Comedy shorts (4 pages) come second, followed by glamour films (which is British for striptease-type films) on 2 pages. Walton had introduced the glamour film in 1953 and many of these films were shot by Walton founder James Beney himself. In a 1979 article on Walton Films, Movie Maker magazine wrote: ‘Today it looks a little quaint, but then, the sight of a girl in a two-piece bathing suit constituted an erotic experience.’ The catalog featured only two handfuls of cartoons, on a half page.
In the 1976 catalog, super 8 was fully established, and all the other formats (standard 8mm, 9.5mm and 16mm) had gone. Various kinds of feature film genres (drama, comedy, action) now dominated the catalog and the glamour film had been discontinued, probably because it couldn’t compete with the more explicit films other vendors brought to market. The comedy shorts department was still going strong, but whereas in 1958 most titles starred Charlie Chaplin, in 1976 Laurel & Hardy had taken the lead. Cartoons had become more important, with Tom & Jerry promoted on the cover and on the very first page.