The video embedded below takes a look at the 1964 Screen Gems logo, aka “the S from Hell,” featuring interviews with survivors still traumatised from the opening of shows like Bewitched or The Monkees. Animation, found footage, and reenactments bring their stories to life.

Written and directed by Rodney Ascher.

Screen Gems was founded in 1939 as a division of Columbia Pictures, but it wasn’t until 1964 when the logo was updated and given an accompanying melody composed by Eric Siday.

“I remember running away from it and hiding behind the couch.”


Interestingly, I can just about make out 3 6’s between the two shapes and the negative space they create. Just sayin.

Does anyone know who designed the logo? Having trouble finding on the innertoobs.

Oh, and for the record, I think it never scared me because I never saw it in color. We didn’t own a color TV until 1969!

All people of a certain age- say 40 or older- had a TV logo that scared the crap out of them- The Paramount ‘closet killer’ from the late 60s, the Viacom ‘Big V’, the old PBS logo from the 70s (that was a creepy Moog as well).

Personally the S from hell I thought was kind of cool.

The absolute SCARIEST though? Not a TV logo but those old Emergency Broadcast System tests- especially with those big stark red and blue ‘CD’ symbols followed by the infamous tone. Now THAT was my nightmare fuel.

Actually, when the National Weather Service breaks in with that lower tone 1/2 second aeroplane like thrum, followed by three seconds of almost howling up buzz that cords up then back down to the (slightly) lower pitch for one second, it’s meant as a warning — bad weather on the way. It’s only played by my local NPR Station as an attention-getter. I think there’s something very similar going on sound-wise in the 60’s Night of Living Dead? Maybe, but brrrghhh, chilling in summertime.

How strange! Then again, I used to burst into tears when I heard the song ‘mule skinner blues’ as a little kid. Something about the “hee hee! he hee heee hee!!” would scare the piss out of me. And so of course, my father would put it on whenever he wanted to get a rise of out me. Sadistic bugger. :p

Born in 1967, I always found (starting in 1970) this animated Screen Gems logo to be fascinating and mysterious. The graphic looked visually abstract but precisely conceived, and the music seemed other worldly and suggestive of deep implications. I didn’t understand why other kids seemed indifferent to it whenever it came on. I remember thinking to myself, “Okay, so this is like the Boeing 747, something from the deeply sophisticated world run by adults that I will someday understand. But right now I’m just a kid.”

I have ALWAYS loved that special sound, played in the 60s with the Screen Gems logo at the end of many TV shows. I still, today (2023), sometimes listen to it over and over. I played it for a couple of friends and they immediately said… “that’s from the 60s!”

For me, the ultimate horror logo was the Public Television Owl in the 1960s – I had to turn my head away from the TV it freaked me out so much. I still don’t like looking at it today!

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