HIT Entertainment was a British-American children's television company established in 1982 originally as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions called "Henson International Television" (later reincorporated as "Gainbase PLC" and "HIT Communications PLC"). However, following the death of Jim Henson in 1990, HIT was sold to several members of the company's management, led by Peter Orton, and reincorporated to Gainbase PLC, then to its current name to prevent any future confusion between the two companies. In February 2012, HIT was acquired by Mattel, and in 2016, was absorbed into Mattel Creations.
Henson International Television
Logo: Same as the Henson Associates in-credit logo, only the "ha!" text is replaced with "hit!" and the lower text is replaced with "HENSON INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION" sandwiched between two lines. Copyright information for Henson International Television is listed below.
FX/SFX: Same as the Henson Associates in-credit logo.
Music/Sounds: Same as the Henson Associates logo.
Availability: Extremely rare.
- Its only known appearance is on international prints of The Muppet Show, including UK broadcasts on BBC1 from 1986 until 1987. Later prints of the series replace this logo with others (eg, Jim Henson Home Entertainment, or a Muppets Holding Company copyright notice).
HIT Communications PLC
Logo: On a teal marble-like background, a silver disc rotates into place. Then four light blue lasers strike it from different directions. Then, the camera pans to an aerial view as the word "HiT", in a tall silver font, zooms out from the center from an angle, then rotates to face the viewers. As it does so, the four lasers rotate clockwise and "COMMUNICATIONS PLC" types itself in, in blue.
- There are two short versions: one that has the music intact and starts with the camera moves up and the word "HiT" zooms out, and another one without music and starts when the logo finishes zooming out.
- The logo may or may not freeze after the animation.
FX/SFX: CGI effects.
Music/Sounds: An eerie gong sound leading into a catchy synth theme with drums and bells.
Music/Sounds Variant: A silent version exists.
Availability: Ultra rare. This logo was used back when HIT transitioned into a full distributor of various shows.
- Can be seen on old Where's Waldo/Wally?: The Animated Series tapes from the era.
- It can also be spotted on the English dubs of D'Ocon Films' TV series, Basket Fever, and the cartoon Captain Zed and the Zee Zone, among others.
HIT Entertainment PLC
1st Logo (1994-1995)
Logo: On a black background, the bluish-grey letters of "HIT" fly outwards to the center to form a result similar to the previous logo, but with thinner letters and no dot. Below it all is "Distributed by HIT Entertainment PLC." in white, sometimes replaced with a black bar and the text changed to match the country's language.
FX/SFX: CGI effects.
- On an Rede Manchete (?) airing, the HIT logo is cut-out, but you can see the thin line during the beginning of it (which is actually the bottom of the CGI letter "I").
- A variant exists where when the animation is complete the logo fades out.
Availability: Extinct. This was possibly a prototype logo, and so far, it has only been known to appear on some international TV prints of season 1 episodes of ReBoot.
2nd Logo (September 7, 1996-May 15, 1997)
Logo: On a black background, we see a spinning globe with a yellowish glow, suspended above some blue blocks. We then pan away from the blocks as the globe's glow fades out. The blocks zoom out, revealing to be the HIT logotype as seen in the previous logos, with the globe positioned in the hole of said logotype. The globe continues to rotate.
Variant: On Professor Bubble, a still version with "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" in gray is used on a white background, and the screen is shared with the GMTV and Look Lively TV logos.
FX/SFX: CGI effects.
Music/Sounds: None or the show's end theme.
Availability: Extinct. This was a prototype logo, and as such only appeared in the unaired pilot to Bob the Builder. The variant was seen on the aforementioned Professor Bubble.
Legacy: This logo was lost until November 2020, when it along with episodes of Professor Bubble and the full pilot of Bob the Builder were found. Also, given its usage, this could be seen as a prototype of the next logo seen below.
3rd Logo (December 31, 1995-April 3, 2001)
Logo: On a shady gray background, we see the word "HiT" in the same font as last two logos in blue, with "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" written vertically next to the T in white. A hole is cut out in between the letters above the I, which contains a spinning globe. Under that we see the text "www.hitentertainment.com" and "DISTRIBUTED WORLDWIDE BY HIT ENTERTAINMENT PLC". There is a spotlight from the top left of the screen, casting a shadow of the logo on the floor.
- There is a version where the URL and byline swap places, such as retail episodes of Bob the Builder.
- There are instances where the logo is just seen with the byline, such as Scandinavian versions of Bob the Builder.
- A still version of this is seen on VHS releases.
- An in-credit variant was seen on Archibald the Koala.
- On some prints of Basket Fever, the background is replaced with that of a background of the world with "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" in black instead of white and the below text is omitted.
- On Riding High (the first show to use this logo), the globe has a white halo around and there's no byline.
- A true 16:9 widescreen version exists.
- On CITV UK airings of Kipper, the logo is still and the URL and byline are replaced with the "www.citv.co.uk" website. Also, the CITV URL website is at the bottom right.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show.
- For international prints of Basket Fever, the 1989 theme was heard.
- At the beginning of a Greek Barney and Friends VHS, the tail end of the Bob the Builder theme song plays over the logo.
- The still version plays either silent or the show's ending theme to Kipper.
Availability: Rare. This logo debuted when HIT transitioned from a third-party distributor into a full producer of programmes. It first appeared on the New Zealand series Riding High.
- It appeared on much of HIT's original programming from the time period: The Wind in the Willows and The Willows in Winter, Brambly Hedge, Percy the Park Keeper, Kipper, Sheeep, and the first three seasons of Bob the Builder.
- Third-party programmes that also featured this logo include Archibald the Koala, Ted Sieger's Wildlife and Pablo, the Little Red Fox. It can also be seen on the 1996 version of Dennis and Gnasher, however it mainly appears only on TV prints, as the company only held television rights to the series, so most episodes on DVD do not have this logo at all.
- Also spotted on later prints of Basket Fever.
- Despite being a co-production with the BBC, don't expect this to pop up on the TV movie The Phoenix & the Carpet.
4th Logo (1997-2008)
Logo: On a striped-shiny-blue background, we see a yellow/orange gradient ribbon flying around from the right edge of the screen. Then the ribbon makes its way to form the spring (or tunnel) and an explosion occurs. After that, we see more colorful ribbons (but smaller) and some fireworks and bubbles. Later, the camera moves into the center of the tunnel, then the tunnel disappears and from its place comes the globe which zooms into the hole in the HIT logo from the previous logos in light blue, which fades in the same time as the globe comes. As it does so, the globe spins. The text "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" is written vertically next to the "T" in white, just like the 2nd and 4th logos until it is over.
Trivia: A different concept would be used for the HIT Video logo from 1997-2000.
- There is a short version, which shows only the finished result of the logo.
- There is also another short version, which starts with the tunnel for 1 and a half seconds before disappears and from its place comes the globe intact.
- There is also a middle-length version, which starts in the middle of the logo.
- At the end of a ride on video-optioned Bob the Builder kiddie rides from Jolly Roger, Lofty the crane pushes away the title card of the show from the left, and then uses his crane to pull the finished product of the logo into the screen.
- Throughout 2003 on DVDs (except for Thomas & Friends ones), the same logo is used but fire can be seen during the explosion, the globe spins faster, and the word "PLC" is removed. The sound effects and fanfare are unchanged.
FX/SFX: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: It depends on the version:
- Full version: A big whoosh, then a variety of cartoon sound effects are heard whilst the items come out of the ribbon tunnel, then a grand and majestic 9-note fanfare.
- A fluttering slide whistle with an explosion sound.
- Twinkling and popping sounds along with the whoosh from the start of the logo played in reverse, followed by a car engine sputtering.
- Whooshes and bangs as the firecrackers fly out of the ribbon tunnel and explode.
- Pop sounds and a boing, followed by a party horn, a "falling" sound (done on a slide whistle) and a cuckoo clock sound.
- A "zing-in" sound (also done on a slide whistle) followed by another fluttering slide whistle.
- One last pop sound, accompanied by a faint train whistle.
- Short version #1: The ending theme of the show.
- Short version #2: The last 8 notes of the long version's music.
- Middle-length version: None.
- Bob the Builder kiddie ride variant: The last 5 notes of the long version's music.
- The music was composed by David Lowe, who is best known for producing and arranging the theme tune to BBC News from 1999.
- On the DVD versions of Brightest Children's Favourites (2004) and Ultimate Children's Favourites (2005), a snippet of the sound effects from the start of the full version of logo plays while transitioning between menus.
Availability: Pretty common, given its longevity.
- The full version was used as a de-facto home video logo on HIT's VHS and DVD releases in the UK until late 2003.
- The short version of the logo was used on the television series Anthony Ant and at the end of a ride on video-optioned Bob the Builder kiddie rides from Jolly Roger, while the middle-length version is seen on said rides when not in motion, while Thomas & Friends rides use the full version.
- This logo also appears on all VCI/2Entertain Thomas & Friends releases as well, starting with “The Chocolate Crunch and Other Stories” from 2003.
- Despite the logo being used all over the packaging, this logo is absent on The Fogman and Other Stories - instead, the Gullane Entertainment logo would be used.
- Inexplicably, later 2Entertain-distributed Thomas & Friends DVDs continued to use this logo until their distribution rights expired in 2008, despite the 6th logo being used all over the packaging. The last DVD to use this logo overall is The Spirit of Sodor, although as mentioned below, the reissue plasters it with the 6th logo.
- It was most likely going to appear on Marks & Spencer-exclusive compilation VHS releases of Angelina Ballerina, The Magic Key, Kipper and Percy the Park Keeper.
5th Logo (September 4, 2000-March 13, 2007)
Version with just the byline, taken from CBeebies airings of season 4 of Bob the Builder.
Logo: On a blue background, we see the HIT logo (as seen in the 2nd logo), but without "PLC". A glow of light surrounds the globe. Sometimes, a copyright notice appears below. Like the 2nd logo, sometimes the URL (www.hitentertainment.com) and byline (DISTRIBUTED WORLDWIDE BY HIT ENTERTAINMENT) are seen below the logo.
Trivia: This logo debuted in the UK in 2000 with the premiere of The Magic Key; and then in the US during 2001. However, it didn't appear on UK VHS and DVD releases until late 2003 or early 2004, starting with the following releases:
- The "Classic Collection" range (earlier VHS prints from December 2003 carry the 4th logo instead)
- The DVD releases of the first 2 Angelina Ballerina titles (The Gift and Rose Fairy Princess)
- Superstar Children's Favourites (earlier VHS prints carry the 4th logo instead)
- Christmas Children's Favourites
- There is a difference between the original and the standard versions.
- Original version:
- The still version, no animations at all (aka, the prototype version)
- Always bylineless
- Has a constant color scheme/contrast
- Has a thinner text for "ENTERTAINMENT"
- Standard version:
- The animated version
- Can be with the URL or byline, or both, or bylineless
- The contrast of the logo varies depending on the year of release (2000-2002 has a dark blue color scheme, while 2003-2006 has a light blue color scheme)
- Has a thicker text for "ENTERTAINMENT"
- Original version:
- Like with the previous three logos, "PLC" can be seen next to "ENTERTAINMENT".
- On Barney's Christmas Star, the globe is bigger than in the original variant.
- This doesn't happen when the same feature was part of Christmas Children's Favorites, when it was replaced by the standard version with the URL and byline.
- On the 2004 restored versions of seasons 1-5 of Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends (the 1998 remastered versions still use the Britt Allcroft logo), we see a white background. On the top half it says "A Britt Allcroft Company Production" with the company's logo in between the words "Britt" and "Allcroft" and on the bottom half we see the HIT Entertainment logo. In between them is the word "For". Under all that is a copyright notice that says "(C) 1984-2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. All rights reserved". Post-2006 releases of the DVD have this logo replaced with the next logo, with the copyright notice intact.
- A still version on a white background exists. “CONSUMER PRODUCTS” sometimes replaces “ENTERTAINMENT” in this version.
- 2 in-credit versions exist. One is just of the logo, the other is of the logo on a white background.
- On 2004-06 episodes of Thomas & Friends and its related home videos (at least in the UK), there are several versions of the logo. Copyright info is below:
- The first variation is seen on individual episodes and airings. It has the copyright notice for every episode per year of release (2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006) and the disclaimer about the series.
- The second variation is seen on several home videos, such as Hooray for Thomas and Other Adventures. It has the copyright notice for the episodes (2003, 2004, 2005 or 2006) and the disclaimer about the series. (The font of the copyright notice is the same as the collaboration with Nick Jr.)
- The third variation is seen on several PBS airings. It is similar to the first two variations, but instead of the cloudy sky as the background, the blue original background is seen on the logo.
- The fourth variation is seen on Thomas' Halloween Adventures. The copyright notice used from the restored formats of previous seasons is used, along with the North American disclaimer.
- The fifth is used for Thomas & Friends: Calling All Engines!. The logo is placed on the original background, with the words "Thomas the Tank Engine, Created for Television by BRITT ALLCROFT" plus the 2005 copyright notice and disclaimer below the logo.
- On the sixth and seventh seasons of Thomas & Friends, there are three variations of the logo:
- The first variation uses the logo with the URL and byline, with the copyright notice "© 1984-2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. All rights reserved." below the byline. (seen on season 6)
- The second variation uses the logo with the URL and byline, but with the title "Thomas & Friends" on top of the logo, and the copyright notice "(C) 2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited" on the bottom of the byline. (seen on season 7)
- The third variation is the logo with the Nick Jr. logo. It has the copyright notice "(C) 2002/2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited" on the bottom of the logo, and sometimes the words "Produced in association with Nickelodeon UK" can be seen on top of the logos. The background is a cloudy sky, which is also used in the next three seasons. This is seen on episodes aired via Nick Jr. in the UK.
- Like the 2nd logo, there are instances that the logo is seen only with just the byline (or along in this case, with just the URL), or the logo can be bylineless.
- The Latin-American (Spanish and Portuguese, among those that are aired on Discovery Kids Latinoamerica, the standard (bylineless) version is used in in the USA and Canada) and European (Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German, the standard version is used in the UK) airings of the ninth season of Barney & Friends (Especially Universal Kids airings in North America) and iTunes releases of Thomas & Friends including Thomas & His Friends Get Along and Thomas & His Friends Help Out use the version with just the byline.
- Fraggle Rock, Animal Jam (along with other programs made by Jim Henson) use the version with just the URL.
- There is another version of the logo with just the URL. The URL is slightly shifted down to where usually the byline is placed. The URL is in bold, which would be later used in the HD version of the logo.
- There are other variations of the logo with just the byline. This is usually seen on Bob the Builder, which aired on CBeebies for a short time before switched to 16:9 widescreen, depending on the season of episodes and whether domestic or international. One instance is that the URL is missing from the logo used in 2001-2004 (usually seen in Europe, the original version is used in North America), and another is the same instance as the first, but this time, the byline is shifted upward (rare, usually seen in Welsh airings). Another instance is that the byline is in a different font, and it has a much larger font size.
- The logo is bylineless on CITV repeats of Kipper, Angelina Ballerina, Thomas & Friends and Percy the Park Keeper. It is also seen on original USA PBS airings of 2004-2006 episodes of Bob the Builder and Barney & Friends, and the retail DVD of Children's Favorites: Spring Made Fun!
- The direct-to-video (Netflix, Hulu, etc.), and some international versions of the 10th season episodes of Barney & Friends, along with its related retail home videos from 2005-07 (such as Can You Sing That Song? (VHS version only), Let's Go to the Beach, Let's Make Music and Let's Go to the Firehouse) uses a short-lived HD version of the logo, with its URL and byline in bold (This is the final variation of the standard logo). The PBS and Sprout versions use the next logo (still or original). Universal Kids (in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Brazil) reairings of this season also use this HD logo.
- On S4C Welsh airings of Pingu, the byline is translated.
- On The Magic Key, a small version of the logo is seen on a black background above the 1997 BBC logo. Copyright and website info is below.
- On HIT's television adverts/promos (mainly in the UK), a special version of the logo is seen - with the logo on a white background and a light glowing rapidly from the top left of the logo.
- A special bumper was used exclusively on HIT Entertainment Children's Favorites Vol. 1 (2004) before each episode. It starts off normally with both the URL and byline in their respective places, but the background fades into a zooming space backdrop as all the text disappears and the globe becomes more lifelike and starts to spin. The HIT text then zooms closer before it disappears as the globe moves to the center. A circle playing a clip from the upcoming show then peeks out from behind the globe on either the left or right side and zooms towards the screen before moving in the opposite direction. All other volumes in the series use the standard logo.
FX/SFX: The glow effects surrounding the globe.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show or none.
- Some home videos of Barney & Friends (starting from Let's Go to the Farm (2005), until Let's Go to the Firehouse (2007), and again on Best Fairy Tales (2010)) have a synthesized jingle that was used either at the beginning, at the end, or after the feature presentation.
- Similarly, a version with a long, held choir note can be seen on the aforementioned Let's Go to the Firehouse.
- On one print of Felix the Cat, the HIT Communications PLC music was used.
- The Children's Favorites variant starts with a low drone sound with bells at the start, with a digital playing as the backdrop changes followed by a regular whoosh as the HIT text zooms in, afterwards the drone sound and bells changes into a higher pitch and start playing faster as a deep whoosh continuously plays.
Availability: Very common.
- It appears on every HIT Entertainment-produced or distributed programme from the period including The Magic Key (the show in which, the logo made its first appearance), Barney & Friends from the 2002-2006 seasons, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Rubbadubbers, seasons 7-10 of Thomas & Friends, Oswald, Pingu, and the VeggieTales: The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown 2001 VHS.
- It also appears on the remastered versions of episodes from seasons 1-4 of Pingu.
- The normal in-credit variant appears on seasons 5-6 of Pingu, while the white background one appears on the 2003 series of Fireman Sam and at the end of games from the company.
- Both the “ENTERTAINMENT” and “CONSUMER PRODUCTS” white background variants appear on games of the company’s shows, and an “ENTERTAINMENT PLC” version was seen on the remastered versions of the original Fireman Sam alongside the Bumper Films and the 1995 S4C logos.
- One of the last releases to use this logo was the 2007 DVD of Barney & Friends: Let's Go to the Firehouse!.
- It was also used to plaster over the HIT Communications PLC logo and the 2nd logo at times, and also makes a surprise appearance on the Britbox print of episode 1 of Dennis the Gnasher (1996-1998) through plastering the 2nd logo.
- Thomas & Friends DVDs from 2003 to 2008 owned by 2Entertain used the 4th logo instead of this for some reason.
(September 4, 2006-)
Logo: On a white background, we see a CGI block with "H" (white on red), "i" (blue on yellow), and "T" (white on blue), with "HiT entertainment" below it. Then, all of a sudden, two more of the same blocks come out from behind the main block, and they all jump around as the company name fades out. The blocks stack to reveal the "HiT" name before the two blocks (left and right) disappear. As it leaves only one block, the block looks around before becoming still, and "HiT entertainment" fades in below.
- There are short versions in which the text is already at the bottom of the screen (except for some variants) while the HIT blocks move in various different sequences:
- The HIT block is at a farther away angle. Then, the two other blocks come in and jump before exiting, as the middle one bounces closer to the screen.
- The blocks chase each other around before they bump into each other, and we zoom into the middle block dazed for a moment.
- Only the ending part is shown after the blocks walk away.
- The blocks roll and jump around on top of the middle block before it rolls closer to the screen.
- The blocks look at each other, slide to the other direction, and slide to the start position, then two of the other blocks leave as the screen zooms toward the one in the middle. This is a very rare variant.
- The block just drops down. This is a very short variant.
- There also exists another variant where the blocks bounce on top of each other, then fall off the first block, before jumping into it as the text appears.
- There exists a still version, as well, with a plain white background. Sometimes, the words “Distributed worldwide by” appears above the logo.
- In-credit variants exist. One is of the still worldwide distribution variant, one is an in-credit still of the normal animated version, and the final one shows just the HIT block with the text “Distributed Internationally by HIT Entertainment” to the left of it.
- On many DVD releases of HIT Entertainment shows, such as Lionsgate releases of the CGI Thomas & Friends, the still variant is shown with two blue buttons below it, one reading "Auto Play" and the other reading "Main Menu". (just like both the Disney's FastPlay and NickSkip logos.)
- On the Little People 2016 TV series and the first two seasons of the Bob the Builder reboot, it has a copyright notice on the bottom middle of the HIT Entertainment text.
- On the 11th season of Thomas & Friends, the logo (still version) has the copyright notice (red) for individual episode per year of release (2007 or 2008) and the disclaimer about the series. Several home videos (in fullscreen) have the copyright notice dated 2006, 2007 or 2008. PBS airings use the original variant.
- The Sprout reairings of the tenth season of Barney & Friends use the very last part of the logo's sequence (ie. the HIT block is already there after the animation). Those aired originally on PBS use the original variant with animation. The ninth season reairings on Sprout plaster the previous logo with this one. However, the 10th season episodes aired on Universal Kids in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Colombia use the previous logo (the HD version used in 2006-07).
FX/SFX: CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: An upbeat flute/horn tune with rhythmic finger snaps. Composed by Thomas & Friends composer Peter Hartshorne.
- Sometimes, just the end theme of the show is used, or none at all.
- The theme varies by variant. Every short variant, including the very short variant, had this theme shortened (which vary on how it was shortened). However, in two variants, the music plays as normal but there are two extra notes at the end after the normal fanfare is finished.
- The Auto Play variant has just a male announcer saying "For your convenience, this DVD has been enhanced with HIT Entertainment's Auto Play. Your program and a selection of bonus features will begin automatically. To bypass Auto Play, select the "Main Menu" button on your remote at anytime. Your feature presentation will begin in a moment. Enjoy!"
- On Channel 5 airings and prints of Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps, the WNET Thirteen and/or the HIT logo theme play over the in-credit variant.
- Low-pitched versions exist, mostly due to PAL-to-NTSC conversion.
- On one Cartoonito airing of a 2011 episode of Fireman Sam, the very short version’s theme played over the Xing Xing logo and the start of the first alternate short variant of the HIT logo. Also, some Cartoonito airings of the show have the very short version out of sync with the music.
- Sometimes, the music from one short variant will play over another short variant.
Music/Sounds Trivia: If you were to take the audio from the original version, then take the audio from the very rare short variant and/or one of the short versions, you would get a slightly extended version of this theme.
- Seen on shows such as Fireman Sam, Barney & Friends from the 2007-09 seasons, Bob the Builder (original and 2015 reboot), seasons 11-20 of Thomas & Friends, Little People (2016 series), and Angelina Ballerina: The Next Steps.
- The still logo can be found on games, some DVD releases and sometimes at the end of shows, while the still Worldwide Distribution version appears at the end of some Bob the Builder and The Likeaballs episodes, as well as on Wobbly Land (with the text in a different font and color) and Pic Me.
- The long version is used as a de-facto home media logo on UK DVDs, and some US DVDs.
- Beginning with the Thomas & Friends DVD "Extradorinary Engines", until "A Colourful World", the Mattel Creations logo appears after the warning, but the HIT logo still appears when "Play All" is selected and at the end of DVDs, though with some exceptions. The HIT logo returned at the beginning of releases with "Thomas & Friends: Digs & Discoveries".
- Also appeared on later Fraggle Rock DVDs and US Aardman releases such as Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures, the Blu-ray of Wallace & Gromit: The Complete Collection, Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time.
- This version is also present on the Frances compilation Bedtime for Frances (DVD & Book Collection).
- The second alternate short variant can be found on several shows such as Mike the Knight.
- The very short variant can be seen on 2008 episodes of Fireman Sam and on some airings of Wishbone.
- This also surprisingly appears at the end of US releases of Fifi and the Flowertots and Roary the Racing Car, since the company owns the US distribution rights to these shows.
Legacy: This also marked the departure of the globe logo that was used for about a decade.
From 2017 onwards, HIT Entertainment programming now has the Mattel Creations logo instead of the HIT logo. However, the HIT logo is still used on DVDs and trade ads.