Orbis Communications

From Audiovisual Identity Database
Descriptions by
Jess Williams

Captures by
Eric S. and Shadeed A. Kelly

Video captures courtesy of
Eric S.


Orbis Communications was a television distribution company that was founded in 1984 by Robert Turner. On August 28, 1987, Orbis became a wholly owned subsidiary of Carolco Pictures after Turner sold Orbis for $15.4 million. On September 17, 1991, Multimedia, Inc. acquired the assets of Orbis including the TV movies and the first-run syndication rights to The Joker's Wild and The $100,000 Pyramid hosted by John Davidson. Orbis would later be merged into Carolco's TV unit in 1991. Today, most of the TV movies and series are in the hands of other companies, such as Movin' On, which is owned by the Peter Rodgers Organization and the Orbis-distributed Live Aid concert, which is now held by the Warner Music Group. In the late '80s and early '90s, Orbis Communications held the television rights to the Hemdale library.

1st Logo (June 19, 1984-March 12, 1988)

Orbis Communications.jpeg

Logo: On a powder blue/white gradient background, a stylized black atom comes zooming in while spinning rapidly counterclockwise, shining with a white band of light in it. As it zooms in, a red/white orb of light appears and consumes the screen, disappearing to reveal 2 black rings, one of them partially cut. They disengage and move to the left, spinning as they do before rejoining once they reach their spot. The text "RBIS OMMUNICATIONS", in a black/white-trailed, 3D, Impact-like font and italicized in 2 different directions, slides out from the rings, forming "ORBIS COMMUNICATIONS". A "TM" symbol fades in below the text.

Variant: On Public People Private Lives, the logo starts on the rings spinning.

Technique: The spinning atom, bright flash and name slide-in.

Music/Sounds: A high synthesized keyboard fanfare, with rising wind-type sounds in the background. Sometimes, the end theme of a show plays over it or its silent.

Availability: Very rare. Was on various syndicated programs, including The Spiral Zone and on season 1's The Kidsongs TV Show along with the Warner Bros. Records logo. Was recently spotted on the DVD of the TV pilot of Graffiti Rock. It was also seen on some episodes of Movin' On on RTV. Also seen on the series Hangin' In. This strangely appeared at the start of a 1990 HBO airing of the 1982 TV special Leadfoot.

Legacy: This logo resembles a logo for a technology company more than anything else. It's an interesting logo, however.

2nd Logo (April 4, 1988-March 8, 1991)

Orbisː 1988.jpeg

Logo: On a space backdrop, a large blue planet is seen moving out of the way to reveal a pink light shining on its surface. 2 blue streaks emerge from the corner and fly into the light, causing it to die down and gain 2 orbiting lights, forming the "OC" logo from before in metallic red. A yellow line flies through and wipes in "ORBIS" in a blue Helvetica font, zooming out to meet up with the logo as the planet disappears off-screen. As the "ORBIS" text zooms back into place, "COMMUNICATIONS" in silver, along with a white byline reading "A CAROLCO PICTURES COMPANY" below it, fade in below. A white streak runs from bottom to top in the middle of the atom rings, and 2 red/green streaks run from left to right under the logo.

Technique: The light streaks, the logo forming.

Music/Sounds: A deep, but soothing synth tune with electronic/whoosh sounds for the lasers. This was composed by Steve Blake. Much like before, it might have the end theme of the program playing.

Availability: Extinct. Only known to appear on the 1990 revival of The Joker's Wild, the short-lived 1991 revival of The $100,000 Pyramid, and a late 80s-early 90's syndicated print of the film Defence of the Realm.

Legacy: The changing of the logo's setting now makes it seem more like a potential rival to AT&T. If there wasn't a Carolco byline at the end, there definitely would've been concerns.

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