Dead in Hollywood: Avco Embassy Pictures

avcoembassy

If you saw “This is Spinal Tap” or “Escape from New York” or “The Graduate” or “Phantasm” or “The Fog” or “Scanners” or “The Howling” in theaters – and if you didn’t get there late – you saw the Avco Embassy pictures logo at one time or another.

Blue and green geometric shapes swirling into place and into focus, the logo was a familiar one for devoted movie fans, particularly those with a taste for the low-budget and offbeat.

I still remember the anticipation I felt during the Avco Embassy logo at the beginning of John Carpenter’s “The Fog.” “Halloween” had become one of my favorite horror films of all time and I was looking forward to “The Fog.” I wasn’t disappointed, and I can still see that Avco Embassy logo in my head and will forever associate it with that movie.

Founded in 1942 by producer Joseph E. Levine as Embassy Pictures, the releasing company was more highbrow in its early years. The low-rent and fondly remembered period comes after 1967, when Levine sold the company to Avco and the stuff of low-budget dreams was born.

Under president Robert Rehme, the company released movies like “Scanners” and “Time Bandits” and “Phantasm.” Surely this was its heyday.

Norman Lear, creator of “All in the Family,” bought the company in 1982 and, for the most part, concentrated on television production.

Luckily for us, the studio’s best films live on. And so does that logo.

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