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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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We were lucky enough to have Home Box Office for the majority of the 80s. And the network then was simply one long enjoyable party for everyone. Especially for a child as I was then, as 80s HBO was perfect for a kid, with Fraggle Rock anchoring Sunday nights most of the decade, several network animated specials running regularly, and a plethora of superb holiday specials come December (Emmet Otter, The Snowman, The Trolls and the Christmas Express, The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree to name just some of the very best).

And of course, a great selection of movies, augmented year by year as the best of the 80s came into the rotation little by little. I of course didn't see all of them, especially those PG-13 or over, but those I did seemed more enjoyable being uninterrupted. And of course, they had the benefit of at the time being preceded by the immortal HBO in Space movie intro, which automatically made even the worst films seem spectacular. While the short version of the intro, beginning just before the star gate exploded open, could be a little unnerving if it started without advance warning that it was coming, the long version with its trip through the city was pure magic from start to finish (both the original version beginning with the couple/family watching HBO in their apartment, and the later version that started in the cloudbank--anyone know offhand why the change was made?), and if I were to ever get a movie produced, I'd want to have this run before it.

Even the intershow segments back in the day were impressive. All the decade's Next on HBO and Tonight on HBO bumpers were impressively rendered and scored (my own favorite being the "Outer Space" version used from about autumn 1986 to winter 1988), the promos for each coming movie was usually well done, and the various behind the scenes and musical interludes fit well. All in all, HBO was the place to be then, and part of me wishes that version of the network could come back in some degree today.

What are your own memories of HBO back in the 80s?

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Crash
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Definately my favorite 80s HBO thing was the incredible Spaceship HBO intro. Until I saw the behind the scenes short of how they did it, I always thought that it was done with animation. I couldn't--and still can't--believe that it was done in real time as a physical effect. Too bad the Youtube of the "Behind the Scenes" is down. It is incredible. When the big HBO letters are floating in space and spin around, they are on a gimbal and mechanically moved. And then when the "O" spins around, there are actual neon tubes that light and form the stargate. It is some impressive work, just for an intro, but one of the creators said that this was for HBO which was as big as space.

On a related note, I remember the sign-off logo when HBO was not on 24/7. Here it is. Enjoy.

HBO Signoff

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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Here's the link to the "Making Of" segment for the intro:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agS6ZXBrcng

I'm wondering if they shot the later "cloudscape" variant at the same time as this original "apartment" version, or if they did so a year or so later (might the actor's contracts have been for a set amount of time, perhaps, thus necessitating a reshoot to remove all live action footage?). If the latter, then technically they might not have needed the whole model, just the front part, as once the camera reached street level, it probably them could have been combined with the earlier footage. If the model's still intact somewhere, I'd give an arm and a leg to see it firsthand.

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Crash
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Ah, the Youtube clip is back up and running. It didn't work when I tried it. Thanks! Folks should definitely check it out. It's impressive.

That's a good question as to why they moved to the cloudscape variant. I thought that it was because it was shorter.

I don't know why HBO ever stopped using that for its intros. Nothing since has ever come close to it in terms of sheer effectiveness and memorability.

On a more recent note, the opening for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which makes NYC look like a little LEGO city, is very well done too.

[ 24. April 2016, 18:47: Message edited by: Crash ]

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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Indeed, I think a CGI update would do it good. Perhaps for the network's 50th anniversary in 2022, they'll pull something out...
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JCU
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The first HBO broadcast happened right here in my area of NEPA. Supposedly there is a plaque in the center of the city which would be interesting to see.

HBO exemplifies what I think of when remembering the 80's. To us it seemed so new and fresh and almost exotic. The original programming, concerts, comedy shows, etc.., were memorable. Even that little flier you would get in the email with the following month's schedule was comparable to waiting on a gift for a birthday.

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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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I myself have seen that plaque in Wilkes-Barre's Public Square. A good way to pay tribute to where it all began.
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Chris the CandyFanMan
Those Ain't Pillows......
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One additional remark: as a child, I was dead convinced Doc and Sprocket lived in "HBO City," so every time the long movie intro would run, I'd be scanning each house and apartment like crazy as the camera zoomed by them, thinking that if I just looked hard enough, I'd see them inside one of the buildings, hard at work at Doc's latest invention of the week.
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Nostalgic for the '80's
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Good memories, everyone. I didn't have cable as a kid growing up in the '80's, but do remember having friends that did - so I would see HBO over at their house(s). At that time, HBO was in it's infancy, and primarily showed movies.

Specifically, I remember seeing "The Jerk" on HBO in the early '80's; though this was fairly tame by today's standards, seeing it as a little kid was quite a thrill [Wink] And, IIRC it was rated R...

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