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Production Logos That Haunted My Childhood

Some of the logos I saw on TV as a child seemed designed to completely freak out children. I’m talking about the quick little bumpers announcing what production company produced whatever program you just watched, or the network’s call letters for the station that broadcast it. I’m not alone. Go on Youtube and search “scary logos”. People have put together entire compilations. Some of which I’ll show here.

In the comments for these you’ll get all kinds of internet toughs declaring all manner of butchness by ridiculing the poster. I watched a bunch of these clips with a group of friends once. One friend decided she’d mock us after every one. Yeah. They’re not scary now, with your rational, adult mind. But when you’re two, three or four and your mind is still forming and YOU CAN’T READ YET they're just mysterious symbols with no meaning. And accompanied by inexplicably scary and aggressive music. For instance, this Paramount Television one is clearly screaming at you:

I didn’t understand what the logo meant, I just understood that this mountain was going to kill me and I was helpless to stop it. It was frightening on a visceral, instinctual level...like something sitting in complete darkness, turning at a torturously slow pace to face me as pants-shittingly doom ridden piano chords slowly tick away, accompanied by a barren, hellish drone...

What about the “Viacom V of Doom”? I’m four. I don’t know what Viacom is. I can’t read. All I understand is this giant, cold, blue triangle is coming for me. With an ominous, ever loudening rumble and cold soulless synth music...

...and ending with a deafening crash like a wall of pain. This one didn’t just mess ME up. It's pretty famous for being unnecessarily menacing.

The Dic one? I was old enough that it didn’t bother me. Seeing this just meant Dennis the Menace was over and the bus would be here soon. And I’d have to get on that bus and be taken away to the gulag that was middle school for me. So it probably should give me the shivers. Anyway, I watch it now and wonder what in blazes the designer of this was thinking.

A kid sleeps peacefully in bed. Just like you later tonight...

...completely unaware of the abject, Lovecraftian horror that awaits outside the window. Because no kid has ever had a fear of that sort of thing.

It’s a being of spikes! With no discernable face or understandable structure of any kind. It doesn’t look like it has any purpose but to murder in unimaginable ways.

If you grew up in Boston, you’ve watched WGBH. When I simply hear this jingle...

...my skin crawls. I can’t explain it, except that maybe to my young child’s mind that burbling “sound”, meant nothing but ominous things afoot. Or maybe it’s because once the logo is finally formed, it vaporizes everything. Or maybe it's because alien synth tones just aren't inherently warm, fuzzy or happy. This PBS logo does the same thing, beginning with a descending rattle of death before settling into music by and for robots who would just assume conquer us.

And that expressionless face...Why is there a face...!?

Same with this one...

You couldn’t get away from them because they surrounded Sesame Street and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood and that was kind of all I watched for a couple of my early formative years.

There was something about WGBH Channel 2 Boston as a whole that always made me uneasy. Maybe because long before everything went digital, the station had a lot of technical difficulties and would go down fairly often, which would mean I might miss my beloved programs. Instead I would have to contend with being stuck in my high chair, staring at some strange title card (that I couldn't read or understand) while listening to an ominous disco version of the Close Encounters Theme. I also had an actual, real nightmare as a child about the Channel 2 logo.

I didn't add that blood red glow...

It was projected huge on the kitchen wall of the house I lived in until I was three. And it was accompanied by inexplicably scary and aggressive music. And I couldn’t get away...  

I get a cold twinge of feeling unsafe just reliving these. They’re probably responsible for a countless many of the neuroses that plague me now. 

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