Goldwyn Pictures

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum

Background

Goldwyn Pictures Corporation was founded in 1916 by Samuel Goldfish (born Schmuel Gelbfisz) in partnership with Broadway producers Edgar and Archibald Selwyn using an amalgamation of both surnames to create the name ("Selfish" was another option). Intrigued with the company's name, Goldfish had his name legally changed to "Samuel Goldwyn". In 1919, the company was purchased by Marcus Loew as a supplier of products for his theater chain.

In 1924, Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, forming Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.



1st Logo (September 16, 1917-1923)


Visuals: Over a black background is a circle made of ribbon-like filmstrips which have two filmstrips flowing out the bottom side, which looks like it's in twos. Underneath the circle is a Greek drama mask. A wreath surrounds it. The circle has the phrase "ARS GRATIA ARTIS" (Latin for "Art for Art's Sake") inscribed at the top, and the bottom is a marquee that reads "A GOLDWYN PICTURE". On the left side is the word "TRADE", and on the right is the word "MARK". Inside the circle is a live-action footage of a lion (name unknown, nicknamed "Leo" by Samuel Goldwyn). The lion moves his head from left to right throughout and does not roar due to movies being silent at the time of the logo's creation.

Variants:

  • At the end of The Ace of Hearts, there is a wood background, with the table, with the two masks above the two lions at the center, with the text above are the words "A GOLDWYN PICTURE". There is the title of the movie below the two lions "THE ACE OF HEARTS.". There is also a small mask at the bottom of the table.
  • There is a sepia variant of the logo.

Trivia: The logo was designed by Howard Dietz, an advertising man and then-recent graduate of Columbia University, who would go on to hold many offices at MGM.

Closing Variant: On the left-bottom corner of the screen, there is the small Goldwyn Pictures print logo, which consists of a lion statue resting on top of a pedestal reading "GOLDWYN PICTURES". There is a lion on a pedestal at the left-bottom of the screen, the film's chapter name is written at the center.

Technique: Live-action footage with an illustration composited over it. The end cards and chapter cards are still illustrations.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: As with the first Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logo, most films that have this logo either got destroyed in the 1965 MGM vault fire or were plastered by then-future Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logos, with the same going for the other logos from the company. The only known surviving movies containing this logo are The Ace of Hearts and The Penalty, the latter of which has the logo at the end and is plastered on some prints with the MGM "Lion Marquee" endcap. It was stated that the first appearance of the logo is Polly of the Circus. However, the surviving prints of the aforementioned film do not have this logo.

Legacy: This marks the first appearance of the famed lion, filmstrip, and "ARS GRATIA ARTIS (ART FOR ART'S SAKE)" tagline, all of which would become synonymous with MGM.

2nd Logo (December 8, 1920)


Visuals: A still painting of a lion (name unknown) in a traditional-looking MGM logo, but the film ribbon and drama mask can barely be seen. The words "TRADE" and "MARK" still appear on either side of the lion. Instead of the usual marquee, the words "A Goldwyn Picture" appear above the lion in Blackletter font.

Variant: There are the words "A GOLDWYN PICTURE." inside the black table with the flowers in the background above.

Technique: This is a still painting.

Audio: The film's opening fanfare.

Availability: Only known to appear on What Happened to Rosa. Also appears early on in the 1993 documentary Ben-Hur: The Making of an Epic.

Legacy: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer logos would later adopt a similar design in 1953 (33 years later), placing the company's name above the circle.

3rd Logo (March 27, 1923-January 20, 1924)


Visuals: The ribboning and the marquee look the same as the first one but with a different lion. The logo begins with the lion (name unknown) staring to one side, then immediately skips after a second to the lion staring at the other side, then it skips to the lion looking down, turning his head, and looking at the camera with a slight snarl. After that, he roars a bit. After a second, it skips to the lion looking directly at the camera.

Variants:

  • There is also a sepia-toned version.
  • There is a blue-toned variant on Souls for Sale.
  • A still image containing another version of this logo was spotted on a 2011 CBS Sunday morning news broadcast. Here, the logo is brighter due to film deterioration, and the lion's appearance is different as well. He also stares directly at the camera. Unfortunately, this version of the logo is currently lost, possibly from the vault fire that happened in 1965.

Technique: Live-action footage with an illustration composited over it. There are skips throughout the footage, likely due to deterioration or splicing.

Audio: None or the opening theme of the film.

Availability: The only known surviving movies containing this logo are Wild Oranges and Souls for Sale.

Goldwyn Pictures
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios
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