HBO Film and Television Rating Bumpers

From Audiovisual Identity Database

1st (known) Bumper (1975-April 1978)

Bumper: On a black background, we see segmented lines (colored differently depending on the variant) that form a diagonal corner at the center of the screen. resting by the corner is a three-dimensional letter rating ("G", "PG" or "R") in with some white text under it (reading wither "General Audiences", "Parental Guidance" or "Restricted").

Announcements:

  • G: "The following feature has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • PG: "The following feature had been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • R: "The following feature has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. This means those under 17 should not see it unless accompanied by an adult. Home Box Office will show this feature only at night."

Variant: The "R" variant would be followed by a black card with the yellow text: "The following program is intended for mature audiences. Parental discretion is advised." This may have also appeared by itself on certain unrated programs like comedy specials.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: A male announcer reading the text aloud.

Availability: Extinct.

2nd Bumper (April 1978-November 1982)

Bumper: On a black background, a blue MPAA rating symbol ("G", "PG" or "R") is positioned near the top-left of the screen. Below it, white text describing the rating scrolls up from the bottom of the screen and disappears into below the rating.

Announcements:

  • G: "The following feature has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • PG: "The following motion picture had been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America. Parental guidance is suggested."
  • R: "The following feature has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is intended for mature audiences and parental discretion is advised. Home Box Office will show this feature only at night."

Variants:

  • An early version of the "PG" bumper has "motion picture" replaced by "feature", and eliminates the phrase "Parental guidance is suggested."
  • An alternate version of the "R" bumper has a more verbose announcement: "The following feature has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. This indicates that the film contains mature material. Parents may wish to consider whether it should be viewed by children under 17. For further information concerning this feature, please consult your HBO Guide. Home Box Office will show this feature only at night."
  • Depending on the video quality, sometimes the rating symbol would be more of a blue-purple, or blue-green.

Technique: The text scrolling up. In the case of the "G" bumper and the early "PG" bumper, the text stops scrolling when it approaches the rating.

Music/Sounds: A deep, male voice reading the text aloud.

Availability: Extinct.

3rd Bumper (November 1982-1984)

Bumper: On a black/blue gradient background, an orange MPAA rating symbol ("G", "PG" or "R") is positioned near the top-left of the screen. Below it, white text describing the rating fades in.

Announcements:

  • G: "The following feature has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • PG: "The following feature has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America. Parental guidance is suggested."
  • R: "The following feature has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is intended for mature audiences and parental discretion is advised. Home Box Office will show this feature only at night."

Variants:

  • When HBO aired the 1981 film Excalibur, which had PG- and R-rated cuts, two custom bumpers were created for both versions when they were shown.
    • PG: TBA
    • R: "The following feature was originally rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for its theatrical exhibition. It is intended for mature audiences and parental discretion is advised. HBO will show this version only at night."
  • Like the previous set of bumpers, an alternate version of the "R" bumper with more text and a longer voiceover would be used on occasion.
  • On some occasions, a closed-captioning disclaimer would appear after, with a chat balloon symbol appearing in the top-left like the ratings symbols, with the white text below reading "Closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired."

Technique: The text fading in and out. Also, unlike other bumpers, these are filmed rather than videotaped.

Music/Sounds: An announcer (either male or female) reading the text aloud.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

4th Bumper (1985-January 1987)

Bumper: On a dark-blue/light-blue gradient background, with diagonal rows of embossed HBO logos across it, an orange MPAA rating symbol ("G", "PG", "R" or, for the first time, "PG-13") is positioned near the left of the screen. Below it, white text describing the rating fades in.

Announcements:

  • G: "The following movie has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • PG: "The following movie has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America. Parental guidance is suggested."
  • PG-13: "The following movie has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. Some material may be inappropriate for young children. Parents may wish to consider whether is should be viewed by those under 13."
  • R: "The following movie has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is intended for mature audiences. Parents may wish to consider whether is should be viewed by children under 17. HBO will show this feature only at night."

Variants:

  • For certain unrated programs that contain questionable material (primarily HBO Premiere Films and HBO Pictures presentations), there is a bumper with this announcement: "The following program deals with mature subject matter, and contains frank and explicit language that may not be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised."
  • An alternate version of the "R" bumper has this announcement: "The following movie has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. This indicates that it contains material of an adult nature. Parents may wish to consider whether is should be viewed by children under 17. For further information, please consult your program guide. HBO will show this feature only at night."
  • For closed-captioned programs, there is an extra card with the text, "The following program is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired." It may either be on a separate card that fades in from black, or part of the ratings bumper with the text fading in after the rating fades out.
  • On April 1, 1986, HBO ran two fake bumpers, with the ratings "NG" ("Not Good") and "B" ("Boring"), that would conclude with a hand stamping an "April Fool's" logo onto the screen. A bumper with the movie's actual rating would follow it.
    • NG: "The following feature has been rated NG by the Motion Pictures Association of America. It has no redeeming value, content or premise; there is no foul language, naughty bits or racial slurs; there are no dweebs, boobs, nerds or little bratty kids. It contains nothing of any shape, size or form that would offend, make you sick, or even slightly nauseous..."
    • B: "The following feature has been rated B, for boring. No sex. No violence. Why bother?"

Technique: The text fading in and out.

Music/Sounds: An announcer (either male or female) reading the text aloud; the closed-captioning message is silent. On the April Fool's bumper, a "Boing!" sound is heard when the "April Fools" logo is stamped.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

5th Bumper (January 1987-1989)

Bumper: On a gray background, with diagonal rows of purple HBO logos and a soft spotlight on it, a purple MPAA rating ("G", "PG", "PG-13" or "R") is positioned near the top-left of the screen. Below it, white text describing the rating, italicized and with a blue drop shadow, fades in.

Announcements:

  • G: "The following movie has been rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America."
  • PG: "The following movie has been rated PG by the Motion Picture Association of America. Parental guidance is suggested."
  • PG-13: "The following movie has been rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America. Some material may be inappropriate for young children. Parents may wish to consider whether it should be viewed by those under 13."
  • R: "The following movie has been rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is intended for mature audiences. Parents may wish to consider whether is should be viewed by children under 17."

Variants:

  • For certain unrated programs that contain questionable material, there is a bumper with this announcement: "The following program deals with mature subject matter and contains frank and explicit language that may be unsuitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised."
  • For programs broadcast in stereo, there is an extra card by a featuring a purple headphones symbol with the word "STEREO" under it. Below it, the text reads, "In stereo where available."
  • For closed-captioned programs, there is an extra card with the text, "The following program is closed-captioned for the hearing impaired."

Technique: The text fading in and out.

Music/Sounds: An announcer (male or female) reading the ratings text aloud. Any other cards are silent.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

6th Bumper (1989-June 9, 1994)

Bumper: On a marble background, a black vertical line divides the screen about a third of the screen. The left side is tinted purple and contains the rating of the movie ("G", "PG", "PG-13", "R" or, for the first time, "NC-17"). The right side is tinted white; near the top is the text "The following movie is rated [X]." Below it are up to three purple boxes containing symbols, with text beside them, pertaining to that particular broadcast:

  • The letters "ESP" ("En Español" or "In Spanish Where Available")
  • A "TV speech bubble" symbol ("Closed-Captioned")
  • Headphones ("In Stereo Where Available")
  • Dolby's "double-D" logo ("In Stereo and Surround Sound Where Available" or "In Dolby Stereo Surround Sound Where Available")

Below all that is a purple HBO logo.

Variant: For unrated programs, the bumper is laid out differently. A horizontal black line divides the screen near the bottom, with the top portion white and the bottom purple. Above the line is the purple boxes and text placed in the center of the screen, and below is a white HBO logo.

Content Descriptors: Starting in early 1994, an extra card was added to alert viewers about the content of particular programs. Along the black line is the phrase "The following program contains:" and certain phrases regarding a program's content: (adult language, mild violence, etc.). These cards anticipated the introduction of the familiar letter symbols that will be described in the next bumper.

Technique: The cards fading in and out. Initially, when the content cards were introduced, the cards cut in and out from black rather than fading.

Music/Sounds: An announcer (Bill St. James) saying "The following movie is rated [X]." Slightly different takes of the announcement were used for the "R" bumper at different times. When the content cards were introduced, a different, deeper-voiced announcer was used. Another male announcer, this one with a higher voice, was used exclusively for the "NC-17" bumper.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

7th Bumper (June 10, 1994-late 1997)

Rating Bumper: The background is a blurred, purple-tinted image of a man holding a clapperboard. On the left side of the screen is the movie's rating. To the right of it is the text "The following movie is rated [X]." Under that is up to three boxes containing white symbols, with text beside them, pertaining to a particular broadcast:

  • The letters "ESP" ("En Español")
  • A "TV speech bubble" symbol ("Closed Captioned")
  • Headphones ("In Stereo Where Available")
  • Dolby's "double-D" logo: ("In Dolby Stereo Surround Sound Where Available")

Under all that is the HBO logo. All the text is dark purple with a drop shadow.

Content Bumper: On the same background are the words "The following program contains:", and below it are one to five boxes containing various letter symbols regarding the content of a particular program.

  • AC (Adult Content)
  • AL (Adult Language)
  • BN (Brief Nudity)
  • GL (Graphic Language)
  • GV (Graphic Violence)
  • MV (Mild Violence)
  • N (Nudity)
  • RP (Rape)
  • SC (Strong Sexual Content)
  • V (Violence)

TV Ratings: Starting on January 1, 1997, HBO began to precede its series and specials with bumpers featuring the TV ratings that were adopted by the rest of the industry: "TV-G", "TV-PG", "TV-14" and "TV-M" (later "TV-MA").

Technique: The screens fading in and out.

Music/Sounds: A deep-voiced announcer says, "The following movie is rated [X]." All other cards, including TV ratings, have no voiceover.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

Legacy: With the various content descriptors and the introduction of TV ratings, the length of this bumper's usage coincided with many great changes in the television industry,

8th Bumper (late 1997-Fall 1999)

Rating Bumper: The background is blue-tinted and wavy, with transparent black bars on the top and bottom of the screen to give the it a "widescreen" effect. On top is the phrase :"The following movie/program is rated [X]". Below it is a white-lined rectangle with the bottom corners rounded. Inside it, on the left, is a red box containing the rating of the coming movie or show, and next to it is up to three white boxes containing symbols pertaining to a particular broadcast.

  • The letters "ESP" ("En Español")
  • A "TV speech bubble" ("Closed-Captioned")
  • Headphones ("In Stereo Where Available")
  • Dolby's "double-D" logo ("In Stereo and Surround Sound Where Available")

Content Bumper: On the same background, the top text now reads "The following program contains:" In the black box is one to five symbols regarding the content of a particular program, and next to it is white text explaining what they mean.

Variants:

  • For certain programs, the TV rating may be pushed up a bit to make room for a white box containing additional descriptors ("D", "S", "L" and/or "V").
  • On Boxing After Dark, the black box is completely empty with no rating whatsoever.

Technique: The cards fading in and out, plus the CGI, water-like movement of the background.

Music/Sounds: Same as the last bumper, albeit with a new voiceover, deeper and more baritone compared to the VOs before him.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

9th Bumper (Fall 1999-2002)

Rating Bumper: On a white background is a blurred mixture of white, blue and yellow animated effects simulating camera shutters opening and closing, as well as yellow-lined circles pulsating from the shutters; there are also blurry black boxes on the top and bottom of the screen to simulate a "widescreen" effect. At the top and middle of the screen are white lines that form corners, and in between them are the words "The following movie/program is rated [X]". Below the middle "box" is the rating movie or show on the left, and next to it up to three white boxes containing symbols, with text beside them, pertaining to a particular broadcast.

  • The letters "ESP" ("En Español")
  • A "TV speech bubble" ("Closed-Captioned")
  • Headphones ("In Stereo Where Available")
  • Dolby's "double-D" logo ("In Stereo and Surround Sound Where Available")

All the text is in white.

Content Bumper: On the same background, the text now reads "The following program contains:".In the middle "box" is one to five symbols regarding the content of a particular program, along with white text explaining what they mean.

Dolby Digital Bumper: A white-on-black card may appear after the content bumper, stating "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS PRESENTED IN DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 WHERE AVAILABLE." This lacks the background elements of the other bumpers.

Variant: For certain programs, there may be a white box under the TV rating containing additional descriptors ("D", "S", "L" and/or "V").

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: Same as the last bumper.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

Legacy: This bumper is based on HBO's on-air look from the time.

10th Bumper (2002-February 2006)

Bumper: On a black background, the camera moves through misty rays of gray light. Near the top of the screen is the white text "THE FOLLOWING MOVIE/PROGRAM IS RATED" with a line below it; next to it is a two-sided "box" containing the rating of the movie or show (with additional letter descriptors below it if necessary. Under the text is up to three orange circles containing symbols relating to the forthcoming program, with orange text to the left of them explaining their meanings.

  • ESP ("En Español)
  • CC ("Closed Captioned")
  • Headphones ("In Stereo Where Available")
  • Dolby's "double-D" symbol ("In Stereo and Surround Sound Where Available")

The whole bumper is letterboxed. The bottom black bar contains HBO's web address and AOL keyword.

Content Bumper: On the same background, the text now reads "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM CONTAINS". Under it is up to five symbols regarding the content of a particular program, along with orange text explaining what they mean.

Variants:

  • On HBO's multiplex channels (except HBO Family), the light rays are different colors (depending on the channel) and also project a ghostly image of the channel's logo; the light colors include blue (HBO 2), red (HBO Signature), orange (HBO Comedy) and green (HBO Zone). Also, the HBO website text is positioned to the left of the screen and colored the same as the rays.
  • On HBO's HD feed, the additional message "ESP not available on HBO HDTV" appears in white on the first screen.
  • On programs broadcast in Dolby 5.1 sound, there is a third card with orange text reading "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS PRESENTED IN DOLBY DIGITAL 5.1 WHERE AVAILABLE".
  • On programs broadcast in high-definition, the third card reads "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS PRESENTED IN HDTV AND DOLBY 5.1 SOUND WHERE AVAILABLE".
  • There is a variant of the first card that has no rating at all; only the symbols are on screen. This was known to appear on Boxing After Dark.

Technique: The camera moving through the light, which was created with CGI.

Music/Sounds: Same as the last bumper.

Availability: Same as the last bumper.

Legacy: This bumper is based on HBO's on-air look from the time.

11th Bumper (February 2006-April 1, 2011)

Bumper: Through a gray environment of window-like panes resembling filmstrips, the camera zooms through and focuses on a pane with a vertical black line in the middle and a horizontal line to the left of it. On the top-left is an orange box resembling a movie ticket containing the black text "THE FOLLOWING MOVIE/PROGRAM IS RATED [X]". On the bottom-left is a space for an additional TV rating descriptor ("D", "S", "L" and/or "V"). On the right side is up to three boxes containing symbols pertaining to the forthcoming program.

  • ESP ("En Español)
  • CC ("Closed-Captioned")
  • Dolby's "double-D" logo ("In Stereo and Surround Sound Where Available")

The camera movies slowly toward the right, while an orange light swoops through the background to illuminate the environment. HBO's web address is seen on the bottom of the screen throughout.

Content Bumper: The box now reads "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM CONTAINS", and the right side of the pane contains up to five boxes with symbols regarding the content of a particular program. The camera now moves slowly to the left.

HDTV Bumper: On programs broadcast in high-definition, there is a third card with the camera slowly zooming out from a background of panes with gray/blue lighting, and the HBO HD logo in the center. There are two versions of this card.

  • Above the logo is the black text "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM IS PRESENTED IN HIGH DEFINITION ON", and below it "WHERE AVAILABLE". Here, the logo and text fade in a second after the background does.
  • The second version is nearly the same, except the bottom text reads "AND WITH DOLBY 5.1 SOUND WHERE AVAILABLE". Here, the logo and text are already there when the bumper fades in.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Extinct. Was seen before every program on the HBO family of channels (though HBO Family didn't start using them until 2007).

Legacy: This bumper is based on HBO's on-air look at the time. From this point on, HBO used these bumpers on all the channels that bear its name.

12th Bumper (April 2, 2011-July 4, 2014)

Bumper: On a black background, there is a black horizontal strip an aurora shimmering behind it to make it visible. On the left is a square resembling a movie ticket containing the program's rating between two lines; above it is the text "THE FOLLOWING MOVIE/PROGRAM CONTAINS", and below it are additional TV descriptors (if necessary). Next to the square is up to three boxed symbols regarding the forthcoming program:

  • Dolby's logo ("Dolby Digital 5.1 Sound Where Available")
  • CC ("Closed Captioned")
  • ESP ("En Español")

Content Bumper: On a black background, a black vertical strip is aligned to the left of the screen, with an aurora peeking from the side to make it visible. Inside the strip is a square containing the text "THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM CONTAINS" between two lines. To the right of the strip is up to five boxes with letter symbols regarding the content of a particular program.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: None

Availability: No longer in use.

13th Bumper (July 5, 2014-2017)

Bumper: On a black background, a vertical line "draws" itself down in the middle of the screen. On the left of the line, the rating for the coming movie or show slides down while fading in; at the same time, on the right, one to five necessary descriptor symbols and their definitions slide down while fading in (bottom to top). After a few seconds, the rating and descriptors slide down and fade out while the line "erases" itself down.

Throughout the bumper, up to three additional symbols appear below, with small vertical lines separating them.

  • The "CC in a TV" symbol (for closed-captioned programs).
  • The Dolby logo, with "WHERE AVAILABLE" underneath (for programs with Dolby sound).
  • "ESP" (for programs simulcast in Spanish)

Technique: 2D animation.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: While it's officially retired, it's still being used by HBO Latino.

14th Bumper (2017-present)

Bumper: On a gray gradient background, the rating for the coming movie or show (on the left) and any necessary descriptor symbols (on the right) pop in all blurry, and then zoom out a little and come into focus. After a few seconds, everything starts to blur and zoom out more as they fade away.

Throughout the bumper, up to three additional symbols appear fade in and out below, placed next to each other.

  • The "CC in a TV" symbol (for closed-captioned programs).
  • The Dolby logo, with "WHERE AVAILABLE" underneath (for programs with Dolby sound).
  • "ESP" (for programs simulcast in Spanish)

Technique: Computerized blur effects.

Music/Sounds: None.

Availability: Currently in use on all HBO networks.

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