TWO-SENTENCE HISTORY: An early studio that was among the first to present on-screen credits of its performers, Universal rose to prominence in the 1920s under the guidance of production head Irving Thalberg (who was soon hired away by MGM). The perennially cash-strapped studio had a series of owners after 1962—including a Japanese electronics company and a Canadian liquor distributor—and now is part of General Electric and Comcast.
MEMORABLE FILMS INCLUDE: Frankenstein (1931), Spartacus (1960), Jaws (1975), Back to the Future (1985) and The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
THE LOGO: The studio’s first logo—released in 1927—showed a plane circling around a spinning globe. (At various times, cloudy rings around our planet were added: perhaps our Van Allen radiation belts?) Later versions—like the recent 100th-anniversary logo—are beautiful CG creations, showing increasingly realistic representations of Earth.
VERSIONS: Click here to see a visual history of the logo from 1927 to 2012, and here to see the “8-bit” version used at the beginning of 2010’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.