Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) opening titles
4 Comments on “Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) opening titles”
Marquis was designed by Michael Grace for Geoffrey Hart Associates. [Modern Publicity]
I am so grateful to you for giving the name for this kind of decoration here and on Twitter! I’d been trying to figure out if there was a name for this.
Short curls that fill out spaces appear on a few early British Didone display faces and I’ve seen them on carved gravestones as well. Not many specimens show them but this printers’ specimen does. Here it’s adapted to a bold type (at least, I assume that’s what’s going on) and it feels definitely more a cyma than a swash, but also more like just a blob of ink or a glitched punctuation mark. (This 1807 specimen is actually the first digitised specimen known to me which shows bold types, and it’s interesting to see the tropes of the genre starting to form, with some types looking like light fat faces and the bolder ones low-contrast and more like Clarendons, and a mercilessly cropped 'g’ descender that feels very futuristic for 1807.)
This style of decoration makes a great effect on tombstones I’ve seen where the lettering is custom-designed but I don’t think they stayed on printing types. They always remind me of periwigs, or someone with long hair absent-mindedly twisting it.
Thanks for these additional references, Blythwood!
I’ll add here what I also mentioned in a comment to Nick’s photo of the cyma as shown in the Proportion workshop with John Downer for Type@Cooper (alongside a collection of visual examples showing the cyma and similar devices in use).
The cyma is a character employed to equalize the spacing of irregular letters by placing it where the space is open and requires something more than the plain letter to make the word appear solid. This character derives its name from the Greek, its undulating form resembling a wave. The cyma is usually attached to the letters A, L, M, W, etc.; it is used in but few styles of lettering, while in some styles it forms a part of the letter itself.
From the way that at least this author uses the term, it seems that cyma refers (exclusively) to a wavy stroke, and not specifically to its function as an add-on to optimize letter spacing.
This detail is called the cyma, from the Greek Κύμα, kyma, meaning “a wave.” Its purpose, in most instances, is to fill the space between the slanting parts of the letter, or extremities, that are likely to cause wide openings when two letters are placed together. It is also used in some places to form the finishing stroke of a letter, as in the Q and Z. In subsequent plates its use in the construction of letters will be observed, as it forms a component part in many letters in the German Text, Old English, and Church Texts.
— A Textbook on Lettering and Sign Painting. Scranton, PA, International Textbook Company, 1902
Similarly, the curly extensions you found in the italics shown by G.F. Harris in 1807 serve the same purpose, but are not exactly wavy lines. They rather resemble pig tails (or should I write ουρά χοίρου?).
I’ve found the historical source of Marquis. It’s a “Modern Pen Alphabet” drawn by Scottish architect Bailey Scott Murphy (1876–1914) that was reproduced in the 1906 edition of Alphabets Old and New by Lewis Foreman Day (1845–1910). It’s included in the 1910 edition, too.
The titles follow Murphy’s original more closely than Marquis does. Maybe the letterforms were directly patterned after this source, or maybe there was another typographic interpretation. The Marquis ID is wrong, but I’ll leave this post like it is, for future reference.