Through the years I have seen tons of movies. In this new (regular) feature I plan to look into the story behind things we don’t notice anymore related to movies, which are a lot of things.
One of them are the logos of the companies that produce these movies. It is something we see every time a movie starts, but do you know the history of them? This week I look into the logo of a company which was founded 100 years ago in 1912: Paramount Pictures.
The company was first called Famous Players Film Company, which merged in 1916 with Feature Play Company. Before their merger they both released their movies through Paramount Pictures Company, which was founded by William Wadsworth Hodkinson. The two merged companies acquired Paramount Pictures Company, which would be the first nation-wide film distributor in the US. The story goes that it was Hodkinson who designed the logo of Paramound Pictures on a napkin. The mountain peak that is shown is probably Ben Lomond Mountain, which he saw in his youth. The original logo had 24 stars. You may wonder why there are that many, but each star represented an actor/actress they had signed to the company, a total of 24.
There have been several versions of the logo:
The original logo was in black and white (with slight variations, e.g. sometimes there were more or less stars).
Jan Domela (Dutch born) was the chief matte painter at the studios and painted this version.
The logo was changed again shortly after the previous version to accomodate widescreen and the VistaVision logo appeared before it dissolved to show the above image.
In this newer version the text reads “Paramount” instead of “A Paramount Picture” and the Gulf+Western byline has been added.
This logo started out with the mountain but faded into this blue outlined version.
This was the first version of the logo which was CGI generated, with the stars flying towards the mountain.
This one starts out in the clouds and the stars seem to come from space while the camera slowly moves towards the mountain.
To celebrate their 100-year anniversary a new sequence was made. This was first shown before Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.