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Screen Gems

Compiled by James Fabiano and Jason Jones


1st Logo
(1953-1955)

Nickname: "The TV Tube"

Logo: We see a TV tube-like shape (outlined in dark gray and filled in black) over a light gray background. There are a couple of stars shining inside (like stars in the sky) under the phrase "A Screen Gems, Inc. Production".

SFX: The little stars twinkling.

Music: The ending theme for whatever slow played over it.

Availability: Extremely Rare, but was said to have been recently spotted on reruns of Father Knows Best on TV Land.

Scare Factor: Median


2nd Logo
(1955-1960)

Nickname: "Torch Lady"

Music Nickname: "Fanfare of Doom"

Logo: Like the then current Columbia Pictures logo, we see a lady (Columbia, a representation of the USA) holding a light torch on top a pedestal with a backdrop of clouds over her. The torch lady's head is between the words "SCREEN GEMS" with "A" above it and "Film Presentation" below it. The byline "Television Subsidiary: Columbia Pictures Corporation" appears below that.

SFX: The lady's torch "shining".

Music: A majestic horn fanfare at the end of some syndicated programs. Usually, you will hear the ending theme for whatever slow played over it.

Availability: Can probably still be seen on reruns of various SG shows of the era, as it would look silly to cover up the logo as it blends with the ending theme of the show before it. As silly as it may sound, C-T has edited this logo out of many classic programs reran on TV Land. So consider this logo rare.

Scare Factor: Median, the old B/W film and scary drawing might send some chills, but the fanfare has been considered by many to be overly bombastic and scary.


3rd Logo
(1960-1963)

Logo: Same as the 1955 logo, excluding the clouds and the additional captions. Only the name "Screen Gems" remain. There is an announcer who says, "This has been a Screen Gems Film Presentation/Production from (the Hollywood studios of) Columbia Pictures".

Update: An updated version of sorts can be seen as the logo for the "Screen Gems Network," the syndicated package of classic SG or Columbia shows.

SFX: The lady's torch "shining".

Music: None

Availability: Last seen on reruns of "Hazel", "Dennis the Menace", "The Naked City" and "Route 66" to name a few. Surprisingly, this has been edited over with the Boxes of Boredom on some shows recently.

Scare Factor: Median, see logo 2


4th Logo
(1963-1965)

Nicknames: "The Dancing Sticks," "Stars and Spotlights" (Heaven knows WHY, this is what some people in the newsgroup rec.arts.animation called the latter)

Logo: A group of animated lines "drop down" at the right of the black screen to ascending jazz notes as a swarm of circles scatter near the middle of the left side leaving behind the words "Screen Gems." (These circles were what one rec.arts.animation post described as the "spotlights." Now where do the "stars" come from?) As this happens, the lines shrink somewhat and spread out, filling the right half and shaking slightly back and forth. As the logo completes, an announcer says "A Screen Gems Production (or) Presentation."

In Color: When broadcast in color, the sticks are pale rainbow colors and the dots are brighter.

SFX: The lines dropping and shrinking.

Cheesy Factor: The lines' animations. Also, what are the dancing sticks supposed to represent?

Music: A jazzy score that ascends as the sticks drop in, and ends with a stinger when the logo finishes.

Availability: Due to replacement with various newer logos, both C-T related and syndication, this is a very hard to find logo. Though some people say you can still see it at the end of some classic Hanna-Barbera (SG used to syndicate their shows back then) programs on the Cartoon Network.

Scare Factor: Median, dramatic music and spooky announcers may make some jumpy. But pretty tame, especially compared to its successor.


5th Logo
(1965-1974)

Nicknames: "The Spiral S," "The Filmstrip S," "The Creepy Screen Gems Logo," "The S From Hell," "The Spiral S (From Hell)," "Scream Gems," "The Personification of All That Is Evil"

Logo: Two parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen, and the upper one is at a distance while the lower is closer. They fly towards each other, and the higher moves forward while the lower backs away. As they do so, they grow in length and wrap around a space where a dot appears, forming a stylized "S." Under that the words "SCREEN GEMS" come forward.

Notes:

SFX: The parallelograms wrapping around the dot, "SCREEN GEMS" zooming.

Cheesy Factor: Really rough animation all over.

Music: Composed by Eric Siday and Van Alexander, it is an synthesized tune said to be produced by violins. It consists of six notes followed by two oversynthesized tones. In 1971, it was shortened so only three notes came before the tones. This version was also used for the short-lived first Columbia Pictures Television logo.

Music Variant: There is a version of the logo where no music is played. Another version consists of a static rendition of the logo, which was seen on the first season of "Police Story" with and without Columbia bylines respectively. The latter version had the end theme of "Police Story" playing over the logo.

Availability: Once considered nearly extinct, this logo has made quite a comeback! The new TV Land prints of Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie restore the S From Hell; these new prints are then followed by the Sony
Pictures Television logo. For the first time in years, this logo can be seen dependably again, so be sure to check TV Land to check this logo out!

It was also shown in an edited form on Fox Family reruns of "The Partridge Family" and in a sped-up form without music on The Hallmark Channel reruns of "Bewitched." HBO's print of "Brian's Song" (original) had the silent version, played in full.

Scare Factor: Nightmare. Numerous people have very unfond memories of this logo, mostly due to the creepy theme music.


Movie Version
(1999-)

Nicknames: "S From Heaven", "The Spiral S (from Heaven)"

Logo: On a black background, a flash of light forms a blue dot. A series of ITC-like tops spin around it and form the two lines of the S (the same as the scary Screen Gems logo of 1965-1974). Under the S appears "SCREEN GEMS," and underneath that, "A SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY."

SFX: The flash and the spinning "tops." The stunning animation of the logo has made this a favorite of logo fans who've seen it.

Music: It starts out with a rising orchestra, then to an extremely majestic/inspirational five-note tune coinciding with the animation and the forming of the words "SCREEN GEMS".

Availability: Uncommon, the logo is current, but not many movies have been released by the company. Sony describes the movie division as "a haven for a type of film that falls between those currently released by our highly valued Sony Pictures Classics, and the wide release movies that are more traditionally developed and released by Columbia Pictures." First appeared on television when HBO showed
Arlington Road.

Scare Factor: Low, unlike the television version. The "S" has seemed to mellow with age.