Movies and TV

This is a growing collection of sightings of film leaders ‘in the wild’. Even though countdowns are/were supposed to be hidden from theatre audiences, that hasn’t stopped them being endlessly quoted in pop culture. If you have something you’d like to add, please email me at mattsoar AT or tweet me at @MattSoar or add it to my Google Doc. Thanks!

1. Movies

About half an hour into The Artist (2011), there’s a jumbled, partial version of the Society film leader (above) just before a sound test. Unfortunately, it’s 1929 in the movie, and the Society leader is from 1951. The first (ie Academy) leader standard didn’t appear until 1930. Thanks to Dick May for the tip.

During Paddington (2015), the entire family settles in at Mr. Gruber’s antique store to watch an old ‘anthropological’ film featuring an explorer ‘discovering’ Paddington’s parents in the forest. The first few frames (‘Head’ and ‘Picture’) are from the Universal (1965) leader; the sound cues are from the Society (1951) leader. (It’s unlikely that a film of this sort would have, or need, standardized leader on it.)

2. Documentaries

Alex Gibney’s Going Clear (2014), a riveting doc about Scientology, uses no less than three different leader standards (Universal, Academy, Society, in that order) to herald sequences of archival footage (see below).

3. Music Videos

There was clearly something ‘leaderly’ in the air in the late 1980s. REM’s Fall On Me (above) and The Tragically Hip’s Blow At High Dough (below) both use fragments of Society (1951) leader.

4. Album Covers

Both of these graphics reference the Universal (1965) leader.

5. Other Appearances – Book covers, etc

All these graphics reference the Universal (1965) leader.