CO initially used the black logo on the tail because it stood out better against the gold. They also had small "CONTINENTAL" titles on the fuselage with the same logo in red with an American flag.
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Photo © Bob Garrard
I believe it was around 1986 or so when they enlargened the titles, removed the small logo, moved the flag, and reverted to the red logo on the tail.
I definately agree this livery and logo were much more interesting than what they have now. I would love to see them bring the contrail logo back in some form! But I suppose that scheme and logo represent the "bad times" and the image they were trying to change.
Every flight counts.