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March 15, 2008 12:05 PM   Subscribe

If you had HBO in the 80's, you saw this every night at 8pm. HBO put together a brief behind-the-scenes featurette showing everything from the construction of the models to the composition of the music.
posted by dr_dank (63 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was cool. But now I have to go watch Beastmaster.
posted by khaibit at 12:12 PM on March 15, 2008 [4 favorites]


That jingle is almost as cool as the one for Family Ties!
posted by miss lynnster at 12:23 PM on March 15, 2008


It's better if the flyover of the model railroad type city is cut out. But yeah, it was pretty awesome to see in the 80s 'cause you just KNEW you were about to see something extraordinary.

And then Beastmaster came on and you'll switch to Showtime or try to see through the scrambled signal of the Playboy channel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:23 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remember watching this when I was little and thinking that both the intro and the movie about how they made it were just the "coolest things EVER!" Really amazing how far technology has come in just a few years.
posted by pearlybob at 12:25 PM on March 15, 2008


It was all good until the bad Wide World of Sports-like music came on. I thought I was going to see Knieval jump over the HBO or something.
posted by dasheekeejones at 12:30 PM on March 15, 2008


This is my Pavlonian nostalgia-trigger.
posted by sourwookie at 12:31 PM on March 15, 2008 [12 favorites]


Seeing this HBO thing from outer space is funny as I was just reading about the Borg ships on Wikipedia.
posted by chips ahoy at 12:32 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Without even watching 10 seconds of either clip, I remember seeing the making-of featurette, particularly how they got the sparkles on the inside of the 'O'. Thanks for reactivating those neurons!
posted by not_on_display at 12:34 PM on March 15, 2008


It always kind of reminded me of the intro from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood", but on steroids.
posted by briank at 12:35 PM on March 15, 2008


As we've been in 80's theme song mode lately, here are the lyrics for those of you who would like to sing along:

Illusions!
Take a closer look!
If you're the kind to judge
a book by it's cover
you'll never discover
the slight of hand
behind the magic land!

Pay a little closer attention to detail!
all the things you're taking for granted
are just as important
as what you see!

Illusions!
You're going into a trance!
If you're inclined to fall for that old hocus pocus
get it in focus
beyond that casual glance!

Illusions!
Your eyelids open wide
because the truth may not be
what you suppose could be
right under your nose
Not a delusion!
Not quite!
It's just illusion! (so take a closer look)
It's just illusion! (so take a closer look)
It's just illusion! (so take a closer look)
It's just a... it's just a... it's just a... (fade)

Sha na na na. Sit Ubu. Sit.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:37 PM on March 15, 2008


As lovingly referenced in the the Justice "DVNO" video.
posted by fungible at 12:46 PM on March 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


Heh, I was just talking about that featurette with someone a couple of weeks ago. Nice find.
posted by sleepy pete at 12:57 PM on March 15, 2008


Oh heck yes. My brother and I would sit in front of grandma's TV, pretending to fly the spaceship into the orgasmic O.

Thanks for the memories.
posted by IcyJuly at 12:57 PM on March 15, 2008


Hey, Beastmaster's On!
posted by infinitewindow at 1:02 PM on March 15, 2008 [13 favorites]


That silver spinning HBO logo part at the end would probably take a computer animator a few hours to put together now. Instead, they had to build a giant HBO out of brass and then chrome it. It's pretty shocking to me how much things have changed, especially since I was an adult when that came out.
posted by octothorpe at 1:05 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Now, 24 hours on weekends!" (1981)

And, while we're on the subject of old intros, anyone else remember "In the News?"
posted by Dave Faris at 1:08 PM on March 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


There's another version with even more advanced effects.
posted by steveminutillo at 1:08 PM on March 15, 2008


crap. first link.
posted by Dave Faris at 1:10 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I like how the computer effects in this shoot were the computers physically controlling the cell animations (the starbust had a 'computer controlled sled' that worked with the camera to time the exposures and advance things one at a time).

Now the whole thing could probably be done for a 3D art students final project. On his home machine.
posted by mrzarquon at 1:25 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


I remember being really blown away by this. I didn't have HBO, but I'd watch it when my family was staying at a hotel, which made it doubly cool.
posted by brundlefly at 1:30 PM on March 15, 2008


Kill Bill was worth the price of admission just to revisit this.
posted by hal9k at 1:30 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Man-oh-man, that brings back memories! Does anyone remember the little 16 page color glossy HBO program guides printed on flimsy paper that came each month? Around 1976-77 I used to race home from high school (maybe even cutting my last class or two) if it looked like I had a chance of seeing an R-rated movie before my parents/siblings got home.
posted by Rafaelloello at 1:40 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good lord. I'm flabbergasted that the HBO logo was machined from brass then chromed. That's totally insane.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:11 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Oh wow, that CBS thing was awesome. They must have used that for quite a while, since there's no way I remember it from 1973.

Also, remember when every NOVA was as awesome as the intro music?
posted by DU at 2:13 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't remember any of this, as I was WAY to cheap to pay for cable, although I was a beta tester for over the air pay TV.

Damn you're old, octothorpe.
posted by SteveInMaine at 2:27 PM on March 15, 2008


this theme is right up there with dallas, falcon crest, and some of the other non-lyrical 80's dramatic theme songs....instantly jettison me to -

---well, to a time i'd rather not remember, actually.
posted by CitizenD at 3:08 PM on March 15, 2008


We didn't have cable, but these are the titles that informed my young aesthetic. Although I never saw these in color until today!
ABC Movie of the Week
ABC Sunday Night Movie
posted by bitslayer at 3:18 PM on March 15, 2008


This just screams out to me that a big movie is about to start.
posted by evilcolonel at 3:25 PM on March 15, 2008 [7 favorites]


Here in DC they show this at the beginning of their "Screen on the Green" outdoor movie screening during the summer, since HBO sponsors the event. As soon as the music starts playing, about 90% of the several-thousand-person crowd sitting on the lawn of the National Mall jumps up and starts dancing. It's pretty much one of the most awesome things ever.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:26 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


That making of is glorious.

All that labor, the hand crafted buildings, the plants put onto fire-escapes, the individual lights put into stop lights and model cars, someone actually painting a sunset and putting real smoke into the room. You could do the whole thing in a weekend by yourself on a Mac, probably. I'd love to see someone actually do it, actually. The thing that put it over the top for me was the starfield and colored lights. I actually just assumed that was computer animation all these years. Any first year student can probably do that with just Flash now :)

I'd also love to see a phony making of for an obviously entirely CG sequence where they explain how all the CG effects were really done with physical effects and miniatures.
posted by empath at 3:35 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


sourwookie, you nailed it. whenever i think of that CBS intro, I am magically transported back to watching the classic Peanuts shows. ah, nostalgia.
posted by davidmsc at 3:53 PM on March 15, 2008


Oh wow! They did an April Fool's Version that's hilarious
posted by Senor Cardgage at 5:43 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


Previosly.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:58 PM on March 15, 2008


Kill Bill was worth the price of admission just to revisit this. [Prevues of Coming Attractions]

A projectionist friend of mine still has the original leader for the above and busts it out every year for our local film festival. Sublime.
posted by Kinbote at 6:09 PM on March 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


While those of us who had Showtime instead have a different kind of nostalgia.
posted by Ber at 6:29 PM on March 15, 2008


It is a shame kids have to grow up and become people.
posted by Senator at 7:24 PM on March 15, 2008


OK, I'm way older than most here, but how about the NBC Mystery Movie ?
posted by Rafaelloello at 7:42 PM on March 15, 2008 [2 favorites]


So. Fucking. Much. Effort. I'm exhausted just watching that making of feature. No wonder the movies sucked, they blew their wad on THREE MONTHS of model making.
posted by Rock Steady at 7:49 PM on March 15, 2008


> While those of us who had Showtime instead have a different kind of nostalgia.
Ber, the reviews for that video are so perfect! ha!
The cast is timeless. The hairstyles have become classic. The costumes, simple mono-color leotards provide a smooth, form-following covering. The models are young and firm enough not to need constricting, supportive clothing. There are no tights, no 'hose, no shoes. Off-screen narration is kept to a minimum, so that the viewer becomes caught up on the music's rhythmic flow, while his eyes are entranced by the models' rhythmic beauty.
posted by winna at 7:52 PM on March 15, 2008


When I was last in Lewisburg, the campus theatre there still used this as their leader and feature presentation tag for every movie opening. I believe they got it reprinted, because I don't know how the film would have survived so long.

Great cinema, its now a non profit, and still shows first run movies, and tons of other cinema events. I miss it out here in Seattle.
posted by mrzarquon at 7:57 PM on March 15, 2008


XQUZYPHYR, I'm one of those dancers! Oh, man, I remember the first Screen on the Green showing I went to. There was this hippie guy, and he just started flailing all over, before the music even started, 'cause he knew what was coming up, and I'm, like, "What?" Now, I'm that hippie guy.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:06 PM on March 15, 2008


I would like to know where the miniatures and the machined HBO (Holy hell! Machined!) are now. Did the modelers take pieces home? They represent so much work and they are so beautiful.
posted by oflinkey at 8:43 PM on March 15, 2008


Evilcolonel, I guess there is just no more efficient way to say "viewer discretion is advised", 24 years later.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:09 PM on March 15, 2008


I would like to know where the miniatures and the machined HBO (Holy hell! Machined!) are now. Did the modelers take pieces home? They represent so much work and they are so beautiful.

I was thinking this also and have to wonder if some of the pieces went home with the artists.

Hell, thats what became of the original figures from Rankin-Bass' "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer". Story here.
posted by dr_dank at 9:13 PM on March 15, 2008


That silver spinning HBO logo part at the end would probably take a computer animator a few hours to put together now.

I was thinking... wow, not bad CG for the eighties, although you can tell it's old because there were no textures, just metal. And then I watched the making-of clip.
posted by smackfu at 9:36 PM on March 15, 2008


Jeez, I remember the goofy antenna we had on the roof, and the weird little contraption on the top of the TV back in the early days of HBO. Then one day this magic entity known as the "cable tv company" came along and changed everything. My parents loved it... until us kids discovered something called MTV.
posted by azpenguin at 10:36 PM on March 15, 2008


Holy crap, that brings me back.

We had HBO in the mid-80s. Our block wasn't wired for cable, so we got HBO via this weird-looking special antenna thing on our roof.

It allowed us to watch Fraggle Rock.

Good times.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:00 PM on March 15, 2008


I love how one of the guys who worked on the model city says:
"We threw a few extras in, seing if people would spot 'em. We put a few bums on the street, a few hookers on the corner...those little things are like our calling card..."
How horrible was that "Illusions" theme song too?
posted by banishedimmortal at 12:56 AM on March 16, 2008


i should spend an afternoon with 3DStudio and some disco samples and create a modernized update, fix all the clumsy motion control errors and FOV problems :(
posted by momocrome at 2:48 AM on March 16, 2008


Just a second of this intro used to wake my infant niece up from sleepy nap-time, whereupon she'd crawl in front of the television, look up in awe, and do that baby rocking-on-all fours dance to the melody. She's 23 now, lordy.
posted by eegphalanges at 3:38 AM on March 16, 2008


Up next:

Sniglets: The Movie
posted by bacteria at 4:21 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


eegphalanges at 3:38 AM rocking-on-all fours dance to the melody. She's 23 now, lordy.

Still doing that dance? Lordy.
posted by surplus at 4:27 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


This was my exciter as a youth: Magic Shadows.
posted by pracowity at 6:08 AM on March 16, 2008


I somehow rememeber the "In Search Of" intro (hosted by Leonard Nimoy) being cool, not so much.
posted by jeremias at 6:16 AM on March 16, 2008


"OK, I'm way older than most here, but how about the NBC Mystery Movie ?"

You can't be that old, because I remember that one, and I refuse to be old. :)
posted by litlnemo at 7:09 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, man, I didn't realize the SCTV show trailers were a direct parody of the TVO ones! That is HILARIOUS.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 8:51 AM on March 16, 2008


pracowcity: did fred murakami do the animation for the magic shadows intro? because it looks familiar...
posted by pxe2000 at 12:22 PM on March 16, 2008


I remember in grade school, we would all vehemently pound on our desks with the kettle drum in the opening of National Geographic specials.
posted by steef at 1:52 PM on March 16, 2008


Brocktoon: Evilcolonel, I guess there is just no more efficient way to say "viewer discretion is advised", 24 years later.

So true. Sadly, Ernie Anderson is no longer around to voice it. (Though you can have him be the voice of your radio station from beyond the grave.)
posted by evilcolonel at 3:11 PM on March 16, 2008


weird. I was just talking to someone about this intro vid last week. You are so in my head.
posted by shoepal at 4:54 PM on March 16, 2008


My trigger: the clarinet-heavy intro theme to The Movie Loft. I can't find a good recording of the theme, but the previous link and this one feature it prominently. You can probably hire the rich, versatile, masculine...sophisticated Movie Loft host Dana Hersey to record your answering machine message.

(I first saw La Planete Sauvage/Fantastic Planet on The Movie Loft when I was six. My dad had no idea what it was and figured that it would be okay for me to see since it was a cartoon. Ah, memories.)
posted by pxe2000 at 6:55 PM on March 16, 2008


Looking at some of the related videos, I note that some of the older ones had actual CG animation, while the most famous one does not. I always thought that the spinning HBO and the starburst at least were CG.
posted by wierdo at 8:28 PM on March 16, 2008


My favorite part of the "Making Of" video is the first guy interviewed. Anthony Lover. One look at his lady-killer mustache, his disco hair, and his smooth smooth voice, and I thought "yep, that guy right there has some coke in his desk. And probably an itchy rash somewhere too."
posted by caution live frogs at 6:04 AM on March 17, 2008


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