Walter Mencken 2:37 p.m., March 1
Go tell it on the mountain: a pictorial history of the Paramount logo
What's come to be known as 'the mountain of dreams' began in 1914 as a boardroom doodle from the pen of W. W. Hodkinson, founder and president of Paramount Pictures Corporation, America's first nation-wide film distributor.
Paramount Pictures was founded in 1912 as Famous Players Film Company, and later changed to Famous Players-Lasky Corporation. In 1916, the studio become a wholly owned division of Famous Players. With the exception of a brief "blue period" (1975-1985), the studio's logo has remained surprisingly unstained since Hodkinson first shared his drawing with Adolph Zukor over 100 years ago.
Hodkinson claimed the mountain stemmed from memories of his childhood in Utah. Many cite Utah's Ben Lomond as Hodkinson's inspiration. Here are but a few mountain ranges whose agents put in a call for equal billing:
Why are there 24 celestial objects in the constellation that encircles the pyramidic peak? At the time of its creation, that's how many stars the studio had under contract. The number has been known to vary over the years from a high of 25 to a low of 22.
Here is a nowhere near complete survey of the happiest place on earth and my answer to Disney's Matterhorn. Thanks to Logopedia for helping to fill in a few blank spots.
1912 - 1952
1952 - 1968
In 1952 the logo is redesigned as a matte painting by studio artist, Jan Domela.
1968 - 1985: The Gulf + Western Years
1985 - 2002: CGI Makeover
Paramount commissioned artist Dario Campanile to redesign their corporate 'ident' in honor of the studio's 75th anniversary. The occasion also heralded the introduction of a computer generated lake and stars.
Talk about prime real estate. Eddie Murphy's kingdom in John Landis' Coming to America is situated somewhere beyond the prestigious peak.
2002 - 2013: The Viacom Years
Devastudios, Inc. redesigned the studio's logo complete with added touch of the stars getting their tips wet.
Odds and Ends:
More like this:
- Hold that lion: a pictorial history of the MGM logo — June 27, 2013
- Rosarito-Ensenada Bike Ride — May 6, 2013
- The long, long titles: Part 2 — April 22, 2013
- The long, long titles: Part 1 — April 16, 2013
- See the book, read the movie — April 4, 2013