The CBS Eye, one of the most successful and identifiable symbols in history, turns 60 today. The Eye, which was first introduced during the Network’s station breaks on Saturday, October 20, 1951, will be celebrated today on-air and on CBS.com and CBSNews.com.
By 1951, CBS Television had seized the broadcasting spotlight, debuting “I Love Lucy” among other shows that year, and CBS President Frank Stanton felt the time had come for a distinct identity for CBS Television by means of establishing an on-air symbol.
The man behind the design, Bill Golden, was inspired while driving through Pennsylvania Dutch country. He was intrigued by the hex symbols that resembled the human eye that are drawn on Shaker barns to ward off evil spirits as well as a drawing he admired, that had the look of an eye, in a publication featuring Shaker art. Graphic artist Kurt Weihs helped create the final product.
In the Eye’s original animated incarnation, its center was a camera iris that opened and shut and the first still version set the Eye against a background of clouds. While there have been different Eye colors and sizes throughout the years, the design has remained unchanged.
In an attempt to push the Eye even further into the public realm, Stanton had the clouds removed and placed the Eye symbol on everything from cameras to curtains and buildings to jewelry. Golden moved to prepare a new design the next season, but Stanton overruled him and moved to keep the Eye.
Stanton’s decision proved to be a smart one, considering decades later the Eye continues to receive critical acclaim from sources like The New York Times, Fortune and as recent as the March 14, 2011 issue of TIME.
Want to know and see even more about the Eye and its evolution these past 60 years? Be sure to tune in tonight at 8 PM (ET/PT) when the primetime schedule begins to catch the broadcast of an on-air spot showcasing the various CBS Eye logos throughout the years and highlighting the significance of today’s date.