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My rewrite of Columbia Pictures#The Columbia logo in February 2009. I dug up some good sources; later I found some of it already covered at the Closing Logos wiki.

Also, a shortened version of List of Columbia Pictures films.




Columbia's logo, a lady carrying a torch and draped in the American flag (representing Columbia, a personification of the United States), has gone through five major revisions.[1][2][3][4]

The logo originally appeared in 1924. This version had no clouds, and had rays emanating from the torch in a flickering style of animation. The "Torch Lady" wore a headdress, and above her were the words "A Columbia Production" written in an arch.[1][2]

In 1936, the logo was changed: the "Torch Lady" now stood on a pedestal, wore no headdress, and the single word "Columbia" appeared in chiseled letters behind her. The animation was improved so that the torch now radiated light instead of the more artificial-looking rays of light projecting from the torch. There were several variations to the logo over the years—significantly, a color version was done in 1943 for The Desperados,[3] and the flag became just a drape with no markings—but it remained substantially the same for 40 years.[1][2] 1976's Taxi Driver was one of the last films to use the "Torch Lady" in her classic appearance.[4]

In 1976,[1] Columbia (like other studios) experimented with a new logo. Visual effects pioneer Robert Abel was hired by the studio for this logo's animation.[5] It began with the familiar lady with a torch. Then, the camera zoomed in on the torch, and the torch-light rays then formed an abstract blue semicircle depicting the top half of the rays of light, with the name of the studio appearing under it. (A variation on this was used in the 2007 film Superbad.) The television counterpart used only the latter part of the logo, and the semicircle was either orange or red.

The Torch Lady returned in 1981, replacing this "sunburst" logo. The words "Columbia Pictures" now straddled the Torch Lady, who was less detailed in appearance. The shape of the lady's body was described as resembling a bottle of Coca-Cola (which owned Columbia at the time).[1]

The current logo was created in 1993, when the logo was repainted digitally by New Orleans artist, Michael Deas,[6] who was commissioned to return the lady to her "classic" look.[7][4] The animation starts with a bright light, which zooms out to reveal the torch and then the lady. Deas used Jenny Joseph, a homemaker and mother of two children[8] but used a composite for the face. The television counterpart used a still version of this logo, which actually debuted in 1992, a year before the movie counterpart debuted.


The first model for the logo is unknown, and Columbia have said that they have no record or documentation. Women who have been said to be the Torch Lady include:

  • Claudia Dell: Bette Davis made a passing remark in her 1962 autobiography about "Little Claudia Dell, whose image was used as Columbia Pictures' signature for years".[9]
  • Rose Edna Turiello who was an employee of Columbia Pictures in New York City was in fact the original model. In 1981 her husband James Turiello had in his possession several photographs of Rose which were dated and inscribed with the Columbia Pictures stamp verified as 100% genuine.

These photos depicted a model, (Rose), with a torch as well as a garment drapped over her shoulder in the classic pose. Even though the logo did change numerous times the facial structure of Rose Turiello remained the one constant component. Her son James Turiello Jr. was unable to discuss his fathers claim with Columbia executives because they stated, " everyone who worked in our New York location have been dead over 60 years, so who cares".

  • (Frances) Amelia Bachelor, a Texas-born model and minor actress, in a 1987 article in People magazine, recounted modeling for the logo after having been asked by Harry Cohn in 1936.[10][11][12]
  • Jane Bartholomew: A February 26, 2001 article in the Chicago Sun-Times (page 5), said "she was one of several extras ordered by Columbia boss Harry Cohn to pose as Miss Liberty", and "is certain the icon was based on her likeness".[13][14]
  • Evelyn Venable: It has also been reported that the model for the (1936–1976) logo was Evelyn Venable.[3][15]
  • It has been mistakenly rumored that Annette Bening was the model for the (1993–) logo; this arose from the fact that for What Planet Are You From? (2000), the Columbia logo was superimposed with Annette Bening's face.[16]
  • Jenny Joseph: A homemaker and mother of two, she was the model for the logo that has been used since 1993, as confirmed by the painter Michael Deas.[8]


The logo has sometimes been used in special ways for some movies. The Mouse That Roared (1959) had a live action logo who was shown being frightened by a mouse, and in Cat Ballou (1965) she became a cartoon Jane Fonda with a six-shooter in each hand.[17] She also danced before the opening credits of Thank God It's Friday (1978), and appeared decapitated with her head resting at her feet at the end of Strait-Jacket.[3][16][18]


[1], [2]











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