Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Tonight I would like to write a little bit about a subject that came up on the morning show today,  something we called THE STANLEY KUBRICK FONT. If you have been a frequent listener of the show, then you know that Shyboy Tim and I can go on and on about fonts. Tim is the guy that went to school for this kind of thing, but I have always been an avid fan too.

Now before I start blowing your minds, I should probably ask  - Do you know what I am talking about when I say the word "fonts"? Don't be embarrassed if you don't, that's where I can help you out. Pretty soon you will be chatting up Helvetica, Lucida and Magneto with the best of them Gatsby!! I am not going to get too technical here, but it is perhaps easiest to think of the word typeface when you think of fonts. Coming to us all the way from wikipedia,  a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface. In laymen armchair terms that would probably anger the purists in the group - it is what the letters and words "look" like.

Since we are screening The Shining as part of Grind-Fu Cinema, this is the perfect time to do a little geeking out about some of the details we see on the screen, and the STANLEY KUBRICK FONT is front and center in the movie. It is used to great effect throughout the film as a tool to show the passage of time, and is just brilliant in the opening sequence of the film. Have a look at the opening below in the clip (while flipping out over that font, just think how awesome it is going to be seeing this on the big screen at Grind-Fu Cinema!)

Kubrick's favorite font is officially given the name FUTURA EXTRA BOLD. He too was in love with fonts, and his films give that away. This font was invented by Paul Renner in 1927. There are a number of variations on the Futura theme, as the picture below illustrates, but it will look very familiar to those of you have seen a Kubrick film or two.

I found out about Futura Extra Bold in an amazing article written by Jon Ronson, whom I first heard of after reading his book The Men Who Stare At Goats (which was made into a great film). In his article for The Guardian he talks about his brush with Mr. Kubrick before he'd passed away and is subsequent visits to Kubrick's home which consists of a large main house surrounded by a number of out buildings. Those buildings are filled completely with boxes that comprise Kubrick's archives. He has visited these boxes and foraged through their contents and explains some of his findings in his amazing article. You can read it here, and I heartily suggest you do.

I know that after reading that article, I simply have to find a few books to study about Kubrick, so this is your official heads up Shuffle Functioneers, okay. Sometime in the future I will start talking a lot about his films and his eccentricities to the point where even Shyboy Tim is tired of hearing it (remember my months of 70's movies after reading Easy Riders and Raging Bulls?) I'm not going to apologize, I can't help myself. All right, time to hit the hay and dream about fonts.................see you in the morning.


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