ABC Circle Films
Note: Not to be confused with Circle Films, an unrelated film distribution company.
ABC Circle Films was the made-for-TV motion picture division of the ABC Television Network (later part of "Capital Cities/ABC", now "ABC, Inc."), later reincorporated as "ABC Productions" in 1987. Today, most of the ABC movie library and all television series are currently held by The Walt Disney Company.
1st Logo (March 6, 1972-March 20, 1977)
Nicknames: "Cheesy Word Circle", "Mismatched Circle"
Logo: We see the words "AN ABC CIRCLE FILM" in an outlined pink Peignot font (similar to the one used on Viacom's first production logo around this time) over a black background. Then, the words become curved, and begin to rotate in a circular motion, as though they are about to circle around the screen's middle. However, the exact same phrase in the exact same font, outlined, is seen going across the screen in an outward curve, as if it was the other half of the circle. Meanwhile, the phrase is seen going back to its original position, and when the logo stops, it is exactly in the same position.
- Most of the time, especially as a closing logo, it's only a still shot.
- Also used as in-credit text.
FX/SFX: None on the still and in-credit variants. For the animated variant, the words "circling"; all 2D Scanimation effects.
- A Christmas-like orchestral tune, complete with bells.
- The short version uses a similar, yet different tune.
- Most of the time, it's silent.
Availability: Extremely rare. It was seen on Trilogy of Terror and Murder at the World Series, the latter of which was released on VHS by Heron Home Entertainment and its opening counterpart was last seen on a DVD of Love Among the Ruins. The in-credit text appeared on The President's Plane is Missing.
Editor's Note: While the still logo is fine, the animated logo has a really ugly look to it thanks to the curved ends.
2nd Logo (1976-September 16, 1977)
Logo: On a black background, we see the cream-colored words "AN ABC CIRCLE FILM", set in an Helvetica-esque font, moving in a circular motion (more or less like in the 1st logo). A few seconds later, the camera rotates, revealing that the words are actually on the side of a disc. Being on top of the disc is the gold-colored text "abc" in the middle, in its corporate font, with the smaller words "an" and "circle film" (also in the abc corporate font) above and below the "abc" respectively, surrounded by a thick, cream-colored ring. We turn to face the top of this disc, which shines as we do so. Once finished, the logo stops rotating into an upright position, then flashes once, turning the ring, the "an" and the "circle film" orange and the "abc" white. The logo shines.
Variant: An early variant exists where the logo doesn't flash at the end, instead fading to a shiny 2D version of it with a red drop-shadow. The sparkling is also slightly different.
Trivia: This logo is the work of Dan Perry, the legendary designer of many iconic film titles such as the ones for Star Wars and The Exorcist, as well as the logo for The Samuel Goldwyn Company.
FX/SFX: The disc turning, the flashing and the shining. Mostly live-action effects.
Music/Sounds: A synth-esque sounder which plays throughout the logo, followed by a three-note trumpet fanfare, with drums and a piano note accompanying the third note. On at least Dan Perri's Vimeo account, the logo is silent.
Availability: Extremely rare, spotted at least on Nightmare in Badham County, Young Pioneers' Christmas, and Disaster in the Sky. It is also preserved on Dan Perri's Vimeo account.
Editor's Note: An interesting live-action logo, one that hasn't been discovered until recently.
3rd Logo (September 16, 1977-February 17, 1978)
Nicknames: "Constellation", "ABC in Space", "Still the One"
Logo: On a space background, we see a 3D transparent ABC logo, at an angle and in multiple colors. The logo then turns to face us and comes closer to the camera, ending up with "abc" in neon blue, and the circle in neon pink. Below, the neon orange text "circle films" in the same font as the "abc" letters, pans from the right.
FX/SFX: The ABC logo flying and rotating, the "circle films" panning. The space background and panning effects.
Music/Sounds: Originally silent. However, there was also a version in the later '70s with a disco-like tune (the tune was actually a snippet of ABC's slogan of the late '70s, "Still the One!", which came from the actual song itself).
Availability: Rare. Seen on Superdome and VHS releases of Curse of the Black Widow and Three on a Date.
Editor's Note: This was another early example of combining cel animation and motion-control camera tricks to generate an usually impressive 3D effect.
4th Logo (May 14, 1978-February 14, 1983)
Nickname: "Multicolored Circles"
Logo: Against a black background, six multicolored circles scroll into the near-top of the screen while five multicolored circles scroll into the screen below them. Once the two are aligned in the middle, they become the orange letters "CIRCLE FILMS", in a font reminiscent of the Terminator film title. The ABC logo then drops from the top of the screen and lands on the "I" in "CIRCLE".
Variant: On some ABC Weekend Specials such as "Mayday! Mayday!", the still logo is placed on a blue background with copyright info below it.
FX/SFX: The circles moving, and forming of the letters. It's all cel animation.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic fanfare with an ending similar to Paramount Television's 1969 "Closet Killer" music. On the ABC Weekend Specials, the end theme plays over it.
Availability: Ultra rare. Can be found on a VHS of the miniseries IKE. Also seen on Who Will Love My Children?, The Comeback Kid, and Pray TV (1982). It might be retained on the KL Studio Classics/Kino Lorber DVD releases of the latter two titles.
Editor's Note: None.
5th Logo (November 20, 1983-May 14, 1989)
Nickname: "The Shining", "ABC Shining"
Logo: On a black-blue background, we see the stacked words:
in the same crystal lettering as the text in the ABC Motion Pictures logo, zoom-in upward from the bottom of the screen. The logo "shines".
- There is another variant of this logo with a red background, and one with a black-teal one.
- Another variant appears in the end credits.
FX/SFX: The words zooming, and the logo "shining".
- It's usually the closing theme of the show.
- On the TV movie The Day After, the 1978 logo's music was used at the end.
Availability: Rare. Seen on Moonlighting, as well as on some TV movies from the era, like Love Lives On. The in-credit version can be found on War and Remembrance.
Editor's Note: None.