Categories: History

The Interesting History Behind Columbia Pictures’ Iconic Torch Lady

You've seen the logo hundreds of times but do you know the story behind it?

If you are a movie fan, then you are surely familiar with the logos of different movie companies. When we see a castle, we know its Walt Disney while we’re sure it’s Paramount when we see a mountain. Warner Bros, on the other hand, features the iconic shield while DreamWorks shows us a boy fishing as he sits on the moon.

Undoubtedly one of the most recognizable logos in the film industry is Columbia Pictures’ which prominently features a lady that probably reminds people about the Statue of Liberty, more or less.

So what’s the story behind this logo and who is that lady? Well let’s turn back the hands of time and find out!

Well first and foremost…

The company was founded in June 19, 1918 as CBC Film Sales.

It was then called CBC Film Sales Corporation after the last names of the founders; brothers Henry Cohn and Jack Cohn, and Joe Brandt.

They later changed the name to Columbia Pictures in 1924.

This was their logo from that year until 1928. As you can see, the studio’s logo featured a female Roman Soldier back then instead of the Torch Lady.

The company eventually launched this early version of the Torch Lady and used the logo from 1928 to 1936.

The woman can be seen wearing a headdress. Also, take note of the draped flag.

Columbia’s logo which was launched in 1936.

The Torch Lady was later updated with an added pedestal and her headdress removed.

The 1943 colored version.

The notable difference here, aside from the logo, is the fact that the markings in the draped flag were removed. This was following the implementation of a federal law that made it illegal to wear the American flag as clothing.

From 1976 to 1981, the company used two logos.

Finally, the current logo was created in 1992.

The oil painting was done by artist Michael J. Deas with 22-year-old Jennifer Joseph as the model.

According to Jenny Joseph, this was her first and last time to ever work as a model.

In an interview, she shared she was working as a graphic artist at the time and agreed to help out Deas during a lunch break. Both of them work at the same newspaper

Joseph said:

“So we just scooted over there come lunchtime and they wrapped a sheet around me and I held a regular little desk lamp, a side lamp… and I just held that up and we did that with a light bulb.”

Meanwhile, Deas admitted:

“I never thought it would make it to the silver screen and I never thought it would still be up 20 years later, and I certainly never thought it would be in a museum, so it’s kind of gratifying.”

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