PolyGram Video

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

PolyGram Video was the home entertainment arm of the Dutch-German media conglomerate PolyGram N.V. Headquartered in Baarn, a town near Hilversum (which is often cited as the Netherlands' media center), the company distributed a majority of the PolyGram Filmed Entertainment library, music videos related to labels owned or distributed by PolyGram, and libraries of other companies and brands. They also distributed BBC Video tapes in Australia until 1996, when distribution of the BBC library in that country was taken over by ABC Video (the Australian "ABC") through Roadshow Entertainment. PolyGram Video also distributed much of the library of Island World before it acquired the company in 1994, and distributed Palm Pictures releases during the first year of the latter's existence.

On December 10, 1998, PolyGram was sold to Seagram & Sons (the former parent of Universal Studios, now part of NBCUniversal). The US division of PolyGram Video was sold to USA Networks, Inc. and renamed USA Home Entertainment. The European division of PolyGram Video was reorganized under the Universal Studios Home Video name.



1st Logo (1982-1991)


Visuals: On a black background, yellow dust begins to form the PolyGram Video logo, which is the text "PolyGram Video" in metallic gold, above a line of red stars, which drop down as the text begins forming. Like a roller-coaster (and the 1980s RKO logo), it zooms forward, dipping down, then flying back up again, also showing a dust effect as it does. The letters in "presents" fly in from the right one-by-one, and a white bar of light passes through the logo twice.

Variants:

  • Releases from Spectrum had their own special variant of this logo including the German one, which can be found here.
  • An extended version of the regular variant exists, which has the logo shining four times.
  • Several international versions (bar the German and Danish versions) may have the "presents" text in their native language, like "presenta" in Spain, "presenteert" in the Netherlands, and "presente" in France.

Technique: Traditional animation.

Audio:

  • A synthesized humming sound, complete with two "whooshes" at the end. Appears mostly on LaserDiscs and American releases.
  • The Spectrum Video jingle. Appears mostly on international releases.

Availability:

  • This logo is seen on the UK pre-cert release of An American Werewolf in London.
  • This logo is also intact on the Image DVD release of Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii, and PolyGram DVD release of Magnum: On the Wings of Heaven, due to the source of the video being an old master.
  • This logo is also seen on a few of RCA/Columbia Pictures Home Video's Musicvision VHS releases featuring artists under the PolyGram umbrella (including Rush: Through the Camera's Eye), but other than that it hardly put in an appearance on U.S. VHS releases.
  • This logo was discontinued around the time the company merged with its PolyGram Music Video subsidiary to expand beyond music titles.

2nd Logo (Germany custom variant) (1980s-1990s)


Visuals: On a black background, a white outline of the previous logo starts to fade in along with several copies expanding and rising up from the bottom, forming a tunnel effect going forwards as the stars appear below it as well. The tunnel effect than starts to "echo" a bit as the logo starts to change between different colors. Eventually, the tunnel effects and color-changing logo go away. Sometimes, the Spectrum logo zooms in below at a larger size than usual or the Arena Records logo appears below, which consists of a rectangular box in white as well as a swoosh shape inside of it, and "ARENA" wipes in below to form an arena-like shape to it.

Technique: Scanimation.

Audio: None or the Spectrum Video theme.

Availability: Seen on German PAL VHS releases such as The Vindicator.

3rd Logo (Denmark custom variant) (1980s)


Visuals: On a red background, "PolyGram" in white moves from the top right corner of the screen to the left-hand side facing the left, then faces the right and move downwards, creating a rollercoaster effect. A line of asterisks (meant to be stars) moves up underneath the PolyGram text. "HOME OF THE STARS" appears going down, then going up, a la the Telepictures "Rollercoaster" logo. An anthropomorphic cartoon parrot smiling while pointing its finger in the air fades to the right. The logo then fades out, leaving just the background. The warning screen follows.

Trivia: When the parrot fades in, some white areas fade in the right corners of the screen.

Variant: On the Spanish VHS release of Breeders (1986) (AKA: La Muerte Ataca New York), the logo fades to black instead of red, leaving out the warning screen.

Technique: Computer effects.

Audio: None.

Audio Variant: On the Spanish VHS release of Breeders (1986) (AKA: La Muerte Ataca New York), three beeps are heard, followed by a sped up, muffled excerpt of "Tonight" by Boytronic.

Availability: Seen on Danish VHS releases of Polygram Video material, and possibly in other countries. [Examples?]

4th Logo (May 1991-August 3, 1993)


Visuals: On a white background with a heavy blue tint, two crosses appear send out two ripples each right before shrinking, with two striped grey discs forming along with a solid pair of them with two concentric rings on the outside of them. They then shrink and reveal two tape spools, which start to become more visible and sketches of the outer tape shell start to form as the video tape parts appears along the rollers set up. A black oval with a large white "P" then wipes in and drops down, following by an outline of a oval as well and drops down with it, pressing like a button to reveal a red upside-down triangle, representing a "V". All of these previously-mentioned actions are also happening at a extreme close-up as well. The text "PolyGram Video" appears one-by-one in sync with the music, and all of the blue tint and close-up action fades away, clearing the logo up.

Variants:

  • On several LaserDisc releases, the animation shows a LaserDisc being formed instead of a VHS tape, and even gains a realistic look and sits inside of a tray. At the end, the logo forms quicker and the disc fades out earlier, the text appears all at once and aligned to the left, and a grey LaserDisc logo (which is the LaserVision logo with "LASER DISC" below it) forms next to it. The closeups then fade out slower than usual.
  • A variant, where a yellow and blue version of the logo appears before its fully formed exists, which was spotted on a French VHS release of Cabaret.
  • A still version with the copyright notice below the logo reading "© POLYGRAM VIDEO 1992" also exists, which is seen at the end of the 1992 UK VHS release of Newcastle United: Ten out of Ten.

Technique: CGI animation.

Audio: A mellow synth-rock theme combined with a whirring sound, with two final notes that echo out at the end.

Audio Variants:

  • On several LaserDisc releases as well as some UK VHS releases, the theme is slightly rearranged.
  • The still variant of the logo is silent.

Availability:

  • NFL Crunch Course and the Buffalo Bills 1993 Video Yearbook are two VHS releases that have this, along with international Mighty Morphin Power Rangers VHS releases (though the next logo was used on the box and tape label).
  • It is also seen on PolyGram's first three known rental releases in the UK (The Crying Game, Dust Devil, and Braindead); a fourth, Reservoir Dogs, ended up being delayed until 1995 due to the lengthy pass through the Parliament of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Bill, which was drafted in 1993 as a response to the murder of James Bulger and was designed partially as an amendment to the Video Recordings Act 1984.
  • Its first appearance was on a trailer tape for PolyGram's June 1991 releases, and its last appearance was on a series of pre-season NFL VHS releases from 1993, including 100 Greatest Touchdowns.
  • This also plasters the PolyGram Music Video logo on later prints of The Moody Blues: Legend of a Band.
  • It is also seen on the 1991 LaserDisc releases of Two Rooms: Celebrating the Songs of Elton John & Bernie Taupin, Genesis: A History, and the 1993 LaserDisc release of NFL Rocks.
  • This logo is also seen on UK VHS releases of Thunderbirds, Stingray, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, Joe 90, Space: 1999, the 1992 UK VHS release of The Gingerbread Man, and the 1993 UK VHS releases of The Gingerbread Man: More Tales from the Kitchen and The New Magic Roundabout, respectively, among many others.
  • It is also seen at the start of the 1992 UK VHS releases of the Bevanfield Films versions of Cinderella and The Jungle Book, respectively.

5th Logo (July 20, 1993-1998)


Visuals: On a black background, the words "PolyGram Video" quickly unfold letter-by-letter. Then, a red line appears underneath, zooming out. The line appears to glow as it zooms out.

Variants:

  • On rental-priced releases, there is a version with a blue wallpaper with PolyGram Video logos in the background. The PolyGram logo also leaves a small shadow.
  • A version with "Coming Soon From" on the screen before the logo plays as normal exists, with the finished logo under it. So far, this has only been spotted on Posse, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, and Fargo with the black background, and on The Basketball Diaries, The Portrait of a Lady, The Usual Suspects and Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh with the blue wallpaper background.
  • A still version exists.
  • Another still version also exists where it's in mid-formation, which is seen on The Crayon Box.
  • On the 1996 U.S. VHS release of The Best of NFL Follies and the 1995 U.S. VHS release of Quarterbacks on Quarterbacks, the NFL Films logo fades in below the logo, with "NFL" either shown in white or blue.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A series of loud "scratching" sounds as the letters appear, a "whoosh" as the line appears and shrinks, and a bang.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, the logo is silent.
  • Rarely, the ending theme would be played.

Availability:

  • Seen on PolyGram releases from the time-period until 1998, such as Mr. Bean VHS releases, A Gnome Named Gnorm, Gridlock'd, Jason's Lyric, Fargo, Canadian Bacon, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh, Posse, Snow White: A Tale of Terror, When We Were Kings, Barb Wire, Home for the Holidays, The Usual Suspects and the releases of The Adventures of Tintin and The Busy World of Richard Scarry, among many others.
  • It is also seen on the 1995 U.S. VHS release of Wishbone: The Slobbery Hound.
  • It is also seen on the original PolyGram DVD releases of Portrait of a Lady and Kalifornia, among others.
  • It is also seen on mid-'90s releases of Atlantic Releasing Corporation films, including a 1995 U.S. VHS release of 1984 and a 1996 U.S. VHS release of Teen Wolf.
  • The "priced for rental" variant appears on The Basketball Diaries and Fargo, as well as PolyGram's early DVD releases.
  • This logo is also seen on the UK VHS releases such as the 1993 UK VHS releases of King Kong: Director's Cut (1933), and The Beano Video, the 1994 UK VHS releases of The Beano Videostars, The Busy World of Richard Scarry, Hurricanes: Hot Dog/Reunion In Rio, and Barney in Concert, the 1995 UK VHS releases of Zig & Zag: Million Quid Vid, and Thunderbirds: Great Rescues, the 1996 UK VHS releases of The 3 Little Pigs, The Smurfs: Big Mouth's Room Mate, The Smurfs: 'Tis The Season to Be Smurfy, Masked Rider: Volume 1, Dennis The Menace: Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow, Loch Ness (1996), and The Singing Kettle Christmas Party, and the 1997 UK VHS releases of The Treacle People: Treacle Trouble, Mr. Holland's Opus, and The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), respectively, among many others.
  • Sometimes, at the end of UK VHS releases such as the 1996 UK VHS release of The Smurfs: Big Mouth's Room Mate, and the 1997 UK VHS release of The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996), among others, the logo is shown before the warning screen.
  • Its first appearance was on KISS: Konfidential.
  • The still version is seen on the 1997 UK VHS release of ReBoot from 4Front Video.
  • It also makes an surprise appearance on the 1998 Image/Polygram Video LaserDisc releases of The Game and Bean: The Movie (both 1997), even though both were released the same year during the 7th logo’s lifespan.
  • It's unknown if this also appears on Australian BBC VHS releases they distributed from 1993-1996.

6th Logo (1996-1997)


Visuals: On a background with what appears to be dark clouds, the usual "PolyGram" text is seen with the usual red line below it. Below that is "VIDEO", aligned to the right of the line. The text zooms in at the beginning, and the entire logo fades out at the end.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: A male announcer saying "Only from PolyGram Video."

Availability: Seen at the end of a PolyGram DVD promo, which can be found on the very first DVD releases released from the company, one example being the 1997 DVD release of Ghost in the Shell (1995).

7th Logo (November 4, 1997-September 14, 1999)


Visuals: Essentially the short videotaped version of its movie and television counterparts, but with "V I D E O" underneath.

Variants:

  • A long version of this logo exists, which is the same as its movie counterpart, aside from the text, which is seen on VHS releases in the UK and international countries.
  • On some promotional trailers for PolyGram releases and Franklin VHS releases from Reader's Digest, the print logo is used instead. It also has a slightly more stylized, more detailed version of the logo flanked by two wings on each side, and the font is also smaller, more spaced out, and presented in one line. The logo is also either in B&W or a solid blue.

Technique: CGI animation.

Audio: None.

Audio Variants: On the U.S. screener VHS release of Bean, it uses the theme from the previous logo, and may possibly be even the first tape to use the logo.

Availability:

  • Seen on PolyGram releases from the time-period until 1999, such as Barney's Great Adventure, What Dreams May Come, Bean, The Borrowers, The Game, Kansas, The Land Girls, Cats, Very Bad Things, The Last Days of Disco, The Proposition, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Clay Pigeons, Elizabeth, U.S. VHS releases of Noddy's Toyland Adventures, and The Big Lebowski, among others.
  • It is also seen on reissued VHS releases of Troll 2, The Graduate, Misery, Needful Things, Platoon, Escape from New York, Howling 2, The Curse, The Sure Thing, and The Producers, among others.
  • It is also seen on the original DVD releases of Ghost in the Shell, Mr. Saturday Night, Return to Paradise, What Dreams May Come, Malice, Needful Things, and Misery, as well as the first DVD releases from Palm Pictures and Manga Entertainment.
  • The long animated variant is seen on the European VHS release of The Real Macaw, the 1998 UK retail VHS releases of The Borrowers and Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie (both 1997), the 1998 UK VHS releases of The Ultimate Comedy Collection and Rolf Harris: Amazing World Of Animals, the 1998 Japanese VHS release of Super Mobile Legend DinaGiga, the 1999 UK VHS releases of The Complete Bagpuss and Animal Farm (1954, 1999 re-release), and Disc 1 of the 1999 Japanese DVD release of Magic Knight Rayearth, respectively, among many others.
  • This logo is also seen on the 1998 World Series VHS release, as well as the 1999 San Antonio Spurs NBA Championship Video.
  • Like the fifth logo, sometimes, at the end of UK VHS releases, the logo is shown before the warning screen.
  • The short version of this logo originated on PAL videotape; however, a PAL format version has yet to surface.
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