Sit, Ubu, Sit! Good Dog. (woof!)
July 19, 2010 10:28 AM   Subscribe

[Single-Link YouTube] Startling Production Logos from the 1970's and 1980's.
posted by not_on_display (86 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was a nervous child, but I was never startled or scared by a production logo. That's something to be thankful for, I guess.
posted by hydrophonic at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


or otherwise known as "when the exec thinks he's a design expert"

Sit Ubu, sit. Good dog. (the only good one of the bunch)
posted by stormpooper at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Double, maybe?
posted by hippybear at 10:35 AM on July 19, 2010


Previously
posted by DU at 10:36 AM on July 19, 2010


Doesn't have the one that had me switch the channel REALLY FAST

DUM DUM DAH DUM DAH


IT WAS SO LOUD!


(Related: Anti-Pay TV Advert from the 70s. )
posted by The Whelk at 10:36 AM on July 19, 2010


Notably absent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W9V9SZPHAY
posted by Ratio at 10:36 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Terrifying
posted by leotrotsky at 10:37 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


I must have watched a lot of TV when I was a kid. I can sing along to the sound effects.
posted by rouftop at 10:38 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


It appears to be all about synthesizer abuse.
posted by gallois at 10:38 AM on July 19, 2010


Doesn't WGBH still use that one? Another notable one
posted by phirleh at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Each of these logos transport me into an early 80s board room where 12 highly paid executives sit in darkness to watch a 5 second reel:

"It needs more pop, like an orchestra getting ready to play."
"Yeah and let's have the logo zoom into you, or etched from the screen, like Moses' tablets."

Designer, "Um you do realize this is going to be at the end of a 20 minute children's cartoon, right?"

"Yeah but it is our brand, let's watch it a couple more times."

Designer, "This is really out of context: it'll be credits, then our logo, then a commercial, people won't be watching it intently and on its own like we're doing now.

"You know what it needs? A laser, because lasers are like the God of the 21st century, and it is etching it there in space, and then a big swell of the synths ..."

"... yes, yes, and then after it is created we just hold the tone and spin it around once, the a bit of lens flare"

"Wagner. I want you to think Wagner."

Designer, "..."
posted by geoff. at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2010 [16 favorites]


It appears to be all about synthesizer abuse.

and Lasers
posted by stbalbach at 10:41 AM on July 19, 2010


I refuse to believe that anyone was ever actually scared by any of these. I smell a contrived meme.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:43 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Admit it, you always chuckled when you saw the one for DIC.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:44 AM on July 19, 2010 [21 favorites]


Yeah, next you'll be telling me that KIDS THESE DAYS are scared of Laurie Anderson.
posted by maudlin at 10:45 AM on July 19, 2010


I refuse to believe that anyone was ever actually scared by any of these.

The DiC production card always creeped me out. Looks like an alien abduction in progress.
posted by thejoshu at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Viacom one always unnerved me as a kid, although the other ones didn't. I frittered away a Sunday afternoon once watching old school Sesame Street clips, and I noticed on a few of them, like the Milk song and the letter I segments, that people commented about being frightened or scared. It seemed strange to me, but after watching them as an adult, entirely possible.
posted by Calzephyr at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2010


Haven't seen most of these as it's a little US-centric, but growing up in Zimbabwe all the kid's stuff was imported from either the UK, Europe, or the US, and I suspect it was mostly cheaper stuff price-wise as most it was a decade or so old (woo Voltron!) - oh and the pro wrestling we got was also about 5 years old, heh.

BUT the logos I remember, especially the Thames logo the whelk linked to, I never really considered creepy in any sense - in fact I found them kinda fun to watch. Nice little reminder of who just entertained/bored me. ..or am I alone in this?
posted by pyrex at 10:46 AM on July 19, 2010


I smell a contrived meme.

Yep.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:47 AM on July 19, 2010


Not knocking the post. I did enjoy seeing all these old logos in one place.
posted by Atom Eyes at 10:48 AM on July 19, 2010


This is a goldmine for the parents of autistic children obsessed with production logos.
posted by norm at 10:48 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


I didn't really read the link text before clicking, I thought it was something about legos, so I ended up thinking "When are the damn logos going to end and get to the legos." until about the time the DIC logo came on.
posted by stavrogin at 10:49 AM on July 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


For all you other kids who grew up going to Chinatown to catch the latest kung fu epic - The Golden Harvest Logo. Chinatown double features were rite of passage for any chinese kid in the 70's. The kung fu was awesome - and the movies always had some sort of sex scene that was completely superflous to the plot - generally involving some sort of lesbian making out thing. Kinda awkward for an 11 year old boy sitting between his mother and father.

My friend's kid is terrified of the THX Logo. It's really cute and funny - even though the little guy is kinda freaking out. Does that make me a bad Uncle? I guess it does.
posted by helmutdog at 10:50 AM on July 19, 2010


At a very early age, "He's dreaming about his...." became the de facto spoken prelude to the DIC promo.

Cue the Beavis and Butthead heh heh heh heh's.
posted by cavalier at 10:58 AM on July 19, 2010


I refuse to believe that anyone was ever actually scared by any of these.

The Worldvision one creeped out and confused me because I imagined that it was some sort of global domination thing, and if they owned all these TV shows, why were all those kids starving?

It took me a while to noticed the disclaimer.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:59 AM on July 19, 2010


Simitar Entertainment sounds like the Hypnotoad!
posted by generichuman at 11:03 AM on July 19, 2010


I'm not afraid any more.
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:11 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


They seem like stuff from the dystopian future.
posted by smackfu at 11:13 AM on July 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


(Andy Rooney voice) You know what I don't understand? Why is it that every time I'm at a movie theater and the trailers are done, they always start up with those Egyptian CGI temples. Why do the theater logo guys love these things? Am I gonna answer to Ra for sneaking into Predators?
posted by crapmatic at 11:25 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


The creepiest combo for me was always when something would be a Worldvision-Viacom joint enterprise.

Does anyone else remember that? Maybe it was just a twisted nightmare: start with the whistling Worldvision

(WhooooOOOOOOsh...)

and then BAM

TIK-OO-TIK-OO-TIK-OO-TIK-OO...VIACOM.

ugh I just had to watch the Viacom one like four times to figure out how many tik-oos were in there and now I'm all creeped out :(
posted by harperpitt at 11:28 AM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Scary Logos? Scary Logos?!? Seriously?!? What a wimpy meme. Whoever started this must have had a heart attack when they saw the DVNO Video.

If there was anything on TV that gave me the slightest heebie jeebies, it was the opening of The Movie of the Week, just because I knew it was copying the psychedelically scary sequence from 2001.

The classic HBO Feature Presentation opening is kinda scary in its large-scale awesomeness, but Viacom Logos? Scary? Bull.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:33 AM on July 19, 2010 [6 favorites]


Despite the fact that many of these look familiar, the Viacom "Wigga Wigga" logo is the only one from my childhood that really stands out in my memory.
posted by Plutor at 11:34 AM on July 19, 2010


This one will freak you right out, scaredy cats. It's like the guy is looking for the bodies...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 11:37 AM on July 19, 2010


Admit it, you always chuckled when you saw the one for DIC.

At the end of Teddy Ruxpin they had a child say "DIC" (long-e sound) so you didn't get the wrong idea.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:43 AM on July 19, 2010


The whole classic HBO experience gave me the creeps when I was a kid. I came to the conclusion that the reason it was creepy was that there was no human face to HBO. No hosts, no local anchors, no local commercials. There was just some alien AI out in deep space broadcasting TV randomly out into the universe. Everything in between the movies just seemed so lost and lonely. This was probably accentuated by the fact that I saw HBO only rarely at friend's houses as my parents would never have paid for TV.

The computer graphics main street fly through just comes off like Neuromancer using personality templates as a medium to transmit it's alien thought process.
posted by Babblesort at 11:50 AM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


sigh - its
posted by Babblesort at 11:50 AM on July 19, 2010


At the end of Teddy Ruxpin they had a child say "DIC" (long-e sound) so you didn't get the wrong idea.

Except that the way the kid said it just made it sound like he was saying "dick" with a bit of hang, so we still laughed at it.
posted by mightygodking at 11:57 AM on July 19, 2010


Looks like a have a new ring tone. Thanks, WGBH Boston!
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:01 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you ask me, this is The One Logo to Rule Them All.
posted by usonian at 12:12 PM on July 19, 2010 [9 favorites]


This one that came at the end of Dragnet and Adam-12 is the only one I ever found even mildly disturbing.
posted by JanetLand at 12:16 PM on July 19, 2010


There was one I saw repeatedly, around kindergarten or first grade or so, that terrified me. I wish I knew what the company was, but it was some sort of educational public television in Canada, and it had an animation with a white outline of Canada on a red background. One by one all the provinces spun around and plopped into the map, while this awful synthy wooom wa WOOMwawooom WOOMwawoom woom WOOOOOM! song played, and it took a reeeeally long time.

The bright red background and harsh woom-wooming were jarring enough. What really freaked my shit out was that, well, I was a five-year-old in the US, and I had seen maps of the states before and knew what the outline of my own country looked like, but that was the extent of my geographical knowledge. And when I saw the weird Canada intro I was all like OMGWTF BIZARRO STATES I DON'T UNDERSTAND. (I'm sorry, Canada.)

Does anyone else remember that one? And oh god if you bought me a beer I could tell you about all the things from Sesame Street that scared me.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:19 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Argh! My search-fu is failing me. What was the company whose logo featured two cowboys flanking a gong? One picks up a giant mallet and swings it towards the gong, only to hit the other cowboy in the groin. No, seriously. 1980's, I can't remember what show or shows it was attached to.

I also always liked the Belisarius logo at the end of Airwolf.
posted by usonian at 12:26 PM on July 19, 2010


AAAAAAAAAAHHHH The Mark VII Limited! I don't know why that always creeped me out.
posted by Skot at 12:34 PM on July 19, 2010


The computer graphics main street fly through [during the HBO intro] just comes off like Neuromancer using personality templates as a medium to transmit it's alien thought process.

The classic HBO intro didn't use any CGI. The Main Street fly through used a miniature set, the giant floating 'HBO' letters were machined out of metal, and even the sparkles were created using a physical special effect. Here's how it was made.
posted by jedicus at 12:38 PM on July 19, 2010 [13 favorites]


I was never afraid of these things but the little catchphrases like "Sit Ubu sit, good dog!" or "Bad Robot" tend to get stuck in my head and I anticipate them. I imagine this is by design. Anyway, years ago my wife bought me a DVD set of X-files episodes and we sat down to watch them together. As the credits rolled on the first on I blurted out, "I made this!" a split second before the words came out of the speakers. She turned and looked at me with utter amazement and asked, "How did you know?" I still kid her about that.
posted by Tashtego at 12:39 PM on July 19, 2010


I already did an AskMe about one of my favorites. We have such a rich synth heritage.
posted by circular at 12:40 PM on July 19, 2010


Well, I should say it didn't use any CGI to speak of. I guess a few of the incidental bits may have been CGI (e.g. the 'HBO THEATRE' text near the end), but not any of the main effects.
posted by jedicus at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2010


Simitar should get special mention for being worst-in-show.
posted by gallois at 12:41 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of those are LSD-fuelled masterpieces.
posted by athenian at 12:43 PM on July 19, 2010


Does anyone remember the cartoon spider that came down at the end of Sharon Lois and Bram's Elephant Show and said something incomprehensible? That always creeped me out.
posted by Dr. Send at 12:45 PM on July 19, 2010


Was I only kid who thought the Children's Television Workshop was run by actual children? And that was the coolest job ever!

It was an ambiguous possessive, easy mistake.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:50 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does anyone remember the cartoon spider that came down at the end of Sharon Lois and Bram's Elephant Show and said something incomprehensible?

You mean this.

That's got to be the longest credit roll in the history of children's television.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2010


Does anyone remember the cartoon spider that came down at the end of Sharon Lois and Bram's Elephant Show and said something incomprehensible? That always creeped me out.

The spider says 'this has been a Cambium production.'
posted by jedicus at 12:54 PM on July 19, 2010


here was one I saw repeatedly, around kindergarten or first grade or so, that terrified me. I wish I knew what the company was, but it was some sort of educational public television in Canada, and it had an animation with a white outline of Canada on a red background. One by one all the provinces spun around and plopped into the map, while this awful synthy wooom wa WOOMwawooom WOOMwawoom woom WOOOOOM! song played, and it took a reeeeally long time.

Metroid Baby, is this what you're thinking of?
posted by evilcolonel at 1:02 PM on July 19, 2010


I guess a few of the incidental bits may have been CGI (e.g. the 'HBO THEATRE' text near the end), but not any of the main effects.

Considering it was made in 1983, and was created largely by a physical effects house, I wouldn't be surprised if there was zero CGI in the piece at all. That text and the color swirls surrounding it could easily have been done with old school animation.
posted by hippybear at 1:02 PM on July 19, 2010


> hat text and the color swirls surrounding it could easily have been done with old school animation.

The starburst pattern that the HBO logo enters through was indeed done with simple overlays of moving transparency sheets. The only real computer involvement in the whole production was with the camera controls. If you haven't watched the short "making of" documentary linked upthread, it might be an interesting use of 10 minutes.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:07 PM on July 19, 2010


Yeah I realized shortly after I posted that calling it computer graphics was a mistake. CG has just become shorthand in my head for visual effect.
posted by Babblesort at 1:08 PM on July 19, 2010


Oh, I did watch the little documentary. But they don't mention the very end of the piece, where the O in HBO dissolved and the camera moves inside it and the colorful shooting stars swoosh along the inner curve and create the HBO Theater logo. Occam's razor suggests that there is no CGI in the piece at all, is what I'm saying.
posted by hippybear at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2010


Don't know why, but the classic UA logo always creeped me out as a kid. It seemed like it should be the beginning to a scary movie where an alien eats your brains out.
posted by Afroblanco at 1:11 PM on July 19, 2010


I remember the ITC logo primarily from Space 1999.
posted by Mister_A at 1:21 PM on July 19, 2010


If you ask me, this is The One Logo to Rule Them All.

I had this as my phone's ringtone for a long time, and now it's ruined for me. When I hear it, I no longer think "YAY CHARLIE BROWN SPECIAL'S GOING TO BE ON NEXT YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY" but rather "Fuck, someone from work is calling me again. What do they want now?"
posted by Lucinda at 1:22 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Metroid Baby, is this what you're thinking of?

No idea if that's the right logo, but that's definitely Bob McDonald's voice.
posted by CaseyB at 1:28 PM on July 19, 2010


Metroid Baby, is this what you're thinking of?

YES! Almost! It was this version. I clearly remembered some of the parts wrong (not totally red, Canada + US) but still, AUGH.
posted by Metroid Baby at 1:30 PM on July 19, 2010


For the Dutchies: VPRO outleader 1971
posted by joost de vries at 1:36 PM on July 19, 2010 [7 favorites]


Lucinda: That makes me very sad. And glad I never got around to making that ringtone myself... the idea had occurred to me.

Metroid Baby: Holy crap, I remember that version! Mostly the funky 'Think About It' opening credits, though. I remember being subjected to a lot of stale PBS fare during elementary school. (We watched 'High Feather', 'Inside Out', and 'Think About It'. Even as a kid in the early eighties, the seventies seemed like a long-ago weird-ass decade, at least when it came to public TV theme music.
posted by usonian at 1:37 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Were these clips as off-putting when they originally aired? I get the feeling much of the creepiness is from the poor analog audio/video quality of the recording. For example, the music is especially warbly, and the colors are all washed out. This stuff probably didn't look and sound so bad when it was new.

Then again, I have to wonder why those companies insisted on branding themselves as big, dark, loud, and bold. You'd think they'd want a softer, more approachable image no matter how old or young their audiences were.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:41 PM on July 19, 2010


The Thames logo only achieved freakadelic effect by its juxtaposition to the old Dr. Who theme.

None of these others bother me. They push my happy nostalgia buttons.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:47 PM on July 19, 2010


joost de vries: "For the Dutchies: VPRO outleader 1971 "

That is absolutely terrifying. None of these other videos startled me, but that one. I may have dreams about it. I definitely had my jaw drop in response, let me tell you!
posted by Xoder at 1:49 PM on July 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's the one that used to ruin my Saturday morning cartoons. It was like an alert: Warning! Boring shit next!
posted by peep at 2:02 PM on July 19, 2010 [5 favorites]


I can't imagine finding a production credit scary, but I've always thought Stephen Cannell's won the kewpie doll for Most Posturing logo.
posted by George_Spiggott at 2:05 PM on July 19, 2010


Bear in mind that TV graphics of the 70s-80s weren't nearly as widespread as they are today. Other than these production logos, almost everything was live video, and if it wasn't, it was a pretty primitive title card. So, you're 4 years old, you're watching tv and only have maybe a year of experience with it, what's your relationship to the images onscreen? Especially when it suddenly goes abstract?

A moment ago you were on Sesame Street with a bunch of muppets or cartoon characters. Now suddenly you've been teleported to a vast black no man's land. A loud series of synthesizers announces a new presence: A giant abstract shape -- with absolutely no reference point for scaling -- looms into view, sometimes forming itself out of nothing. Usually glowing or pulsing.

Yeah, that's terrifying.
posted by condour75 at 2:11 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Yeah, that's terrifying.

Nah, it opened doors into the nascent digital realms for my plastic little mind. They were always interesting, even the sucky ones.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:26 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even though it is part of the introduction:

Garth Marenghi and Dean Lerner Presents
posted by anotherbrick at 2:30 PM on July 19, 2010


Except that the way the kid said it just made it sound like he was saying "dick" with a bit of hang, so we still laughed at it.

I used to work near their building in Burbank. There is a rather large mural outside advertising "The Wonderful World of DIC."
posted by drjimmy11 at 2:40 PM on July 19, 2010


grr! argh!
posted by radiosilents at 2:48 PM on July 19, 2010


Seriously, I've gone through every linked logo in this thread, and (aside from a few I don't know), they could all be on a Tube link titled "happy nostalgia logos" and it would resonate well with me.

"For the Dutchies: VPRO outleader 1971"

EXCEPT THAT ONE. WTF???
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 3:21 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. I recognized almost every one of those sequences.

They say that one of the last things to go with advanced alzheimer's is recognition of abstract logos and musical cues. I wonder if this is what the inside of my brain will look like in 50 years.
posted by Alison at 3:57 PM on July 19, 2010


The Movie of the Week and Mystery Movie openings reminded of that other alternating-star series THE NAME OF THE GAME (contains 0% Abba). Has any other TV opening sequence done more with less? Just silhouettes of the stars' faces and repeating patterns of their names. No clips, no effects, no real animation beyond the moving around of the slides. I still think it's cool (even if Robert Stack never was).
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:07 PM on July 19, 2010


stavrogin, I too clicked the link hoping for weird, discontinued types of LEGO from 30 years ago.
posted by straight at 4:08 PM on July 19, 2010


>If there was anything on TV that gave me the slightest heebie jeebies, it was the opening of The Movie of the Week, just because I knew it was copying the psychedelically scary sequence from 2001.

In fact they were both made by the same person, Douglass Trumbull.

Harry Marks, who did the logos and intros for ABC in the late 60's and most of the 70's was responsible for producing it. He was also responsible for my own personal favorite the ABC Friday Night Movie from the early 80's. (The closed caption intro on this was also nice.) I recently became so fascinated with it that I spent a few weeks reproducing the intro in After Effects.
posted by jeremias at 5:58 PM on July 19, 2010


@JanetLand @Skot

I love that Williams Street, the folks who brought you Robot Chicken, use that same Mark VII Limited soundtrack for their logo, and oddly it has no hammer going on.
posted by drowsy at 6:10 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Admit it, you always chuckled when you saw the one for DIC.

Is it just me or did the voiceover always pronounce it "deek"?
posted by armage at 9:19 PM on July 19, 2010


Now the Studio Logos are one thing, but Vanity Cards are another. (self-link, written 4 years ago, that I had forgotten I wrote)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:23 PM on July 19, 2010



For the Dutchies: VPRO outleader 1971


Jeezuz, wtf was that?

I always loved the synth tones associated with so many of those. The only one that kinda got me was the old PBS logo, mostly because I associate it with the odd and ambiguous non-kid artsy daytime programming I sometimes caught back in early 70s Los Angeles, such as The Fine Art Of Goofing Off.
posted by 2N2222 at 10:00 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


wtf was that?
Heh, the 60s and early 70s were a wild time in certain scenes in the Netherlands. And the VPRO broadcast organisation was one of those scenes.
This was their way of communicating that the broadcast programme had ended and that the transmitter would be turned off.
posted by joost de vries at 10:38 PM on July 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


He was also responsible for my own personal favorite the ABC Friday Night Movie from the early 80's.

Could a content warning be any more spoileriffic? I mean, I guessed what movie it was just from that. (Also, since this is American television, you just know they left in all the psychological horror and edited out the naked woman in the bathroom.)
posted by evilcolonel at 4:12 PM on July 21, 2010


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