HBO History(1972 - 1982)

All The Stuff HBO Lived
February 29, 2008

HBO, or Home Box Office, is the leading pay TV network in the US. It is also one of the most influential networks in the world, due to its focus on quality television programmes, produced without restrictions on content. It can do this because it operates solely on subscriptions (subscribers pay extra to recieve the channel), and thus doesn't have to answer to corporate interests or family sensitivity.

HBO was owned by Time, Inc. at its inception in 1972. When Time merged with Warner Communications to form Time Warner, it became an integral part of that conglomerate. It remains part of Time Warner today.

While HBO is known for its mature, cutting-edge programming, the main HBO channel does not show such programmes during the day. This continues a longstanding policy dating back to the 1970s; many early HBO ratings bumpers prominently note this fact, although it is not promoted today.

Early HBO
HBO was born in November, 1972 and initially used microwave to broadcast its signal. On December 13, 1975, HBO began broadcasting via satellite - just in time to show the famous "Thrilla in Manilla" boxing match between Joe Frazier and Mohammad Ali.

Early HBO presentation was simple, and downright primitive compared to the glossy, state-of-the-art presentation that HBO cultivates today. Its logo was different as well - while the basic design is the same as that used today.
HBO has kept the same basic logo for most of its existence - but it has gone through at least one major change. HBO's 1970s-era logo had the "O" overlapping the "B", and is accompanied by a three-stripe rainbow. Both of these were phased out by 1982.

This ident is simple - a tumbling model "HBO" keyed over a rostrum shot of the earth.

HBO feature movie
In contrast to today's policy of "use one intro for feature films", HBO was using a veritable army of intro sequences for movies. These "HBO Feature Movie" sequences share a similar musical signature and identical end animation, but other than that, they are as different as can be. At least six sequences are known to have been used, although it is not known what criteria - if any - was used as to what intro went with what movie. It is also not known whether all six were introduced together or if these intros were added to over time, as some contain more advanced animation than others(one of them using state of the art wireframe computer animation).

This intro is lighthearted, with dancing concessions and movie-related objects lining the streets - in this way it seems to echo classic movie intermission trailers.
Feature Movie #2 is somewhat grander than the first, with a more majestic orchestral score and an elaborate HBO movie theatre. All of these contain nice cel animation, with this one taking a more abstract form-up, as if the movie theatre is being drawn in. Again, the same "Feature Movie" animation and fanfare is used at the end.

Feature Movie #3 completely abandons all reality for a very abstract series of spires, bubbles, and television screens accompanied by a synthesized score. Again, we're not sure of the criteria judging what intro goes with what type of movie.

Coming Up Next...(1st Version)

Primitive graphics were used for the "Coming Up Next" promos in the 1980s. Using a simple character generator, the same copy the announcer was reading was displayed on the screen. This didn't last long...

Two more examples of the text-heavy "next ons".

Coming Up Next...(2nd Version)

A more attractive neon tube "Next On" ident was used starting around 1980 or so. This cut down on the generated text and looks a lot nicer in the process.

Coming Up... Part 2!
More Articles From Retro4Everybody
An unhandled error has occurred. Reload Dismiss