CBS: Keeping Its
Eye On the Ball
(October 30, 2001)
The week of October 15, 1951, was one of historical significance for CBS Television Network. On Monday evening of that week, I Love Lucy, perhaps the most successful television series of all time, joined the schedule. Two days later, on October 17th, the network unveiled the original "CBS Eye" (see photo, above) as its official on-air logo. The logo arrived in two variations: the Eye superimposed over a cloud formation, and a moving image that showed a series of concentric eyes -- as the camera zoomed in, the iris of the eye clicked open and shut to reveal coming attractions.
Lucy and the logo were both winners, and both have remained wed to the network in the public's mind. It should come as no surprise, then, that CBS will use its I Love Lucy 50th Anniversary Special on November 11th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Eye -- and to unveil the Eye's latest design:
The original Eye was designed by Bill Golden (photo, left), then Art Director of the Network. Golden had joined CBS back in 1937 after a stint at House & Garden magazine. There under the tutelage of Dr. M. F. Agha, the noted Conde Nast Art Director, Golden had been educated in the elegant and polished ways of a master, and he had brought that orientation to CBS.
Golden treated each advertising and design project as if it were fine art. He commissioned such painters as Ben Shahn and Rene Bouche to illustrate CBS ads and promotional material. He paid excruciating attention to typography. He was a purist when it came to materials. His fastidious graphic designs helped CBS become visible to the world as a very glamorous and classy corporation. For years, it was known as "The Tiffany of the Networks."
Golden's original Eye design served the network for nearly fifteen years with only minimal changes. Then, in 1965 when the network started to broadcast in color, the Eye began to change. Here are just a few of the variations that have graced our television screens over the years. How many do you remember?
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Original materials © 2001 Lucyfan Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.
CBS Eye designs and "I Love Lucy" are copyrighted by and registered trademarks of CBS Worldwide, Inc.
Images of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz used with permission of Desilu, too, LLC.
Licensing by Unforgettable Licensing, Northbrook, Illinois.