Recently I was in Ogden, Utah for a weekend of skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing with my family. On our way back to the hotel after a day on the slopes, my son pointed to a snow-covered peak rising majestically from the valley floor. “That’s the Paramount mountain,” he said. “You know, the one from the movies.”
That comment really piqued my interest. The mountain he pointed to, known as Ben Lomond, didn’t exactly resemble the Paramount Pictures logo that appears at the beginning of countless films, but I wondered – is there really a connection between the two? After arriving home, I spent some time researching that question and it appears the answer is – perhaps.
To understand how the logo and the mountain may be related a little background information is in order. W.W. Hodkinson (1881 — 1971), a theater owner from Ogden, UT, founded Paramount Pictures in 1914 as a movie distribution company. According to Hollywood lore, Hodkinson sketched the concept for the original Paramount logo and based its design on his memory of Ben Lomond, a peak in the northern Wasatch Mountains just north of Ogden that’s a prominent local landmark.
Although Hodkinson lost control of the company several years later, the emblem endured and grew in prominence with the advent of talking pictures. It remains the oldest American film company logo still in use.
The logo’s origin story seems to be backed up the evidence that I was able to find online. But even if it’s not 100% true, it is an appealing bit of Hollywood mythology that’s sure to make you look at the opening credits of any Paramount Pictures’ release a little differently.