Key Video

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Descriptions by
Jess Williams, James Stanley Barr, and wisp2007

Captures by
wisp2007, Eric S., codyfinke, Dean Stewart Rumsey, and V of Doom

Editions by

Video captures courtesy of
Watcher3223, TheLogoChamp, and DudeThatLogo


Key Video was a sub-label of CBS/Fox for low-budget, classic, arthouse, and TV movie releases on video. It was later reactivated by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment as Key DVD to distribute budget DVDs, but the reformation was short-lived.

1st Logo (June 1984)

Logo: On a computerized space background, the words "KEY VIDEO", in a yellow Helvetica font, appear with a dissolving effect, arranged in a spiral-like fashion. They spin and spiral around five times in a Möbius strip path. After that, they arrange themselves in a straight line, then dissolving out with a "chyron mist" effect.

Variant: A B&W variant of the logo exists for films in B&W. So far, this is known only to appear on the 1984 VHS release of the 1948 film The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

FX/SFX: The space background, and the words dissolving, spiraling, and arranging in a straight line. 2D CGI graphics done on a Quantel Mirage.

Music/Sounds: A heavy synth theme that seems to increase in pitch during its duration.

Availability: Extremely rare, due to its very short lifespan and the fact that releases with this logo carried the next logo's packaging. Can be found on VHS releases of Who'll Stop the Rain, The Buddy System, Listen to Your Heart (not to be confused with the Roxette/D.H.T. song of the same name), Where's Poppa?, The Train, Burn!, The Hospital, Zardoz, and Buffalo Bill and the Indians. A B&W version was also sighted on a 1984 VHS release of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.

Legacy: This is most likely a placeholder.

2nd Logo (September 1984-1990)

Logo: On a shady gray background, two 3-D elongated shapes and a cylinder flip towards the screen. The shapes align together, forming the outline of a key, as the 3-D words "KEY VIDEO" zoom out below. The logo “shines” and turns colorful, the top half blue, the circle part red, and the bottom half purple. The text "KEY VIDEO" (in ITC Lubalin Graph Bold) is a shade of pink, white, and blue.


  • The logo sometimes appears in black and white.
  • On the lower right of where the company name is, there is either a trademark symbol "TM" or a registered trademark symbol "®".
  • This has appeared in orange, blue, and green colors at least once. The background is a more grayish color and the "KEY VIDEO" text is shaded in green, white, and orange. This is actually the entire logo hue-shifted by 180 degrees.
  • The Chace Surround Sound logo may appear at the top left of the screen. This is on the one instance of the orange/green variant we know of.
  • The logo is scaled down to the lower-right of the screen on parts where it explains what the preview about to be shown is about.

FX/SFX: The entire formation of the logo, and the shine. All good CGI.

Music/Sounds: A synth tune with a long beginning, ending in 3 synth chords with soothing drums.

Music/Sounds/Voice-over Variants:

  • On the 1987 VHS of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, a male voiceover (Bill St. James, VO artist for HBO, Showtime, Adult Swim, and Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite, and host of the weekend radio show TimeWarp) says: "Watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of the Humphrey Bogart series from Key Video's Spotlight Collection".
  • On the Woody Allen VHS releases, the same male voiceover says: "Watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of the Woody Allen from Key Video's Spotlight Collection".
  • On the 1987 VHS re-release of Blue Hawaii, the same male voiceover says: "Be sure to watch the end of this videocassette for a special preview of Key Video's Elvis Presley Collection".

Availability: Rare, but easy to find on tapes with the Key Video logo at the bottom of the cover and rainbow stripes appearing on the lower-top of it. Tapes with this logo include Where the Boys Are '84 (the first film distributed by TriStar, and one of the first 26 Key Video releases to use this logo), The Vindicator, My Man Adam, P.I. Private Investigations, Anguish, Shock Treatment, Lovelines, The Boss's Wife, Fever Pitch, Zardoz, Roustabout, Bedroom Eyes, Inferno, The Legend of Billie Jean, The St. Valentine's Day Massacre, A Guide for the Married Man, Paradise Hawaiian Style, Dark Night of the Scarecrow, High Anxiety, 92 in the Shade, The Gospel According to Vic, Lies, The Good Father, Eat the Peach, Prime Cut, The Park is Mine, and Tomorrow's Child, among others. An out-of-sync version appears on the 1985 VHS of Helter Skelter (one of the rarest Key Video titles). This is retained by surprise on the 1997 20th Century Fox Selections VHS of Better Off Dead, seen after the 1995 Fox Video logo. The black and white variant was spotted on the Key Video releases of Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman, Jules and Jim, and Young Frankenstein, among other black and white films. The green/orange variant appears on the VHS release of Footlight Serenade. It is unknown if it has appeared any other times, nor if there is a version without the Chace bug.

3rd Logo (Early 2000s)

Logo: On a white background is a black key with the prongs pointed upward inside a black rectangle. The text "KEY VIDEO" (or "KEY DVD") in Engravers Gothic font is seen below the rectangle.

Variant: An inverted variant exists with the logo in white on a black background.

FX/SFX: Still photograph.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Can be found on any DVD sporting the Key DVD logo, such as Slaughter of the Innocents. This also appears on the original DVD of Basket Case 3: The Progeny, even though the packaging says 20th Century Fox. The DVD Goosebumps: The Ghost Next Door strangely has the Key DVD logo on the entire packaging, but this logo doesn't appear.

Legacy: We would expect that by the early 2000s, a logo for this company would have animation and music, similar to how the previous ones did.

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