Using Closing Logos to determine Print age (and other ramblings)

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by mattfire64, Feb 16, 2017.

  1. mattfire64

    mattfire64 Stunt Coordinator

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    Some people are fond of certain closing logos because they like the design of them, or perhaps because they were scared of them when they were younger and remind them of more innocent days. I find closing logos interesting because they serve as a marker as to how old a certain print of a show may be. I also run the Credits Archive page over on YouTube, where I've uploaded numerous credits sequences that I've found of interest.

    Of course, shows that are remastered often carry either the original closing logo that was in use by the studio when the show was made, or they feature the current closing logo of said studio. However, for shows that are not remastered, the closing logo that is featured can tell you a number of different things. It is indeed hard to believe that in our current world of 60"+ flat-screen TVs and HD picture quality that prints struck over 35 years ago are still the norm for certain shows. Sometimes laziness of the studio is to blame, other times it is simply because the original prints are so damaged that restoration is impossible or improbable due to monetary restrictions.

    What follows is a rough list of some un-remastered shows that I've come across, and my notes and such about said prints. For convenience, I'll be breaking up my observations into multiple posts to be easier on the eyes. If anyone has any further information or notes about shows from their own collections, feel free to add them to this thread:

    Cannon: I'll start with what is considered to be perhaps the most troubled of all series when it comes to older prints. To put it bluntly, Cannon stands out as being the worst looking show that I currently own on DVD. Fans were disappointed when CBS DVD dropped the ball by not remastering the series, and they were disappointed again when VEI released the same ancient prints several years ago. The prints of Cannon are marred by being sourced from beat-up film prints which are rife with dirt, debris, and film jitter. These prints were transferred to tape (BetaSP according to the CBSTVD Syndication Bible), which add numerous other flaws to the already imperfect image.

    I own the VEI set of Cannon, and VEI actually took the effort to remove the closing logo from EVERY single episode on the set. Chances are VEI did this as a way to cover their tracks to try and make the prints not look as old as they really are. However, I was lucky enough to see Cannon a few years back when MeTV was regularly airing the show which kept the closing logos intact. Most episodes from Season 3 and 4 featured the old Viacom "V of Doom" logo, which the company used from 1976 to 1986. Certain episodes featured more recent Viacom logos (from the 90s) and the earlier seasons featured the CBSTVD logo, which was a sign that CBS gave Me-TV their "DVD" prints of those earlier episodes. However, I personally believe that Viacom only transferred Cannon to tape once, and any other logo that appeared on Cannon was simply pasted over the V of Doom. Considering that BetaSP tape was introduced in 1982, and that the V of Doom was replaced in 1986, ultimately leads me to believe that these tape transfers of Cannon were struck between that four year period.

    As a side note, I saw a review over on Amazon which might answer why Cannon has never been restored. The reviewer stated that he had a contact that had knowledge that the original 35mm master prints of Cannon had "turned red due to chemical decomposition". He then states that VEI used analog tape transfers made for TV Land back in the late 90s for their print source. According to Wikipedia, Cannon was aired on TV Land from 1996-2000. This may perhaps explain the several episodes that the 90s Viacom logo appeared on, but it still seems that most of the prints that CBS currently has are from the mid 80s tape transfer. It is however impossible to tell what prints VEI's DVD set came from, due to them covering their tracks.


    Cannon credits with the Viacom "V of Doom"


    Cannon credits with the 90s Viacom logo
     
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  2. mattfire64

    mattfire64 Stunt Coordinator

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    Dark Shadows: DS has to be one of my top 3 favorite TV series of all time, and the fact that almost all of it's episodes exist to watch is a feat that no other 60s daytime drama series can match. Show creator Dan Curtis held on to the tapes and kinescopes of all 1225 episodes without knowing the future that the series would have in both reruns and home video.

    MPI home video has released the show on DVD twice, initially in 26 Volumes plus 6 volumes for the shows first 209 episodes, and again in 2012 for the infamous coffin box set. The 2012 box set fixed some issues from the initial box sets, including the removal of a blooper in episode 451 where actress Anita Bolster forgets her lines and has producer Bob Costello read them off to her from off camera. When asked about if the blooper would be reinstated for the new set, an MPI representative stated that: "When Worldvision, the syndicator for television reruns of Dark Shadows, made new digital masters a few years ago, that blooper was edited out by a well-meaning technician by mistake." but that "Otherwise they are the same DVD masters...".

    So we have it there in writing from the horse's mouth, the DVD prints of DS come from digital masters made by Worldvision Enterprises most likely in the mid to late 90s. Of course, MPI has made sure to remove all of Worldvision's logos from their DVD releases, but on at least one episode that I've seen so far (somewhere in the 370s I believe, in the 1795 story-line) I could hear the beginning of the Worldvision logo faintly after the credits faded out.

    I also personally believe that Worldvision made several other edits to episodes as well which have slipped past the radar. In watching the earlier pre-Barnabas B&W episodes, I recall several suspicious edits where the video appears to "slow down", as a way to mask some sort of tape anomaly perhaps. Also, in episode 808 (1897, When Petofi first discovers the Collins Family History book) a very suspicious looking black box appears midway through the credits in the top right corner. Hmm...


    The credits to Dark Shadows episode #808, the black box appears at 42 seconds. The 90s Worldvision logo is also intact.
     
  3. mattfire64

    mattfire64 Stunt Coordinator

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    Naked City: RLJ Entertainment released the full series set of Naked City back in 2013 after their successors at Image Entertainment insisted on cherry picking episodes to release on DVD. Fans were overjoyed to finally get the entire series on disc, but alas, the prints were in varying quality. The entirety of Season 1 has definitely not been remastered, but still sports the original Screen Gems torch lady logo. The hour long episodes however are a mixed bag. The episodes that were previously released on DVD by Image are all beautifully remastered like their sets of The Twilight Zone and Thriller, and retain the original Screen Gems torch lady logo. However, the episodes that weren't released on DVD previously appear to be a mixed bag that come from previous uncut tape transfers done by Columbia Pictures Television from the mid 80s to the mid 90s. In most of these episodes, the original Screen Gems logo is covered over by either the 80s or 90s CPT logo, yet the closing theme music and narration remain. However, back when I watched the series on Me-TV, episodes occasionally had the mid 90s Columbia-Tristar Television logo at the end of the episode, which cut off the ending of the theme music and ending narration. RLJ Entertainment however appeared to have removed this logo from their DVD release, and instead replace it by quickly crossfading to the original Screen Gems logo instead.


    Naked City credits with the 80s Columbia Pictures Television logo


    Naked City credits with the 90s Columbia Pictures Television logo


    Naked City credits with the Columbia-Tristar Television logo, omitted from the official DVD release


    The Mod Squad: CBS remastered the first two seasons, but the remaining three seasons are unremastered. According to sources on this site, the three unremastered seasons come from Worldvision's distribution transfers that were struck from 35mm prints back in the mid 90s. From a completest standpoint, the Worldvision prints are actually MORE complete than the remastered prints, as the unremastered Worldvision prints actually include the opening "Mod Squad in color" bumper as well as the mid-show bumper as well. VEI released the entirety of Mod Squad on DVD several years back, and their DVD release retains all closing logos (CBS/Paramount for season 1-2, Worldvision for season 3-5).

    Combat!: All home video releases of Combat! have utilized timesped BetaSP tape transfers for the 4 B&W seasons that were made by the show's then distributor Worldvision Enterprises back in the mid 80s and touched up for cable broadcasts in the mid 90s (Encore Action, TV Land). I remember reading somewhere that Image Entertainment wanted to use the original broadcast masters for these four seasons, but they were in bad shape and would have required extensive restoration work. Unless if someone like CBS wants to foot the bill for the cleanup effort, chances for an HD restoration on these four seasons are little to none.

    For the DVD release, Image made sure to remove the Worldvision logo from all of the episodes. This proved to be rather difficult however because Worldvision's logo plastered over the final screen of the closing credits ("In association with ABC Television Network, Filmed at MGM Studios") out of fear from retaliation by the FCC after the fin-syn rule imposed in the early 70s. Some episodes (most of season 1) retain the screen, others have it removed completely. Image also appear to have edited it back into episodes as well by cross-fading the credits right before the Worldvision logo would pop up.


    Combat! credits with the 80s Worldvision logo


    Combat! credits with the 90s Worldvision logo
     
  4. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    When was that 3rd Viacom logo used? I'm referring to the purple V that slams down from the left of the screen. I recall when WOR switched from 16mm film prints of HAWAII FIVE-O to videotape transfers in 1989, this purple logo appeared and replaced the old V of Doom. How long did they use that version?
     
  5. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    Do you mean Steel V or wigga wigga?

    Steel V was from '86 to '90, and wigga wigga was from '90 to 2000.

    Here, just go to the wiki. You'll learn more than you ever needed to know about the Viacom logo.

    http://www.closinglogos.com/page/Viacom
     
  6. Jeff*H

    Jeff*H Supporting Actor

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    Thanks! I meant the Steel V. Had no idea there was a wiki for it!
     
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  7. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    I apologize in advance, because you may wind up wasting hours there.
     
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  8. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    I just saw the good old fashioned Viacom V of Doom in the oddest place...

    Every Season 5 disc 1 episode of The Bob Newhart Show.

    Now, I knew these were older, unrestored copies of the episodes that Fox provided Shout after cheaping out and abandoning the show after season 4, but they really didn't do any work at all to the episodes since they left the old fast version of the V of Doom on every episode and just plastered the 20th logo on afterward.
     
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  9. Sky King

    Sky King Stunt Coordinator

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    I always liked seeing the original closing logos on a TV series.
    Two shows that first come to mind, which had their original closing logos poorly edited out include the early season Farmers Daughter. It had it's Screen Gems "dancing sticks" closing logo replaced in later airings with the Columbia Pictures/Coca Cola logo. The other is the Ben Casey, Bing Crosby Productions logo poorly replaced by the Worldvision logo.
     
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  10. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Screenwriter

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    IINM, that V of Doom is on most of the last two seasons (per my copy of that Bob Newhart Show all-in-one).
     
  11. jcroy

    jcroy Cinematographer

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    How common is is for movie companies to chop out the logos, as a semi-futile way of obscuring the age of the transfers used? (ie. Besides VEI).
     
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  12. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    I don't think think they do it for that reason as much as to have their current logo visible or to cover up another company's logo that they've acquired over the years.
     
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  13. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Screenwriter

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    Like Blue Thunder from 1984 on ABC, for instance-- originally, that was a Rastar/Public Arts, Inc. Production IAW CPT (CPT then being "A Unit of the Coca-Cola Company"); however, when Sony Pictures Home Entertainment put out Blue Thunder on DVD in 2006, the CPT logo that was originally there (the 80s Coke Lady) was whitewashed by the long version of the Sony Pictures Television logo. That's just one example, of which I'm sure there are many, many others.
     
  14. The Obsolete Man

    The Obsolete Man Cinematographer

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    Yeah, pretty much anything owned by CBS/Paramount or Sony.

    Universal eradicated their old logos for a while, but they're back to leaving period appropriate logos on shows now, if the Quantum Leap BDs are any indication.

    Fox isn't really a problem, since they've never really changed their basic logo. And hey, they left the MTM logo intact, so who cares if the 20th logo is afterward? Just don't f*ck with the kitten. :laugh:
     
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  15. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Screenwriter

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    That, and the DVDs from Mill Creek of that, Knight Rider, Airwolf, Miami Vice, et al.-- sure, there's far too many episodes on a disc, but you get the original Universal logos of the time in return; that's a tradeoff that a lot of people must consider (I.E. do you want good-quality episodes with the newer Universal logo [released direct from Universal], or do you want 5-6 episodes, compression, and the Universal logo of the time [in the releases from Mill Creek])?
     
  16. mattfire64

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    I actually have a capture of the V of Doom on The Bob Newhart Show over on my Youtube channel:


    I actually uploaded this before Shout Factory's set was released, so I was quite surprised to hear that this closing logo combination was retained for the DVD release.

    Some random info about another set I've recently purchased:

    The Phil Silvers Show: Shout Factory released this set several years back, and as been reported elsewhere, Seasons 2-4 mostly feature the late 80s Viacom V of Steel logo. Season 1 (Which is nothing more than CBS DVD's own release packaged in with Shout's other 3 seasons) appears to be sourced from the same prints (surprisingly since several of these season 1 episodes were HD remastered for the 50th Anniversary DVD set back in 2006), but the recent CBS Television Distribution logo is used instead. Curiously, one episode from early Season 3 (Cherokee Ernie) features the 90s Paramount Mountain logo instead. This episode has better picture quality than the Viacom episodes, and makes me wonder if there isn't a batch of better quality prints floating around that were transferred in the mid 90s from better quality prints.

     
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  17. Ron1973

    Ron1973 Beverly Hillbilles nut extraordinaire

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    I'm a member of a British Phil Silvers group. Apparently CBS told them that the 35mm masters do not exist, and that all that remain are the transfers used for the box set. The British release from Medium Rare is supposed to be head and shoulders above the Shout! release.
     
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  18. mattfire64

    mattfire64 Stunt Coordinator

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    Interesting, but I call foul on that judgement from CBS. If the prints used on both Shout Factory and Medium Rare's sets are the only ones still in existence (which appear to be prints struck back in the late 80s for syndication), then how did CBS manage to create new HD transfers for four episodes that have never been seen in syndication for these sets? Indeed, the difference in picture quality between these episodes is quite noticeable (picture on the left is from "Doberman the Crooner" an unrestored episode, picture on the right is from "Bilko Presents Kay Kendall", a restored episode that was never available in syndication):

    bilko doberman the crooner.png bilko kay kendall.png
     
  19. Gary16

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    I have both sets. They look about the same to me. The British set does not have chapter stops while the US set does.
     
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  20. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Screenwriter

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    Why does our Bilko all-in-one have chapter stops, whereas the one across the pond doesn't?
     

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