The best part of a movie is rarely the movie studio’s logo at the beginning, unless you are watching a really bad movie. But we all can admit to being a little excited when seeing some of the following logos because that means the movie will soon follow. Some of these logos were all but forgotten until I saw the movie clips and read this list. I am very pleased to present this very clever list of classic movie logos along with a trip down memory lane for some of us older movie buffs. Now turn down the lights and enjoy the movie…logos.
10. Selznick Logo
The mansion in the Selznick logo was a set for of its earliest films. Along with Newman’s chime fanfare, it radiates an aura of dignity without the stuffiness of the old Fox logo.
9. 20th Century Fox Logo
Alfred Newman’s fanfare is the best known of all studio musical signatures. And the spotlights scream “Hollywood”. But I love best of all the new mobile CGI logo; what was stodgy and staid is now vivid and exciting, and I go for those spotlights swooping to the fanfare!
8. Warner Brothers Logo
The Warners shield started in the silent days, then came “The Jazz Singer” and it evolved into the classic version we know and love. From Bugs Bunny to Bogart and Cagney, from old-style title card to CGI glamour, the old Art Deco shield keeps getting better as time goes by!
7. Universal Animation Logo
Would you believe Carl Laemmle named Universal after seeing a pipe fitting wagon? The airplane going around the globe with “A Universal Picture coming after was pretty classy. Sadly, the globe became too bland in the decades after. But now its CGI treatment has given it new glory, and it’s my favorite version too!
The Rank gong man is one of the most portentous looking and sounding logos, right up there with MGM’s Leo. Was it inspired by the title sequence of “Gunga Din”? It stands with London Films’ Big Ben and surpasses the Gainsborough lady in my opinion; I believe this and the Archers’ target are Britain’s best film logos.
Ah, the Lady with the Lamp! Whether she was inspired by the Statue of Liberty or not, she’s preceded practically everyone from Frank Capra to the Three Stooges. Remember ‘The Mouse That Roared” and what the Lady did? She looks even better now in her CGI incarnation.
The star-haloed mountain was inspired by a real one in Utah (and the studio’s name from a N.Y. apartment house!). It has signified “paramount” entertainment since the silents. And I think the new moving CGI logo is the best of all versions of this favorite of mine!
The radio tower on the globe symbolizes the merger of RCA with the Keith-Orpheum Vaudeville chain, and RKO started at the outset of the early sound era. The beeping tower has introduced King Kong, Charles Foster Kane, Astaire and Rogers, and all those other great RKO classics. I just love it!
2. The Archers
Editor’s Note: The Archers Logo does not show up at first in the movie clip. It begins 20 seconds into the clip.
At first Michael Powell co-founded Westminster Pictures with Big Ben its logo, until Alex Korda stole it for his London Films. Then Powell co-directed the 1940 classic “Thief of Baghdad” and with his partner Emeric Pressburger was inspired by an arrow-shooting scene to use the now-familiar arrow in the target. It’s heralded many of their best films: “Red Shoes”, “Black Narcissus”, “49th Parallel” et al. It’s one of my all-time favorites too and redolent of the Robin Hood legends (appropriate for an English studio).
What can I say? All the movies Leo has preceded…”Singin’ In The Rain”, ‘Wizard of Oz”, “Harvey Girls”…Howard Dietz, who wrote the lyrics for “Dancing in the Dark” and others, adapted the lion from his old alma mater, Columbia. (Ironic,huh?) And it’s still loved today. As the Bard said “Well roared, Lion!”
Submitted by Terry Bigham