Four Star International
Four Star Television (also known as "Four Star Productions", "Four Star Films", and starting in 1968 as "Four Star Entertainment") was formed in 1952 by prominent Hollywood actors: Dick Powell, David Niven, Ida Lupino, and Charles Boyer (hence the name of the company), with their first program Four Star Playhouse. In 1967, David Charnay acquired the company and was renamed to "Four Star International". Compact Video acquired Four Star International in 1986; when Compact shut down, Four Star was made an in-name-only unit of owner Ronald Perelman's Andrews Group, and became part of New World Entertainment after Perelman acquired that company in 1989. Today, most of the Four Star shows are currently held by 20th Century Fox Television and distributed by 20th Television.
1st Logo (September 25, 1952-July 26, 1956)
Nicknames: Stacked Stars
Logo: In the end credits of Four Star Playhouse, we fade to the text “A FOUR STAR” written at the top of the screen. Below it one-by-one appear four stars, stacked and each bearing names of the producers to the right, depending at the order:
Below them the words “PRODUCTION, INC.” appear, along with a smaller copyright stamp.
Trivia: The people named in the logo are the producers of Four Star Playhouse, who double-duty as recurring lead players in the show.
- In some episodes of this show, Joan Fontaine's name replaces Ida Lupino's in this logo due to Fontaine's appearances in those episodes.
- A rare version of this logo has the words "A FOUR" appear, followed by four stars appearing diagonally left to right, then the word "PRODUCTION" appear below it. This logo appeared at the beginning of the closing credits for some episodes of Four Star Playhouse.
FX/SFX: Just the appearing of the stars and words.
Music/Sounds: It plays over the Four Star Playhouse end theme, composed by Leon Klatzkin.
- It was seen intact on all episodes of Four Star Playhouse, as the logo is part of the end credits. Select episodes were given VHS releases by Marathon Music and Video during the '90s.
- This logo does not appear on the episodes of Four Star Playhouse, streaming on MeTV's website, as the credits are cut short.
2nd Logo (1956-April 27, 1966)
Nickname: "The Banner (of Doom)"
Logo: On a space background, we see four big stars with shadows extending down and meeting at a vanishing point. From the vanishing point, a shady banner with the words “FOUR STAR” in a majestic font zoom up to just below the stars.
- On Four Star shows produced in color starting in 1965, the logo has a blue tint.
- The opening variant would have the word "Presents" fade in below the logo.
- A sped-up version also exists, with faster animation and an abridged version of the Schrader fanfare.
- A sped-up logo with an abridged version of the Gilbert fanfare also exists.
- An in-credit version of this logo was seen on People Will Talk, The Celebrity Game, Shenanigans, P.D.Q, Showdown, and the 1965 pilot of The Hollywood Squares that were co-produced by Heatter-Quigley Productions.
FX/SFX: The “FOUR STAR” banner zooming-up. The fade in of "Presents" in the opening variant.
- 1956-1959: A booming fanfare composed by Rudy Schrader, usually accompanied with an announcer saying: “Filmed by Four Star” or “This Has Been a Four Star Production”.
- 1958-1965: A rearranged version of the last logo. A low tone version exists with the announcer saying: "This Has Been a Four Star Production”.
- 1965?: Another rearranged version of the last logo but a little more bombastic. A long version exists.
- 1965-1966: Later in its existence, it was replaced with another fanfare composed by Joseph Mullendore (which sounds like a combination of the Desilu "Merging Circles" fanfare and the first Four Star fanfare).
- 1965-1966: A more patriotic fanfare composed by Herschel Burke Gilbert.
Music/Sounds Variant: On a TV print of the The DuPont Show with June Allyson episode "The Haven", two copies of the logo theme played over the logo, overlapping each other; this is either a production error or an error by the network that aired it.
- This is seen on The Big Valley reruns on Me-TV and on DVD (not the international releases, as it was removed in favor of the 2011 StudioCanal logo at the beginning), as well as on Honey West.
- The in-credit version is extinct and was seen only on the short-lived game show Shenanigans and the pilot of The Hollywood Squares.
3rd Logo (1961?-1965)
Nicknames: "Album Cover", "Zooming Vertical Stars", "Zooming Four Star Ribbon"
Logo: A gray box zooms in into the screen, which contains several thin lines seen on the left and a thick black horizontal line dividing it in two. On the right, we see the words “FOUR STAR”, in a thick slab serif (it bears a resemblance to Clarendon). Four white stars are shown on the set of lines. The word "TELEVISION" is shown under the company name.
Variant: The opening variant would have the name fade away for the word "PRESENTS" under the line.
FX/SFX: The zoom in. The name fading away for "PRESENTS" in the opening variant, as well.
Music/Sounds: The same 1958 fanfare composed by Rudy Schrader, in a slightly higher pitch.
4th Logo (September 12, 1966-March 18, 1968)
Nicknames: "Diamonds", "Flying Triangles"
Logo: On a cerulean blue brush-stroke space background, we see a set of ten multicolored diamonds (five on top, five on bottom) stacked together, each composed of a top and bottom triangle (each half a different color). The diamonds split up into triangles and fly, and each of the triangles of a particular identical color merge at the bottom ends, forming four stars of the colors from left-to-right: green, red, white, and baby blue. The words “FOUR” and “STAR” pop out from the top and bottom of the stars, respectively, to complete the logo.
FX/SFX: The triangle animations, and the “FOUR” and “STAR” uncovering.
Music/Sounds: The same Herschel Burke Gilbert fanfare used as the third music for the 2nd logo with twinkle sounds, either full or abridged.
Availability: Rare. This appears on Me-TV's Big Valley reruns and on DVD.
5th Logo (September 23, 1968-1974)
Nicknames: "Album Cover II", "Four Star ‘70", "Vertical Stars", "Four Star Ribbon"
Logo: On a black background, several thin Persian blue lines are seen on the left of the screen, and a thick red horizontal line divides the screen in two. On the right, we see the words “FOUR STAR” in a thin white Hellenic font, placed in between the red line. Suddenly, four yellow stars pop into place on the set of lines. After the last star appears, the word "International", in a red script typeface, fades in under the company name, with the whole thing looking similar to the 3rd logo.
Trivia: This logo is based on the 1961 logo, but with certain differences.
Variant: At one point, the word "presents" appear underneath the logo.
FX/SFX: The stars popping into place, and the word "International" fading in.
Music/Sounds: A short "ringing" sound, followed by a gently tinkling woodwind, riding cymbals, and harpsichord scale, ending with a single orchestra hit.
- Sometimes the "ringing" sound is skipped.
- Another abridged variant of the theme exists.
Availability: Same as above. This appears on Me-TV's reruns and the DVD of The Big Valley.
6th Logo (1984-1989)
Nicknames: "CGI-4", "The Filmstrip 4", "The 4-Star"
Logo: On a black background, we see four large 2D red stars, one-by-one, zoom by from left to right at an angle. As the 4th star appears, the number “4” comes from the right and attaches itself to the star. The background then gets spotlit with lavender, and three lines (the first slightly thicker than the others) pass over the logo and settle under, wiping the silver words “FOUR” and “STAR" to the left and right of the logo, respectively. The logo later “shines”.
- A shortened variant with the logo completely formed exists.
- A rare opening variant is used at the beginning of some colorized/Stereo-simulated prints of classic films in which the Four Star logo, the company name, and "STEREO" (which is silver, but not set in the same typeface) flash in one-by-one in the bottom right corner.
- On several episodes of Matchmaker, the first half of this logo is superimposed on the closing credits.
FX/SFX: The star animations, the background turning purple, the line animations, and the “shine”.
- A rising new-age synth theme that sounds like THX's "Deep Note".
- On Matchmaker, Bill Armstrong (later Susan Tangman?) would announce, "Matchmaker is a Four Star production".
Availability: Very rare. Four Star’s output was coming to an end by this time. This was last seen on 1984-1985 episodes of Mad Movies with the L.A. Connection, as well as mid-'80s prints of the game shows Liar’s Club and Matchmaker, and the 1987 colorized version of Scrooge in syndication, as well on the 1997 Canadian VHS of the B&W version.
Editor's Note: This was a fitting end to a company with a memorable library of logos.