What’s your logo?

My favorite moment in Charlie Kaufman’s ADAPTATION (2002) was when Nicolas Cage’s annoying alter ego, a dim-witted rival screenwriter, asks him “What’s your genre? Mine’s Thriller.” It tickled me to think of the world so divided, with each of us living, breathing, eating, and sleeping just one genre apiece. (Mine’s Horror.) Humanity is so diverse and fascinating that it’s fun to break it up into more easily digestible chunks, like Republican vs. Democrat, Birther vs. Hoper, Protestant vs. Catholic, Pro-Life vs. Pro-Choice, breath mint vs. candy mint. I’ve got another one for you, although there are more than two sides to this equation: what’s your logo? I mean, your Hollywood studio logo? I have a feeling that people of a certain age have a preferred studio logo, one that distances itself from the pack. Mine’s RKO… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

To keep the discussion reasonable, I’m going to limit its parameters to the major Hollywood studios, the Big Five (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures) plus Universal and Columbia. For years, decades even, my favorite studio logo was 20th Century Fox (top). The attraction was (and remains, though my ardor has cooled somewhat) attached to my fascination with rooftops in movies (THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, THEY MADE ME A FUGITIVE, VERTIGO, WEST SIDE STORY, MARY POPPINS, DRACULA HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE, THE STUNT MAN); rooftops always seem to represent another world, one that sits close at hand to the one we live in every day but apart somehow, as if the rules don’t quite apply but the risks are ten times greater. In THE CANNONBALL RUN (1981), cars raced around the top of the Art Deco structure while snow fell on it at the beginning of EDWARD SCISSORHANDS (1990). I love the Top o’the World, Ma! braggadocio of the Fox logo (though, of course, that line comes from a Warner Brothers picture), its splendor, its majesty. And yet, if you’re talking purple mountains’ majesty…

… I guess we’re talking about the Paramount logo. And yet I’ve never warmed to this iconic image, the oldest existing Hollywood studio logo. It literally lives me cold, in a figurative sense. Mind you, films produced by this wonderful studio have made great use of the image (no one seems able to agree what mountain peak it was patterned on by William Wadsworth Hodkinson, who sketched a rough draft on a napkin during a meeting with Paramount co-founder Adolph Zukor), among them Steven Spielberg’s RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), which match-cut the peak to the film’s first scene, via dissolve. But still… feh. These things are highly subjective. I’m tempted to say the logo is just too impersonal for me, pulling back from the rooftop of the Fox logo to an indeterminate space in the air… and yet… and yet…

… I love the Universal logo, where the POV is in space! Go figure! It’s not just my love for the Universal horror movies of the 1930s and 40s that prompts my fondness for this studio logo, it’s the simplicity of it. And the colors! But whether rendered in black-and-white or color the Universal logo remains in my top three, right up there with 20th Century Fox. But it isn’t quite the top, no, not by a long shot.

For novelty, it’s hard to top the MGM logo but I’ve never been all that fond of Leo the Lion. Louis B. Mayer stole much of what we recognize as the Metro logo, from its apex predator mascot to the Latin phrase “Ars Gratis Artis” (“Art for art’s sake.”), from Samuel Goldwyn, whose studio he acquired in the merger that led to the formation of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Who can explain why some things thrill you and others do not? (Rhetorical question.) Choice variations on the MGM opening logo include Roman Polanski’s THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967), in which Leo morphs into a green-faced, bald-headed, and demonstrably fanged bloodsucker, and STRANGE BREW (1983), where Canadian hosers Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas try to get Leo to roar by cranking his tail like a hurdygurdy (“Ooh jeez, he’s gettin’ mad, eh?”).

The Warners’ shield has curb appeal and kind of a hood ornament masculinity but once you’ve seen it there’s nowhere else to go, there’s no there there. It’s a perfectly utilitarian logo, and appropriate I guess for all those gangster movies the studio cranked out during the Great Depression and the hardboiled crime films that followed (such as WHITE HEAT, referenced above). For one of the Harry Potter movies, a flock of owls flew out from behind the shield. So… there’s that.

Being a former New Yorker, I’ve always loved the Lady Liberty-like Columbia logo but they keep changing the model. The figure represents Columbia, a personalization of these United States, and early on she wore a crown. In 1936, the logo underwent a make-over and the model reminds me a bit of Fay Wray (who was, however, contracted to RKO) though I have read it was patterned after actress Evelyn Venable, wife of cinematographer Hal Mohr. Given a digital rehaul in 1992, Columbia was modeled after a Louisiana housewife, who always seemed, I don’t know, a little too suburban for my taste. Occasional Columbia releases have had fun with the logo, frightening her off her pedestal with THE MOUSE THAT ROARED (1965) and arming her with six-shooters in CAT BALLOU (1965).

And here we are, with my reigning favorite Hollywood studio logo, from RKO Radio Pictures. I think it’s the association with KING KONG (1933) that seals the deal, though all those great Val Lewton horror films of the 1940s (CAT PEOPLE, CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE, I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE, THE SEVENTH VICTIM) don’t hurt its cause. I saw KING KONG for the first time in 1980, shortly before I graduated from high school, and while in college I ordered a T-shirt bearing the RKO logo from the back pages of American Film magazine. I felt proud to wear the iconic radio tower but not so proud that I didn’t wind up giving the shirt to a girl, who wore it until it was in tatters, and who promised she would keep it always in a preservation glass case. I guess my love for the RKO logo (which didn’t change much over the years) is the combination of sophistication (the animation of the radiating radio signals) and simplicity.

The RKO logo was treated to a loving homage in THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (1975), even though it was a 20th Century Fox release.

So there you have it. My logo is RKO. What’s yours?

Further reading: Everything You Wanted to Know About American Film Company Logos but Were Afraid to Ask by Rick Mitchell.

0 Response What’s your logo?
Posted By sinaphile : May 4, 2012 5:13 am

RKO forever. Total agreement. Love this.

Posted By sinaphile : May 4, 2012 5:13 am

RKO forever. Total agreement. Love this.

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 8:08 am

I believe Columbia was headless in Joan Crawford’s “Strait-Jacket” and Jerry Lewis poked fun at the Paramount logo in “The Geisha Boy”.

My logo would be RKO, too.

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 8:08 am

I believe Columbia was headless in Joan Crawford’s “Strait-Jacket” and Jerry Lewis poked fun at the Paramount logo in “The Geisha Boy”.

My logo would be RKO, too.

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 8:10 am

OK – I take that back :D My logo is the *old* B&W Universal logo – with the banner plane.

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 8:10 am

OK – I take that back :D My logo is the *old* B&W Universal logo – with the banner plane.

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 9:51 am

Pamela named mine, the B&W airplane-circled Universal globe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in colour (and I think even for colour films, the RKO tower was merely tinted sepia).

And I’m not sure why Universal isn’t in The Big Five, in favour of RKO in your ranking. Universal gave us the Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera and All Quiet on the Western Front as well as the great early sound horror films, while–King Kong and Citizen Kane aside–I’ve always thought of most RKO productions as being a notch lower on the scale. The Laemmles were no slouches.

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 9:51 am

Pamela named mine, the B&W airplane-circled Universal globe, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it in colour (and I think even for colour films, the RKO tower was merely tinted sepia).

And I’m not sure why Universal isn’t in The Big Five, in favour of RKO in your ranking. Universal gave us the Chaney version of Phantom of the Opera and All Quiet on the Western Front as well as the great early sound horror films, while–King Kong and Citizen Kane aside–I’ve always thought of most RKO productions as being a notch lower on the scale. The Laemmles were no slouches.

Posted By marty : May 4, 2012 10:12 am

I always liked the updated 20th leader in CinemaScope and the extended fanfare. I dislike it today because it says News Corporation!
The Warners shield and fanfare in the WarnerColor 50s was great…particularly A Star Is Born and Mel Brooks used it to perfection in Blazing Saddles. Plus Ray Heindorf’s Warners orchestra had the fullest sound. Lots of bravado at Warners.
I liked the Universal logo in CinemaScope during the Edward Muhl period, but the pictures…P.U.
The Paramount mountainscape with the VistaVision logo spreading out with the Paramount fanfare underneath is another favorite of mine…particularly in the Hitchcock pictures and Martin & Lewis pictures.
I liked the Columbia Liberty in their 50s CinemaScope and EastmanColor days, as in The Eddie Duchin Story, The Long Gray Line and Pal Joey.
Finally MGM…I liked Leo in full Technicolor and CinemaScope, especially the latter Freed Unit musicals and FOrbidden Planet.

Posted By marty : May 4, 2012 10:12 am

I always liked the updated 20th leader in CinemaScope and the extended fanfare. I dislike it today because it says News Corporation!
The Warners shield and fanfare in the WarnerColor 50s was great…particularly A Star Is Born and Mel Brooks used it to perfection in Blazing Saddles. Plus Ray Heindorf’s Warners orchestra had the fullest sound. Lots of bravado at Warners.
I liked the Universal logo in CinemaScope during the Edward Muhl period, but the pictures…P.U.
The Paramount mountainscape with the VistaVision logo spreading out with the Paramount fanfare underneath is another favorite of mine…particularly in the Hitchcock pictures and Martin & Lewis pictures.
I liked the Columbia Liberty in their 50s CinemaScope and EastmanColor days, as in The Eddie Duchin Story, The Long Gray Line and Pal Joey.
Finally MGM…I liked Leo in full Technicolor and CinemaScope, especially the latter Freed Unit musicals and FOrbidden Planet.

Posted By Bob Gutowski : May 4, 2012 10:38 am

Of contemporary logos, I like Dimension Films and Strike Entertainment. I think the current Universal logo’s MUSIC is way too much, even if you can sing “Universal Film” to the last few notes.

Posted By Bob Gutowski : May 4, 2012 10:38 am

Of contemporary logos, I like Dimension Films and Strike Entertainment. I think the current Universal logo’s MUSIC is way too much, even if you can sing “Universal Film” to the last few notes.

Posted By M. Foye : May 4, 2012 10:44 am

Hello. I was wondering if you might know the answer to a curiosity I have had for some time–What is the explanation of those 20th Century Fox logos that have their zero at an angle to the rest of the logo?

Posted By M. Foye : May 4, 2012 10:44 am

Hello. I was wondering if you might know the answer to a curiosity I have had for some time–What is the explanation of those 20th Century Fox logos that have their zero at an angle to the rest of the logo?

Posted By Film Friday – Weekly Roundup – Pretty Clever Films Pretty Clever Films – Silent Films & Classic Movies Discussed : May 4, 2012 10:49 am

[...] The Movie Morlocks ask, “What Your Logo?” [...]

Posted By Film Friday – Weekly Roundup – Pretty Clever Films Pretty Clever Films – Silent Films & Classic Movies Discussed : May 4, 2012 10:49 am

[...] The Movie Morlocks ask, “What Your Logo?” [...]

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : May 4, 2012 11:10 am

For variations on logos, I like the almost abstract Leo the Lion that Kubrick insisted on using for 2001. Also Columbia’s Lady Liberty chased away by the sight of a mouse for The Mouse that Roared. Of the classic logos, I loved the airplane that flew around the world for Universal.

I know you restricted yourself to Hollywood, but for me, the coolest logo is the waves and rocks for Japan’s Toei Studio.

Posted By Peter Nellhaus : May 4, 2012 11:10 am

For variations on logos, I like the almost abstract Leo the Lion that Kubrick insisted on using for 2001. Also Columbia’s Lady Liberty chased away by the sight of a mouse for The Mouse that Roared. Of the classic logos, I loved the airplane that flew around the world for Universal.

I know you restricted yourself to Hollywood, but for me, the coolest logo is the waves and rocks for Japan’s Toei Studio.

Posted By Patricia Nolan-Hall : May 4, 2012 11:24 am

Bing and Bob in “Road to Utopia” admiring the Alaskan scenery or as Bob refers to the Paramount logo, “It’s bread and butter to me”. Or something like that.

Count me as another who goes for the Universal plane.

Posted By Patricia Nolan-Hall : May 4, 2012 11:24 am

Bing and Bob in “Road to Utopia” admiring the Alaskan scenery or as Bob refers to the Paramount logo, “It’s bread and butter to me”. Or something like that.

Count me as another who goes for the Universal plane.

Posted By Shuvcat : May 4, 2012 11:28 am

I guess I like more Universal films than any other; the old horror, Steven Spielberg, etc. Also the neato rapid descent into the suburban town at the beginning of The Burbs.
Columbia also had the statue’s head removed at the end of Joan Crawford’s headsaloppin’ movie Strait-Jacket.
My favorite logo is still the Tristar pegasus, though.

Posted By Shuvcat : May 4, 2012 11:28 am

I guess I like more Universal films than any other; the old horror, Steven Spielberg, etc. Also the neato rapid descent into the suburban town at the beginning of The Burbs.
Columbia also had the statue’s head removed at the end of Joan Crawford’s headsaloppin’ movie Strait-Jacket.
My favorite logo is still the Tristar pegasus, though.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 4, 2012 12:02 pm

Peter, it’s so funny you should cite the Toei logo because I thought the same thing recently when I reviewed Sword of Desperation. Great logo from a great studio.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 4, 2012 12:02 pm

Peter, it’s so funny you should cite the Toei logo because I thought the same thing recently when I reviewed Sword of Desperation. Great logo from a great studio.

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:18 pm

Another great logo alteration is in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, with Tony Randall playing the fanfare as a one-man band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J6Bk6E9Y-g

Also, the 8-bit video game version of the Universal logo in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and that version of the MGM logo with the Marx Brothers substituting for Leo (“MARX GRATIA MARXES”).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3NenKqOKvE

There seem to be a lot of variations in Leo and his roar in the early sound days at MGM, especially in the early colour versions.

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:18 pm

Another great logo alteration is in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, with Tony Randall playing the fanfare as a one-man band.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4J6Bk6E9Y-g

Also, the 8-bit video game version of the Universal logo in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and that version of the MGM logo with the Marx Brothers substituting for Leo (“MARX GRATIA MARXES”).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J3NenKqOKvE

There seem to be a lot of variations in Leo and his roar in the early sound days at MGM, especially in the early colour versions.

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:24 pm

Aha, found a colour version of the Universal airplane globe, albeit a late one (from Xanadu).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywKZsrC2tJA&feature=related

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:24 pm

Aha, found a colour version of the Universal airplane globe, albeit a late one (from Xanadu).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywKZsrC2tJA&feature=related

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:37 pm

Okay, one more, this one’s Marty Feldman’s assault on the Universal “deco globe” from The Last Remake of Beau Geste.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBqJ0j42uUc

Posted By swac44 : May 4, 2012 12:37 pm

Okay, one more, this one’s Marty Feldman’s assault on the Universal “deco globe” from The Last Remake of Beau Geste.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBqJ0j42uUc

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 4, 2012 12:42 pm

I’ve never seen Xanadu so that’s a real treat. These are wonderful, people… keep ‘em coming!

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 4, 2012 12:42 pm

I’ve never seen Xanadu so that’s a real treat. These are wonderful, people… keep ‘em coming!

Posted By tomzorthian : May 4, 2012 12:55 pm
Posted By tomzorthian : May 4, 2012 12:55 pm
Posted By ThomasAFoster : May 4, 2012 1:01 pm

Great post! I’m thinking there’s a sinister dissolve-from-logo in a space-monster movies. Could it be the 1982 remake of The Thing?

Lots of great logos. Imho, the WB logo is very evocative of their films, and a triumph of design. There’s just no beating the propellor plane, tho.

Posted By ThomasAFoster : May 4, 2012 1:01 pm

Great post! I’m thinking there’s a sinister dissolve-from-logo in a space-monster movies. Could it be the 1982 remake of The Thing?

Lots of great logos. Imho, the WB logo is very evocative of their films, and a triumph of design. There’s just no beating the propellor plane, tho.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 4, 2012 3:56 pm

I love the RKO logo too and I’m particularly fond of the Rank Films “golden gong” man myself although I know he’s not part of the discussion.

Posted By Kimberly Lindbergs : May 4, 2012 3:56 pm

I love the RKO logo too and I’m particularly fond of the Rank Films “golden gong” man myself although I know he’s not part of the discussion.

Posted By chris : May 4, 2012 4:08 pm

i always liked the deco Universal from the 30′s and early 40′s

Posted By chris : May 4, 2012 4:08 pm

i always liked the deco Universal from the 30′s and early 40′s

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 4:39 pm

Kimberly: a non-US logo I like a lot is the Gainsborough portrait. Always reminds me (obviously) of those Regency romance novels!

Posted By Pamela Porter : May 4, 2012 4:39 pm

Kimberly: a non-US logo I like a lot is the Gainsborough portrait. Always reminds me (obviously) of those Regency romance novels!

Posted By Qalice : May 4, 2012 5:29 pm

I’m with Shuvcat — the TriStar Pegasus!

Posted By Qalice : May 4, 2012 5:29 pm

I’m with Shuvcat — the TriStar Pegasus!

Posted By Mike D : May 4, 2012 5:31 pm

Nobody likes the RKO Pathe rooster?

Posted By Mike D : May 4, 2012 5:31 pm

Nobody likes the RKO Pathe rooster?

Posted By KenK : May 4, 2012 6:31 pm

I’ve always had a soft spot for Columbia, because when I was young, it always meant the start of a Three Stooges short.

Similarly, I loved ITV (ok, it’s television and not cinema), because of those blaring trumpets signifying some great British tv (The Thunderbirds, UFO, The Avengers).

But for me, my logo is that great big Toho. The huge Japanese characters, the rays of sunlight, the colors.

Posted By KenK : May 4, 2012 6:31 pm

I’ve always had a soft spot for Columbia, because when I was young, it always meant the start of a Three Stooges short.

Similarly, I loved ITV (ok, it’s television and not cinema), because of those blaring trumpets signifying some great British tv (The Thunderbirds, UFO, The Avengers).

But for me, my logo is that great big Toho. The huge Japanese characters, the rays of sunlight, the colors.

Posted By DBenson : May 4, 2012 8:12 pm

A few animated examples:

“The Man Called Flintstone”: Wilma holds the Columbia torch in front of stone-age lettering.

Futurama: The Fox logo at the end of each episode becomes “30th Century Fox Television”

The Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons: Tom tries to roar as a Leo stand-in, then the MGM logo morphs into a Tom & Jerry logo.

“Porky in Wackyland”: In the middle of the cartoon the WB shield comes zooming into view with Hawaiian guitar sound, as it did at the beginning of all Looney Tunes of the era. The Dodo pops out from behind it to zap Porky Pig with a slingshot. The shield flips around and zooms into the distance, the Dodo hanging on.

Posted By DBenson : May 4, 2012 8:12 pm

A few animated examples:

“The Man Called Flintstone”: Wilma holds the Columbia torch in front of stone-age lettering.

Futurama: The Fox logo at the end of each episode becomes “30th Century Fox Television”

The Chuck Jones Tom & Jerry cartoons: Tom tries to roar as a Leo stand-in, then the MGM logo morphs into a Tom & Jerry logo.

“Porky in Wackyland”: In the middle of the cartoon the WB shield comes zooming into view with Hawaiian guitar sound, as it did at the beginning of all Looney Tunes of the era. The Dodo pops out from behind it to zap Porky Pig with a slingshot. The shield flips around and zooms into the distance, the Dodo hanging on.

Posted By Carter : May 5, 2012 12:44 am

You can’t beat the old Universal logo with the little plane flying around the rotating globe (the intro to all the great horror films of the ’30′s).

Posted By Carter : May 5, 2012 12:44 am

You can’t beat the old Universal logo with the little plane flying around the rotating globe (the intro to all the great horror films of the ’30′s).

Posted By maroon5gurl88 : May 5, 2012 1:10 am

I’d say Universal all the way!

Posted By maroon5gurl88 : May 5, 2012 1:10 am

I’d say Universal all the way!

Posted By dukeroberts : May 5, 2012 11:41 am

I’d have to go with the Universal plane logo, although there are so many great ones. It was hard to pick. Currently, I like the Disney one. And doesn’t the current Columbia logo kind of look like Annette Bening?

Posted By dukeroberts : May 5, 2012 11:41 am

I’d have to go with the Universal plane logo, although there are so many great ones. It was hard to pick. Currently, I like the Disney one. And doesn’t the current Columbia logo kind of look like Annette Bening?

Posted By Juana Maria : May 6, 2012 9:10 am

Mike D. I like the rooster but that’s because I was raised in the country. On the subject of logos, I like in the beginning of “Cat Ballou” where the Columbia logo turns into a cartoon cowgirl.Yee Haw! Then there is “The Mouse that Roared”, where Lady Liberty is chased away by a mouse. I didn’t know what logos there are for Spaghetti Westerns and Japanese films, but I always enjoyed them since I was a kid. I like the visual style of those films and the beginning credits are no exception.

Posted By Juana Maria : May 6, 2012 9:10 am

Mike D. I like the rooster but that’s because I was raised in the country. On the subject of logos, I like in the beginning of “Cat Ballou” where the Columbia logo turns into a cartoon cowgirl.Yee Haw! Then there is “The Mouse that Roared”, where Lady Liberty is chased away by a mouse. I didn’t know what logos there are for Spaghetti Westerns and Japanese films, but I always enjoyed them since I was a kid. I like the visual style of those films and the beginning credits are no exception.

Posted By Juana Maria : May 6, 2012 9:13 am

I also have always like the Fox logo and sound because it reminds of many hours of watching TV with my older brother, who has devotely watched FOX programming since the ’80s.

Posted By Juana Maria : May 6, 2012 9:13 am

I also have always like the Fox logo and sound because it reminds of many hours of watching TV with my older brother, who has devotely watched FOX programming since the ’80s.

Posted By vp19 : May 6, 2012 7:44 pm

And I’m not sure why Universal isn’t in The Big Five, in favour of RKO in your ranking.

The “big five” of Paramount, MGM, Fox (later 20th Century-Fox), Warners and RKO referred to the studios that owned a large number of theaters, particularly the downtown “palaces” of the ’30s and ’40s. Columbia and Universal owned very few, if any, theaters, and as such were deemed on a slightly lower tier. The eighth “major,” United Artists, was more or less a consortium of independent producers, not a traditional studio per se.

As for my favorite logo, I’m an RKO man myself, but briefly in the early ’30s, after RKO assimilated Pathe (which was known for its rooster logo), there was a briefly-lived blend of the two, with the rooster standing, and crowing, atop a globe, no radio transmitter in sight. (You can see it in the opening of a few films, notably 1932′s “What Price Hollywood” with Constance Bennett.) Audience reaction was mixed, to say the least; some chuckled over the concept. RKO soon reverted to its radio tower logo.

Posted By vp19 : May 6, 2012 7:44 pm

And I’m not sure why Universal isn’t in The Big Five, in favour of RKO in your ranking.

The “big five” of Paramount, MGM, Fox (later 20th Century-Fox), Warners and RKO referred to the studios that owned a large number of theaters, particularly the downtown “palaces” of the ’30s and ’40s. Columbia and Universal owned very few, if any, theaters, and as such were deemed on a slightly lower tier. The eighth “major,” United Artists, was more or less a consortium of independent producers, not a traditional studio per se.

As for my favorite logo, I’m an RKO man myself, but briefly in the early ’30s, after RKO assimilated Pathe (which was known for its rooster logo), there was a briefly-lived blend of the two, with the rooster standing, and crowing, atop a globe, no radio transmitter in sight. (You can see it in the opening of a few films, notably 1932′s “What Price Hollywood” with Constance Bennett.) Audience reaction was mixed, to say the least; some chuckled over the concept. RKO soon reverted to its radio tower logo.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 7, 2012 12:11 am

The “big five” of Paramount, MGM, Fox (later 20th Century-Fox), Warners and RKO referred to the studios that owned a large number of theaters, particularly the downtown “palaces” of the ’30s and ’40s. Columbia and Universal owned very few, if any, theaters, and as such were deemed on a slightly lower tier. The eighth “major,” United Artists, was more or less a consortium of independent producers, not a traditional studio per se.

Also, the designation “Big Five” isn’t my own phrasing but an accepted grouping. Do a little digging and you’ll see that Universal was thought of quite poorly back in the day; it was a considerable step down in prestige for Alfred Hitchcock to film Psycho on the Universal lot rather than at Paramount but with the poorer studio came a greater degree of artistic freedom.

Posted By Richard Harland Smith : May 7, 2012 12:11 am

The “big five” of Paramount, MGM, Fox (later 20th Century-Fox), Warners and RKO referred to the studios that owned a large number of theaters, particularly the downtown “palaces” of the ’30s and ’40s. Columbia and Universal owned very few, if any, theaters, and as such were deemed on a slightly lower tier. The eighth “major,” United Artists, was more or less a consortium of independent producers, not a traditional studio per se.

Also, the designation “Big Five” isn’t my own phrasing but an accepted grouping. Do a little digging and you’ll see that Universal was thought of quite poorly back in the day; it was a considerable step down in prestige for Alfred Hitchcock to film Psycho on the Universal lot rather than at Paramount but with the poorer studio came a greater degree of artistic freedom.

Posted By 42ndStreetMemories : May 7, 2012 8:01 am

My ringtone is the 20th Century Fox fanfare.

Posted By 42ndStreetMemories : May 7, 2012 8:01 am

My ringtone is the 20th Century Fox fanfare.

Posted By swac44 : May 7, 2012 12:42 pm

Funny, mine is the fanfare from Neil Young’s Shakey Pictures (composed and arranged by Jack Nietzche).

Posted By swac44 : May 7, 2012 12:42 pm

Funny, mine is the fanfare from Neil Young’s Shakey Pictures (composed and arranged by Jack Nietzche).

Posted By SeeingI : May 14, 2012 10:24 am

Just a quick not to say that in the Rocky Horror script, it was indeed the 20th Century logo that was featured, but the execs absolutely forbade the imagery of a sweet transvestite cavorting on their art deco monument. For my money, the RKO logo works better anyway.

Posted By SeeingI : May 14, 2012 10:24 am

Just a quick not to say that in the Rocky Horror script, it was indeed the 20th Century logo that was featured, but the execs absolutely forbade the imagery of a sweet transvestite cavorting on their art deco monument. For my money, the RKO logo works better anyway.

Posted By linus : May 23, 2012 11:04 am

I’d have to say MGM: for years my daughter was TERRIFIED of the roaring lion – she’d tear out of the room with her hands over her years *in tears* until “it went away”. Can you imagine…? This is before a movie even starts!

Posted By linus : May 23, 2012 11:04 am

I’d have to say MGM: for years my daughter was TERRIFIED of the roaring lion – she’d tear out of the room with her hands over her years *in tears* until “it went away”. Can you imagine…? This is before a movie even starts!

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