Scare Factor: High
February 20, 2005 7:04 PM   Subscribe

Scare Factor: High Few children emerged from the 70's or 80's without having been jarred at least once by the abrupt transition from a television show's credits to the interstitial animations of the broadcaster or production company. While today closing logos can often be funny, in the late 60's and 70's, the choppy animation and atonal music often made them slightly (or very) unsettling. Thankfully, a group of netizens are preserving the legacy of the closing logo.
posted by eschatfische (33 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
posted by rxrfrx at 7:09 PM on February 20, 2005

Great post. Two thumbs way up.
posted by Quartermass at 7:11 PM on February 20, 2005

I always wondered about those Dharma and Greg title cards, and after every episode, I turned to my brother and yelled, "We forgot to tape it and freeze-frame again!"

I particularly like the Hurwitz Co. title card for Arrested Development. It includes a little ukelele riff, which is available on the First Season DVD.
posted by NickDouglas at 7:26 PM on February 20, 2005

The "HBO In Space" bumper was the source of many nightmares in my early childhood in the 1980s mainly because of that horrid synth music. And the early network IDs on Nickelodeon weren't that soothing either.

posted by Servo5678 at 7:27 PM on February 20, 2005

Awesome. Thanks.
posted by Tlogmer at 7:38 PM on February 20, 2005

Great remembrance. How about the NBC peacock's feathers popping into place with that three-tone sequence that still cues the "NBC" synapse in my brain?
posted by Miko at 7:41 PM on February 20, 2005

I hate video links so I couldn't see exactly what you are talking about, but is it the annoying practice of squeezing the closing credits to one side while the promo crap jumps at you from the other side?
posted by HTuttle at 7:41 PM on February 20, 2005

I can't find a screen cap of it, but the little animated logo that Mark Frost and David Lynch had, which appeared after every episode of Twin Peaks, was the very definition of jarring. I loved it. It looked like a stop-motion thing, with moving concentric rings and a loud electric arc noise.
posted by BoringPostcards at 7:53 PM on February 20, 2005

Great site, but WHERE ARE THE VIDEOS?

Great, GREAT post!
posted by ParisParamus at 8:00 PM on February 20, 2005

This is one of those curious topics that I have never once consciously considered in 30+ years of living, even though I've seen these things many thousands of times. Fascinating.
posted by ChrisTN at 8:04 PM on February 20, 2005

Very cool stuff; it's amazing how quickly a culture forgets previous technology. My fave is this insanely catchy RCA commercial for color TV. I agree with PP, though, video clips would have been better than text descriptions at the FortuneCity site.

Hey, eschatfiche, it's nice to mention that a link is a quicktime or realmedia file, with a "[qt]" or "[rm]," just after the link.
posted by mediareport at 8:05 PM on February 20, 2005

Whoops. That RCA commercial is a [qt] link.
posted by mediareport at 8:06 PM on February 20, 2005

The Desi-Lu thingy at the end of Star Trek (at least when it was in early syndication....The Zsa-Zsa Filmways Presentation....and the single clapper at the end of Laugh-In.

Anyone recall? Anyone born before 1980? Hello? Hello?
posted by ParisParamus at 8:11 PM on February 20, 2005

posted by swell at 8:13 PM on February 20, 2005

"Sit, Ubu, sit! Good dog! [ruff!]"

My all-time favorite.
posted by nevafeva at 8:23 PM on February 20, 2005

F.H.E. Family Home Entertainment. It was classic.
posted by banished at 8:58 PM on February 20, 2005

My favorite one is WGBH Boston. Still using the same close for how many decades now?
posted by calwatch at 9:02 PM on February 20, 2005

Oh why, oh why do they use RealPlayer--such crap.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:05 PM on February 20, 2005

mumble mumble mumble self-link...
posted by wendell at 9:14 PM on February 20, 2005

Was the Screen Gems logo really that bad?
posted by O9scar at 9:14 PM on February 20, 2005

Anyone recall? Anyone born before 1980?

Screw those.

The best one was the spinning ITC logo. It told you some good shit was about to happen. Maybe it was gonna be the Muppets. Maybe it was gonna be a Space:1999 (ideally one with Maya, phworr). But it was gonna be good.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:45 PM on February 20, 2005 [1 favorite]

The 1974 redo of the CBC logo was nice, but the recent update is kind of dull. Tried my best, but I couldn't find the animated with music version of the 1974 logo, which most of us would remember.
posted by paddbear at 2:16 AM on February 21, 2005

Whenever I hear the WGBH one I immediately expect to hear the ZOOM intro, and am always kind of surprised that I don't.
posted by litlnemo at 3:56 AM on February 21, 2005

Wonderful post! Thank ye thank ye thank ye!
posted by yoga at 4:21 AM on February 21, 2005

At the other end of the program, I remember very vividly (as I imagine some others of us do) the "CBS Special Presentation" logo that always preceded the seasonal primetime Charlie Brown cartoons of my youth. I was very conditioned to expect a cartoon after hearing the distinctive percussion music and was extremely disappointed when they had some other special on (like some boring awards show or something).

The RM file is from this page, which has all kinds of other CBS promo spots on it, none of which are as evocative for me as the above.
posted by gohlkus at 5:17 AM on February 21, 2005

As soon as I read the page about the WGBH logo, I got the music stuck in my head.

I love "Sit Ubu Sit" too. Wasn't Family Ties one of the shows that had that ending?
posted by SisterHavana at 6:56 AM on February 21, 2005

the cbs/fox logo used to freak me out. but i loved "sit ubu sit" and the mary tyler moore logo.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:58 AM on February 21, 2005

I wish there were pics. Or did I miss them somehow?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:15 AM on February 21, 2005

During the 70's, St. Louis affiliate KETC somehow was able to top the creepiness factor of the national PBS logo tenfold by preceding it with a dead-silent screen displaying a soul-crushing, distorted "9" logo with a haunting blank face inside the "9" - late-night episodes of Night Gallery were comparatively comforting. Sadly, an image search online turns up nothing.
posted by walkathon at 9:29 AM on February 21, 2005

...oh, where is the opening theme from the NBC sunday night mystery? Remember that one, with the silhouette walking with a flashlight and the vaguely western theme music that was led by a person whistling or a synth of some kind? Ach, I'd so love to hear that one again.
posted by Pliskie at 6:42 PM on February 21, 2005

I didn't search hard it is [wm]. Definitely not a whistle but a synth. Who remembers?
posted by Pliskie at 6:46 PM on February 21, 2005

gohlkus, that is so true. I remember running into the living room when I heard that CBS Special music, expecting Charlie Brown or something, but it was some grown-up program. So disappointing!
posted by litlnemo at 8:11 PM on February 21, 2005

No need for pictures when Wendell's writing was so descriptive. Bravo!
posted by tizzie at 1:32 PM on February 22, 2005

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