Key Video

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Key Video was a sub-label of CBS/Fox Video for low-budget, classic, arthouse, and TV movie releases on video. It was later reactivated by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment as Key DVD to distribute budget DVDs, but the reformation was short-lived.

1st Logo (placeholder logo) (Summer 1984)

Visuals: On a computerized space background, the words "KEY VIDEO" in a Helvetica font appear with a dissolving effect, arranged in a spiral-like fashion. They spin and spiral around five times in a Möbius strip path. After that, they arrange themselves in a straight line, then dissolve with a "chyron mist" effect.

Variant: A B&W variant of the logo exists for films in B&W.

Technique: Computer graphics done on a Quantel Mirage.

Audio: A heavy synth theme that seems to increase in pitch during its duration. This is from the Emil Ascher, Inc. library titled “Upsweep” (later reissued on Parry Music as "Sports Break").

Availability: This is most likely a placeholder for the next logo below.

  • Can be found on VHS releases of Who'll Stop the Rain, The Buddy System, Listen to Your Heart (not to be confused with the Roxette/D.H.T. song of the same name), Where's Poppa?, Burn!, Zardoz, and Buffalo Bill and the Indians.
  • The B&W version was so far sighted on a 1984 VHS release of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
  • Known later appearances include The Train and The Hospital.

2nd Logo (September 1984-1990)

Visuals: On a shady gray background, two 3-D elongated shapes and a cylinder flip towards the screen. The shapes align together, forming the outline of a key, as the 3-D words "KEY VIDEO" zoom out below. The logo "shines" and turns colorful, the top half blue, the circle part red, and the bottom half purple. "KEY VIDEO" (in ITC Lubalin Graph Bold font) is a shade of pink, white, and blue.


  • The logo sometimes appears in black and white.
  • On the lower right of where the company name is, there is either a trademark symbol "TM" or a registered trademark symbol "®".
  • This has appeared in orange, blue, and green colors at least once. The background is a more yellowish color and the "KEY VIDEO" text is shaded in green, white, and orange. This is actually the entire logo hue-shifted by 180 degrees.
  • The Chace Surround Sound logo may appear at the top left of the screen. This is on the one known instance of the orange/green variant.
  • The logo is scaled down to the lower-right of the screen on parts where it explains what the preview about to be shown is about.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A synth tune with a long beginning, ending in 3 synth chords with soothing drums.

Audio Variants:

  • On the 1987 VHS of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a male voiceover (Bill St. James, VO artist for HBO, Showtime, Adult Swim, and Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, and host of the weekend radio show TimeWarp) says "Watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of the Humphrey Bogart series from Key Video's Spotlight Collection".
  • On the Woody Allen VHS releases, St. James says "Watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of the Woody Allen from Key Video's Spotlight Collection".
  • On the 1987 VHS re-release of Blue Hawaii, St. James says "Be sure to watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of Key Video's Elvis Presley Collection".


  • Tapes with this logo include Where the Boys Are '84 (the first film distributed by TriStar, and one of the first 26 Key Video releases to use this logo), The Vindicator, My Man Adam, P.I. Private Investigations, Anguish, Shock Treatment, Lovelines, The Boss's Wife, Fever Pitch, Zardoz, Roustabout, Bedroom Eyes, Inferno, The Legend of Billie Jean, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, A Guide for the Married Man, Paradise Hawaiian Style, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, High Anxiety, 92 in the Shade, The Gospel According to Vic, Lies, The Good Father, Eat the Peach, Prime Cut, The Park is Mine, and Tomorrow's Child, among others.
  • An out-of-sync version appears on the 1985 VHS of Helter Skelter (one of the rarest Key Video titles). This is retained by surprise on the 1997 20th Century Fox Selections VHS of Better Off Dead, seen after the 1995 Fox Video logo.
  • The black and white variant was spotted on the Key Video releases of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, Jules and Jim, and Young Frankenstein, among other black and white films.
  • The green/orange variant appears on the VHS release of Footlight Serenade. It is unknown if it has appeared any other times, or if there is a version without the Chace bug.

3rd Logo (Early 2000s)

Visuals: On a white background is a black key with the prongs pointed upward inside a black rectangle. The text "KEY VIDEO" (or "KEY DVD") in Engravers Gothic font is seen below the rectangle.

Variant: An inverted variant exists with the logo in white on a black background.

Technique: A still vector graphic.

Audio: None.

Availability: Can be found on any DVD sporting the Key DVD logo, such as Slaughter of the Innocents. This also appears on the original DVD of Basket Case 3: The Progeny, even though the packaging says 20th Century Fox. The DVD Goosebumps: The Ghost Next Door strangely has the Key DVD logo on the entire packaging, but this logo doesn't appear.

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