Logo descriptions by Matt Williams and Matt Anscher
Logo captures by Eric S., Logoboy95, Wisp2007, and others
Editions by Bob Fish, V of Doom, wisp2007, Nathan B and iheartparamount.
Video captures courtesy of 8to16to35
Background: The Buena Vista distribution company was established in 1953 after Walt Disney broke off his distribution deal with RKO Radio Pictures, using a logo in some form until about 1984. It is named after the street on which the Disney Studios reside. In 2007, the company was renamed and rebranded as "Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures".
Buena Visita Distribution Co., Inc.
1st Logo (November 10, 1953-December 14, 1984)
The Standard Logos and their Variations 1953
Walt Disney Educational Media
Custom Title Cards
Logo: On a blue/black gradient background, we see the text "DISTRIBUTED BY Buena Vista FILM DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." in pale blue, with "Buena Vista" in a weird signature-like logo font, and the other words in a font that looks like carved wood.
- Starting in 1960, the phrase was shortened to "DISTRIBUTED BY Buena Vista DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." This variant was first used on Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks with a Circus.
- This logo was redone in 1966, brightening up the background to a blue/white gradient and changing the letters to a turquoise color. Also, the font for the "DISTRIBUTED BY" and "DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." text would change into a more normal font. This variant was first used on Follow Me, Boys!
- The logo was changed again in 1979, changing the background to a blue/medium sea green gradient and making the "Buena Vista" text blocky. This variant was first used on Footloose Fox.
- The first animated Disney films to use a Buena Vista logo (Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians) had a special customized Buena Vista logo that was designed to blend in with the movie's opening credits. Starting with The Sword in the Stone, they would just use the regular BV logo.
- After this logo ended, the words "WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS PRESENTS", in a plain font and often as part of the credits, would fade in over the picture. Again, Disney did not gain its own logo until 1985.
- On 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the logo is on a rose vale curtain background.
- There is an extremely rare logo on Mickey's 50th Birthday (following a special "Neon Mickey" logo with the center red and having the text "Congratulating Mickey on his 50th Birthday" superimposed over it), The Cat from Outer Space, and Hot Lead and Cold Feet (all 1978). The background is a set of red, yellow, and orange stripes on a blue background, and the text is modified to "A Buena Vista RELEASE" (Buena Vista in one word) in Helvetica font. However, the Italian print of Hot Lead and Cold Feet doesn't have the "Buena Vista RELEASE" text, leaving us with just the color bars. After that, it would cut to the Cinema International Corporation logo. On the original 1980 video release of the same film, it uses the 1979 Buena Vista logo instead.
- A black and white variation of the 1979 BV logo appears on the 1984 Tim Burton short Frankenweenie, which was the last film to have this logo.
- A black and white variation of the 1960 BV logo also exists.
- There is a variation with "Presents", in the same font as "Buena Vista", below.
- On some late-1980s/early-1990s reissues of classic animated features, which had the Walt Disney Pictures logo tacked on at the beginning, the films' respective BV logos were placed at the end of the film, where they played silently. This phenomenon is intact on the 1990 Laserdisc of Peter Pan, the 1992 VHS of 101 Dalmatians, and the 1999 VHS and 2003 DVD of The Rescuers.
Music/Sounds: Often a customized fanfare composed just for that movie.
- Sometimes, a standardized theme was heard.
- Sometimes, the logo would be silent, this can be seen on The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, Scandalous John, Watcher In The Woods, The Unidentified Flying Oddball, Once Upon a Mouse, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Frankenweenie, The One and Only Genuine Family Band, Footloose Fox, The Devil and Max Devlin, Grand Canyon, Amy, Pete's Dragon and The Fox and the Hound.
- On Son of Flubber, the logo is accompanied by a horn stinger, composed by George Bruns. The stinger is often heard on Buena Vista reissues of cartoons distributed by RKO.
- Sometimes, the logo was accompanied by an ominous-sounding theme played in timpani drums, composed by Oliver Wallace. This was heard on Darby O'Gill and the Little People, Mysteries of the Deep and a few others. The theme varies in pitches depending on the movie (or short). It was also heard on Buena Vista reissues of some Disney cartoons originally distributed by RKO, such as the Goofy shorts Home Made Home and Goofy Gymnastics.
- A majestic horn fanfare appeared on several late-50s/early 60s featurettes, such as Noah's Ark, Goliath II and Gala Day at Disneyland.
- On Mary Poppins, the logo is accompanied by a 7-note brass fanfare, composed and conducted by Irwin Kostal.
- Nikki, Wild Dog of the North, Big Red and The Legend of Lobo had a majestic string/brass fanfare, composed by Oliver Wallace. On the two latter movies, the fanfare is low-pitched. The music was also used on some recreations of black-and-white Mickey Mouse cartoons, along with a cymbal crash.
- On The Misadventures of Merlin Jones and The Monkey's Uncle, the logo is accompanied by a dramatic ascending fanfare, composed by Buddy Baker. On The Moon-Spinners, Summer Magic, A Tiger Walks and The Gnome-Mobile among others, the fanfare is re-orchestrated.
- The Absent-Minded Professor, Emil and the Detectives and Run, Appaloosa, Run had a 4-note timpani beat, ending with a flute trill. It was composed by George Bruns.
- The Winnie the Pooh movies (except Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore) used an ascending stinger composed by Buddy Baker. It was re-orchestrated on Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.
- On The Rescuers, the logo is initially silent, but then we hear a clap of thunder underneath the logo. This can be found on the current DVD and Blu-ray releases of the movie, and on the 1992 VHS release, but the 1999 VHS and 2003 DVD releases shifted it to the end of the movie, inserting the 1985 Walt Disney Pictures logo in its place (but preserving the thunderclap).
- On Rascal, an gliding piano-like tune is heard.
- On The Boatniks, a whistling tune is heard, followed by two bicycle bell rings.
- On That Darn Cat, a low toned trumpet theme is heard
- On The Apple Dumpling Gang, we hear a electric guitar theme
- On The Treasure of Matecumbe, we hear a bang-like chord played on a piano.
- On A Tale of Two Critters, we hear an acoustic guitar theme.
- On Lt Robin Cruose USN, we hear a military drum theme.
- On Pedro, we hear a samba-like fanfare.
- On Niok, a sombre theme is heard.
- On The Jungle Book, a horn fanfare is heard, followed by jungle-like drum beats.
- On Smith! a tumbling-like theme is heard.
- On some prints of Pinocchio, the opening to the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" is heard
- On some prints of Peter Pan, the opening to the song "The Second Star To The Right" is heard
- On some prints of Bambi, the opening to the song "Love Is A Song" is heard
- On some prints of Alice in Wonderland, the opening to the song "Alice in Wonderland" is heard
- On some prints of Cinderella, the opening to the song "Cinderella" is heard
- On Lady and the Tramp, a harp arpeggio is heard followed by 4 horn notes.
- On Casey at the Bat, we hear a very (poor) trumpet-led rendition of "When You Wish Upon A Star"
- On Blackbeard's Ghost, we hear a very ominous timpani theme (not the Oliver Wallace one)
- On Herbie Goes Bananas, we hear a playful theme.
- On Now You See Him, Now You Don't, we hear a 60's surf rock-like tune
- On The Litterbug, we hear a screeching noise, followed by a dramatic fanfare
- On Winnie The Pooh and A Day For Eeyore, we hear a happy little tuba ditty.
- On Gus, we hear a soccer whistle blow, followed by a drum roll.
- On The Prince and the Pauper, a trumpet fanfare is heard.
- On some prints of Saludos Amigos, Melody Time, So Dear To My Heart, Dumbo, Song of the South and Treasure Island, we hear the opening theme of the movie.
- On Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a powerful, ascending fanfare is heard.
- On Sleeping Beauty, the first notes of the fanfare prior to the song "Once Upon A Dream" is heard.
- On 101 Dalmatians, the tuba and trumpet fanfare is heard.
Availability: This logo was cut on most video releases between 1985 and 1991 (with exceptions including the 1986 video release of Sleeping Beauty and the 1989 video release of Mary Poppins), but is now preserved on most Disney features from this era, and sometimes also replaces the still RKO logo used on very early Disney films (such as Pinocchio, Cinderella, Peter Pan, Bambi, Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland, Treasure Island, Saludos Amigos, Melody Time and Song of the South). The only place where this is accidentally plastered over is on Old Yeller, which has its custom Buena Vista music playing over the end of the Walt Disney Pictures logo. The Rescuers version has also been restored on the 2011 DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film. While the "Color Bars" variant is not present on the Anchor Bay releases of The Cat from Outer Space, the 2004 Disney release has it intact. Mary Poppins has this logo on the following releases of the film: the 1980 Betamax and VHS, the 1989 VHS, the 1998 and 2000 DVDs, and the new 2013 DVD and Blu-ray. It was replaced with the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo on the 1997 VHS release and the 3rd, and 4th DVD releases. This was also the case on The Aristocats, with its logo restored beginning with the Blu-ray release, however previous releases (such as the 1996 VHS release and the 2000 and 2008 DVD releases) had it replaced with the 1990 Walt Disney Pictures logo, also the 1987 VHS of Lady and the Tramp had the logo blacked out (you can still hear the fanfare playing!). All other 1954-1984 titles have them intact. Sometimes, the logo is preceded by the Walt Disney Pictures logo.
Scare Factor: Low; generally varies on a case-to-case basis, it mostly depends on the fanfare used. A movie that has it silent wouldn't be scary, but when it's a loud, powerful fanfare or a dramatic fanfare (such as on Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book, The Great Locomotive Chase, 101 Dalmatians, Robin Hood, Lady and the Tramp, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, The Sword in the Stone and The Aristocats), it might startle some. It may be raised a little higher for The Rescuers variant, due to the thunderclap if you weren't expecting it or if you are afraid of thunder, also the timpani theme on some films might startle some as well. However, it's a favourite of most Disney fans.
2nd Logo (August 7, 1981)
Nicknames: "The Sparkles", "Zooms"
Logo: On a black background, a blurry object zooms out. When it fully sharpens, it is revealed to be the text "DISTRIBUTED BY BUENA VISTA DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." (in azure), with "BUENA VISTA" in a taller, bolder font. The words sparkle, and then fade out to be replaced by "WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS" (in white). The words then blur up again and zoom in towards us.
FX/SFX: The zooming, the "sparkles".
Music/Sounds: "Pings" timed to go with the sparkling of the words, "whoosh" noises that sound during the zooms, and a thud noise just before the "WALT DISNEY PRODUCTIONS" logo zooms in.
Availability: An oddity; only seen on Condorman.
Scare Factor: Low; that "thud" noise and the whooshing may get to some people, but it's basically harmless.
Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
1st Logo (December 23, 1987)
Logo: On a grainy blue background, the words "Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc." are seen in a Times New Roman font, arranged in a stacked position at the bottom of the screen.
FX/SFX: None; only the logo fading in and out.
Availability: Extremely rare. Only known to appear at the end of Good Morning, Vietnam.
Scare Factor: None.
(June 15, 1990)
Logo: On a black background, a blue triangle rotates along the side of the screen until it's split into two triangles, all while a blue diamond grows below them, and they're positioned vertically. The end result is that top half of the screen is blue and the bottom half black, with a black triangle on the top half forming a stylized "A" and a blue triangle on the bottom half forming a "V". On the top half, the black letters "BUEN" slide in left from behind the "A", while the "V" slides left to reveal the blue letters "ISTA". After the "BUENA VISTA" text is revealed, the black words "DISTRIBUTED BY" and "PICTURES" wipe in on the top half, while the blue words "DISTRIBUTION CO., INC." wipe in on the bottom half. Finally, both "A"s in "BUENA VISTA" receive proper strikes through them.
FX/SFX: The triangles/diamonds rotating and forming, and the words sliding and revealing themselves.
Availability: Only seen on the Roger Rabbit short Roller Coaster Rabbit.
Scare Factor: None to low