Background: American International Pictures was formed in 1954 by James H. Nicholson and entertainment lawyer Samuel Z. Arkoff originally as "American Releasing Corporation", dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget and genre films (such as horror, sci-fi, and African-American), primarily of interest to the teenagers from the 1950s to late 1970s. In April 1956, ARC merged with global production company International Productions (not to be confused with "International Pictures", who already merged with Universal Pictures and formed "Universal-International" in 1946) to form AIP. In 1979, AIP was acquired by Filmways, Inc. for $4.3 million and in 1980, AIP was folded into Filmways becoming "Filmways Pictures". Today, most of the AIP library is owned by MGM, via their acquisition of Orion Pictures, which acquired Filmways in 1982 (later reincorporated itself as "Orion Pictures Corporation" in June), excepting the early releases are now licensed by TeleWorld.
American Releasing Corporation
1st logo (1955)
Logo: Over live action, we see the letters "ARC" lined up. Under it:
PRESENTS is seen.
FX/SFX: The logo and text fading-in and fading-out.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Ultra rare. This logo was only used on The Beast with a Million Eyes.
Scare Factor: None.
2nd Logo (December 1955-1956)
Nickname: "Satin Background"
Logo: On a satin sheet background, we see an oval, with "American" in SF American Dreams Extended font, and "RELEASING CORPORATION" in a Futura font.
Music/Sounds: A majestic trumpet fanfare.
Availability: Ultra rare. Seen on The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues.Scare Factor: None.
American International Pictures
1st Logo (1956)
Nickname: "The Big A"
Logo: On a gray to black background, we see a large capital "A" on the left side corner of the background. Over it are the words "AMERICAN International" with "International" in a script font. The word "PICTURES" is below "International".
Scare Factor: None.
2nd Logo (1956-1960)
Nickname: "Capitol Building"
Logo: We see a cloudy sky background at first. Then, an ellipse with the words "AMERICAN International PICTURES" with "International" in a script font with a picture of the U.S. Capitol on top zooms in.
FX/SFX: The zoom in of the ellipse.
- 1956-1957: The same trumpet fanfare from the first ARC logo.
- 1958-1960: A patriotic fanfare.
- Sometimes it's the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. Seen on films of the era such as Earth Vs. The Spider.
Scare Factor: None.
3rd Logo (1960-1966)
Nickname: "Capitol Building II"
Logo: On a skyline background, we see a picture of the U.S. Capitol, sandwiched with the words "American" on the left side, and "International" on the right, in the same SF American Dreams Extended font that was used on the 2nd American Releasing Corporation logo. Under the building is the word "PICTURES".
FX/SFX: The fading in over the skyline background.
Music/Sounds: A strong and majestic fanfare that starts with a deep trombone and ends with the full orchestra playing.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on horror films such as Dementia 13, The House Of Usher, and many others. Appears at the end of The Young Racers.
Scare Factor: None. This AIP logo looks kinda cool. It resembles a car nameplate from the era more than it does a film/TV production company's logo.
4th Logo (1962-1966)
Nickname: "Capitol Building III", "Red/Yellow Capitol Building"
Logo: On a black background, or either superimposed over the opening title we see the same logo from before, except it's either red, yellow, or white and 2D. The U.S. Capitol has clouds surrounding it. On the non-superimposed variant the logo zooms in.
Variants: Depending on some movies, the logo would be static and would be superimposed over the title.
FX/SFX: The zooming of the entire logo, or none.
Music/Sounds: A majestic trumpet fanfare, or the opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Rare. The zooming variant can be seen on films like The Comedy of Terrors, and The Raven. While the superimposed variant is more common and is seen on the Beach Blanket films and horror films such as Count Yorga.
Scare Factor: None.
5th Logo (1966-1968)
===Nickname: "Capitol Building IV", "AIP Script"
Logo: On a blue/red, blue/orange, or dark cloudy sky background, we see a circle coming out from us to the screen, being the Capitol building inside it once the circle sets place. "American International" in a fancy script font, fades in.
Variant: Sometimes, the logo is superimposed into the opening credits of any given film.===
FX/SFX: The circle coming out.
Music/Sounds: A '60s jingle accompanied with flute and orchestra. Sometimes, it is silent or (on a rare occasion, such as The Trip) has the opening theme.
Availability: Uncommon. Still intact on TV airings and DVD releases of films such as The Trip, The Wild Angles, and others. Also intact on the Image DVD release of the Woody Allen comedy edit of International Secret Police: Key of Keys titled What's Up, Tiger Lilly?
Scare Factor: Based on how you feel about the music. It can range from none to medium.
6th Logo (1968-1971)
Nicknames: "Capitol Building V", "Capitol AI", "Creepy AI"
Logo: On a black background, or superimposed over a live-action background, we see a color-changing circle with a line drawing of the Capitol Building inside. Then, it zooms into place as part of the American International Pictures logo, which is now an abstract lettering design consisting of the initials AI, to the right of the screen. After the circle moves into place, the bottom segment of the "A" and then the "I" fade into place forming the complete logo. The phrase "American International Pictures" then fades in below the logo after it forms. Variant: Sometimes, the logo is superimposed into the opening credits of any given film.
FX/SFX: Colors changing, the circle zooming to the right and the rest of the logo forming.
Music/Sounds: A loud, battling horn with a flute and drum/timpani fanfare.Sometimes, it is silent or has the films opening theme.
Availability: Rare. Still intact on films such as Bucket Of Blood and The Dunwich Horror, usually with the 1996 Orion Pictures logo and/or the MGM lion preceding it.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. Some people might be put off by the logo and its fanfare.
7th Logo (1970)
Nicknames: "Capitol Building VI", "Capitol AI II", "Creepy AI II", "American International Productions"
Logo: On a black background, we see a huge, huge "ai" with the Capitol building inside the circle of the logo. Then it zooms-out fast, and the letters "American International Productions" flies in from the right and pushes the logo to the left.
FX/SFX: The zooming out of the "ai".
Cheesy Factor: All looks like cheap. You might think the logo is fake if you see this on a YouTube video.
Availability: Extremely rare. It only appears on the movie Cry of the Banshee, right after the MGM and/or Orion logos.
Scare Factor: Low to medium.
8th Logo (1971-1973)
===Nicknames: "Capitol Building VII", "Capitol AI III", "Creepy AI III"
Logo: On a black background, we see the Capitol building inside the same "ai" in the previous. "an American International Picture" appears next to it.
FX/SFX: The fading out and in.
Music/Sounds: Silent,or the opening theme.
Availability: Rare. Can be found on the DVD releases of The Incredible 2-Headed Transplant and The Abominable Mr. Phibes.
Scare Factor: Low to medium.===
9th Logo (1973-May 1980)
Nicknames: "Creepy AI IV", "Circle (Creepy) AI", "Creepy AI in the Sky", "Guy with a Surfboard International"
Logo: On a black or cloud sky background or superimposed over a live-action BG, we see a circle with the "ai" as seen in the 8th and 9th logos. The text "American International" fades in under the circle. Sometime the logo fades out to make room for the credit "SAMUEL Z. ARKOFF presents".
Later Variant: When Filmways acquired American International, this logo had the Filmways byline in the same font as the 2nd television logo.
Closing Title: On a black screen, the words "An American International Release" in blue and in the same font as the movie logo, fade in. After a while the text fades out.
FX/SFX: The circle and text fading in.
Music/Sounds: Silent, or the opening theme of any given film. Music/Sounds Variants:*On C.H.O.M.P.S., it has a majestic fanfare.
- On the MGM DVD of Bucktown, it uses the last half of the 1996 Orion Pictures theme, even though the latter logo precedes the AIP logo. This is one of the strangest editing errors ever known.
- On the current print of The Evictors (which is available as a bonus movie on the DVD of The Town That Dreaded Sundown), the logo is heard with the 1995 MGM roar! Hence the nickname "Roaring AIP" that coincides with "The Roaring Paramount Mountian" on a TV airing of Missing in Action.
Availability: Uncommon. Seen on American International releases from the era, with an MGM lion and/or the 1996 Orion Pictures Logo preceding it. Seen on common titles such as Black Caesar, Hell Up In Harlem, Coffy, C.H.O.M.P.S., Breaker! Breaker!, Boxcar Bertha, Jennifer, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, andGorp. It was also seen on Walking Tall 2 & 3, Bucktown, Joyride, and U.S. releases of Mad Max. The closing version is rare, since most releases usually had it in the style of the ending credits.
Scare Factor: None.