Warner Bros. Pictures (KMF's imagination)/Summary
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Background: Warner Bros. Pictures was originally founded in 1918 by the Warner brothers Harry (1881-1958), Albert (1883-1967), Sam (1887-1927), and Jack L. (1892-1978), Polish-Jewish brothers who emigrated from Belarus to Ontario, Canada, as the third-oldest American movie studio in continuous operation, after Paramount Pictures was founded on May 8, 1912 as "Famous Players Film Corporation", and Universal Studios founded on June 8, 1912. However, Warner Bros. Pictures officially opened its doors on April 4, 1923. In 1967, Warner Bros. Pictures merged with Seven Arts Productions, who renamed it to "Warner Bros.-Seven Arts". In 1969, it was purchased by Kinney National Co., which was later reincorporated as Warner Communications in 1972 when it spun-off its non-entertainment assets, due to a financial scandal over its parking operations. Today, with the exceptions of some films WB merely distributed, such as Sayonara (currently owned by the estate of the producer), Moby Dick (currently owned by MGM), Rope (currently owned by Universal Studios) and Hondo (owned by Batjac Productions, with distribution exclusively handled by Paramount Pictures`), the pre-1950 catalog is held by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.
(September 23, 1923-August 30, 1929)
Nicknames: "Brain Shield", "Studio Shield", "WB Shield", "Brain WB Shield"
Logo: On a black background, a large, bizarrely shaped shield is seen, with a very wide top. The top part of the shield shows a picture of the Warner studio in Burbank CA, the bottom having a squashed, stylized "WB". "A WARNER BROTHERS" is above the shield (with "WARNER BROTHERS" in an arc around the shield, ala the first Columbia logo), with "CLASSIC of the SCREEN" below. Starting in 1926 or so, it changed to "PRODUCTION".
Closing Titles: There are two closing titles for this WB era:
- 1st Closing Title: We see the words "THE END" all in capitals on both sides of the WB shield, with "THE" on the left and "END" on the right. The "T" on "THE" and the "E" on "END" are bigger than the other letters. Below the shield, we see "A WARNER BROTHERS CLASSIC OF THE SCREEN" in big capital letters. But on some movies, the WB shield was omitted. For example, Beau Brummel (1924) had a BG with some books and two candles on both sides of the screen. Above the books, we see the "The End" in a small, fancy white script arched above a small "A WARNER BROTHERS "CLASSIC of the SCREEN"" text.
- 2nd Closing Title: The second variant is the one you are seeing on the 3rd photo from left to right. On The Jazz Singer (1927), it was superimposed on a marble-like BG.
Availability: Near extinction. This logo was thought to have been extinct for years. Evidence of it was seen on a Warner Bros. 75th Anniversary trailer on 1998 Warner Home Video videos. However, it has appeared at the start of the film The Jazz Singer, and was kept intact on the 75th Anniversary DVD as well as on the 1981 Magnetic Video release, where it's preceded by a United Artists "Transamerica T" logo. This is retained on all extant silent-era Warner Bros. films shown on TCM such as The Better 'Ole. The logo premiered at the beginning of The Gold Diggers and made its final appearance on Gold Diggers of Broadway.
Editor's Note: The first design of the WB shield, it's noted by modern viewers for having a strange look to it. However, the addition of the WB Studios inside the shield wouldn't be referenced again until the 1998 logo.
(November 7, 1929-August 29, 1936)
Nicknames: "The Early Shield", "Vitaphone Shield", "WB Shield II"
Logo: The words "WARNER BROS. PICTURES, Inc." appear, and below that "& THE VITAPHONE CORP." appears in a much smaller font, with the "VITAPHONE" using "electric" style letters. Below that is a very small WB shield (using the stylized WB seen in logo 1), and in script, "Present". Behind it there is the drawing of a flag, "waving" so it looks like it is in three sections. On the first one, "WARNER BROS." appears, followed by the electric-letter "VITAPHONE" logo and on section 3, "PICTURES".
Closing Title: The closing variation has "The End" instead of "Present".
Trivia: The First National Company also used this logo, but modified with the words "FIRST NATIONAL" instead of "WARNER BROS. PICTURES". Also, on some features, only a very big banner saying "VITAPHONE", was shown, omitting the First National or the Warner Bros. logo.
Availability: Scarce. It's preserved on any film from Warner Bros. from this era, including pre-1999 video releases by Magnetic Video, CBS/Fox Video, Key Video, and MGM/UA Home Video. However, on the DVD version of G-Men, it has usually been updated with the 1948 shield logo, although this logo is kept at the end of G-Men. The logo premiered on Paris and made its final appearance on Anthony Adverse.
(July 27, 1935-December 18, 1937)
Nicknames: "Zooming Shield", "WB Shield III", "Zooming WB Shield"
Logo: Over a cumulonimbus cloud setting, a superimposed WB Shield design zooms in to the screen. The words "WARNER BROS. PICTURES, Inc. Present" appear over the shield.
Variants: There are three odd, rare variants of this logo:
- For colorized releases, mainly Captain Blood, the cloud background is blue and the shield is yellow.
- The shield is a still image, and is shaped extremely bizarrely.
- The shield is seen on a white backdrop. Instead of the shield zooming into the camera, the opposite takes place.
Closing Title: We see, on a special BG, superimposed on the last scene of a movie or the cloud background of the opening logo, the words "The End" in a fancy script font, with either the WB or the FN logos and "Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.", or rarely "Warner Bros. Productions Corporation", or "First National Pictures, Inc." below. Later, the disclaimer changed to either "A First National Picture" or "A Warner Bros. Picture" and the font for "The End" would change different times.
FX/SFX: The shield zooming in. Could it be that this is what inspired the Looney Tunes "Bullseye" opening titles? It's a possibility.
Music/Sounds: The opening theme of the movie.
Availability: Very rare. It's seen on films from the period and occasionally seen on TCM. Its first known appearance is on Broadway Gondolier and made its final theatrical appearance on She Loved a Fireman.
Editor's Note: Elements of this logo (the zooming shield especially) have been implemented in the opening of Looney Tunes cartoons, which are regarded to be iconic. The zoom-in of the shield is rough, which is typical for logos made before the Scanimate era.
(December 25, 1937-November 1, 1967)
Nickname: "WB Shield IV"
Logo: Inside a shield, a more realistic version of the stylized "WB" as seen in the previous logo appears. Over the shield is a banner that reads "WARNER BROS. PICTURES, INC." Below the logo is the word "Presents" in script.
- For color releases, this logo was sepia-toned.
- Starting in 1942, "JACK L. WARNER, EXECUTIVE PRODUCER" was seen below the Warner Bros. Pictures banner.
- Starting in 1944, the word "PRESENTS" is now in the same font as the Warner Bros. Pictures banner.
- A colorized version of this logo exists on The Maltese Falcon and Casablanca among others.
- An ornate hand-drawn version of the shield against a parchment-like background was seen on some films, such as The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.
Closing Title: Superimposed on a special background or sometimes on the last scene of the movie, the huge words "The End" (with font varying on a movie) fade in, with the "WB" shield bug and "A WARNER BROS. PICTURE" in small letters below, but sometimes, due to the deal between WB and First National Pictures, the disclaimer was "A WARNER BROS.-FIRST NATIONAL PICTURE", or it was sometimes shortened to "A FIRST NATIONAL PICTURE" with the WB shield bug intact.
Music/Sounds: Usually the beginning of the movie's theme, or a majestic horn sounder, composed by Max Steiner. On at least two Humphrey Bogart films, To Have and Have Not and Dark Passage, a different fanfare, composed by Franz Waxman, plays.
Availability: Fairly common. It's seen on Warner releases of the period, like Casablanca on TCM. It premiered on Tovarich and made its final appearance on Silver River.
Scare Factor: Perhaps the second most well known version of the shield, due to preceding classics such as Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon and The Treasure of Sierra Madre, all starring Humphrey Bogart, who was rated as the Greatest American Movie Star (Men's Category) by the American Film Institute in 1998.
(July 31, 1948-November 1, 1967)
Nicknames: "The Classic Shield", "The Golden Shield", "WB Shield V"
Logo: Same as before, only the design has been cleaned up a bit. The border of the shield, banner, text, and "WB" are now gold, and the inside of the shield is now blue. The banner phrase is now changed to "WARNER BROS. PICTURES" and is now gold. "Presents", in the same font as the previous logo, usually appears below. Also, the background is now a cloud skyline (much like the logos of 1984 on). For the later years, this logo was usually superimposed onto the titles of Warner features of this period.
- A color version of this logo appears on color releases, such as Rope among others.
- There were many different cloud background variants throughout the years.
- A sepia-toned variant of this logo can be found on Jack and the Beanstalk and Bonnie and Clyde.
- Some movies, most notably The Crimson Pirate and The Master of Ballantrae, had this logo on a different cloud skyline.
- On some 3D films, films that were originally planned to be made in 3D, or the occasional film intended for 2D like House of Wax, Hondo, Dial M for Murder, Them!, The High and the Mighty, and Rebel Without a Cause, the WB shield looks more three-dimensional. It was also used for logo plastering, as was the case for reissue prints of the 1951 film Force of Arms (aka A Girl for Joe).
- No less than three cloud background variants were used for the 3D version. The first was used for House of Wax; the second was used for Hondo and Dial M for Murder; and the third was used for Them!.
- One film that had the "Presents" text absent is Alfred Hitchcock's Under Capricorn.
- Some movies, most notably Battle of the Bulge and Cool Hand Luke, had the logo on a black background.
- Sometimes, the banner reads "WARNER BROS. PICTURES INC." like the previous logo. This can be seen on some movies, most notably The Prince and the Showgirl.
- 1st Closing Title: Was the same as above, seen only with the "A Warner Bros.-First National Picture" and "A First National Picture" text.
- 2nd Closing Title: Superimposed on the last scene of a movie or a special BG, the words "The End" with font varies on that movie fades in with the WB shield bug between two thick lines below. Sometimes, the following disclaimers were used:
- "Produced and Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc."
- "Produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc."
- "Produced and Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures"
- "Distributed by Warner Bros."
- These texts are seen sandwiched below "The End" and above the WB shield bug.
Music/Sounds: Same as the previous logo. Sometimes, it was usually the beginning of the movie's theme music.
Music variant: On New York Confidential, the logo had a different fanfare, composed by Joseph Mullendore.
Availability: Seen on many of the Warner Bros. movies on AMC and TCM. It has also been plastered onto the DVD version of G-Men. It premiered on Key Largo and was last used on Cool Hand Luke (but copyrighted to Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, as the merger had finished by the time the film was completed). Sometimes, this may be preceded by a later logo, as seen on the earliest home video releases of Them! (where the 9th logo preceded this one).
Editor's Note: The most well known version of the Warner Bros. Shield. This particular design, still in use, was listed as the 12th best corporate logo by Complex Magazine, for its longevity and "iconic" status.
(September 28, 1967-July 29, 1970)
Nicknames: "WB-7", "W7", "Lucky Number 7 on WB", "W7 Shield"
Logo: Just a superimposed, stylized shield which can be white, yellow or red. The shield features a combination of a "W" and a "7", representing Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. The "W7" is often drawn on-screen, a la the NBC Snake, although it's a still logo on a few films. Below the shield, "WARNER BROS.-SEVEN ARTS" is seen. The word "Presents" usually appears under the shield.
Closing title: After the words "The End" and the credits, the words "Distributed by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts" are seen in the screen superimposed in the last scene of the movie or a special BG with the W7 shield bug below.
FX/SFX: The "trace"; sometimes done over the backdrop of a specific movie
Music/Sounds: None, or the opening of the movie.
Availability: Rare. It's seen on some Warner Bros. films of the period, though WB usually replaces it with a newer logo. Examples of this include pre-1998 prints of Bullitt, which were plastered by the 1984 Warner Communications "Shield of Staleness" with the exception of the 1980 WCI Home Video release, and the WCI release of The Green Berets, where the Big W plasters it. The current DVD/Blu-ray release of Bullitt, and current prints of Charro, The Wild Bunch, and Chisum have their logos intact/restored. Also seen after the 1984 Warner Communications shield logo on The Arrangement, which aired on an international version of TCM. But current DVDs and American prints have the 1999 logo. It premiered on The Bobo and made its final appearance on Chisum.
Editor's Note: This is the first time the WB name (and its logo) has been altered in it's 50+ year history.
(August 3, 1970-March 10, 1972)
Nicknames: "Shield Stretch", "The Kinney Shield", "Long Shield", "The Kinney WB Shield"
Logo: Over a blue screen is an abstract shield (like those seen on WB movie posters in the '60s) in a golden color with a dark brownish color inside. A simple lettering of the WB appears at the upper part and a rectangle of the same colors appear at the lower part of the shield, with the Kinney byline inside. The word "PRESENTS" appears underneath the logo.
- August 3, 1970-Early 1971: "A KINNEY NATIONAL COMPANY"
- Mid-Late 1971: "A KINNEY LEISURE SERVICE"
- Early-March 10, 1972: "A KINNEY COMPANY"
- On Billy Jack, the byline is: "A KINNEY SERVICES COMPANY"
- At the end of the film, we sometimes see the byline "Distributed by WARNER BROS." or "Distributed by WARNER BROS. INC." on top of (or in the case of THX-1138, underneath) a superimposed rendition of the company logo. (On earlier films from 1970, such as Chisum and The Battle of Cable Hogue, there is no banner/byline on the superimposed version.)
- Some films (including There Was a Crooked Man... and THX-1138) had the logo on a black background.
- Others (such as The Omega Man) had it superimposed over the opening credits.
- Dirty Harry and Billy Jack do not have the "PRESENTS" text.
- Some films had a two-dimensional version of the shield appearing in white over a black background.
- On the 1970 re-release print of the 1956 movie Giant, the Kinney Shield was set over the Classic WB Clouds. It is unknown if this appears on any home video release.
Music/Sounds: Again, the opening/closing theme of the movie's theme or silence.
Availability: As we all know, Warner was incredibly shoddy with logo preservation until recently. AMC and TCM showings of Warner movies MAY include this logo, but expect one of the more recent WB shield logos, most likely the Warner Communications and Time Warner (not Time Warner Entertainment) variations. No logo is seen at all on the 2007 DVD/Blu-ray release of A Clockwork Orange, though it is seen on the earlier 2000 issue. Is seen on the Encore Westerns print of the John Wayne film Chisum, and on the legendary Visconti movie Death in Venice (1971). On AMC, it can be found on Dirty Harry (also seen on the Dirty Harry Ultimate Collection Box Set and DVD releases of the said movie afterwards). The logo is also retained on the DVD releases of The Omega Man, The Cowboys, Billy Jack and THX-1138, as well as an early VHS release of the former. Also found on There Was a Crooked Man... It premiered on Performance and made its final appearance on What's Up, Doc?.
Editor's Note: The shield's simplistic design reflected the style of other logos produced in this time frame.
Nicknames: "Alternate Kinney Shield", "Off-Kilter Shield", "WB Shield VI"
Logo: On a background similar to the last logo, a bannerless WB shield is seen, with the design being more closer to the classic WB shield. "A KINNEY LEISURE SERVICE" is seen below.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The shield looks VERY ugly.
Music/Sounds: The opening audio of the movie.
Availability: Seen on The Man in the Wilderness, which is preserved on the Warner Archive Blu-ray.
Editor's Note: The shield looks very ugly.
(May 24, 1972-January 31, 1973)
Nicknames: "WCI Shield", "Early WCI Shield", "Tiny Shield", "Mini Shield", "WB Shield VII", "Bannerless WB Shield"
Logo: The standard WB shield logo, without the banner. It is on a blue background with "A WARNER COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY " underneath. "Presents", in script, may appear below
Variant: On the 1986 VHS release of Deliverance, the aspect ratio of the logo was changed from 2.35:1 squeezed into 4:3 full screen.
Music/Sounds: Silence or the beginning of the movie's theme.
Availability: Ultra rare. This was on only a few movies to begin with (notably Deliverance, The Candidate, and Super Fly) and has usually been plastered with the 1984 logo in any of its variations, so it's hard to say. This is retained on the latest home video releases of The Candidate and Deliverance, along with airings of the latter on TCM Australia and Fox Classics (the latter in widescreen!). The logo is also preserved on Warner's 1986 VHS and Betamax release of Rage, along with the 1994 VHS of Dracula A.D. 1972. It premiered on Malcolm X (1972) and made its final theatrical appearance at the end of Steelyard Blues.
Editor's Note: An attempt to bring back the classic WB shield. Scraped in favor to include the corporate logo a year later.
(January 31st, 1973-)
Nicknames: The Big "W", "(\\')", "The Worms"
Logo: On a black background, a red abstract "W" consisting of two slanted elongated circles and a shorter elongated circle zooms in towards us. Around halfway through, the words "WARNER BROS" (in the Warner Communications custom typeface) appear below it. The red logo overtakes the screen as a smaller white "W" zooms in. It stops at the middle of the screen and a black square field, whose corners have been rounded and softened, fades in around the logo. "A WARNER COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY" in the same font fades in below. Most of the time, "PRESENTS" fades in below after that (in Helvetica).
Trivia: The Big \\' was designed by Saul Bass (1920-1996), who also designed the Geffen "G" logo. The "Worms" nickname is attributed to an audio commentary on the movie Gremlins.
- On the 1976 film All the President's Men, the logo is in black-and-white and "PRESENTS" is absent. This variant is preserved on the DVD of the film.
- Most times, the word "PRESENTS" fades in after the logo is formed. On some films (including The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie, Just Tell Me What You Want, The Looney, Looney, Looney Bugs Bunny Movie, The Man with Two Brains, National Lampoon's Vacation and Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island), "PRESENTS" fades in at the same time as the byline.
- On Superman: The Movie and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, a white (\\') zooms in on a black background and stops in the middle. The words "RELEASED BY WARNER BROS" fade in below. (Superman retained this on early video releases, but it was replaced by the regular version on later releases, and the 1984 version of the shield on later video releases. It was restored on the film's DVD and Blu-ray releases. Current HD prints of the film as seen recently on Encore HD, remove it and replace it with the variant seen on Flags of Our Fathers, although it's retained on the SD prints.)
- On some other outside productions released by WB (including Superman III, among others), "RELEASED BY WARNER BROS" replaces "WARNER BROS" at the beginning of the logo. (This version was retained on the original video release of Superman III.)
- On the original version of The Exorcist, the logo is austerely presented over a black background.
- On Exorcist II: The Heretic, there is a still image of a black \\' inside a red square field, with "WARNER BROS, A WARNER COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY" below in red.
- On some prints of Night Moves and Dog Day Afternoon, the word "PRESENTATION" appears below the Warner Communications byline, making the phrase "A WARNER COMMUNICATIONS COMPANY PRESENTATION".
- Though the 1973 film Steelyard Blues had the "Big W" logo, it still used an in-credit "Distributed by" version of the early 1972 WB logo at the end.
- On the 1984 VHS release of Class of '44, the logo's 2.35:1 aspect ratio was squeezed into 4:3 full screen.
- On trailers for re-releases, the logo has a copyright notice at the bottom, while on the top it says " A RE-RELEASE FROM WARNER BROS.". This has been seen on reissue trailers of Superman: The Movie and Around the World in 80 Days.
- On The Swarm (1978), the scope version of the logo is seen unmatted at 1.78:1, showing the logo and the red background at a much farther distance.
- Original 1981 home video prints of The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) have this logo at the end of the film, even though it had an in-credit version of the WB Distribution logo at the end.
- On Malcolm X (1992), the scope version of the logo is shown unmatted at 1.78:1, thus it is shown at a farther distance.
- January 16-December 18, 1998: When the rounded rectangle is zooming out to a more further position, "75" and "YEARS" appear from behind the rounded rectangle and move away to surround it. "Entertaining The World" fades in underneath followed by the Warner Communications byline in white and in a different typeface.
- A somewhat enhanced WB logo in 3D was seen on IMAX documentaries and some features.
- Starting with Dolphin Tale, the logo is enhanced.
- The closing "DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS" logo from 1973-1984 had the colors inside out, with the "W" in black and the field in white.
- An early version of this logo had a different font for the text as well. (This version appeared at the beginning of some prints of The Shining).
- A black-and-white version appeared at the end of TCM's print of Onionhead, followed by the 2003 Warner Bros. Television logo.
- An early September 1996 ITV overnight showing of the 1968 film The Heart is a Lonely Hunter had its original W7 logo at the beginning, but this logo, with "PRESENTS", oddly appeared at the end.
- Some early WCI Home Video releases have this closing variant sloppily tacked on at the end of some features, and replacing the Warner Bros. distribution logo at the end of early video prints of Mister Roberts (1955) and replacing the National General Pictures distribution logo at the end of the WCI print of Executive Action (1972).
- 1984-1998: The end logo, seen at the end of most movies, features a simple superimposed Big W. The phrase "DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS." appears above the logo with the owner byline at the bottom. A variation of the credit logo can be seen at the end of The Bonfire of the Vanities with the Big W and below that "Distributed by Warner Bros., A Warner Communications Company".
- December 8, 1988-May 12, 2000: Another ending variation features a still version of the opening logo, but modified with the words "DISTRIBUTED BY WARNER BROS." above the W. This was also used for the beginning of Freejack.
- July 19, 2000-January 19, 2001: Only the words "DISTRIBUTED BY" appear above the W; the "WARNER BROS. PICTURES" text is between the W and the byline. Some releases like Get Carter and Miss Congeniality have the company name reading simply "WARNER BROS.". Also added is the URL byline, www.warnerbros.com, below the owner disclaimer. There is also the print closing logo, but it's very rare and was seen on Invictus.
- February 2, 2001- : This closing logo features the still version with the "WARNER BROS. PICTURES" text added below the "W" logo and above the byline; the words "DISTRIBUTED BY" appear over the logo with the URL address underneath the byline.
- A scope version of the closing logo is much zoomed out, much like the IMAX variant. This was spotted on We Are Marshall.
FX/SFX: The zooming in of the W. Very effective animation that holds up decently today. None for the closing variant.
Music/Sounds: Usually silent, but some movies have the beginning of the movie's theme playing over it.
Music/Sounds Variant: On 1990s prints of How Sweet It Is!, the logo has the fanfare from the film's original distributor, National General.
Availability: Current. Extremely common. This is usually the one that plasters older logos. WB has eased up on this somewhat, and older logos have been seen more often in recent years on newer prints/masters.
Editor's Note: This logo was noted as "drastically simpler" than the previous Warner Bros. logos, and was even considered to be a touch "Nazi-like" by Fast Company magazine. Despite that, it is a favorite of some in the logo community and the movie industry, though a bit too frequent as well, due to this logo plastering other older logos. It's held up remarkably well over the past forty-six years it's been used.
Here is some information about the copyright stamps on the Warner Bros. films:
- 1923-1967: Copyright © by Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
- 1934-1936: Copyright © by Warner Bros. Productions Corp.
- 1926-1960 :Copyright © by The Vitaphone Corp. (short subjects only)
- 1967-1970: Copyright © by Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, Inc.
- 1970-1992: Copyright © by Warner Bros., Inc.
- 1992-2003: Copyright © by Warner Bros.
- 2003-: Copyright © by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.