Twentieth Century Pictures

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Twentieth Century Pictures, Inc. (also known as 20th Century Pictures, Inc.) was an American independent motion picture production company created in 1932 by Joseph M. Schenck, the former president of United Artists, Darryl F. Zanuck from Warner Bros. Pictures, William Goetz from Fox Film Corporation, and Raymond Griffith. Their material was released theatrically under United Artists.

Logo (October 7, 1933-April 17, 1936)

Visuals: On a dark sky background, 3 rows of words, "20th", "CENTURY", and "PICTURES, INC.", apparently carved out of stone and/or metal, are seen. The words are "stacked" on top of each other, with similarly carved lines separating the rows. The "20th" is the biggest row, with "CENTURY" and "PICTURES, INC." a bit smaller. A circular stage-like structure juts out from the base of the "stack," with a light below the structure that shines in front of the "stack". There are pedestals on both sides of the stack, each with a non-moving searchlight. In the background, several searchlights scan the sky.

Closing Title: Superimposed on a special background or sometimes on the last scene of a movie, fade in the words "The End" with fonts that vary on different movies with the following closing texts: "A 20th Century Picture" and below in a smaller font "Released Thru United Artists".


  • This logo was designed by Emil Kosa, Jr., with animating the logo in his then-recent logo formed special effects studio for the company.
  • Two searchlights in the background can be seen bending, which is considered to be an impossible phenomenon.

Technique: The monument was created as a painting on several layers of glass, and the searchlights were traditionally animated frame-by-frame.

Audio: A seven-note marching drum intro leading into a 21-note full orchestra theme that ends with a horn flourish. The fanfare was composed and conducted by Alfred Newman, which has become one of the most famous pieces of music in the world. On some films, the first drum roll is cut off due to whatever surviving audio elements were used on the film print.

Audio Variants: There were at least two re-recordings of the fanfare that were different than the later re-recording used in the TCF logo. One of the two was used on 1935's Les Miserables and The Call of the Wild.

Availability: Seen on streaming prints of The Bowery, the Cinema Archives DVD-R of Clive of India, and TV airings of The House of Rothschild along with Blood Money whenever they air on TCM or the FXM Retro block on FXM. The logo premiered on The Bowery and made its final appearance on Folies-Bergère. Although most prints of The Call of the Wild (1935) have this plastered with the 1953 logo, this has been resurfaced on the Blu-ray release (since it uses a new restoration).

Legacy: This logo is well-remembered as the predecessor to one of the most famous movie logos of all time.

Final Note

Twentieth Century Pictures would later merge with Fox Film Corporation, forming Twentieth Century-Fox in 1935.

External Links

Twentieth Century Pictures
Fox Film
20th Century Studios
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