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Logo descriptions by James Fabiano, Jason Jones, and Shadeed A. Kelly

Logo captures by Eric S., V of Doom, Shadeed A. Kelly, JohnnyL80, mr3urious, Michael Bass, TrickyMario7654, snelfu, Logoboy95, and Gilblitz112

Editions by Shadeed A. Kelly, kidinbed, V of Doom and Lee Cremeans

Video captures courtesy of 'supremetaco, DanDMan16, JohnnyL80', KLXT77, KidCairbre, actionsub, and Eric S.

Background

Screen Gems was revived as a television subsidiary by Columbia Pictures Corporation in 1948. It was formed when Columbia acquired Pioneer Telefilms, a television commercial company founded in 1947 by Ralph M. Cohn, the son of Columbia Pictures co-founder, Jack Cohn, and the nephew of longtime Columbia Pictures president and co-founder, Harry Cohn. Pioneer Telefilms was renamed to Screen Gems after the acquisition. It was responsible for television production, TV movies, syndicating the Columbia Pictures movie library, and starting in 1958, The Three Stooges shorts starting with the Curly series. Screen Gems became a fully-fledged studio in 1951 by moving into telefilm syndication and later into television production in 1952. On July 1, 1956, Columbia studio veteran Irving Briskin formed Briskin Productions to oversee all of Screen Gems' productions. On December 10, 1956, Screen Gems acquired television syndication company Hygo Television Films (a.k.a. "Serials Inc.") as well as its affiliated company, United Television Films, Inc. Also on August 2, 1957, Screen Gems also syndicated the Universal Horror Package from Universal-International for 10 years called Shock and Son of Shock in 1958 and from 1957-1966, the cartoons by Hanna-Barbera, when Columbia acquired a 20% stake when the studio started. In January 1961, Columbia Pictures Corporation and Screen Gems, Inc. were split into separatecompanies, when the former studio sold 11% of the latter's stock to the public. On December 23, 1968, Screen Gems merged with its parent Columbia Pictures Corporation and the whole organization was reincorporated as "Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.". On May 6, 1974, Screen Gems was reincorporated as "Columbia Pictures Television" (now "Sony Pictures Television"). The name was suggested by David Gerber, the then-current president of Columbia's television division.


1st Logo
(April 1951-1952, December 14, 1957-1974)

Logo: On a light gray background, we see an in-credit text that reads:

A

SCREEN GEMS, INC.

PRODUCTION

Variants:

  • On Days of Our Lives, the text would read as "A CORDAY PRODUCTIONS, SCREEN GEMS PRESENTATION"
  • For those co-produced by Hanna-Barbera, it would say "A SCREEN GEMS FILM PRESENTATION, TELEVISION SUBSIDIARY COLUMBIA PICTURES CORPORATION".
  • On The Jetsons episode "The Coming of Astro", the letter "A" isn't shown next to the words "SCREEN GEMS". (This version can still be seen on Boomerang and Amazon Video on Demand prints.)

FX/SFX: None or the cross-fading. Except on Days of Our Lives, where the text scrolls.

Music/Sounds: The end-title theme from any show.

Availability: Uncommon. It's currently seen on the first two seasons of The Flintstones on Boomerang and DVD. It was also seen on Top Cat, some first season episodes of The Jetsons, and early seasons of The Ford Theatre.

Scare Factor: None.

2nd Logo
(October 2, 1952-August 20, 1955)

Nicknames: "The TV Tube"

Logo: On the same light gray background seen on the last logo, we see a TV tube-like shape that's outlined in dark gray and filled in black. There are about eight stars shining inside (like stars in the sky) around the phrase "A SCREEN GEMS, INC. Presentation" or "A SCREEN GEMS, INC. Production".

Variants:

  • There is one version where the stars shining are more animated and differently shaped. Also, there isn't any glow surrounding them.
  • Until late 1954-early 1955, the word "Film" is added inside the tube.

FX/SFX: The little stars twinkling.

Music/Sounds: The end title theme of any show or silent.

Availability: Ultra rare. It appeared on the first season of Father Knows Best, and is intact on Shout! Factory's DVD release of the season. It was also seen on The Ford Television Theatre and Captain Midnight.

Scare Factor: Low to medium.

3rd Logo
(August 27, 1955-June 24, 1960)

Nickname: "Torch Lady"

Logo: Like the 1942 version of the 1936 Columbia Pictures logo, we see a lady (Columbia, a representation of the USA) holding a light torch on top a pedestal with a backdrop of clouds over her. The Torch Lady's head and upper body is between the words "SCREEN GEMS" with the letter "A" in Vivaldi font above it and "FILM PRESENTATION" or "FILM PRODUCTION" below it. The byline "TELEVISION SUBSIDIARY: COLUMBIA PICTURES CORPORATION" appears below that.

Trivia: The Torch Lady happens to be Jane Chester Bartholomew.

FX/SFX: The lady's torch "shining".

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A majestic horn fanfare at the begin/end of some syndicated programs (nicknamed the "Fanfare of Doom"), or the opening theme of the movie or short. Usually, as a closing logo, you will hear the ending theme for whatever show played over it with Harry Cohn announcing, "This has been a Screen Gems Film Production, from the Hollywood studios of Columbia Pictures".

Music/Sounds Variant: When the movie 20 Million Miles to Earth premiered on television, Screen Gems plastered the Columbia Pictures logo, keeping the fanfare intact.

Availability: Rare. Seen on seasons 2-4 of Father Knows Best on DVD. Despite the logo blending in with the show itself, it has been plastered on several occasions. This logo isn't seen on Antenna TV reruns of Father Knows Best or Dennis the Menace as it has been plastered with the Colex Enterprises logo.

Scare Factor: Depending on the logo variant:

  • Medium to high. The old B&W film and Torch Lady might send some chills, but the fanfare has been considered by many to be overly bombastic and scary.
  • Low to medium with the opening and closing themes.

4th Logo
(September 3, 1960-July 7, 1963)

Nickname: "Torch Lady II"

Logo: Same as the 1955 logo, excluding the clouds and the additional captions. Only the name "SCREEN GEMS" remains, and the words are smaller and somewhat stretched out, and the words are shown on each side of the lower body and legs.

Variants:

  • An updated version of sorts could be seen as the logo for the "Screen Gems Network", the '90s syndicated package of classic SG, Columbia, Tandem, and ELP shows.
  • A rare color variant of this logo was seen on Hazel.
  • An opening version featured the lettering "COLUMBIA" over a filming studio, with a camera rotating (something similar to the NBC logo) and then it fades to the Screen Gems logo.

FX/SFX: The lady's torch "shining".

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: Usually, the end title theme from any show has played over this with Harry Cohn, the longtime president of Columbia Pictures announcing:

  • "This has been a Screen Gems Film Presentation (from Columbia Pictures), Herbert B. Leonard, Executive Producer".
  • "This has been a Screen Gems Film Presentation (from Columbia Pictures), Produced by Herbert B. Leonard".
  • "This has been a Screen Gems (Film) Presentation".
  • "This has been a Screen Gems (Film) Production".
  • "This has been a Screen Gems Film Production, from the Hollywood studios of Columbia Pictures". Announced by Hal Gibney.
  • The opening variants would have a fanfare with a different announcer saying, "From Columbia Pictures, A Screen Gems Production".

Availability: Rare. Last seen on reruns of Hazel, Dennis the Menace, The Naked City, and Route 66, to name a few. Surprisingly, this has been edited over with or followed by the Columbia TriStar Television or the Sony Pictures Television logo on some shows recently. Currently seen on some episodes of The Donna Reed Show on Me-TV, and season 1 of Hazel on DVD.

Scare Factor: Low to Medium.

5th Logo
(September 15, 1963-June 25, 1965)

Nicknames: "The Dancing Sticks", "Stars and Spotlights"

Logo: Eleven animated lines "drop down" at the right of the black screen to ascending jazz notes as a swarm of circles scatter near the middle of the left side leaving behind the words "SCREEN GEMS" in a Benguiat Frisky font. (These circles were what one rec.arts.animation post described as the "spotlights". The "stars" may come from the fact that the circles sparkle like stars.) As this happens, the lines shrink somewhat and spread out, filling the right half and shaking slightly back and forth.

Color Variant: When filmed and broadcast in color, the sticks are pale rainbow colors and the dots are brighter. Also, on one color variant, the dots are rainbow colors as well.

FX/SFX: The lines dropping and shrinking.

Cheesy Factor: The lines' animations. Also, what are the dancing sticks supposed to represent?

Music/Sounds/Voice-over: An 8-note jazzy trumpet fanfare that ascends as the sticks drop in, and ends with a 5-note stinger when the logo finishes. An announcer states that the production is "A Screen Gems Presentation (or Production)" near the end. One extremely rare version of the logo does not use an announcer spiel. This was often used on international prints of Screen Gems shows. The final season of Route 66 has "A Screen Gems Presentation, Herbert B. Leonard, Executive Producer".

Availability: Ultra rare. It does appear in color without the signature music on the 1999 Columbia Pictures documentary The Lady with the Torch. However, due to replacement with various newer logos, both Sony Pictures Television-related and syndication, this is very hard to find on television. The color logo with no announcer was spotted on extremely rare syndication prints of The Peter Potamus Show. The logo miraculously appears at the end of Me-TV reruns of the final season of Route 66 (followed by the 1993 CPT logo). Also seen on seasons 3 and 4 of Hazel on DVD courtesy of Shout! Factory.

Scare Factor: Low to medium. The dramatic music and spooky announcers may make some jumpy. But pretty tame, especially compared to its successor.

6th Logo
(September 13, 1965-August 29, 1974)

Nicknames: "The Spiral S", "The Filmstrip S", "The Creepy Screen Gems Logo", "The S From Hell", "The Spiral S (From Hell)", "Burning S", "Scream Gems", "Attack of the Killer S", "The Personification of All That Is Evil", (For version seen on Hawk, "Shrill S," "Buzzy S", or "Hawk S".)

Logo: On a yellow background, two red parallelograms come from the top and bottom of the screen, and the upper one is at a distance while the lower is closer. They fly towards each other, and the higher moves forward while the lower backs away. As they do so, they grow in length and wrap around a space where a red dot appears, forming a stylized "S". Under that, the words "SCREEN GEMS" zoom in.

Trivia: The "S" logo was designed and animated by Chermayeff & Geismar, a firm also responsible for the 1986 six-feathered NBC Peacock, the 1984 PBS logo, the 1990-2005 Viacom logo, and the Chase Manhattan Bank logo, among other designs.

Variants:

  • There's an in-credit logo that's shown on the short-lived series Adventures of the Seaspray with the text "in association with" and "Screen Gems" in the same font as the credits.
  • Another in-credit version was shown on The Pierre Berton Show with the text "SCREEN GEMS Canada Production" in the same font as the credits.
  • Starting the period time of July 12, 1972, the byline "A DIVISION OF COLUMBIA PICTURES INDUSTRIES, INC." zooms up with "SCREEN GEMS".
  • When shown in black & white, the standard scheme appears to be a light gray screen and black S and words. When shown in color, the standard scheme appears to be a yellow screen, red "S", and black words. The words may or may not have actually been red at one time as well.
  • On some prints of The Partridge Family, the S and the words were both black, attributed by some to film deterioration. However, when the Columbia byline was added, everything was changed to a light gray, and that color change appeared more natural. At the same time, other Screen Gems shows carried the normal color scheme (as did The Partridge Family when it was reran on Hallmark Channel).
  • Several shows in 1970 didn't have the name in bold.
  • There is also a still variant of this logo with the phrase "DISTRIBUTED BY" in small print above "SCREEN GEMS".
  • Another still variant with and without Columbia bylines respectively was seen on the first season of Police Story and the short-lived The Girl With Something Extra.
  • Another variant has the byline appearing after the company logo/text animation stop. This variant was seen on early episodes of the miniseries QB VII.

FX/SFX: The parallelograms wrapping around the dot, "SCREEN GEMS" zooming in.

Cheesy Factor: Really rough animation all over.

Music/Sounds: Composed by Eric Siday, the entire score was performed on a Moog modular synthesizer (Siday was one of the first musicians to have one). It consists of six French horn-like notes, followed by two synth-brass triplets with the last note held. In 1970, it was shortened so only three notes came before the tones. This shortened variant was sped-up and was used for the first short-lived Columbia Pictures Television logo.

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • There is a version of the logo where no music is played. This was seen on the 1971 television movie Brian's Song.
  • The latter version had the end theme of Police Story playing over the logo.
  • At least one show, the 1966 Burt Reynolds series Hawk, carried an alternate recording of the Eric Siday music, which had sharper, more "shrill" tones, almost sounding like a loud saxophone.
  • On some first season episodes of I Dream of Jeannie (as seen in syndication in the 1970s and early 1980s), as well as the half hour packaging of Batfink, an alternate trumpet fanfare played over the logo. (This may be the fanfare attributed to Van Alexander, but this is not certain.)
  • In other cases, it used the closing theme of the show or TV movie.
  • Some prints (mainly PAL prints) have the music higher pitched.
  • When ABC reran Bewitched on their daytime schedule in 1968, this logo had the 1963 "Dancing Sticks" music attached to it, probably due to a plastering error.

Availability: Pretty common. This logo has been beautifully restored on reruns of Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Partridge Family on Antenna TV. Ironically, the DVD versions are not so lucky; except for the I Dream of Jeannie season one episode "How Lucky Can You Get?", the logos were removed on disc, but the short version complete with jingle has been restored starting with the seventh season of Bewitched and season four of The Partridge Family. The only other DVDs featuring this logo are the 1971 TV movie Brian's Song and the 1974 miniseries QB VII, with theme music over it, plus the Columbia byline. This logo can be seen after every episode on the 2012 DVD release of Bridget Loves Bernie, and also the 2014 Mill Creek Entertainment DVD reissue of Gidget. The still variant with the Columbia byline can be found on most episodes of the first season of Police Story on DVD as released by Shout! Factory. It was also shown in edited form on Fox Family reruns of The Partridge Family and in a sped-up form without music on The Hallmark Channel reruns of Bewitched. The still variant is extinct, and was seen originally on the TV show Soupy Sales. A good few episodes of Bewitched when aired on the UK satellite channel Living have this logo, often followed by the Sony Pictures Television International logo. The "Hawk S" can be seen at the Paley Center.

Scare Factor: Depends on the variant.

  • Full Music Variant: Low to nightmare. Numerous people have very un-fond memories of this logo, mostly due to the creepy theme music combined with the animation, which is very in-your-face (though it's less scary for those who are used to seeing it). Possibly one of the scariest logos ever made, alongside the Viacom "V of Doom". The music is so cheap and cheerful, it's disturbing to most people. In fact, due to the numerous amounts of people who have seen this logo and got frightened, there is even a documentary about it! The website can be found here.
  • Hawk Variant: Nightmare. The shrill tones make the logo even scarier.
  • 1970-1974 Music version: Low to nightmare.
  • Trumpet Variant: Low to medium.
  • Remainder of the variants: None to minimal.

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