ASC associate member Jim Jannard — founder of Red Digital Cinema and a longtime motion picture camera collector — has donated an invaluable piece of cinema history to the American Society of Cinematographers: A 1920s Mitchell Standard 35mm unit with a serial number of 5.
Yes, serial number 5 — making it one of the very first cameras built and sold by the Mitchell Camera Corporation.
“Number 5” has been slightly modified over the decades, but remains largely factory-fresh — though with plenty of evidence that it was a workhorse for many years.
Originally patented by John E. Leonard in 1917, the design was purchased by Henry Boger and George Alfred Mitchell, improved, and put into production, with Floyd Jackman, ASC becoming the first to buy a Mitchell Standard in 1921 — unit Number 1.
The ASC’s new camera is also a contemporary of the Mitchell Standard Number 8 purchased by actress, writer, director, producer and United Artists co-founder Mary Pickford (seen below),
Jannard’s classic Number 5, now a part of the ASC Museum, joins an already-impressive array of artifacts that visitors to the ASC Clubhouse in Hollywood can inspect up close and in person.
Here are a few shots of Number 5 as it currently stands in the foyer near the front door of the Clubhouse: