My journey into stories behind famous movie related things we take for granted continues, still focussing on the logos of the big movie companies. This week’s choice: The Universal Pictures logo.
Universal was founded by Carl Laemmle. He moved to the US in 1884 and had a job as a manager. He was fascinated by the nickelodeons and saw how many people visited them and decided to start purchasing them. In 1909 he founded the Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP). In 1912 a contract was signed with other studios (Powers Picture Company, Champion Films and American Éclai) and this resulted in the founding of the Universal Motion Picture Manufacturing Company in 1914 with Laemmle as its president. Through the years the company has had various logos:
The first logo that was used already showed a globe which has a lot of resemblance to Saturn with its ring.
The ring is now slightly tilted and various fonts are used.
This is the first one where the planet looks like earth. This one shows a plane flying around the world leaving a trail of smoke which slowly turn into the words “Universal Pictures”.
An updated version of the previous logo which also has the plane flying around the globe. The text now reads “A Universal Picture”.
Now this is my personal favorite as it shows the globe made from plexiglass with the words A Universal Picture circling around it surrounded by sparkling stars. It was built by Alexander Golitzen and photographed by John Fulton.
As the company merged with International Pictures Company a new logo was commisioned. This version simply showed a rotating globe with the words “Universal International” shown on top of it.
The camera zooms through space towards a rotating earth where the word “Universal” fades in.
This one starts on the side of the earth with a short reflection of the sun on the water after which the Universal letters come around as the camera slowly zooms out to show the earth and the stars behind it. It’s interesting to note that this wasn’t done with CGI, but was all model work.
The first CGI version of the logo where light emerges from the globe, slowly revealing the continents. The name Universal appears in gold and white lettering.
The brand new logo to celebrate the 100th Anniversary. It will be shown first with the animated movie The Lorax. Universal has also set up this website to celebrate, which includes a very deep look into its history and its movies.