Universal Pictures

Universal Pictures (Czechoslovakia) / 1930

back next

Design: Evidently not intended for point-of-sale display, but to accompany a film reel. The movie 'King of Jazz,' which was released in 1930, starred Paul Whiteman and his orchestra. Whiteman, whose very name gave offence to some, was a portly, immaculately groomed and balding figure (right) who always wore a starched collar and bow tie onstage. A classically trained musician, he had risen to fame by presenting a polished, sophisticated form of jazz acceptable to the largely white American public. However, the title of 'King' which had been bestowed upon him by the media was rejected by jazz music purists, who maintained that jazz, an expression of the raw and seedy underbelly of life, could only be genuinely experienced by the Afro-American underclass, and was therefore the sole creation and preserve of black artists.

History: Music researcher and collector Gabriel Gössel of Czechoslovakia, who writes: "Explicit enough ­ but there never was any 'Czecho-Slovakian' language; it was either Czech or Slovak." The Universal Films logo (below) shows the earth, encircled by Saturn-like rings, against a background of puffy clouds, and showing the roughly-drawn contour of the North American continent overlaid by lettering. However, on the label over the spindle hole, the wording is laid over the Saturnalian rings.

site map   era index