GBH Productions

From Audio Visual Identity Database

Credits
Logo descriptions by
AsdfTheRevival, StephenCezar15, BenIsRandom, SomerHimpson,Megadeth99 and others


Logo captures by
MSTS1, StephenCezar15, BenIsRandom, SomerHimpson, Megadeth99 and others


Editions by
Hoa, MrThorax281, KirbyGuy2001 (Logoblin), BenIsRandom, StephenCezar15, SomerHimpson, GoAnimateFan199Pro, Megadeth99, Stretchgirl and Unnepad


Video captures courtesy of
Tlogos, danf62465, NantoVision2, superpooper180, JohnnyL80, WheelWatcher12345,DudeThatLogo, youngleader610 (Mr.Logo), TrickyMario7654, Edc4, LARDLOGO, Megadeth99 and JustLogos

Background

WGBH (an abbreviation of Western Great Blue Hill), known on-air as simply GBH, is a PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts and owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation. The station launched on May 2, 1955, and introduced an animated on-screen logo in 1971. It is also one of the biggest PBS affiliates, producing much of the national content for the network, and is also one of their 2 flagship stations. In 2020, the station rebranded as GBH; the name is currently used on-air, while the rebrand is expected to roll out on other platforms throughout the 2020s.

WGBH

1st Logo (1956-1971)

WGBH (In-credit).png
Logo: The following is seen with the symbol (consists of an "X" connected to a triangle on the bottom and a vertical line throughout the center, with circles on both the left and right side of the symbol) next to the word "TV":
in association with
WGBH-TV
BOSTON

FX/SFX: It is an in credit logo which sometimes wipes in from top to bottom.

Music/Sounds: The in-credit variant uses the ending audio to the program it follows.

Availability: Very rare but is preserved on any surviving programming from the time period.

Editor's Note: The symbol is actually an ancient Aztec symbol for "family." The triangle and vertical line represent a woman, the vertical line and top two portions of the "X" represent a man, and the circles represent children. The symbol is still in use as the logo for "WGBH Alumni."

2nd Logo (1969-1971)


Nickname: "Early WGBH"

Logo: We see an in-credit disclaimer reading:
A production of
WGBH
BOSTON

FX/SFX: None, unless you count the fades.

Music/Sounds: Currently unknown as the narrator reads over the airing of the program but, most likely the ending theme of the program.

Availability: Ultra rare. This was spotted on the 1st episode of The Nader Report, currently available for viewing on WGBH's open vault.

Editor's Note: None.

3rd Logo (June 27, 1971-September 1977)

Nicknames: "Zooming WGBH", "Zooming Letters"

Logo: Against a blue background, the letters "WGBH" in yellow in a generic Helvetica font quickly zoom back, away from the viewer to the vanishing point, and disappearing when the text is very small. Then the word "Boston", also in yellow, also appears out of nowhere and then zooms forward really fast, taking up the whole screen and creating a yellow background. And finally, the word "Presents" zooms forward at a fast pace, in blue.

Variants:

  • On some prints of this logo, due to either film deterioration of film quality, the blue colors are instead sea green.
  • The very first season of NOVA has this logo with the words all in green, zooming out, and animated as part of the show's intro.
  • On many early episodes of NOVA, the background is beige at first, and turns brown after "Boston" zooms in; the words "WGBH" and "Boston" are brown while "Presents" is in beige and it would zoom forward as always, transitioning to the opening cinematic.
  • On The French Chef, the logo is chroma-keyed over a slanted flag of France (which has the colors flipped around, making it look more like a Netherlands flag or the 1792 First French Republic flag) against a blue background, animation and all. Also, when the "Boston" text gets close to the screen, it inverts to being a cutout in a yellow square to get the proper effect.
  • Some episodes of the aforementioned series would have an extremely rare variant of the logo instead of the previous variant that is usually used, where the background is black and the letters are in cyan.
  • On the Bicentennial edition of Evening at Pops, there is a black background with yellow confetti. The first two words are white and when " Boston" zooms in and takes the full screen, the background is white, and " Presents" is black.
  • A brighter version of the blue version is featured on several episodes of The Advocates. The version has a bright blue/yellow-orange background. Some episodes also feature the logo with a bright teal/cyan background.
  • Another variant from The Advocates has the word "WGBH" in yellow on a burgundy background. This is the earliest known version of it.
  • On Godspell Goes to Plimoth Plantation for Thanksgiving, the background consists of the bottom view of floating red and blue balloons. The text are inverted colors of the background with "Boston" changing the whole screen to this effect.

FX/SFX: The zooming of the words; simple animation.

Music/Sounds: Eerie, choppy, UFO-like computer blips ascend and descend several times. A rising Moog violin stinger starts playing over the blips until the stringer settles on a high note. This was composed by electronic music pioneer Gershon Kingsley, best known for the hit song "Popcorn".

Music/Sounds Variant: The jingle's speed may vary; it can play slower or faster than usual.

Availability: Extremely rare in the wild, as programming from this era, is usually no longer rerun. You might find this logo on older WGBH programming, assuming it isn't plastered with a later logo. You might find this on old tapes of The French Chef, 1972's Zoom, Evening at Pops, The Victory Garden, Masterpiece Theatre, and/or NOVA episodes from the era. The French Chef variant also showed up when WGBH-2 in Boston, MA had a marathon of old episodes of The French Chef on Christmas Day, 2011. Despite its rarity, the logo can easily be found online on several episodes of The Advocates on the WGBH Open Vault.

Editor's Note: The logo became notorious for its high-contrast colors, fast "V of Doom"-style zoom-ins, and eerie synth music.

4th Logo (March 3, 1974-Late 2020?)


Logo: Superimposed on the end credits of the show, we see the WGBH logo, which consists of the text "WGBH" in a bold font, with the outlines being extended out from the front and back, creating a shadow effect. " Boston" is typically under it, with the colors for both being different at times. Typically, there's also the copyright for WGBH Educational Foundation.

Trivia: The logo was designed by design firm Chermayeff & Geismar, which has also designed for NBC, PBS, Showtime, Univision, Viacom, and Screen Gems, among others.

FX/SFX: Typically none.

Music/Sounds: None or the closing theme of the show.

Availability: Common. Its first appearance was at the end credits of the series premiere of NOVA. It would appear at the end of WGBH programming until 1993 when the 5th logo was moved to the end. Curious George, Downton Abbey, and select episodes of Masterpiece are the shows that still have this logo, until the GBH rebrand. It also appeared at the end of The Captioned ABC News starting sometime between June 1980 and October 1981 and presumably continuing until that program's discontinuation sometime in 1982. The 2004 variant (blue on green BG) was only seen on season 1 of Peep and the Big Wide World and was plastered by the WGBH Kids logo when the show was moved to PBS, but it can be seen on a promotional DVD of the Ready Set Learn block on Discovery Kids and TLC.

Editor's Note: None.

5th Logo (1975?-1976?)


Provided ID could not be validated.

Logo: On a background that begins as pink, but gradually darkens, the word "A" in a Times New Romanesque font slides in from the right into the top left corner of the screen. Under that, "Presentation" slides in from the left, and under that, "of" slides up from the bottom. All the text is white and aligned with the left side of the screen. The word "of" continues to rise, pushing the other text up with it, clearing the screen. By this time, the background has faded to black. A white WGBH logo (as described above) fades in, and under that, the word "Boston" slides in from the left, the left edge of which aligning with the bottom left corner of the logo.

FX/SFX: The words sliding, which appears to be cel animation.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 3rd logo.

Availability: Extinct. So far, the only source of this logo is a 1975 KCET broadcast of Ascent of Man.

Editor's Note: This appears to be a placeholder for the next logo.

6th Logo (January 5, 1977-2009)


Nicknames: "The Neon Sign", "The Flash", "WGBH Outline"

Logo: Here are the main variants of this logo:

  • Version I: On a black background, two orange lines of "electricity" form two orange 2D "shadows", one on top and one on bottom. Then the lines form an orange outline of "WGBH" in between the "shadows". The lines stop and an orange flash starts behind the outline. The flash clears out "WGBH" as "Boston Presents" appears in an orange Helvetica font. The "Boston Presents" logo was a bumper used at the beginning of the show.
  • Version II: Similar to the other logo, but usually with the "WGBH" logo already formed as it fades in, then the flash occurs, and the word "BOSTON" appears spaced out below the logo in an orange Univers font.

Trivia: The company's slogan until 1982 was "Public Television. It's better than ever".

Variants: There are many variants in terms of the music and the announcer:

  • 1977-1987: The full version of the music, with the complete animation and "WGBH" ending, and no announcer.
  • 1986-1993: Same as the previous variant, but shortened to when WGBH begins to flash.
  • 1993-2009: A different short version with the logo already formed, the "WGBH" ending omitted, and the music shortened. An announcer may or may not be heard.
  • 2002-2009: A digitally enhanced version of the logo with sped-up animation and no announcer. This version can be seen on episodes of Frontline. Another version has the logo zooming in a bit while the animation is being drawn, which can be seen on episodes of NOVA, and was also used as a station ID. Another version had the PBS logo appearing in its place and shining with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH Boston.". A superimposed variant of the animation can be seen on episodes of Masterpiece Theater.
  • 1993-2009: A version can occasionally be spotted in which the "glowing" animation is played, but no text appears. This can be seen in most pre-2005 episodes of Arthur.
  • 1999-2009: Another version exists where the "glowing" animation is delayed for half a second and the "glow" is slightly slowed down. This was only seen on episodes of Arthur.
  • On later episodes of Arthur, the byline "WGBH is a trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation" (and sometimes a URL) is shown below written in the Arthur font.
  • 1995-1999, 2007-2008: A variant of the 1993 version. When the text appears, the word "BOSTON" in red appears until the flash dies out. It's seen on Postcards from Buster and Peep and the Big Wide World.
  • Another local version used in the 1980s begins with a blue flash, followed by an orange "2" written in the same style as the WGBH logo zooming up. This variant was always played when the station signed on in the morning and played in reverse when it signed off at night. No music or sounds play here.
  • On Evening with Pops, the 1986 logo is superimposed into the intro.
  • On Out Of Money, the ending is replaced with "in association with" along with the logo for Money (the magazine) in orange.
  • The 1993 version of the logo was superimposed on The American Experience.
  • There is a version where the logo forms in warp speed. However, during the flash, the logo turns into the PBS logo. This is seen in some episodes of Mystery.
  • A filmed variant exists, which makes it clear that "Boston" simply fades in.
  • A variant exists where "Boston Presents" transitions to the text "IN ASSOCIATION WITH MONEY MAGAZINE." "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" is above "MONEY" in the same font as "Presents" as is "MAGAZINE" which is below. "Money" is in its corporate font. The text glows for a couple of seconds until fading out.

FX/SFX: The lines of electricity, and the flash.

Music/Sounds: Same as before. There have been 2 versions, a long version, and a short version. The entire 7-second jingle is used as the long version, and is in much better sound quality, and plays at the correct speed. The short version features only the rising synth chord (but we still hear the UFO noise, but only abridged), and is much more common nowadays. Sometimes, an announcer will say "A production/presentation of WGBH Boston." or "(show's name) is a production/presentation of WGBH Boston."

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • The Mystery version has the full music along with a male announcer saying "Mystery is a production of WGBH. Produced in Boston, shared with the world."
  • A version has been seen with abridged animation, no voice-over, and slightly lower-pitched music on Design Squad.
  • Two versions can be heard whether it's long or short; one is the original pitch, while the other is slightly higher pitched. The 1986 version has the former, while the 1993 version has the latter. The 1977 version has either.
  • Sometimes the 1993 or 2002 logos have an announcer saying "(Show's name) is a production/presentation of WGBH Boston." or simply "A production/presentation of WGBH Boston". From 1998 to 2002, on Mystery and Masterpiece Theatre, the announcer has a British accent. On the 1999 revival of Zoom, a kid from the show voices over, with the short music. Starting in 2002, there would be no announcer and it would just have the music. One variant has a creepy voice-over say "Mystery is a presentation of WGBH Boston."
  • In the "Money Magazine" variant, the logo has a slight reverb.
  • Sometimes, the closing theme of the show will play over this logo, mainly on pre-2009 episodes of Arthur and Between the Lions.

Availability: Very common. Likely the most readily available PBS logo around.

  • The first version made its debut on the NOVA episode "Hitler's Secret Weapon", and can be seen in its various versions on many PBS shows, such as NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Masterpiece Theatre, The Victory Garden, and Arthur, among others.
  • The filmed variant can be found on 16mm dupes of WGBH programming distributed by Time-Life Multimedia for classroom usage.
  • The 1993 version with the short music and no announcer has been sighted on early episodes of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.
  • The "Boston Presents" version can be found on video and may also show up on WGBH shows produced from 1982-1993 if your station has older prints.
  • The original unabridged version can be seen on videocassettes and DVDs of their 1979 miniseries The Scarlet Letter, all of which also preserve the 1971 PBS logo, and also appears on earlier prints of Cathedral and in full near the start of the 2019 documentary This Old House 40th Anniversary.
  • The 1986 version is retained on the Turner Home Entertainment VHS of the Ken Burns film Thomas Hart Benton. Current prints of Arthur plaster it with the 12th logo.
  • The "Money Magazine" variant is extinct as it only appeared on On The Money.
  • The original 1977 logo and shortened 1986 variant can be seen on episodes of This Old House uploaded to their official YouTube channel.

Editor's Note: Like the 1971 logo, this logo is notorious for its dark colors, eerie animation, and creepy synth music; however, it is a favorite of many due to its usage on classic shows.

7th Logo (1983)

WGBH (Blue In-Credit).png

Logo: On a blue/black background, we see the text "WGBH BOSTON" fade in and out, revealing more logos doing the same thing.

FX/SFX: The text appearing.

Music/Sounds: An announcer saying "This program is presented by WGBH Boston...", where it continues as more logos appear.

Availability: Only seen on the Enterprise episode All in the Game.

8th Logo (September 30, 1991-October 4, 1996)


Nickname: "WQED/WGBH Earth Globe"

Logo: We see a small Earth globe against a starry sky quickly rotate around counterclockwise, and the words "WQED" (in yellow-orange) with "PITTSBURGH" (in white) below slowly rotate around clockwise, followed by "WGBH" (again, in yellow-orange) with "BOSTON" (in white) below.

FX/SFX: The rotating globe and letters.

Music/Sounds:

  • September 30, 1991-December 25, 1992: The first part of the theme of the show as Lynne Thigpen says "Today's caper is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
  • September 27, 1993-October 4, 1996: The ending theme of the show with Lynne Thigpen saying "This program is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".

Availability: Extinct on TV. Only seen on episodes of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. Various episodes of the show have been posted to YouTube, though, so it shouldn't be hard to find it there.

Editor's Note: None.

9th Logo (2008-Late 2020?)


Nicknames: "The Neon Sign II", "WGBH Outline II", "The Flash II"

Logo: It's an updated variant of the 6th logo. The drawing and lighting effects are smoother and more refined, with stars surrounding the logo, like in space, when it flashes. The flash is also brighter than usual, and the WGBH logo zooms in while it's drawn, and dims out when the logo is done.

Variants:

  • There is a variant that is tinted blue. This was seen in their local productions, such as Greater Boston.
  • An in-credit version of the logo has been spotted on Antiques Roadshow, which simply shows the orange WGBH logo at the bottom of the screen.
  • An extended variant exists where the logo stays on screen after the flash disappears and shines before fading out.

FX/SFX: The drawing and lighting effects, as well as the usual flash.

Music/Sounds: The short version of the 3rd logo theme.

Music/Sounds Variant: On Greater Boston, a male announcer (with the opening theme playing over his announcement) says, "This is a production of WGBH 2 Boston".

Availability: Common. Seen on episodes of WGBH programming before the rebrand to GBH, such as NOVA, Frontline, and American Experience, among others. Also seen on post-2008 prints of Arthur, plastering the 1993 logo. The unabridged logo is not as common, it can be seen on Mind of a Chef and occasionally on feature-length specials. The blue variant was seen on earlier episodes of Greater Boston, and is extinct in broadcast, as episodes afterwards started using the standard variant.

Editor's Note: It's a good redux of the 6th logo and it has been slightly tamed.

GBH

(August 31, 2020-)


Nicknames: "The Spotlight", "The Flash III"

Logo: On a black background, we see lights shining on the new GBH logo (in the same style as the older logo, but with geometric typography and the "Red Hat" font), illuminating the edges in a way similar to how the old logos formed up. As this happens, a spotlight turns on behind it, illuminating "GBH". Both lights die down to reveal the final product - a shining purple GBH logo.

Variant: An in-credit version exists.

FX/SFX: The lights both in front of and behind the logo. The logo was designed by Minelli Inc.

Music/Sounds: The short version of the 3rd WGBH logo's theme. On some occasions, it may use the closing theme of the program.

Availability: Brand new. The logo animation was unveiled on August 31, 2020, and started to see official use a day later. It debuted nationally one week later, on the Frontline episode "Growing Up Poor in America". Don't expect an in-credit version to appear on Curious George, as GBH pulled out of co-producing the series after Season 12.

Editor's Note: A great evolution of the branding for the digital age of public broadcasting. However, the animation is simple compared to the previous logos, and while it was hoped this was a placeholder logo initially, it turned out to be a permanent logo in the end; to the disappointment of some.

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