NOTE: This is a work-in-progress, for now. I hope to test out the formatting.
Logo descriptions by Matt Williams, Matthew Anscher, and Jeffrey Gray
Logo captures by wisp2007, Eric S., Logoboy95, V of Doom, Brandondorf9999, Shadeed A. Kelly, EnormousRat, thehugetvfan, Logophile, Dean Stewart Rumsey, Livin', Mr.Logo and indycar
Editions by Bob Fish, V of Doom, TheMisterFree, Logophile, Jeffrey Gray, Mr. Logo Lord, kidinbed, Shadeed A. Kelly, Jonathan Hendricks, CuriousGeoge60, Lizz Tetlow, shnick1985, FilmReel, indycar and Emiozuna
Video captures courtesy of Eric S., 1MisterAaron, Swedishintros, ACDC48086, YarcoTV, winerrs, VUKS5, LogoLibraryinc, DudeThatLogo, AussieRoadshow, DinoTelevision and Ryan Holman
MGM Home Entertainment was founded in 1975 as "MGM Home Video" for the purpose of releasing its film and television libraries on home video, but nothing ever materialized from this company. In 1979, MGM joined forces with CBS Video Enterprises, the home video division of the CBS Television Network, and established "MGM/CBS Home Video", which released its first VHS batch (consisting of 16 MGM titles and 8 CBS Video titles) in October 1980. MGM/CBS Home Video was later renamed to "MGM/UA Home Video" in 1982 after CBS ended its venture with MGM since MGM acquired United Artists a year earlier. In 1986, after MGM's pre-1986 library (also including most of the pre-1950 Warner Bros. Pictures library, a fraction of some UA material, and most US rights to the RKO Radio Pictures library (although RKO retains the copyrights to their films)), was acquired by Ted Turner and forming "Turner Entertainment Co.", MGM/UA Home Video signed a deal with Turner to continue distributing the pre-1986 MGM and the pre-1948 Warner Bros. libraries for video release. In 1990, after MGM was purchased by Pathé, MGM/UA signed a deal with Warner Home Video to have them distribute its titles exclusively on video. In 1995 this division was renamed to "MGM/UA Home Entertainment" and also launched "MGM/UA Family Entertainment". In 1997, MGM/UA began releasing its titles on DVD, just like every other major studio, managed to release over 30 titles from the Turner catalog on DVD (it was due to their video distribution deal) until it was transferred to Warner Home Video in 1999 (after MGM ended their distribution deal with Warner Bros.) and folded Orion Pictures with all its owned-library into this company. Around 1997, the UA name was dropped renaming it as "MGM Home Entertainment". Following MGM's acquisition by the Sony-led consortium in 2005, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment began distributing the MGM library on home video until May 31, 2006, when MGM shifted most of its home entertainment output to 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for worldwide release. TCFHE's worldwide distribution deal distributing the MGM library was expected to expire in September 2011 and was to revert back to SPHE, but it was later extended to end in July 2016.
MGM/CBS Home Video
(October 1980-May 1981)
Nickname: "Green Lines"
Logo: On a black background, the words "MGM" and "CBS" (in the white, upper-cased, Helvetica font) fly in from the top and bottom of the screen, with green lines on the top and bottom of each letter respectively. We fade to another set of green lines sorta shaped like a room zoom back to bring another copy of the words, and then "AN" and "HOME VIDEO PRESENTATION", in light orange, zoom in to their respective places. A forward slash appears in-between "MGM" and "CBS" on the last note of the music.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The slash appearing, and the zooming effects, which are just simple computer animation. Pretty good for its time, though.
Music/Sounds: An uninspired news-like synth tune.
Availability: Rare. Seen on the initial batch of twenty-four VHS and Beta tapes, including The Wizard of Oz, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Ben-Hur, An American in Paris, Network, Jailhouse Rock, Coma, The Streetfighter, and the Bolshoi Ballet productions of The Nutcracker and Giselle. Also seen on the very first CED releases from CBS, as well as a few other VHS releases, including Being There, Fame, Carny, Cruising, Benji, and The Formula.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. The cheesy-sounding fanfare could be sudden, as could the simplistic animation.
(June 1981-June 1982)
Nicknames: "The Metallic MGM/CBS", "Silver MGM/CBS"
Logo: On the black background, a metallic forward slash mark drops down. Afterward, the camera zooms back to reveal that the slash was in-between "MGM" and "CBS", in the same font as before, but in the same style as the slash, with "CBS" from the right and "MGM" from the left. After that, we see "HOME VIDEO" (in green, and in Alternate Gothic font) zooming out. The "MGM/CBS" text then shines.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The "HOME VIDEO" text looks pretty tacky all around, and the metallic letters on a black background for a logo looks very early '80s as well.
Music/Sounds: A short, orchestrated, majestic trumpet fanfare.
Availability: Rare. Seen on most MGM/CBS releases after the first batch of twenty-four Betamax and VHS tapes. Notable titles to include this logo include Return of the Street Fighter, Westworld, and Clash of the Titans. However, early MGM/UA releases with the MGM/CBS Polaroid seal or tape labels would still use the 1982 MGM/UA Home Video logo, and some later MGM/CBS releases, such as Viva Las Vegas, go straight to the MGM logo used by the film. Some Samuel Goldwyn Home Entertainment releases such as The Billion Dollar Hobo would feature this logo at the end. (This practice would continue when the Samuel Goldwyn Home Entertainment library shifted to CBS/Fox Video.)
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. It depends on how you feel about the fanfare.
See CBS Home Entertainment for description.
MGM/UA Home Video
1st Logo (July 1982-1993, 1999)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion", "Still Leo the Lion", "MGM Lion","The Static Leo Moving", "MGM/UA", "Gold Ribboning"
Logo: We see a bluish metallic "MGM/UA" moving ("MGM" going from top-right to left, "UA" going from bottom-left to right). Then a slash draws in-between them as we see a static picture of Leo inside the circle ribbon with the drama mask zooming out. After that, it completes the ribbon logo with flashes making the ribboning appear on the left and right sides of the logo while "MGM/UA" shines. After that, "HOME VIDEO" in a blue Microgramma font, zooms out and stops under the logo and the two white lines above and below "HOME VIDEO" respectively, flashes in.
- For the classic MGM/UA movies in B&W, the logo is grayscaled.
- Some tapes have a slightly different lion/ribbon design.
- In Sweden, MGM tapes were often distributed through Esselte Video. The byline "From ESSELTE VIDEO", in white, appears below. In between "From" and "ESSELTE" is a circle with an "X" inside and eight little "points" around it.
- On some videos from Australia and New Zealand, the logo animates as normal up until "HOME VIDEO" flashes. Then, Leo's static picture becomes Leo roaring, and then the beginning of a promotional reel tunnels in.
- On tapes from the early 90s, this was used for preview bumpers (and usually at the end of films). The logo plays like normal, but instead of "HOME VIDEO" appearing, the logo eases back upward and either "Now Playing at a Theatre Near You" or "Coming Soon on Videocassette" appears below. There's an earlier version of this variant (spotted as early as 1989), where "HOME VIDEO" remains intact while the logo eases upward, and "ALSO AVAILABLE" appears below.
- On Laserdisc releases, at the beginning of each side, it has a still logo with "HOME VIDEO" blacked out with "SIDE ONE" or "SIDE TWO" below. At the end, there would be "END SIDE ONE" and "END SIDE TWO".
- This was also used for Coming Attraction screens around late 1980s-1990. In this variant, the logo plays as normal. When it finishes, the background turns into a gray marble color. Then the ribbons and "MGM/UA" shrink and moves to the upper right. "HOME VIDEO" moves slightly to the right and a transparent square flies in behind "HOME VIDEO". The square shines as a purple squiggly line etches itself in below "MGM/UA" and a lime green squiggly line etches itself below the square. "COMING ATTRACTION" wipes itself below "HOME VIDEO" and flashes, and as this happens, the preview begins above "HOME VIDEO" and when the words flash, the screen zooms into the preview.
- On home video TV spots for Desperate Hours and Death Warrant, the lines above and below "HOME VIDEO" are thicker.
- On an advertisement for musical films that were released to home media in 1986, the logo appears 9 times (3 logos on three rows) and clips from the films flip over the logos to end one clip and start another.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: Pretty much the entire formation of the logo, the shine. While the original logo was pretty decent, the laserdisc variant is very cheesy because you can clearly see the black where "HOME VIDEO" was, even made more evident by the fact it was a freeze-frame of the logo.
Music/Sounds: The same fanfare from the 2nd CBS Video logo, which is a louder and longer version of the 2nd MGM/CBS music.
- The late 80s-early 90s Coming Attraction screen starts off with twelve drumbeats played four at a time, then goes into a moving majestic orchestrated theme with Don LaFontaine announcing "The following is an MGM/UA Home Video Coming Attraction". The tune is called "Destiny" and is composed by Keith Mansfield.
- On the MGM/UA Home Video Laserdisc Sampler from 1990, the logo is shown at the end with Leo's 1960 roar (aside from the closing theme).
- The Australian promo logo has the music higher-pitched and (with Leo actually roaring) has a different roar track.
- The TV spots for Desperate Hours and Death Warrant have the sound of Leo roaring despite being a still picture, perhaps because they were reused TV spots from the films' theatrical run.
- A higher-pitched variant exists.
Availability: Pretty common. Found on many VHS and Laserdisc videos from MGM and UA, and the logo lasted for a pretty good amount of time, eleven years to be exact. Also seen on the early Hemdale releases. Makes a surprise appearance on the 1999 VHS of Annie Hall. Strangely, this appears on a 1985 Betamax release of the 1956 film Forbidden Planet, but in an MGM/CBS case and with MGM/CBS labels. Also seen on the Laserdisc and VHS releases of The Golden Age of Looney Tunes. This logo was kept on reprints even past 1993, including 1995 printings of Pink Floyd: The Wall and Diamonds Are Forever, due to those printings still using tape masters from 1993 and 1992, respectively. The higher-pitched variant can only be found on PAL tapes such as the UK rental VHS of Thelma and Louise. This makes a surprise appearance at the end of the documentary Something A Little Less Serious, which can be found on the 1st MGM flipper disc release of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low; depends on how you feel about the fanfare. Low for the Coming Attractions variant because it would often segue to MGM's logo, and low for the roaring lion variant.
2nd Logo (1983-1986)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion II", "MGM Lion", "Roaring Lion", "Gold Ribboning II", "MGM/UA Roaring Lion"
Logo: Same as before, except the text does not move, "HOME VIDEO" is metallic like the MGM/UA text and is a bit smaller with the 1984 MGM logo (minus the Diamond Jubilee text) above the text. Leo roars once.
Variant: On a VHS commercial for Gone with the Wind which aired around 1984-85, it has the "DIAMOND JUBILEE" text (keeping consistent with MGM's 60th anniversary in 1984).
FX/SFX: Leo roaring.
Music/Sounds: Leo's 1982 roar.
Availability: Extremely rare. This logo appeared at the beginning of a promotional trailer for MGM/UA's video release of Motown 25: Yesterday, Today, Forever and a 1986 promo for classic MGM musicals on home video.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, based on how you feel about roaring lions.
3rd Logo (October 24, 1989-August 23, 2005)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion III", "Still Leo the Lion II", "(CGI) MGM Rainbow", "Gold Ribboning III" "Leo the Panthera Arctus"
Logo: Just the MGM/UA Home Video logo with a copyright stamp on the bottom, against a space background. In the background, there is a pattern of the "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" text, slanted at an angle, which scrolls from right to left while changing in many different colors. The following changing colors are: gray, red, teal blue, fuchsia, blue, and green.
- This logo was inspired by the hologram stickers that were used on most VHS releases from MGM before this logo came out.
- Sometimes, this logo is absent either at the beginning or end of tapes.
- Starting in 2003, this logo is only seen at the end of tapes.
- Early releases had the copyright stamp in a slightly different font arranged to the left.
- Some late-1890s releases had a screen freeze of this logo.
- On the 1992 VHS of Fiddler on the Roof, this logo used a 1992 copyright at the beginning of the tape, but a 1990 copyright at the end of the tape. Fiddler on the Roof was probably released on videocassette originally in 1990; so when it was reprinted in 1992, they changed the copyright info at the beginning, but forgot about the copyright info at the end.
- The size of the logo and the color changing arrangements varies.
- On rarer releases, there exists an extended version (with the ending part in place either at the beginning or end of the tapes) where we see the colors: rose pink, golden yellow, violet, and navy blue in place.
FX/SFX: The changing colors, the scrolling of the "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" text.
Cheesy Factor: This logo is rather primitive. First, Leo's still pose of him roaring resembles like a bear for most people who have seen this logo. Second, the scrolling rainbow "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" texts look a bit choppy. Third, if you look closely at the left part of the 2nd and 7th text scrolls, the text on both scrolls disappears. Finally, when this logo began in 1989, there was a major error where the color green was about to change to gray was skipped to the ending part with the color red; this made a jarring cut to the FBI Warning screen. In 1990, MGM fixed this; making the green changing to gray much better. However, one question remains: where are the 1991, 1994 and 2005 copyright stamps?!
Availability: Common. It can be seen on MGM/UA movies of the VHS era (excluding LaserDiscs) at both beginning and end of their videos such as All Dogs Go to Heaven and James Bond VHS releases of the era. However, starting later in 2003, it was only used at the end of tapes. One of the first tapes to use this logo was the original VHS release of Leviathan, and one of the last tapes to use this logo was the 2005 VHS of Beauty Shop.
Scare Factor: Minimal when at the beginning of tapes. However, seeing this in place of the standard black screen at the end of tapes may at least surprise those who aren't expecting it.
4th Logo (1993-1998, 1999-2005)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion IV", "Gold Leo the Lion", "The Rollercoaster Filmstrip", "Gold Ribboning IV", "CGI Gold Ribboning", "MGM/UA Roaring Lion II"
- Opening: The logo starts out with 3D CGI with the filmstrip, and the filmstrip looks like something you would see from a rollercoaster or IMAX. During the filmstrip animation, we see the 1928 MGM logo with Jackie the Lion, which roars once. Suddenly, the blue light rays start to appear around the filmstrip. As the filmstrip suddenly pans down, it reveals the then-current MGM logo, redone in CGI style (Including the drama mask with the reef surrounding it) with Leo the Lion in it and has the light rays around the ribboning with "Metro Goldwyn Mayer" and "TRADE" and "MARK" texts intact around the ribboning, as well as the "(R)" symbol, (this time, in yellow gradient coloring). The logo turns and zooms out as the light rays dim out. As the logo makes its way to its position and when Leo roars the second time, the logo flashes with glitter sparkles causing Leo and the drama mask to turn gold, the text and the reef surrounding the mask to disappear and the sparkles to fade away. After that, the words "MGM/UA" fades in rotating letter-by-letter at one. Then the blue line, along with "HOME VIDEO", in Century Gothic font this time, fade in one-by-one. The completed logo shines through the spotlight effect.
- Closing: The logo with Leo the Lion in it and the drama mask already in gold without the text and the reef surrounding the mask, appears zooming out quicker with the light rays around the ribboning like in the opening logo. After the logo makes into its position and the light rays dim out, the words "MGM/UA HOME VIDEO" with the line in between, appear in the similar transition as in the opening variant. Leo roars throughout the variant and does not turn gold.
- Even though this logo officially ended in 1998, the trailer bumpers were still used in the MGM Home Entertainment years.
- On the 1999 VHS release of National Velvet, this logo comes after the MGM Home Entertainment logo at the beginning of the tape.
- On the 1996 VHS release of Rocky, both the opening and closing variations of this appear at the beginning of the tape. The opening variation appears before the previews, while the closing variation appears after the previews.
Variant: The DVD version of the opening variant has a VHS glitch on the left side of the screen. This is seen on 1997-98 DVDs such as Goldeneye, Dr. No, The Wizard of Oz and Leaving Las Vegas. A Laserdisc rip of the logo used on other 1997-98 DVDs have this glitch cropped off.
Trailer Variants: There is a bumper that precedes trailers with a still of the end logo, but instead of "HOME VIDEO", it would have one of these below:
- COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
- NOW PLAYING AT A THEATER NEAR YOU
- NOW AVAILABLE ON VIDEOCASSETTE
- COMING SOON ON VIDEOCASSETTE
- THEATRICAL TRAILER
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The zooming ribbon and pan outs. A big improvement over the previous logo, and holds up well today. However, Leo turning gold looks really cheesy.
- Opening: A majestic fanfare (Based off the first few notes of the opening credits music of The Wizard of Oz) that starts off dramatic, then ends more triumphant. During the fanfare, we hear Tanner's roar, and then Leo's 1985 roar.
- Closing: The short version of the ending part of the same music from the opening variant as we hear Leo's roar.
Availability: Common. Can be found on VHS and Laserdisc releases of this era, such as The Pebble and the Penguin, Get Shorty, All Dogs Go to Heaven 2, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas!. Earlier DVD releases also have this logo, such as Red Dawn, Leaving Las Vegas, and Poltergeist, for example. Some of these earlier releases, such as the aforementioned Red Dawn, Hang Em' High, Get Shorty and Jailhouse Rock, use a Laserdisc rip of the logo instead of the DVD-quality version. It is also seen on UK releases until at least 2002 on titles such as Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, and Child's Play. Even though this logo officially ended in 1998, the trailer bumpers were still used into the MGM Home Entertainment days, and the logo itself made surprise appearances on the 1999 VHS releases of When Harry Met Sally..., National Velvet, The Cutting Edge, and Moonstruck. Also seen on The Golden Age of Looney Tunes on Laserdisc.
Scare Factor: Minimal to medium for both opening and closing variants, as they depend on what you think of the lion's roar and the fanfare. Besides this, this is a favorite of many.
MGM Home Entertainment
Nickname: "Leo the Lion V", "Gold Ribboning V"
Logo: Just your average golden ribbon and Leo the Lion. Underneath the logo are the words HOME ENTERTAINMENT in Trajan Pro which are separated by two lines.
Closing Variant: At the end of the animated feature Tom Sawyer, a still image of the MGM logo scrolls up and the text "HOME ENTERTAINMENT" is shown below the logo in a white Roman text. Strangely, the lion is not in its correct still image.
FX/SFX: Leo the Lion roaring.
Music/Sounds: The 1995 lion roar.
Availability: Found primarily on VHS releases and the final MGM Laserdiscs such as the Special Edition Laserdisc of The Spy Who Loved Me, as well as on the 2000 NSNA Company VHS of the Orion Pictures film Never Say Never Again. This makes a strange appearance on the TV spots for Platoon on its 2001 MGM DVD release.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. It depends on what you think of Leo roaring.
Background: MGM DVD is the DVD brand from MGM Home Entertainment.
1st Logo (1998-2003, 2012)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion VI", "Loud Lion", "Gold Ribboning VI"
Logo: On a red oval, a miniature MGM logo comes up, roaring loudly, and the letters "MGM DVD" (in yellow) come up one by one from the front of the screen. Then the lion zooms out and disappears with a bright flash of light, and "MGM DVD" centers on the screen as the red oval fades out.
Variant: A filmed variant exists on some releases such as Support Your Local Gunfighter.
FX/SFX: The lion roars once. As the logo fades out, the lion's growling can be heard.
Music/Sounds: A whoosh, a different lion roar, six cello notes as the letters come in, a growl, and an orchestral hit at the end. Synth chimes can be heard as the logo fades out.
Availability: Seen on pre-2003 MGM Home Entertainment DVDs (such as UHF, Fluke, The Secret of NIMH, Mr. Mom, and The Crocodile Hunter: Collison Course), and DVD releases of other companies' films that MGM owns the distribution rights to, such as SpaceCamp and It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie. This is also seen on the 2012 James Bond 50th anniversary boxset.
Scare Factor: High, bordering on nightmare for first-time viewers, as this logo is extremely loud and comes out all of a sudden. But low for those who are used to it.
2nd Logo (2003-2013)
Nicknames: "Leo the Lion VII", "CGI MGM DVD", "Gold Ribboning VII"
Logo: On a black background, a flash of light emerges from the screen and circles showing clips from MGM-owned movies (in order: Pierce Brosnan as James Bond, Thelma & Louise, Raymond and Charlie Babbitt from Rain Man, Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs, Steve McQueen's motorcycle jump from The Great Escape, Marilyn Monroe from Some Like It Hot, Willem Dafoe's death scene from Platoon, Frances McDormand from Fargo, Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde and Rocky's victory pose after running up the steps in Rocky) fly toward us. When the last circle flies at us, it collapses into the MGM DVD logo (in gray) surrounded by a red aura, and Leo roars once in it. After that, the logo quickly zooms into us, turning the screen black.
FX/SFX: Clips of MGM-owned films flying, Leo roaring, the logo zooming.
Music/Sounds: A loud, majestic fanfare ending with an explosion and Leo's roar.
Availability: Common. Seen on many post-2003 DVDs of MGM-owned output, especially those released by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment or 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, such as Good Boy!, Die Another Day, Agent Cody Banks, and The Graduate: 40th Anniversary Edition. Strangely, this also appears on Alvin and the Chipmunks (2007), but it can only be found when digging through the disc's titles.
Scare Factor: Minimal to high. Its sudden appearance could, once again, throw some off-guard, but it's much better than the previous logo.
As of late 2013, at the begining of their current Blu-Ray and DVD releases, MGM uses their 2012 logo as a defacto home media logo.