Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
wikipedia | 2013-01-15 10:44
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. (CPII) is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies in the world, a member of the so-called Big Six. It was one of the so-called Little Three among the eight major film studios of Hollywood's Golden Age.
The studio, founded in 1919 as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn and Joe Brandt, released its first feature film in August 1922. It adopted the Columbia Pictures name in 1924 and went public two years later. The name is derived from "Columbia", a national personification of the United States, which is used as the company's logo.
In its early years a minor player in Hollywood, Columbia began to grow in the late 1920s, spurred by a successful association with director Frank Capra.
With Capra and others, Columbia became one of the primary homes of the screwball comedy. In the 1930s, Columbia's major contract stars were Jean Arthur and Cary Grant (who was shared with RKO Pictures). In the 1940s, Rita Hayworth became the studio's premier star and propelled their fortunes into the late 1950s. Rosalind Russell, Glenn Ford, and William Holden also became major stars at the studio.
In 1982, the studio was purchased by Coca-Cola; that same year it launched TriStar Pictures as a joint venture with HBO and CBS. Five years later, Coca-Cola spun off Columbia, which merged with Tri-Star to create Columbia Pictures Entertainment. After a brief period of independence with Coca-Cola maintaining a financial interest, the combined studio was acquired by Japanese company, Sony in 1989.
The Columbia logo
Originally in 1924, Columbia Pictures used a logo featuring a female Roman soldier holding a shield in her left hand and a stick of wheat in her right hand.
The first such logo debuted in 1928. This version had no clouds, and had rays emanating from the torch in a flickering style of animation. The lady wore a headdress, and above her were the words "A Columbia Production" ("A Columbia Picture" or "Columbia Pictures Corporation") written in an arch. The illustration was based upon the real actress, Evelyn Venable.
In 1936, the logo was changed: the lady now stood on a pedestal, wore no headdress, and the single word "Columbia" appeared in chiseled letters behind her. The animation was improved so that the torch now radiated light instead of the more artificial-looking rays of light projecting from the torch. There were several variations to the logo over the years—significantly, a color version was done in 1943 for The Desperadoes, and the flag became just a drape with no markings – but it remained substantially the same for 40 years.1976's Taxi Driver was one of the last films to use the mascot in her classic appearance.
From 1976–1993, Columbia experimented with two new logos. The first one was used from 1976–1981, and the second one was used from 1981–1993. Visual effects pioneer Robert Abel was hired by the studio for the first logo's animation. In the 1976 logo, it began with the familiar lady with a torch. Then, the camera zoomed in on the torch, and the torch-light rays then formed an abstract blue semicircle depicting the top half of the rays of light, with the name of the studio appearing under it. This logo was first used on The Who's Tommy and then used on a regular basis starting with Murder by Death. The television counterpart used only the latter part of the logo, and the semicircle was orange. (It sometimes looks red, due to variations in the laboratory development process, but according to Columbia Pictures Entertainment's official logo color coding for their various divisions, it was meant to be orange). The second logo, introduced in 1981, featured the words "Columbia Pictures" straddling the mascot, who was in this case less detailed in appearance. The shape of the lady's body was described as resembling a Coca-Cola bottle.
The current logo was created in 1992, when the logo was repainted digitally by New Orleans artist, Michael Deas. Deas used Jenny Joseph, a homemaker and mother of two children, as the model. The animation, created by Synthespian Studios in 1993 by Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak, starts with a bright light, which zooms out to reveal the torch and then the lady. The duo used 2D elements from the painting and converted it to 3D.
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