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Author Topic: HBO in the 80s--heaven on TV
Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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We often do complain here how much of a serious decline there has been in films since the 80s came to a close (the exact point they switch to the 90s for sure is your own guess, with mine being late 92/early 93, but moving along...). One correlary to this sad fact of entertainment is the fact that it's taken down premium channels with it, draining them of anything worth watching. Since they've always been the most prominent, HBO stands most of all in this category.

Because Home Box Office in the 80s was THE place to be for all ages, and quite honestly THE best network on TV, period (I can take extra pride knowing the network was born not more than 50 miles from where I'm typing this now, in Wilkes-Barre, PA 35 years ago). They still kept a strong base for children then, rivaling easily Nickelodeon at its peak, one that parents could in fact be happy to with them, including:

-Great holiday specials with Babar and the Berenstein Bears

-regular series like a couple based on Oz (Baum's Oz, not HBO's current Oz), the tricky Brain Games (who could forget the robots getting his head slammed at the top of each round), and Video Jukebox

-Easter delights including Peter and the Magic Egg, Stanley the Ugly Duckling, and the Cullhane "Noah's Animals" trilogy.

-Oh, and the fact that HBO was essentially Muppet Central during this time helped, not just from Fraggle Rock and December-long airings of Emmett Otter, but with repeats of all the Muppet feature films and original specials including Tales of the Bunny Picnic and The Ghosts of Faffner Hall, all among the final of Jim Henson's earthly works.

For the older folks, their regular film rotation was great simply because the time was so great. We'd pay whatever the cable company offered to get access to the ones we wanted best (which now with the advent of Pay-Per-View and high DVD sales have rendered this sadly irrelevant). And since up till about the mid-late 80s HBO enforced its "no R except at night" policy, it was easy during prime viewing hours for the whole family to be able to watch a lot of things together (which you'd need extortion money to do today). It's no wonder they took the moniker "The Best Movies" before the decade was out

And oh yeah, there's the matter of that little intro officially called (I'm told) "Stargate". I don't think anyone who had HBO at any point starting in 1983 (when it first hit the airwaves before every single show; this would be restricted to just the 8 o'clock feature in 1987) onward till it's final retirement in late 1997 has failed to be touched by the Feature Presentation opening. I myself most certainly have, and if I ever do get a script greenlighted, I'm going to do all in my power to make sure they run the full-length version before the feature--remastered and in surround sound, of course. It is quite simply the best movie open period, and one that can pull you all the way in to another state of bliss--provided the short version of it doesn't catch you off guard when you fade in at the music's peak. The network's other graphics in the 80s were also fabulously wonderful to take in. For years I've been fascinated to recollect as many of the Next On/Tonight On HBO bumpers as I could, and thus YouTube has in many ways answered my prayers there (now if the people putting them up would just read their terms of use statements, the bumpers wouldn't keep coming down en masse every month or so).

In short, for a few brief years this was Camelot. The network was in decline when they moved irreparably away from children's programming in the mid 90s and tossed the HBO in Space bumper as mentioned above. While their shows since then have certainly given them prestige, they're just not the kind of shows that you'd want to watch as a family even if mom and dad were to do their best at getting the kids not to look when Tony orders another big hit or Carrie climbs into bed with this week's Mr. Right. And of course, like I mentioned at the top, the movies they show today aren't worth watching by and large, so that renders everything quite moot indeed.

So now that my length bit has finally ended, let me ask you, faithful posters, what were your favorite memories of watching HBO in the 80s--any time in the 80s, if and when you may have had it?

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joker
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i miss these dasys thank god for dvd and vhs
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Jessie the Sunflower Goddess
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I for one am so greatful to see such a detailed topic on here again. The days of HBO and the series of the 80s that we miss and loved is an important topic.

Certain shows that I remember watching were "1st and Ten", "Glory Days", and "Fraggile Rock". In the latter end of that it was "Dream On".

Whenever I hear the familiar credits of HBO's opening downtown traffic scene I am taken back to Saturday night 7:00 feature film. It always makes me think of watching "Revenge of the Nerds" through my neighbors window.

Thanks for the memories Chris!!!

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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Anytime. At least we still have Inside the NFL, even if they were dumb enough to unceremoniously toss Len and Nick out the door.

In fact, widespread rumor has been circulating that an updated version of the "HBO in Space" bumper is currently in the works at the network. Right now, it is just rumor as far as I know, but rest assured I'll break the news if anything official comes through. In the meantime, I hope someone can upload somwhere, anywhere the much talked about "Making of" featurette for the classic version from 1983 where we actually see how they shot the minature city and monolith.

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Colt 45
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When I was in college our dorm had HBO. One night we were sitting around watching Risky Business and one of my dorm buddies said it was his birthday.

We took up a collection to by him a hooker and we took him to the whorehouse. After paying the money the girl led him upstairs and she asked if she could chain him to the bed and he said 'yes'. She left and a big black guy dressed in a winnie the pooh outfit came in and had anal sex with him.

It took 46 stitches to close up his anus, and he dropped out of college due to embarrassment.

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GoldTransAM
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Remember the HBO series "The Hitchhiker"? It was similiar to a Twight Zone type show. Gene Simmons was on one of those episodes shortly after KISS took off their makeup.

Another one was special made for HBO show called Families In Crisis (I think that was the name) which covered topics such as drinking, sex,etc. One of them featured an unknown Calista Flockhart as a girl with Bulimia. She would puke in jars and leave them in her closet until her Mother found out about it.

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pettyfan
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I remember The Hitchhiker. My parents wouldn't let me watch it, but I did see some episodes later on. I always watched Fraggle Rock, and as I got older, Tales From the Crypt.
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Ali_with_an_i


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I loved "The Hitchhiker", one of my favorite shows ever. HBO had tons of great shows that as far as I know, are still not available on DVD. Don't they know they could make a fortune bringing some of those shows back? I mean there is still a market obviously!
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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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Indeed, they could probably make a good profit releasing Not Necessarily the News, seeing how good sales of other sketch comedy shows have been lately.
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CrashesParties n TheValley
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Awww...HBO in the 80s' was the best i remember seeing The Last American Virgin for the 1st time late friday night on HBO. Not to mention i also recall on HALLOWEEN NIGHT late 80-something watching The Return Of The Living Dead (the TAR MAN in the basement scared me the most) HBO in the 80s was not to shabby...i still have a vhs tape with some old HBO footage i recorded back in the 80 [Big Grin]
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JCU
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Nearly everything, HBO included, was much more simplistic in the 80's.

My vivid memories include the basic connection box that consisted of a black button and a red button. Turn the cable channel to 3 and press a button. I'm reminded of the similarities to the connestion of the original NES. On top of that, you got a flimsy schedule guide that teased you with upcoming movies for the following month.

I doubt we will ever see another network that could replicate the feel of the original HBO. You spent the money every month and you were given a plethura of original content that went very well with the children, family and adult content.

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jdocster McFly you Irish bug

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Hey Jessie the Sunflower Goddess,

Dream on season 1 & 2 (1990)

http://www.amazon.com/Dream-Seasons-1-Michael-McKean/dp/B00005JN8P/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-8510508-6095155?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1177969251&sr=1-1

1st and 10 complete collection all 80 episodes $18.49!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/1st-Ten-Collection-Delta-Burke/dp/B000BFJM5S/ref=sr_1_1/104-8510508-6095155?ie=UTF8&s=dvd&qid=1177969351&sr=1-1

Fraggle rock is there too!

Amazon.com rocks...

Colt 45,

I hope you're joking about the

"She left and a big black guy dressed in a winnie the pooh outfit came in and had anal sex with him"

That is just a freakin' nightmare!!!

Weeeeeee...

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jimpickens
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Back then HBO was worth getting because they still showed movies heck basic cable was still worth having when they showed more than just infomercials.
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