Grand National Pictures
Grand National Films, Inc., or Grand National Pictures, was a motion picture studio founded by film exchange manager Edward R. Alperson in 1936. Grand National was originally meant to distribute films in the manner of United Artists or Monogram Pictures, but the studio soon began its own production to compete with the major movie studios when Grand National acquired the studio complex of the defunct Educational Pictures. Grand National was able to acquire James Cagney as an independent producer for a few films, hired Boris Karloff for one film, used singing cowboy Tex Ritter and singing cowgirl Dorothy Page for a series of Westerns, and made a series of mysteries with the character of The Shadow. Grand National made a few features in Cinecolor that they called "Hirlicolor" after producer George Hirliman. Grand National eventually went defunct in 1939; pre-1939 films were re-released by Astor Pictures.
1st Logo (1936-1938)
Logo: We see a large clock tower. The hands on the clock turn, wiping in the words "GRAND NATIONAL".
Variant: On the color movie Captain Calamity (1936) the logo is tinted blue.
Technique: The hands wiping in the words, which appears to be done with stop-motion.
Music/Sounds: It starts off with an ascending string sounder, then a "ding-dong" sound, ending with a 20th Century Fox-like fanfare.
Music/Sounds Variant: Originally, it had a different "ding-dong" sound without the fanfare.
Availability: Extremely rare. Seen on earlier films from the company.
2nd Logo (1938-1964, 1969)
Logo: We are looking up at a clock tower at dusk. As the hands wind around, two chimes are heard, then a musical sting. The words "GRAND NATIONAL" light up, as if neon, when the minute hand passes over them. After two more chimes, the word "Pictures" appears in script below the clock face.
Variant: School for Unclaimed Girls uses a colour variant. The background is dark-blue, the hands of the clock and "Pictures" are white, and "GRAND NATIONAL" is red/orange.
Technique: The winding hands, the "lighting-up" of the words.
Music/Sounds: Same as before.
Availability: Rare. Seen on later films from the company, like Exile Express for an example.
Legacy: The imposing view, the darker surroundings, the sudden appearance of the words, the fanfare, and the grainy film may frighten a number of people, but those who are not threatened by it will have less of a problem.