National General Corporation

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


National General Corporation origins as a studio started as "National Theatres, Inc." in 1952, when an anti-trust decree forced 20th Century-Fox Film Corporation to spin-off its exhibition holdings. By the early 1960s, National Theatres became a diversified company, National General Corporation, whose operations included insurance and real estate. In 1965, National General signed a deal to produce films for Columbia Pictures. After their original deal expired in 1967, National General signed an exclusive distribution deal with the CBS-owned film production subsidiary, Cinema Center Films. When the company failed to acquire Warner Bros.-Seven Arts in 1969, the film production unit eventually closed, distributing films until 1973. National General sold the former 20th Century-Fox theaters to Ted Mann. Today, the in-house productions are owned by Warner Bros. Pictures, while the Cinema Center films are owned by successor CBS Films (although Cinema Center does retain the copyright). National General, out of the film industry, was sold to the American Financial Group, Inc. in 1974.

Alongside Cinerama Releasing Corporation and Commonwealth United Entertainment, National General was considered one of Hollywood's "instant major" studios.

1st Logo (1960s-1970)

Visuals: On a red background, 4 yellow "G"'s slide in from all sides of the screen towards the center. After they all joined together into a single copy, the "G" becomes metallic as the stacked letters "nc" fade inside of the "G", and then the text "NATIONAL GENERAL COPRORATION" fades in below.

Technique: Motion-controlled animation.

Audio: A bombastic fanfare similar to the 20th Century Fox/Studios fanfare. Sometimes, it is silent or has the opening them/audio to the film.

Audio Variant: On US prints of Twisted Nerve, the drum fanfare from the 1963 British Lion Films logo plays over this logo. It actually works quite well with the logo, if only it were synchronised better.

Availability: It is seen on National General films of this time period, but was sometimes plastered by the 1984 or 1992 Warner Bros. Pictures logos. It is preserved on The Stalking Moon, Charro, Twisted Nerve and Daddy's Gone a Hunting!. Films produced by Cinema Center Films will go straight to that studio's 1968 logo.

2nd Logo (August 7, 1968-August 9, 1972)

Visuals: Just a credit that says "A CINEMA CENTER FILMS PRESENTATION" with "A NATIONAL GENERAL RELEASE" below it on a blue background.

Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: None or the closing theme.

Availability: It was seen on films produced by Cinema Center Films, but is usually removed from current prints. It is preserved on A Boy Named Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Come Home, The Reivers, and Boys In The Band.

3rd Logo (October 1, 1970-1971, 1972)

Visuals: On a sky blue background, a metallic gold spoked wheel, made up of 10 interlocked "L" shapes, zooms in while rotating clockwise. Once it zooms up far enough, the "G" from before appears and the wheel pieces disappear one-by-one into the bars of the "G". Then, the "nc" zooms in and stops within the "G". The text "NATIONAL GENERAL COPRORATION" or "NATIONAL GENERAL" then fades in below. Everything has a drop shadow.

Variant: There is a version where the logo says "NATIONAL GENERAL".

Technique: Motion-controlled animation with a static metallic effect.

Audio: Silent or the opening theme/audio to the film.

Audio Variant: On the original American theatrical release of Latitude Zero, it has opening tanko drums. It actually plastered over the 1950 Toho Co., Ltd. logo. The Toho logo was retained on the Tokyo Shock DVD release while retaining the drums, possibly due to Tokyo Shock using the original Japanese print.

Availability: Like the first logo, this logo was short-lived and it was seen on films of this period and is usually plastered by the 1984 or 1998 Warner Bros. Pictures logos. Currently preserved on The Baby Maker and The Todd Killings. This was restored on the Warner Archive Blu-Ray release of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean after being previously plastered by the 1992 WB logo on DVD release.

4th Logo (1972)

Visuals: Just the text "NATIONAL GENERAL PICTURES", with "Presents" below, on a blue background.

Closing Visuals: Same as the opening version, but with "Released by" above the text, and the "G" logo below replacing "Presents".

Technique: A still card produced on print.

Audio: None for the opening variant, while the closing theme from the film on the closing variant.

Audio Variant: On the Kino Lorber DVD and Blu-Ray release of Me, Natalie, the 1990 Viacom "Wigga Wigga" music is heard over the ending logo. This is probably due to the 2k restoration using the original negatives (which lack an audio soundtrack), while the English audio track was sourced from a 1990s Digibeta tape master. Whoever edited the audio together didn't check for the Viacom logo at the end.

Availability: It was seen on the 2000 GoodTimes Entertainment DVD release of The Big Boss (originally and also known as Fists of Fury), which uses the original American theatrical print of the film, however, it is not present on the 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/Fortune Star DVD release of the film. Also found on The Dead Are Alive, and the Prism Entertainment VHS of The Master Touch with Kirk Douglas (which the company used a U.S. print for the film, as well as public domain DVDs sourced from the same print). U.S. theatrical prints of The One-Armed Boxer (or, The Chinese Professionals) may also have this. Like the previous logo, this was also restored on the Warner Archive Blu-Ray release of The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean, seen at the end of the film after being previously plastered by the 1992 WB logo on DVD release.

National General Corporation
Warner Bros. Pictures
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