ABC Circle A logo (1957–62)

Logo Evolution: ABC TV

Until the Fox television network went on the air in 1986, the American Broadcasting Company — ABC — was the young kid on the block. It began in 1943 as a direct descendant of RCA’s NBC Blue radio network. Originally known as the Blue Network, the network was re-branded in 1944 as the American Broadcasting Company. On April 19, 1948 the ABC television network went on the air, and so it is in that year that I begin my look at the history of the ABC-TV network logos.

Dates on some of the early logos are approximate. If any readers have more accurate information please let me know in the comments. To check out my history of the NBC logo, click here.

Logo #1 (1948 – ?)

ABC TV network logo (1943–53)


Not surprisingly, ABC’s first television logo was directly inspired by radio — the same is true for NBC as well. Basically, ABC took their radio network logo and slapped the letters “TV” on it. This specimen is a modern reproduction of the original.

Logo #2 (1948 – ?)

ABC TV network logo (1948 - ?)

1948 – ?

I don’t have a hard date range for this logo, which features the American Broadcasting Company wordmark imposed over a map of the United States, but it seems to have been used from 1948 until the early ’50s.

Logo #3 (1948 – ?)

ABC TV network lens logo (1948 - ?)

1948 – ?

As you might have figured out by now, standardization was not a priority for ABC’s marketing team in the ’40s and early ’50s. In fact, for several years the network scrambled to compete with NBC, CBS, and the DuMont networks.

Logo #4 (1953 – 1957)

ABC logo (1953-57): eagle with lightning bolt


ABC, which struggled for several years after its launch, took on new life when it merged with United Paramount Theaters in 1953. And with that new life came a fancy new logo, featuring an eagle and a circle of 13 stars surrounding the letters “ABC”. By 1955 the logo was animated to reveal the ABC script bursting from a star in the center of the shield.

Logo #5 (1957 – 1962)

ABC Circle A logo (1957–62)

1957-62, the “Circle A” logo

ABC took the unusual step of rendering their logo in all lower-case letters when they introduced the so-called “Circle A” logo in 1957.

Logo #6 (late 1950s – early 1960s)

ABC map logo (1958–62)

1958 – 1962?

I don’t know how widespread this logo was, but it’s clearly an updating of the original map logo. My guess it was used in the same ’58 – ’62 period as the Circle A logo. I know the boxed portion was definitely used in 1958, as I saw it at the end of a promo for The Patti Page Oldsmobile Show.

Logo #7 (1962 – 2007)

ABC Circle logo (1962-2007)

1962 – 2007

Here’s the ABC logo that several generations of TV viewers know quite well. It was created by noted graphic designer Paul Rand and debuted on October 19, 1962. The lower-case wordmark remained from the Circle A variant, although it was updated to a sans serif typeface. Several variations of this classic logo were used over the following decades, including this neat one touting ABC’s new color programming:

ABC TV network color logo (1960s)

Logo #8 (2007 – present)

ABC Circle HD logo (2007-present)

2007 – present

In 2007 ABC rolled out an update to their classic logo, adding contours and shading to help usher in the HDTV generation. Otherwise, it’s essentially the same logo as introduced in the 1960s.

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Fred Flintstone smokes a Winston cigarette in a 1960s ad

Let’s See Fred Flintstone Smoke Winston Cigarettes in Color

Hang around the internet long enough and you’ll stumble across one of the classic TV commercials for Winston cigarettes, starring the Flintstones. Those spots from the early ’60s are practically advertising legend at this point. If you haven’t seen them, click on the link above and prepare to be amazed.

Well if you thought that was cool — or even if you didn’t — then you’ll really enjoy this find. It’s an original production animation cel from the second spot in that clip; a closeup of Fred Flintstone sparking a Winston and loving every second of it. Oddly enough, the animation is in glorious color while the cigarette appears to be a black and white photograph.

Fred Flintstone smokes a Winston cigarette in a 1960s ad

Winston tastes good like a *clap* *clap* cigarette should!

Now that’s responsible marketing!

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Procter & Gamble Daytime Soap Opera Promo Artwork (1981)

Vintage Daytime Soap Opera Promotional Artwork (1981)

I don’t even like soap operas, especially the daytime variety, but this 1981 promotional image from Procter & Gamble Productions was too cool not to share. It features six P&G soap opera title cards from the 1981-82 television season, which aired on the three major broadcast networks. They are Search for Tomorrow, Another World, Texas, The Edge of Night, As the World Turns, and Guiding Light.

Procter & Gamble Daytime Soap Opera Promo Artwork (1981)

A few of these I had never heard of, and now I know why. Texas only aired from 1980 to 1982, while The Edge of Night went off the air in 1984. Only As the World Turns and Guiding Light lasted into the 21st century.

Speaking of that last one, my buddy Jeff Giles from Popdose is working on what is sure to be a great book for GL fans, called Llanview in the Afternoon: An Oral History of One Life to Live. It’s not available for sale yet, but you can check out the Facebook page for the project to find out when it is.

Battle of the CHiPs TV Theme Songs!

CHiPs Emergency Medical Kit

Yesterday I posted an image on my Facebook page of an old CHiPs Emergency Medical Kit toy, and we all had fun with it. I’m not sure why a medical kit is a relevant toy for a show about motorcycle cops, but whatever.

But it got me to thinking about an age-old question. Of the two main theme songs CHiPs used over the course of its six-season run, which is the better one? I know what my answer is, but I need to know what you think. For reference, here are the choices. Both were written by John Parker, by the way.

Here’s the intro used for season 1, which is fairly close to what was used for the pilot episode as well. It was also used on occasion in later seasons.

CHiPs season-6 with 1977 theme by deadsnake

As you can hear, we’ve got a bit of a laid back mariachi thing going on here. I very much dig the trumpet solo.

Here’s the version used from season two through season six, arranged by Alan Silvestri.

CHiPs Intro & Theme Season Two by dm_50aac3e3c0987

This is the version most people probably remember, and I would classify it as Disco Funk. It moves along at a much more urgent pace, and of course there’s that bass line.

So there you are, two great choices. Voting is taking place now on the GFS Facebook page, so let your voice be heard!

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KDOC’s New Year’s Eve Show Goes Wrong in the Funniest Way Possible

KDOC First Night New Year's Eve 2013 (Macy Gray)

Macy Gray, looking and sounding dignified as usual.

(Note 1/4/13: KDOC has compounded their excellent decision-making by getting the original video pulled. As long as people keep posting replacement copies I’ll keep sharing.)

We all know that live TV is a risky proposition these days, especially on New Year’s Eve. The hosts are amped up and the crowd — usually drunk — is at best wildly unpredictable. Why, not even a respected cable new outlet like CNN is immune from things getting out of hand a little bit (thanks Kathy Griffin).

So how is it that KDOC-TV out of Los Angeles could not predict that their live New Year’s Eve broadcast featuring Jamie Kennedy, Stu Stone, Macy Gray, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony would go completely off the rails? It was supposed to be a First Night 2013 event, meaning no alcohol, but I challenge you to find one person involved in this train wreck who wasn’t three sheets to the wind. Watch this clip for six-plus minutes of bad production, profanity, general cluelessness on the part of the hosts and performers, and of course crowd members who even Maury Povich wouldn’t touch.

Keep in mind that everything in this video was broadcast live, and that Carl’s Jr. paid for it.

So let’s recap. Jamie Kennedy should never be allowed to produce or host a television show again, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony cares not for the FCC, Macy Gray probably hasn’t had a sober moment in about 12 years, getting rid of haters is a valid New Year’s resolution, and there is no better way to ring in 2013 than by fighting. You stay classy Los Angeles!

The Venture Bros. Wrapup logo

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “A Very Venture Halloween”

Venture Bros. Wrapup: "A Very Venture Halloween"

Has it really been almost two years since I last wrote about a new episode of The Venture Bros.? Yup, seems so. And now here we are, with 2012 winding down, and we finally have a new episode from Jackson and Doc — “A Very Venture Halloween.” It’s the first holiday-themed installment of the show since “A Very Venture Christmas” all the way back at the end of season one in 2004.

Alright, enough history — let’s get into it. This episode was damn good, and sets the table quite nicely for the upcoming fifth season of the show. For awhile I thought this was going to be a typically light-hearted standalone episode, but Doc Hammer (who wrote this one) took things in a very dramatic direction toward the end.

Let’s get the frivolity out of the way first — Dr. Venture and Sgt. Hatred hang out with Pete White and Billy Quizboy at the compound on Halloween night to see who can win the most money. You see, they’re betting on which “lucky” trick or treaters can make it past the compound’s deadly security systems. Fun stuff, but nothing too heavy. It was rather nice seeing Hatred and getting zero pedophile jokes, so I hope that continues.

The venture Bros. - "A Very Venture Halloween"

The A plot (or maybe B) concerns the boys and Dermott, who head out to spend the night in a real haunted house — the so-called Potter House. Dean, looking rather goth, is the only one brave or stupid enough to actually go in, and he ends up learning the secret of his cloned past. This was a rather bold move on the show’s part, but I think it’s a great idea. They got all the mileage they could out of Dr. Venture hiding this secret, and it’ll be fascinating to watch the fallout now that it’s out.

The second main plot sees the always welcome return of Dr. Orpheus and the Order of the Triad. They host the gathering of the Brimstone Assembly in Orpheus’s place, and it’s quite the group of mystical figures that shows up. The two best parts of this story were the return of The Master (aka H. Jon Benjamin as Santa Claus) and the Hellraiser spoof with the Outrider and Orpheus’s ex-wife conjuring a Pinhead-esque figure that has a toaster for a face and ejects “pleasure toast.” Awesome.

There’s an Important Lesson for Orpheus and the others here, too, but really the whole thrust of the episode is Dean learning the truth from a newly introduced character named Ben (J.K. Simmons). I imagine we’ll be seeing more of him later, but you never know. I don’t know if he’s going to stick with the sullen goth thing, but I’m damn glad we get goofy Hank back.

If “A Very Venture Halloween” proves anything, it’s that this show seems to still be on its game as it prepares for the fifth season early next year. Damn, I can’t wait!

Final grade: A


  • For not the first time, Brock makes an appearance in an episode but says nothing.
  • One of the few things I caught through the jargon in that little medical exam rundown of Dean was early baldness.
  • Ben reminds me of Jeff Bridges as the Dude.
  • Wilhelm Scream appearance.
  • Excellent direction, placing the end of Orpheus’s speech over the image of Dean returning home to deal with the truth about the clones.

Best lines/moments:

  • The entire cold open, with Dean and Hank failing to scare Rusty and Brock on Halloweens past, was outstanding.
  • “Thank you boys, that was… chilling.”
  • “Jefferson, this is not The Craft.”
  • “I have yet to meet a woman that doesn’t dress sexy on Halloween. Witch? No sir, sexy witch. Freddy Krueger? Nope, sexy Freddy Krueger. Hmm. Sexy damn Freddy Krueger.”
  • “That’s what she said.” “Oh, she said nothing of the sort!”
  • As I said before, the whole Hellraiser/Rubik’s Cube bit was gold.
  • “Submit to my toast. My pleasure toast!”
  • “Super fucking run away!”

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NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Snorks

Fall TV Preview Madness! (NBC Saturday Mornings, 1985)

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Back to Next SaturdayNBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Back to Next Saturday

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for NBC’s 1985 Saturday Morning lineup of children’s shows. NBC ran a yearly special previewing their upcoming season of Saturday morning shows from 1973 to 1991. The ’85 special was called Back to Next Saturday — cashing in on the popularity of Back to the Future — and it starred the likes of Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show) and Lisa Whelchel (The Facts of Life), as well as the casts of It’s Punky Brewster and Kidd Video.

Unlike the prime time previews, Back to Next Saturday went to the trouble of concocting a storyline. Pulliam enters the Dream Zone, otherwise known as your typical tropical island. She meets the real-life cast members from one of the new Saturday morning series, and they all must find a way to get back to the cartoon. Or something like that. Look, it was the ’80s, it was a confusing time for all of us.

So let’s head to the Dream Zone and travel back… to next Saturday! (* denotes a new series.)

The 1985-86 NBC Saturday Morning Schedule

8amSnorks (1984 – 1989)
8:30am*Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985 – 1991)
9amThe Smurfs (1981 – 1989)
10:30am* — It’s Punky Brewster (1985 – 1986)
11amAlvin and the Chipmunks (1983 – 1990)
11:30amKidd Video (1984 – 1985)
12pmMr. T (1983 – 1986)
12:30pmSpider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981 – 1986)

It’s Punky Brewster

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - It's Punky Brewster

As you can probably guess, this is the cartoon spinoff of the live-action Punky Brewster show. Soleil Moon Frye plays Punky again, and they even went retro and added a small magical creature (a leprechaun gopher named Glomer). It lasted for just two seasons and 26 episodes, while the real deal made it to 1988.


NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Snorks

Snorks returned for its second season in 1985. If you’ve never seen it, imagine the Smurfs living in the ocean. Yeah, that’s about as exciting as that got. Shockingly, NBC churned out 65 episodes of this thing over four seasons.

The Smurfs

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - The Smurfs

I can admit freely that I was huge into The Smurfs. I had Smurf toys, Smurf bedding, and all kinds of Smurfy shit. But that was before I discovered  Transformers and GI Joe, and those little blue goblins were smashed to bits. Still, the Smurfs were the little kings of NBC Saturday mornings in 1985, and the Peacock aired them in a 90-minute block. They basically owned the rest of the decade as well, airing from 1981 to 1989.

Alvin and the Chipmunks

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Alvin and the Chipmunks

Since I’m already confessing one love, I’ll add this one too. Man, I loved these little pitch-corrected rodents. Of course I hate them now, and rightly so.

Disney’s Adventures of the Gummi Bears

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears

I was aware that this show existed, and I might have even watched an episode or two. But I remember very little about it, other than the bit about Gummiberry Juice. Maybe I watched more than I think after all.

Kidd Video

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Kidd Video

This may be the most quintessentially ’80s thing ever. Oh and don’t miss Whiz, played by Robbie Rist (aka Cousin Oliver from The Brady Bunch).

Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends

I find it fascinating that a network devoted time on a preview special to a show that wasn’t even producing new episodes anymore. You see, this edition of Spider-Man aired its last original episode in 1983. But NBC kept it on the Saturday morning schedule for three more years. Fascinating.

Mister T

NBC 1985 Saturday Morning Cartoon Preview - Mister T

Hmm, maybe I was a bit premature in declaring Kidd Video the most ’80s thing ever.

CBS Fall 1966 preview logo

Fall TV Preview Madness! (CBS, 1966)

CBS Fall 1966 preview logo

In Fall TV Preview Madness, I present a network television schedule preview special from the distant past. We see the good, bad, and ugly for a network’s entire upcoming fall slate.

I’m counting down the days until the Fall 2012 television season gets underway the only way I know how — by bringing you network promos for TV seasons long gone. Today’s preview is for CBS’s 1966 Fall TV season. Your host for this preview is Garry Moore, a long-time fixture on The Eye.

You’ll see stars this fall on CBS! (* denotes new series.)


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - It's About Time

7pmLassie (1954 – 1971)
7:30pm*It’s About Time (Starring Frank Aletta, Jack Mullaney, and Imogene Coca; ended after 26 episodes.)
8pmThe Ed Sullivan Show (1948 – 1971)
9pm*The Garry Moore Show (Ended after 19 episodes.)
10pmCandid Camera (1960 – 1967)
10:30pm —  What’s My Line? (1950 – 1967)

It’s About Time, which lasted one season, was a Sherwood Schwartz romp in the same vein as Gilligan’s Island. The show even borrowed the same props and music. In some ways it was a predecessor to Land of the Lost, or at least until it was completely retooled about halfway through the season.

The Garry Moore Show, while strictly speaking a new program, was actually the third version of the show. This last edition got clobbered in the ratings by TV’s top show, Bonanza.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - A Family Affair

7:30pmGilligan’s Island (1964 – 1967)
8pm*Run, Buddy, Run (Starring Jack Sheldon; ended after 13 episodes.)
8:30pmThe Lucy Show (1962 – 1968)
9pmThe Andy Griffith Show (1960 – 1968)
9:30pm*Family Affair (1966 – 1971)
10pm*The Jean Arthur Show (Ended after 12 episodes.)
10:30pmI’ve Got a Secret (1952 – 1967)

Run, Buddy, Run was a typically broad period comedy about a jazz musician on the run from some gangsters. The Jean Arthur Show was a sitcom about opposing mother-and-son lawyers, with Jean Arthur co-starring with Ron Harper. I barely made it through the preview, Arthur was so shrill.

The big success of the new shows on Monday was Family Affair, which ran for 138 episodes over five seasons. Sebastian Cabot played Giles French, the English valet and the Mr. Belvedere of his day. Family Affair was the #14 rated program for the ’66-’67 season.


7:30pmDaktari (1966 – 1969)
8:30pmThe Red Skelton Hour (1953 – 1970)
9:30pmPetticoat Junction (1963 – 1970)
10pm —  CBS News Hour

No new shows for CBS on Tuesdays, which makes sense since Daktari and The Red Skelton Hour were Top 10 programs. Petticoat Junction was in the Top 30.


7:30pmLost in Space (1965 – 1968)
8:30pmThe Beverly Hillbillies (1962 – 1971)
9pmGreen Acres (1965 – 1971)
9:30pmGomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (1964 – 1969)
10pm — The Danny Kaye Show (1963 – 1967)

Once again, CBS stuck with familiar favorites rather than roll out any new shows. The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, and Gomer Pyle were all Top 10 shows in ’66.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - Jericho

7:30pm*Jericho (Starring John Leyton, Don Francks, and Marino Masé; ended after 16 episodes.)
8:30pmMy Three Sons (1965 – 1972)
9pm —  The CBS Thursday Night Movies

Before there was a short-lived Jericho on CBS several years ago, there was a short-lived Jericho on CBS in the ’60s. The first one was a World War II drama about a top-secret counterintelligence team (Code Name Jericho) behind enemy lines, giving the Nazis what for.


7:30pmThe Wild Wild West (1965 – 1969)
8:30pmHogan’s Heroes (1965 – 1971)
9pm* —  The CBS Friday Night Movies

Nothing new on Friday in terms of scripted shows, although CBS did add a second night of movies to the schedule.


CBS Fall 1966 TV Preview - Pistols 'n' Petticoats

7:30pmThe Jackie Gleason Show (1962 – 1970)
8:30pm* —  Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats (Starring Ann Sheridan, Ruth McDevitt, and Douglas Fowley; ended after 26 episodes.)
9pm*Mission: Impossible (1966 – 1973)
10pmGunsmoke (1955 – 1975)

Pistols ‘n’ Petticoats had nothing to do with Petticoat Junction, just to be clear. Nothing like some good ol’ period racism to get the laffs going. I have no idea why this preview didn’t include any footage from Mission: Impossible, but if I had to hazard a guess I’d say it wasn’t ready in time. Nevertheless, it and Family Affair were the only new CBS shows from ’66 to gain any traction.