My Favorite Movie Studio Logos

August 10th, 2010  |  Published in Film

 

For my listening pleasure today I have chosen the score and soundtracks for Universals “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”.  It’s one of the few movies out there this year that actually have a tolerable soundtrack that accompanies an original score. You know the difference right?  Anyways, one of my favorite parts in the film actually happens before the film ever begins.  If you know me you know that I’m usually rockin out to some sweet movie scores in my car or at home. It’s my music of choice.  For any film fan that makes top lists you are also probabaly like me in that you have your favorite movie studios as well.  It might not even be because you like a certain studios films over the others.  You might just like the logo or the name or whatever.  I happen to have such a list and on the top of that list, for some reason, has always been Universal.  I think it goes back to Steven Spielbergs early days at that studio that keeps me privy to saying that I like Universal over Paramount or Warners. Paramount comes in a close second for the simple fact that their entrance gate to the main studio is totally epic and old school. 20th Century Fox gets a close 3rd for Star Wars and James Cameron films.

Since I love me some Universal I also prefer seeing their title card and hearing their fanfare above all others.  Even though I believe that 20th Century Fox probably has a much more recognizeable title card/fanfare, Universals current logo is music to my ears. 

Now, how does Scott Pilgrim fit into all this? Well, Edgar Wright and Nigel Godrich made an excellent decision with this films title card.  Theres nothing I love more than a major studios title card being incorporated into the theme of the film it precedes.  In Scott Pilgrim we get an 8-bit version of Universals logo AND fanfare music.  You can listen to the reason I’m writing this article in the first place below.

Honestly, I’ve listened to that about 10 times today and I can’t wait to see it again this weekend in all it’s pixelated glory.  So getting to hear this again has me thinking of highlighting some of the major studios current title cards and fanfare with a little history thrown in for good measure.

Universal:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpNkgRv_8XE&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

The theme song to the current Universal log was written by the great Jerry Goldsmith who has scored such iconic films as “Alien”, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” and for you Disney geeks out there, “Soarin’ over California”

The logo has scene many changes throughout the year but the aesthitics remain the same. A rotating globe or text revolving around the Earth.  The logo in the 30′s had a plane flying around the globe.  I love that logo because it’s ridiculous, that monoplane would technically be in SPACE!! However, I believe my all time favorite Universal logo came in the late 30′s to early 40′s. This logo seems to personify Hollywood glitz and glamour.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aop_7Q3PoW0&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

20th Century Fox:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPkfLALLXKY&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

This one is probably the most recognizeable studio logos/theme of all time, probably because it remains virtually unchanged.  The original fanfare was written by Alfred Newman in 1933 and is still used today. Now, if the name Newman sounds familiar to you as it relates to movie music, it should. This family has a serious pedigree when it comes to scoring films. Alfred himself won 9 Academy Awards for music, the most of any composer and 2nd all-time individual winner behind Walt Disney.  His two sons David and Thomas Newman have scored such films as “Finding Nemo”, “Shawshank Redemption”, “Ice Age” and “Galaxy Quest”.  He is the Uncle to a certain Randy Newman, who has had success as a popular musician and has made a name for himself scoring such Disney/Pixar films as “Toy Story” “Monsters Inc” and “Cars”.

The logos theme itself wasn’t really used that much, but in the 70′s a young filmmaker named George Lucas decided he wanted to incorporate the logo and fanfare into his “Star Wars” film.  He asked composer John Williams to not only re-record the logos theme but to score the film in the same key as Newmans original as an extension.  The current music you hear is Alfreds son Davids version.  The first time we see the all CGI version of the logo was in front of James Cameron’s film “True Lies”.

Paramount:

Trivia: If you can hum the theme song to Paramounts logo you should consider yourself special.  While Paramount has always been one of the major movie studios and has an iconic title card, the theme music is rarely used today.  This is why;

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juGUxQ8FCv4&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

 

It’s awful and outdated.  Now, I’m pretty sure there is a new theme somewhere out there, but this is just terrible.  The next time you watch a movie, whether it’s in the theaters or at home, I’ll bet you the films score is playing over the logo in attempt to spare you from the pain of listening.  Paramount also does a great job incorporating its title card into films. Like THIS one from Transformers.  This is another studio logo that has seen very little change over the years

Warner Brothers:

 

 

The logo is recognizeable but the theme song is legendary.  One of the greatest films of all-time calls Warner Borthers it’s home and it’s from that film that this theme is borrowed.  The theme is a rendition of a song titled “As Time Goes By”, written in 1931 by Herman Hupfeld and featured in the film “Casablanca”, enough said. I think my favorite incarnation of the WB shield has to be the all silver classic chield used from ’48-’67.

Columbia Pictures:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4--UwVKkTvc&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

 

The only real reason I wanted to put Columbia Pictures on the list is the simple fact that it remains the longest running studio logo in history. Since 1924 the logo has seen 5 major changes.  The one you see today actually debuted in front of Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver” and has remained virtually unchanged ever since.  There is constant debate about who the “torch lady” is modeled after.  One obvious mistaken notion is that the current version of “torch lady” is modeled after Annette Benning. Like Paramounts, I’m not certain who’s responsible for this score, but it’s better than the former that’s for sure.

Disney:

The Disney logo is an easy favorite of mine as a kid who grew up on the classics like “The Jungle Book” and “The Lion King”.  During those years I remember that white castle against a blue background and Tinkerbell flying over to a synth happy version of “When You Wish Upon The Star”.


The theme song remains the same, minus 80′s and 90′s keytars, but the new Disney logo took my breath away the first time I saw it in front of “Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Mans Chest”.  The idea remains the same but we live in a three dimensional world over at Disney and the new logo represents all that remains wonderful about this studio. 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1IfpwJmHd8&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x5d1719&color2=0xcd311b&border=1]

Everytime I see this logo I’m reminded of the one above and all the wonderful journeys that were about to happen just after it faded to black. 

Trivia: Peter Jacksons WETA Digital is responsible for the effects in this video.  They created all the special effects in movies like the “Lord of The Rings” and “Avatar”.

Well, that takes care of the major movie studios, I’m currently pondering the idea of highlighting some of my favorite smaller studio logos because this was a bit of fun. 

Which studio logos and music do you like the most? Comment Below

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