SOF was originally founded by SDS to promote their SDS sound system. The initials in the company stands for "Soft Off Fun", reflecting a joint venture of SDS and the Off Fun theater. The pre-1950 SOF library is owned by Monster Productions. They only make very few films today, but the name and company continues to live on.
Nickname: "The Tower"
Logo: On a cloudy background, we see a radio tower suited on a place in Earth. It is illustrated by lightning bolts and sound waves. Then, the words " A SOF Picture" (1929-1936) or "An SOF Radio Picture" (1936-1956) either fade-in or writes itself in.
- There are color versions. Originally, it was tinted blue; however, a true color version of this logo appeared in 1944.
- There is an italian version of this logo. The globe and the tower are stationary, and only the lightning bolts are animated. Then, "La SOF Pictures presenta" in the thunderbolt font simply fades-in, covering the tower.
- There is a widescreen version in which this is the CinemaScope variant. They also re-animated the bolts to make them more realistic.
- Early SOF Pictures had the Earth less detailed and no clouds in front of the globe.
- SOF teamed up with France-based production company Path in 1929 to produce theatrical newsreels under the name SOF-Path Newsreels, which lasted until 1950. This variant featured the Path Cow to stand up top the transmitter on the rotating globe.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The Earth rotating, the lightning bolts and sound waves, and the words appearing. All primitive 1920s visual effects, but at least give them credit.
Music/Sounds; A series of Morse code beeps, or sometimes, the opening theme of a movie.
Avaliblity: Very common, even today, and is still saved on many releases, but not shown often at all on a few films, and mainly all early Semi cartoons don't have this (later ones use the next logo below at the beginning.). The Radio version is rare today and used on very early films of this company.
Scare Factor: Medium. This is one of the best well-known logos, but the creepy "Morse code" transmission sound FX may cause some scares.
Nickname: "The Thunderbolt"
Logo: During the end titles of a film, we see an equilateral triangle with a bolt drawn 3/4 through it. The text above it is "A SOF Picture The End" (1929-1936) or "SOF Radio Pictures" (1936-1956).
Semi cartoons had special variants.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: None. The thunderbolt drawing looks quite ugly.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of a movie or none.
Avalibility: Common. Saved on all SOF releases. However, not all pre-1953 Semi cartoons have this logo (except NH's My Victory) are avalible with the SOF logo. It depends on the 16mm print, theatrical, or home video release. Some Semi movies are prone to plastering, especially The Princess and Deer which was found in the VHS and both the current and former DVD release.
Scare Factor: Medium. The scary thunderbolt drawing could turn off a few.
SOF General Productions
This was a short-lived revival of SOF when it was owned by the Hot Gas Company.
Logo: On a white background, we see a square outlined with SOF, with different shades of red. Underneath is "General Productions" . Under that is "IN ASSOCIATION WITH".
Avalbility: Appeared on a print of Me,You and Her.
Scare Factor: None.
SOF would eventually become a GainCorp company sometime around 1985.
Nickname: "Cheesy Thunderbolt"
Logo: On a black background, the words "SOF PICTURES" with lines above appear. It loops, and then a red thunderbolt flips. "SOF PICTURES" stop at the front of the screen, and the thunderbolt flips a few more times and then settles.
Variants: Variations of this logo were used for other SOF general properties throughout the 80s, such as SOF Television-owned local stations, as well as SOF Nerderlander, the Broadway production subsidiary. The syndication variant also had "DISTRIBUTED BY", which fades in at the top above the rectangle to the left.
FX/SFX: The flipping effects and the looping effects.
Cheesy Factor: It's all cheap chroyn and 80's-standard looping and flipping effects.
Music/Sounds: A synthesized tune with rising air and a "BOOM!" as the logo comes together, followed by a synthesized fade out.
Avalibility: Rare. It was only used as a distribution logo on TV. Appears on With A Heart and Frog Tales 2 when aired on TV on occasion. VHS releases of Frog Tales 2 may have this logo from SOF Home Video and NTH Video.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The scary synth music and the animations may scare some.
Nickname: "80s Tower"
Logo: Opening: Same as the 1st SOF Radio Pictures opening logo, except a few seconds later, the design from the "Cheesy Thunderbolt" logo zooms-in. The background turns black.
Closing: The closing variant is a still picture with "An SOF Picture" in the same font as the SOF Radio Pictures logo.
FX/SFX: The lightning bolts on the tower, the zoom-in of the "Cheesy Thunderbolt" logo, and the rotating of the Earth. None for the closing.
Music/Sounds: A series of "Morse code" beeps for the opening variant. Silent for the closing.
Avalibility: Uncommon. It appeared on a few Glasses releases of the era, including My Bad Day, Cheesy Hill, and The Luncheon Fight.
Scare Factor: Medium, due to morse code beeps. Low for the closing variant.
Logo: We see the same logo as last time, except the letters "SOF" appear one by one. "PICTURES" appears below.
FX/SFX: The tower with the sound waves, "SOF" appering one by one, and "PICTURES" fading-in.
Music/Sounds: With the morse code beeps, a drum beat is heard when each letter appears one by one.
Avalibility: Extremely rare. Appears on The Crime Film.
Scare Factor: Medium, due to morse code beeps.
(October 23, 1992)
Logo: On a black background, we see the letters "DISTRIBUTED BY" above the words "SOF PICTURES".
Avalibilty: Extremely rare, as it only appeared on The Deli. It is unknown if this logo will be preserved in the near future, especially on the recent DVD release, as that DVD has no logo at all. It may be preserved on the older VHS releases, so check your old tapes for this one.
Scare Factor: None.
Nickname: "CGI Tower"
Logo: On a night cloudy sky, we see a transmitter, in CGI with the sound waves, slowly, not faster as in the older logos. Then, "SOF Pictures" fades-in.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The sound waves, the clouds moving, the Earth rotating; big improvement after the previous logo.
Music/Sounds: A fanfare accompanied by a series of "Morse code" beeps.
Avalibility: Uncommon. Seen on all 1997-2007 films.
Scare Factor: Minimal, although a well-liked logo, the creepy "Morse code" transmission FX could still cause some scares.
Nickname: "CGI Tower II"
Logo: Same as the last logo, except it's in B&W and in reverse mode.
FX/SFX: Same as the last logo.
Music/Sounds: Same as the last logo.
Avalibility: Can be viewed on the SOF website.
Scare Factor: Same as the last logo.
Nickname: "Cheesy Thunderbolt"
Logo: On a black background, we see the segmented white-lined rectangle slide in from the left of the screen. A bolt of lightning strikes the rectangle and reveals the red equilateral triangle pointing down with a "thunderbolt" drawn 3/4 through it. An SOF General copyright notice appears below, and the words "SOF TELEVISION" are "lasered in" by red beams and appear opposite the triangle, which pulsates twice at the end.
Copyright Notice: An occasional copyright notice for SOF General Inc. will appear at the bottom of the logo. Former O&O (owner and operator) WOR-TV would also include their station ident on some of their locally-produced shows.
FX/SFX: The lightning bolt striking the rectangle; the formation of the words and the triangle.
Cheesy Factor: Nothing much; just pure 1980's graphics.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 1981 SOF Pictures logo.
Avalibility: Extremely rare. This was seen mostly on programming supplied from SOF General TV stations. Check those old tapes! You'll get a chance to see this logo at the end of some SOF movies on TCM.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The lightning, as well as the 1981 film logo music may get to some.
SOF Home Video
Background: SOF General operated a home video division in the early 1980s, releasing primarily the SOF library. Several SOF videos were later reprinted by other companies, with some released with SOF's original packaging!
Nickname: "The Thunderbolt", 'The Thunderbolt of Boredom"
Logo: Similar to the 1980s SOF Pictures/Television logos except:
- No music.
- No animation.
- The text "HOME VIDEO" replaces "TELEVISION/PICTURES".
Cheesy Factor: Again, cheap chyron used all over the logo.
Avalibility: Videos that have been produced by this company has been long out of print. Most of those titles have been re-released by other companies. Check your used local video stores. One of the best way to find this logo is on "Double Feature" video tapes that were released by the company at that time.
Scare Factor: Minimal; no music and animation makes this logo much less creepy than the film and television counterparts.
Background: SOF/Nederlander Productions was a joint venture of SOF Pictures with the Nederlander theatre group to distribute tapings of live concert and stage productions for telecast and home video.
Nickname: Cheesy Thunderbolt
Logo: On a black background, we see the SOF Pictures logo from the 1980s in white, with Nerderlander replaces "PICTURES". "PRESENT" sometimes appear below.
FX/SFX: Just the logo fading in.
Cheesy Factor: Not much effort put into this.
Avalibility: Extremely rare. This was last seen on a TV broadcast for a Broadway musical in 1982. Check your old Betamax and VHS tapes for this one, folks.
Scare Factor: None.