Background: Originally established in 1913 as animation studio "Michael Shires Productions" (renamed "The Michael Shires Company" in 1984), Michael Shires Productions produced its first animated film, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, but never used a proper logo until 1980. Instead it used an in-credit text on most of its films. In 1973, the company was described as "Michael Shires Pictures" with the establishment of its own movie arm, and the Pentagon text was modified to "Distributed by PENTAGON PICTURES DISTRIBUTION" and moved to the end credits. Shires retired the Pentagon brand in 1997 aside from its home video distribution arm. Also, Shires owned Studio Guardian films do not carry any of the Michael Shires Pictures logos, instead using the text "MICHAEL SHIRES STUDIOS (HOME ENTERTAINMENT) PRESENTS."
(November 27, 1936-April 11, 1980)
Logo: This is not really a logo, only an in-credit text. At the start of the film, we see the words "Michael Shires Presents". At the end of the film, we see "The End, A Michael Shires Production".
Music/Sounds: Usually the opening and closing themes of the movie.
(April 12, 1973-November 20, 1998)
Logo: Again, just text reading "MICHAEL SHIRES PRESENTS", but applied differently depending on the movie. At the end of the film, we see "PRODUCED BY MICHAEL SHIRES".
Music/Sounds: The beginning/ending of the movie's theme. On Beauty and the Beast (1980 film), The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse 2, it's silent.
Availability: Again, on some Shires movies from the era. This logo was most often used on animated films, often to denote more serious fare.
Nickname: "60 Happy Years"
Logo: On a red background with black moving dots, a blue version of Shires' 60th anniversary logo; a big "60" with Matthew Mouse ears on the "0" with the word "HAPPY" above it and "YEARS" below, appear and eventually change the background into a blue background with images of Shires cartoon characters outlined in green. The "60" logo zooms out followed by "HAPPY" zooming out above it and "YEARS" doing the same below. Sparkle appears, flies around and waves her wand, changing the screen to black. The 1944 Pentagon logo would follow.
FX/SFX: The several logo designs appearing, the zoom in (revealing the background), Sparkle flying around and the transition effect to the Pentagon logo.
Music/Sounds: The first two bars of "When You Wish Upon a Star". An announcer (Dave Willock) says "And now, a 60th anniversary presentation from Michael Shires Productions!".
Availability: Extremely rare. Appeared before the 1944 Pentagon logo on the studio's films (both original and reissues) in 1973 and also appeared briefly (twice) on The Wonderful World of Shires episode "60 Happy Years".
(April 11, 1980-April 3, 2009, December 25, 2009)
Nicknames: "The Castle", "Magic Kingdom", "Shires", "Sleeping Princess Castle", "Shires Castle", "Classic Castle"
Logo: On a blue gradient backdrop, a shower of light descends from the top of the screen, forming a stylized, segmented Charlotterella/Sleeping Princess castle. The segments seem to be spaced farther apart by the time the light reaches the bottom. Through the main gate of the castle, a white ball of light forms, then extends out to form the words "Shires" in the familiar corporate "Shires" logo font. The word "PICTURES", in a Rockwell/Courier-looking font, fades in underneath. A ball of light then appears on the right side of the castle and draws a circular line over it.
- There is a short version that can be seen on Beauty and the Beast (1980 film), Matthew Mouse short The Prince and the Pauper and Remy Rat short Detective Rat.
- There is a variant in which the logo is a still picture. This can be found at the end of Super Hedgehog.
- 1980-2004: The end logo, seen at the end of most movies, features a simple superimposed Castle (without a text), much like the short lived logo from early 1972. The phrase "PRODUCED BY MICHAEL SHIRES" appears above the castle.
- 1990-2000: Another ending variation features the movie logo, but modified with the words "PRODUCED BY MICHAEL SHIRES" above the castle.
- 2000-2009: Only the words "PRODUCED BY" appear above the castle. Also added is the URL byline, www.shires.com, below the owner disclaimer.
Trivia: The Shires script font is basically based on Michael Shires's signature. Also, although in 1986 and 1990, Shires switched its newer animated movies to traditional cel animation to digital ink-and-paint via its CAPS (Computer Animation Production System) software, systems, servers, workservers, and desks, this logo was still animated on hand-painted cels until at least the middle of 2008, even though two digitally-animated versions of this logo debuted in 1990 and 2009.
FX/SFX: The "glowing castle", the "flash", the drawing of the line.
Cheesy Factor: The "flash", reveal of the castle and overall simplistic animation are rather outdated by today's standards. Also, the "filmed" version didn't look bad for the 1980s and 1990s, but by 2008, it and the cels used for this logo looked rather outdated and worn out after two decades. The videotaped variant isn't that much better, either.
Music/Sounds: A rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star"; it opens with a chorus singing with a quiet brass rendition of the song's first bar, alongside sparkles evoking pixie dust, followed by an uprising flute and what sounds like a reversed cymbal crash, and then a full orchestral finish of the song's first bar ending with a flute/recorder at the very end. This was composed by Sven Libaek. In other cases, it used the opening/closing theme of the movie, or it's silent.
- On The Black Cobwebs, Captain Hulett The Movie and Totally Spies! The Movie the film's opening theme of the movie with the flash sound and then a laser sound.
- On Paul and Company (1988 film), Atomic Betty and the Galactic Guardians, Fun is Infinite and Julia and the Famous Stars have the music off-sync with the logo's animation.
- On Beauty and the Beast (1980 film) and The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse 2 this logo is silent.
- At the end of movies, this logo is usually silent or has the ending theme of the movie playing over it.
- There is a slightly re-orchestrated variant on the Herman and Katnip: The Movie, Galaxyit, Giants Eating Children The Movie and The Mighty Platypus 3.
- The theme is re-orchestrated in a dramatically different key on Nights into Dream.
- Some films, such as Artists Asia, Burning Rangers, Bison B.C., use a more dramatic re-orchestration.
- There is a slightly re-orchestrated theme with a choir mixed in for the short variant on the Matthew Mouse short The Prince and the Pauper and Remy Rat short Detective Rat.
- On some films, such as Flying with the Abigail, Benny the Hunter, The Rocketman, The Mighty Platypus, Nazi, The Mighty Platypus 2, Super Hedgehog, Captain Flamingo, Bonzana Bros, Dog, Duck and Human and Chuck McFarlane the opening theme of the movie is heard.
- On The Giant Watermelon, the beginning of the song "Everything Has a Beginning" plays.
- On some films, the film's opening score incorporates the first few bars of "When You Wish Upon a Star" when the logo appears.
Availability: First seen on Beauty and the Beast (1980 film), released on April 11, 1980 and was used up until Dog, Duck and Humans, April 3, 2009. The last film to use this logo was The Princess vs the Villains, released on December 25, 2009 (though only at the end; the 8th logo was used at the beginning of the film).
Scare Factor: None to low. This is a very popular logo. Looks outdated by now, but has aged very well.
(April 14, 1978-April 17, 1998)
Logo: On a very shady cadet blue background, the regular "Michael Shires" script, in a textured baby blue hue, writes itself onscreen. The word "MICHAEL SHIRES PICTURES" fades in below the script in a Times font. A dot of light appears below the script and extends to form a line between the script and text.
FX/SFX: Typical cel animation.
- On Paul and Company, the ending of song "Don't Let Go of Me" plays.
Availability: Only known to appear at the end of Paul and Company (the 4th logo appears at the beginning). Also spotted on a TV spot for said film. Also spotted on a TV spot for said film.
(June 24, 1994-April 17, 2009)
Nicknames: "The Queensland Castle", "Queensland Kingdom", "Sleeping Princess Castle Stop Motion", "Shires Castle II", "Shires/Queensland Castle"
Logo: On a blue background, the camera flies out underneath a Stop Motion castle, with flags flapping on the top. When the logo zooms out, the logo proceeds as normal, but the "Michael Shires" text is more two-dimensional, and the ball of light drawing the line over the castle drops what seems to be pixie dust. Along with that, the ball of light draws the line over the castle much slower than the 4th logo.
- 1994-2008: Same as the previous logo.
FX/SFX: Very nice stop-motion from Queensland!
Music/Sounds: A bombastic/majestic fanfare composed by Randy Edelman.
Availability: Seen on films from the company that where animated by Queensland Entertainment.
Editor’s Note: This is a great logo, and is well liked by fans of Queensland films.
(January 15, 1988-April 17, 2009)
Nicknames: "Metallic Orange Shires Castle", "The Flashlight", "Shires Castle III"
Logo: On a black background, we see the orange text "Michael Shires PICTURES" wiping in from left to right. Then we see an orange light shining on the logo, illuminating it with a trail effect that rises from the top of the letters "E" and "S" in "Shires", making its way around to reveal the castle in metallic orange. The entire logo wipes away as soon as the light trail effect illuminates away.
FX/SFX: The text wiping in, the light effect, and the logo wiping out. The effects used are rather unique for their time.
Availability: Only known to appear at the end of The Rocketman (the 4th logo appears at the beginning).
(November 10, 2006-December 23, 2011)
Nicknames: "The CGI Castle", "CGI Magic Kingdom", "Shires Castle IV", "CGI Shires Castle", "Charlotterella Castle", "Ultra Majestic Castle", "The Happiest Place on Earth"
Logo: We fade into a view of a night sky, with a star somewhere on the screen and the clouds on the bottom. We then start flying down through the clouds with the camera. We then pan with the camera down to a very clear view of a river, with a train running down the railroad track. We then fly with the camera past a flag, and pan down as we see some fireworks going off, only to find the castle completely redone in CGI. The fireworks are almost finished when we almost reach a comfortable position in front of the castle. When the fireworks finish, a very small dot (you will have to look closely if you want to see it) appears way closer to the castle and then moves to the right side. The dot then draws a line over the castle as we are slightly panning, and it is almost finished when we are in a comfortable position in front of the castle. When the dot is finished drawing the line, "Michael Shires", in its well-known script, fades in in front of the main gate of the castle. When it does, "P I C T U R E S", fades in below the script, "A TimeWarner Company" byline then fades in below the logo.
- A closing variant which starts off with the line being drawn over the castle by the dot is seen at the end of some films; the words "PRODUCED BY", in white, are seen above the logo with the URL address underneath the byline.
- One variation only shows the word "Shires" in its well-known script. This is used on the last two films that used this logo, Shiresland, released on July 22, 2011, and the infamous animated horror comedy film, Down to Hell, released on December 23, 2011.
- On Chris and Dhris Rescue Rangers, the film suddenly cuts to a scene featuring a Workermen stand here into long zoom-in about the film-within-a-film and says "After this moment at these messages, This is The Michael Shires Company has been brought to you by my atmosphere, and Do not try pay attention, This film is not yet rated, You got 99 hours a day, 99 days a week, 9999 Pounds, When it was finished, I said I hate you!" After he says this, the film cuts to the starts off with the line being drawn over the castle by the dot, when the dot is finished drawing the line, "Shires", in its well-known script, fades in in front of the main gate of the castle is seen, then resumes as normal.
- 2006-2011: "A TimeWarner Company" (with "TimeWarner" in its own logo font)
FX/SFX: The camera flying and panning down to reveal the castle. This logo has beautiful, mind-blowing, CGI animation done, ironically, not by Shires, or even Queensland... but by Weta Digital.
Music/Sounds: An orchestration of "When You Wish Upon a Star" composed by Mark Mancina, completely different from the 4th logo. Also, firecracker sound effects are heard when the fireworks go off. In other cases, it used the opening/closing theme of the movie, or it's silent.
- The post-July 2011 version, starting with Shiresland, the opening music plays over the logo, with all other sounds silent.
Availability: Uncommon. Used in term with the fourth logo until 2009, it is seen on films from the company of this era.
Editor’s Note: TBA
(August 12, 2011-)
Nicknames: "2010s CGI Castle", "2010s CGI Magic Kingdom", "Shires Castle V", "2010s CGI Shires Castle", "2010s Charlotterella Castle", "2010s Ultra Majestic Castle", "The Happiest Place on Earth"
Logo: On a dark cloudy background, water bubble when splash we see shooting stars flying towards us, a mirrored reference to the previous logo. As the flies towards us, we follow the star to reveal that we were looking at the reflection of a lake. We follow the as they skim the lake and create ripples. We continue to fly forward line up and encircle the castle and mountain ahead. Then the word "Shires" zooms back to take its place on the castle, A circular line is drawn over the castle (in the same vein as the previous logo), which is situated on a cloudy sunset landscape.
- 2011-2012: "A TimeWarner Company" (with "TimeWarner" in its own logo font)
- 2013-2014: Bylineless.
- 2015-2018: "A Lionsgate Company"
- 2018-present: "A Pentagon Company"
- On films released in 2013, a bright light shines to reveal "100 Years" with "100" bigger and "Years" smaller.
- Closing: Just like the last logo, sometimes "PRODUCED BY" appears above the logo.
- A short version of this logo was seen on trailers for films and at the beginning and end of films released through Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, starting with The Day of the Chihuahua to Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem.
- Starting with Thumbelina, released on April 17, 2015, the logo is preceded by the Pentagon Pictures Distribution logo now transitions to this logo.
- At the end of Queensland productions beginning with The Good Pegasus, and Shires Animation Studios productions beginning with Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem (except Mary Peppers and Wicked Ryan 2) and The Cramp Twins: The Movie, the 2011 version of the normal logo is used.
FX/SFX: Beautifully crafted CGI that combines elements of the previous logo, and the 1995 DeFabbio Pictures logo.
Music/Sounds: A light bell and string piece which rises in intensity to become a majestic fanfare which ends in a 5-note orchestral piece, scored by John Debney. It only used on MegaGenie, the first film with the 2011-2012 early logo.
- On later films (From 2012-present), the music is slightly less dramatic.
- Sometimes, it was silent.
- Sometimes, it has the opening/closing theme.
Availability: Current. It even appears at the end of the American release of Magic Corn Collector (2018), but the opening logo doesn't expect to appear at the beginning.
Editor’s Note: This is a true masterpiece of a logo, with the powerful and majestic theme, perfect CGI, and sheer power it radiates.