According to records at the Trademark Office, on March 15, 1926, Columbia Pictures Corporation, a New York corporation with an address at 1600 Broadway (home these days to a luxury condo on Times Square and the M&M store), filed an application to register a trademark. The trademark consisted of the words COLUMBIA PICTURES laid within a circle, inside of which held a helmeted woman looking as if she hailed from the wars of ancient Greece. She is wearing a breastplate, and holding a torch, as if she is running in the Olympics. We see her from the waist up – a reflection of herself because her gaze falls to the left. Columbia Pictures claimed it had been using the trademark on moving pictures since January, 1924.
By 1936, she had grown up. Her helmet has disappeared, and the “Columbia Lady” is proudly ensconced on a pedestal. She has grown taller and curvier – no longer a Tomboy playing war games. In her draped toga a la Madame Gres, she is our hostess beckoning us in to the world of motion picture films. She is still holding a torch, but it is lit ala the Statue of Liberty. She and the COLUMBIA trademark stand in front of a blazing, rising sun. Her gaze has turned right as she heralds the start of a movie by Columbia Pictures.
And she’s still here, looking as spring-like as she did 78 years ago. Unlike us right-sided 50 year olds, the “Columbia Lady” never gets old, and never frets about the unexpected changes that descend as one marches forward to meet the next surprise about what “aging” really entails. So here’s to the movies, and the lady who truly is immortal – or for at least as long as Columbia Pictures renews her trademark.