Logo descriptions by Nicholas Aczel, Sean Beard, and Eric S. Logo captures by V of Doom, Eric S., Mr. Logo Lord, and Derrick Anderson Editions by V of Doom and Eric S. Video captures courtesy of JohnnyL80, Eric S., Phasicblu, and spudtv
Background: Four Star Television (also known as "Four Star Productions", "Four Star Films", and starting in 1968 as "Four Star Entertainment") was formed in 1952 by prominent Hollywood actors: Dick Powell, David Niven, Ida Lupino, and Charles Boyer (hence the name of the company), with their first program Four Star Playhouse. In 1967, David Charnay acquired the company and was renamed to "Four Star International". Compact Video acquired Four Star International in 1986; when Compact shut down, Four Star was made an in-name-only unit of owner Ronald Perelman's Andrews Group, and became part of New World Entertainment after Perelman acquired that company in 1989. Today, most of the Four Star shows are currently held by 20th Century Fox Television, a 21st Century Fox Company and distributed by 20th Television.
1st Logo (September 25, 1952-July 26, 1956)
Four Star Productions (1954)Four Star Productions (1955)Four Star Productions (1955)
Logo: In the end credits of Four Star Playhouse, we fade to the text “A FOUR STAR” written at the top of the screen. Below it one-by-one appear four stars, stacked and each bearing names of the producers to the right, depending at the order:
A FOUR STAR
☆CHARLES BOYER --☆DICK POWELL
Below them appears the word “PRODUCTION, INC.”, and in smaller text, a copyright stamp.
Trivia: The people named in the logo are the producers of Four Star Playhouse, who double-duty as recurring lead players in the show.
FX/SFX: Just the appearing of the stars and words.
Cheesy Factor: The logo is very simply animated.
Music/Sounds: Plays over the Four Star Playhouse end theme, composed by Leon Klatzkin.
Availability: Rare. It was seen intact on all episodes of Four Star Playhouse, as the logo is part of the end credits. Select episodes were given VHS release by Marathon Music and Video during the 90s.
Scare Factor: Low. It depends strictly on your feeling regarding the Four Star Playhouse theme music, but it would get much worse with the follow-up logo.....
2nd Logo (1956-1966)
Four Star Productions (1956)Four Star Productions (1963) - OpeningFour Star Productions (1965, Color Variant)Heatter-Quigley Productions/Four Star Television (1964)
1965) (1965- Nickname: "The Banner (of Doom)"
Logo: On a space background, we see four big stars with shadows extending down and meeting at a vanishing point. From the vanishing point, a shady banner with the words “FOUR STAR” in a majestic font zoom up to just below the stars.
• On Four Star shows produced in color starting in 1965, the logo was seen in blue-tone.
• A sped-up version also exists, with faster animation and an abridged version of the Schrader fanfare. • A sped-up logo with an abridged version of the Gilbert fanfare also exists. • An in-credit version of this logo was seen on People Will Talk, The Celebrity Game, Shenanigans, P.D.Q, Showdown, and the 1965 pilot of The Hollywood Squares that were co-produced by Heatter-Quigley Productions.
FX/SFX: The “FOUR STAR” banner zooming-up.
Cheesy Factor: The zooming of the banner is quite rough, but if anything is especially cheesy, its got to be those gaudy shadows used on the stars, which are just waaaay too tacky.
• 1956-1958: A booming fanfare composed by Rudy Schrader, usually accompanied with an announcer saying: “Filmed by Four Star” or “This Has Been a Four Star Production”.
• 1958-1965: A rearranged version of the last logo. A low tone version exists with the announcer saying: “Filmed by Four Star” or “This Has Been a Four Star Production”. • 1965?: Another rearranged version of the last logo but a little more bombastic. A long version exists. • 1965-1966: Later in its existence, it was replaced with another fanfare composed by Joseph Mullendore (which sounds like a combination of the Desilu "Merging Circles" fanfare and the first Four Star fanfare). • 1965-1966: A more patriotic fanfare composed by Herschel Burke Gilbert.
Availability: Rare. Seen on The Big Valley reruns on Me-TV as well as Honey West. The in-credit version is extinct and was seen only on the short-lived game show Shenanigans and the pilot of The Hollywood Squares.
Scare Factor: Medium to high. It was a generally well-liked logo for those who were lucky to see it, but more than a few cannot stand the loud fanfares or the creepy announcer, or hate the rough zoom-up of the banner (a la the V of Doom), or the dark background. None for the in-credit variant.
3rd Logo (1964-1965)
Four Star Television (1964)
Nicknames: "Album Cover", "Zooming Vertical Stars", "Zooming Four Star Ribbon"
Logo: A gray box zooms-in into the screen, which contains several thin lines seen on the left and a thick black horizontal line dividing it in two. On the right, we see the words “FOUR STAR”, in a thick slab serif (it bears a resemblance to Clarendon). Four white stars are shown on the set of lines. The word "TELEVISION" is shown under the company name.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The zoom in, which is very simple and rough.
Music/Sounds: The same 1958 fanfare composed by Rudy Schrader.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, due to the zoom-in and the fanfare. However, this is much tamer than before.
4th Logo (1966-1968)
Four Star Productions (1967)
Nicknames: "Diamonds", "Flying Triangles"
Logo: On a cerulean blue brush-stroke space background, we see a set of ten multicolored diamonds (five on top, five on bottom) stacked together, each composed of a top and bottom triangle (each half a different color). The diamonds split up into triangles and fly, and each of the triangles of a particular identical color merge at the bottom ends, forming four stars of the colors from left-to-right: green, red, white, and baby blue. The words “FOUR” and “STAR” pop out from the top and bottom of the stars, respectively, to complete the logo.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The triangle animations, the “FOUR” and “STAR” uncovering.
Music/Sounds: The same Herschel Burke Gilbert fanfare used as the third music for the 2nd logo with twinkle sounds, either full or abridged.
Availability: Rare. Appears on Me-TV's Big Valley reruns.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The loud music and the flying triangles might make some people jumpy.
5th Logo (1968-1974)
Four Star International (1969)
Nicknames: "Album Cover II", "Four Star ‘70", "Vertical Stars", "Four Star Ribbon"
Logo: On a black background, several thin Persian blue lines are seen on the left of the screen, and a thick red horizontal line divides the screen in two. On the right, we see the words “FOUR STAR,” in a thin white slab serif font, which is placed in between the red line. Suddenly, four yellow stars pop into place on the set of lines. After the last star appears, the word "International", in a red script typeface, fades in under the company name, with the whole thing looking similar to the 3rd logo.
Trivia: This logo is based on the 1964 logo, but with differences.
FX/SFX: The stars popping into place, the word "International" fading-in.
Cheesy Factor: The design is very gaudy even by late-'60s standards; the mixing of the two wildly different fonts really doesn't work here. Doubled with the fact that this resembles a number of 45 RPM record labels from earlier in the decade doesn't help matters any with this logo.
Music/Sounds: A short "ringing" sound followed by a gently tinkling woodwind, riding cymbals, and harpsichord scale, ending with a single orchestra hit.
• Sometimes the "ringing" sound is skipped.
• Another abridged variant of the theme exists.
Availability: Same as above. Appears on Me-TV's reruns of The Big Valley.
Scare Factor: Minimal. The rather sedate jingle more than compensates for the gaudy look of the logo.
6th Logo (1984-1989)
Four Star Entertainment (1985)Four Star Entertainment (1984, with "Stereo" bug)
Nicknames: "CGI", "CGI-4", "The Filmstrip 4", "The 4-Star"
Logo: On a black background, we see four large 2-D red stars, one-by-one, zoom by from left to right at an angle. As the 4th star appears, the number “4” comes from the right and attaches itself to the star. The background then gets spotlit with lavender, and three lines (the first slightly thicker than the others) pass over the logo and settle under, wiping the silver words “FOUR” and “STAR” to the left and right of the logo, respectively. The logo later “shines”.
• A shortened variant with the logo completely formed exists.
• A rare opening variant is used at the beginning of some colorized/Stereo-simulated prints of classic films in which the Four Star logo, the company name, and "STEREO" (which is silver, but not set in the same typeface) flash in one-by-one in the bottom right corner. • On several episodes of Matchmaker, the first half of this logo is superimposed on the closing credits.
FX/SFX: The star animations, the background turning purple, the line animations, the “shine”.
Cheesy Factor: The CGI is rather dated, looking two-dimensional and utilizing overly simple animation effects.
Music/Sounds: A rising new-age synth theme that sounds like THX's "Deep Note". On Matchmaker, Bill Armstrong (later Susan Tangman?) would announce, "Matchmaker is a Four Star production".
Availability: Very rare. Four Star’s output was coming to an end by this time. This was last seen on 1984-1985 episodes of Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection, as well as mid-'80s prints of the game shows Liar’s Club and Matchmaker, and the 1987 colorized version of Scrooge in syndication, as well on the 1997 Canadian VHS of the B&W version.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. This once state-of-the-art logo was a fitting end to a company with a memorable library of logos.