"I always enjoyed models as a boy."
May 6, 2016 4:02 PM   Subscribe

 
Here is the full opening. I have not thought about it in probably over 20 years, but watching it brings me right back to that feeling of excitement and anticipation. Like many 80s families, I am guessing, we had a whole collection of movies taped off HBO and this opening was at the beginning of all of them. I half-expect The NeverEnding Story to start after watching it.
posted by lunasol at 4:10 PM on May 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


I was just thinking about the intro the other day. Can't wait to watch the documentary.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 4:11 PM on May 6, 2016


I remember this documentary! There was one moment where the camera movement lost its fluidity in that tracking shot that always bothered me. I'm not sure if I noticed it before or after.
posted by nevercalm at 4:15 PM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Here is the full opening.

Which links to a 2007 copy of the documentary in related videos, so looks like AV Club wasn't quite paying attention when they wrote "a fascinating, 10-minute documentary by Scott Morris that has recently resurfaced on YouTube" :-)
posted by effbot at 4:24 PM on May 6, 2016


I half-expect The NeverEnding Story to start after watching it.

And I find it jarring when it doesn't transition straight into the Fraggle Rock theme music.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:34 PM on May 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


I hadn't even known that there was a live action element to that intro, but I remember it from when I babysat as a teen, and would watch a movie after I'd gotten the tots to sleep. Cable came to my Milwaukee neighborhood kind of late. I first saw HBO when I snuck to a friend's house to see Eddie Murphy's Delirious in 1983, and in my mind, my friend's family were rich - I mean, HBO was $20 a month!

I was surprised to learn in college that HBO used to sign on and sign off.
posted by droplet at 4:50 PM on May 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Finally this gem of early cable gets its due!
posted by grumpybear69 at 5:05 PM on May 6, 2016


Can't wait to see the Behind the Scenes on the current intro.

#TheseKidsToday
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:06 PM on May 6, 2016


Here is the full opening.

There's a lot of three-note groupings there...

HBO
HBO
H B O
H B O
H B OOO
H B OOOOO
posted by Gaz Errant at 5:08 PM on May 6, 2016


Previously (now 24 hours on weekends!)
posted by dr_dank at 5:09 PM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The illusion song they play in the documentary is so very goofy I cannot help but laugh every time I hear it.
posted by Ferreous at 6:30 PM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Agreed - that Illusion song has "rejected Broadway show stopper" written all over it.
posted by tantrumthecat at 7:08 PM on May 6, 2016


I have not thought about it in probably over 20 years

If only you could have come to Screen on the Green at some point, then. The HBO-sponsored event on the national mall always included this in front of the feature and it was a crowd favorite. People would get up and... I'm going to put "dance" in quotes here. But they would do this weird thing. It was often more interesting than the films shown.
posted by phearlez at 7:45 PM on May 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I was surprised to learn in college that HBO used to sign on yt and sign off

Makes sense. In the early days they'd not have had enough content to operate 24 hours a day and from memory Microwave air time was expensive.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 8:49 PM on May 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


My husband had never seen this until I showed him the version on YouTube. Its familiarity to me and total novelty to him kind of blew my mind.
posted by Tandem Affinity at 9:20 PM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


"...and in my mind, my friend's family were rich - I mean, HBO was $20 a month! "

We got HBO in 1980, or so, and we were middle-class, barely. As I wrote in another thread where some idiot asserted that only rich folk had cable before 1995 or whatever, there was a huge swath of small town western America where broadcast reception was poor or nonexistant (in my case, the nearest network TV stations were 90 miles away) and cable television was very close to universal from at least as early as the beginning of the 70s, if not before. There was one movie theater in my town, and for families with small children who already had cable, HBO made a lot of sense.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:29 PM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


This is an FPP about an article about a documentary about the making of a promo about a TV network about movies. None -- none more Meta.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 10:05 PM on May 6, 2016 [14 favorites]


"We put a few bums on the street, a few hookers on the corner. Those little things are, like, our calling card."
posted by mykescipark at 10:07 PM on May 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't think it was 20 a month in 1983, but I can't prove it. 10 or 15, I think. Anyways, we had it and this was with a single mother's income. Mum wanted The Movie Channel too, so we had two premium channels. I was told never to watch R rated stuff without permission, or the cable would go away. But broke that rule in the first month thanks to mum being an early sleeper. Think the first one for me was Excalibur. Or was it Stripes?

I remember this documentary too. Was used as filler until the next movie. Being a sometimes boring kid, I think I sat through it more than once when I was too lazy to get up.
posted by honestcoyote at 2:46 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


My roommates and I had cable and HBO in college and in the mid eighties and I'm pretty sure it only cost us $15 a month total. All our friends had cable because we lived in central PA with two broadcast stations and because it was so cheap.
posted by octothorpe at 4:15 AM on May 7, 2016


Boy that brings back memories. Growing up in the 70s, television was the story of delayed gratification in our house. Our town didn't even have an NBC affiliate until 1974, and it was a UHF channel. Then our house was one of the last in the neighborhood to get cable because we lived on a small cul-de-sac and the local cable company didn't think it was worth it to run cable up our street for just a few houses (I don't know why they eventually changed their mind). When it came to HBO, my parents didn't think it was worth the money no matter how convincing the arguments us kids put forth (the main one being "but everyone else has it" to which the predictable response was "then you can watch it at their houses"). Finally in 1981 they relented and got it for us for Christmas. They told us by getting the letters "H", "B", and "O" and giving each one of us three kids a letter wrapped as a gift. We were completely puzzled as to why we got letters, none of which were even part of our initials or any other conceivable use. After 10 minutes of amusement mom and dad suggested we put the letters together and we figured it out pretty quickly. We were thrilled, although I was about to go off to college and wouldn't get to watch except when I was back on weekends and holidays. That was OK, as the oldest kid I was used to getting a raw deal. It was just over a year later that they introduced that intro, and it really did do a great job of building up anticipation for whatever followed it. I think it was then I started to lose interest in going to the theater and just watch movies at home.

I wonder what they did with the model. It seems like the sort of thing some model railroaders would kill to get their hands on.
posted by TedW at 5:08 AM on May 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


The HBO intro heavily influenced the current (and wonderful) slate of TCM movie intros.
posted by Modest House at 6:32 AM on May 7, 2016


Dude straight up smoking a pipe, indoors, while making the model was my favorite part.

I was born in 1976, the oldest of 3 kids. My brother and sister and I used to have a goofy dance every time this came on. It hits soooo many nostalgia buttons for me.
posted by misskaz at 7:36 AM on May 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Huh. I was told by my guardian we couldn't get HBO because it was $20 a month. She barely let us have basic cable because she didn't want us watching MTV or VH1! I guess she exaggerated.

I didn't actually have HBO until college in the early 90s, and my then-bf paid for an awful lot of cable for our flat; he got HBO, Showtime and The Movie Channel, along with tons of extra ESPN channels.

At this point though, shouldn't HBO come up with a new intro? No one's TV, except maybe your grandparents' set, has static anymore - it's digital. No one born as of 2012 will ever remember the static-y goodness of electronic television.
posted by droplet at 7:18 AM on May 8, 2016


It annoyed me when they switched to the 90s intro, but I did appreciate that they continued to use the original for premieres and such, although often the shortened version that didn't include the physical model part.

I also remember seeing the making of documentary on HBO itself sometime in the 90s.

It's only gotten up to $20/mo recently. I seem to remember it being $8 or $10 a month in the 80s and early 90s. I think it was $8 on TCI and it went up to $10 when they started bundling Cinemax with it. I believe the full premium package that included HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, and TMC was $15/mo at that time.

When I first got cable myself, it was still only $20 for all the premiums. My total bill was a hair over $50/mo then.
posted by wierdo at 3:09 PM on May 8, 2016


Oh, and I forget where Captain Midnight was from (Tampa, maybe?), but on his local cable system, HBO was $12.95 a month.
posted by wierdo at 6:24 PM on May 8, 2016


No one's TV, except maybe your grandparents' set, has static anymore - it's digital. No one born as of 2012 will ever remember the static-y goodness of electronic television.

One of my favorite bits of science trivia is that about one out of every hundred flashes of static on a TV tuned between stations is due to the big bang.
posted by TedW at 10:30 AM on May 10, 2016


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