1. DreamWorks SKG: Boy on the Moon
In 1994, director Steven Spielberg, Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and record producer David Geffen (yes, they make the initial SKG on the bottom of the logo) got together to found a new studio called DreamWorks.
Spielberg wanted the logo for DreamWorks to be reminiscent of Hollywood's golden age. The logo was to be a computer generated image of a man on the moon, fishing, but Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren of Industrial Light and Magic, who has worked on many of Spielberg's films, suggested that a hand-painted logo might look better. Muren asked his friend, artist Robert Hunt to paint it.
Hunt also sent along an alternative version of the logo, which included a young boy on a crescent moon, fishing. Spielberg liked this version better, and the rest is history. Oh, and that boy? It was Hunt's son, William.
The DreamWorks logo that you see in the movies was made at ILM from paintings by Robert Hunt, in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Films (designers of the original storyboards), Dave Carson (director), and Clint Goldman (producer) at ILM.
Photo courtesy of Robert Hunt - Thanks for the neat story, Robert!
2. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM): Leo The Lion
In 1924, studio publicist Howard Dietz designed the "Leo The Lion" logo for Samuel Goldwyn's Goldwyn Picture Corporation. He based it on the athletic team of his alma mater Columbia University, the Lions. When Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the newly formed MGM retained the logo.
Since then, there have been five lions playing the role of "Leo The Lion". The first was Slats, who graced the openings of MGM's silent films from 1924 to 1928. The next lion, Jackie, was the first MGM lion whose roar was heard by the audience. Though the movies were silent, Jackie's famous growl-roar-growl sequence was played over the phonograph as the logo appeared on screen. He was also the first lion to appear in Technicolor in 1932.
The third lion and probably most famous was Tanner (though at the time Jackie was still used concurrently for MGM's black and white films). After a brief use of an unnamed (and very mane-y) fourth lion, MGM settled on Leo, which the studio has used since 1957.
The company motto "Ars Gratia Artis" means "Art for Art's Sake."
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