MCA TV

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Credits
Descriptions by
Jason Jones, Michael Bode, Kurt Toy, TrickyMario7654, James Fabiano, and Nameless_Guy

Captures by
Shadeed A. Kelly, Eric S., V of Doom, CraigS1996Television, and TheEriccorpinc

Editions by
Shadeed A. Kelly, V of Doom, Mr. Logo Lord, Nicholas Aczel, Blue2000, Camenati, LogoDatabase, and Michael Kenchington

Video captures courtesy of
Eric S., JohnnyL80, and TheCraigS1996EntertainmentNetwork


Background

MCA TV (first known as "MCA TV, Ltd." and later "MCA Television Enterprises"; commonly known as "MCA Television") was the television production/distribution company of Revue Studios that was founded in 1951, several years before parent MCA's purchase of the U.S. branch of Decca Records (now "Universal Music Group") in 1959 and Universal-International Pictures in 1962. For more than four decades, it was one of the most active producers and distributors of television programming. MCA TV's other television divisions included Universal Television (formerly "Revue Studios") and MCA Television Entertainment (also known as "MTE"). From 1965-December 1973, MCA TV became an in-name-only unit for Universal Television until January 1974, and even then films distributed by MCA TV used the standard Universal film logo until at least 1982. MCA TV also had a global distribution arm called "MCA TV International". In December 1996, MCA was reincorporated as Universal Studios and as a result, MCA TV would be become "Universal Television Enterprises" and MCA TV International would become "Universal Worldwide Television".

1st Logo (1951-1955)

Logo: On a dark background (shot on the Revue camera), we see a reel of film with a black rectangle in front of it. The words "DISTRIBUTED BY" in a Futura font, appear atop the reel. Inside the rectangle are the words:

MCA TV
Ltd.

"MCA TV" appears in a variation of a Futura font, while Ltd. which appears underneath, is in a fancy cursive font. Underneath the reel, the words "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" in the same font as "DISTRIBUTED BY", are shown arching upward below the reel, taking up half of its shape.

Variant: An in-credit variant can be seen on the short-lived series The Man Behind the Badge.

Technique: None.

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

Availability: Near extinction.

  • The Abbott and Costello Show, for many years, which was the last remaining source of this logo, has gone through syndicator changes. Episodes now end with either Alan Enterprises (pre-1983 prints) or (DFS) Program Exchange logos (current licensee of TCA Television Corp., the copyright holders) plastering over this logo and the DVD releases completely cut out the credits.
  • This logo is intact on some public domain prints of the Dragnet episode "The Big Crime" (September 9, 1954). It was also left intact on at least one episode of The Abbott and Costello Show on the ClassicFlix Blu-ray release.
  • The version with the Revue "Turning Camera" logo is intact on TV Guide Presents...Great Westerns: The Adventures of Kit Carson on DVD.

2nd Logo (1953-1957)

Logo: Virtually the same alignment as before, except that the reel doesn't take up as much picture space, is placed on a sunburst background, the text "DISTRIBUTED BY" is in a different font, "MCA", "TV" and "LTD." (the latter now shown in block letters) are in a variation of the same 3-dimensional font as the then-current Revue logo, "TV" and "LTD." are smaller than "MCA", and "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" doesn't take up as much reel space.

Variants:

  • There is a variant without "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" below the film reel.
  • This logo was also seen alongside the Revue logo at the end of some programs. The text "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" is seen arched above the film reel.
  • On Tales of Wells Fargo, the logo is superimposed into the background and the company name is in 2D.

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.

Music/Sounds Variant: There was a variant that featured a television version of Republic Pictures' 1930s theme from a 1950s television reissue print of The Big Show.

Availability: Extremely rare.

  • This was last seen at the end of The Adventures of Kit Carson on Encore Westerns, as well as first-season episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents last aired on RTV, the pilot of Leave it to Beaver, and early episodes of The Millionaire, alongside the Don Fedderson Productions logo (MCA was Fedderson's agent (the latter three titles were in-credit)).
  • It also appears at the beginning and end of Bells of San Angelo on Starz Encore Westerns.
  • It also appeared at the end of The Far Frontier on Grit.

3rd Logo (1956-1965)

Logo: On a dark screen, 5 trilons turn to reveal an arrowhead which has the letters "mca" in a lower-case font inside, set against a satiny background. After a second or two, the letter "a" appears on top of the "mca", while "tv", underneath, and the word "release", under the arrowhead, fade-in. The trilons then turn in a different direction, and the screen is dark once again.

Variant:

  • A long version exists.

Closing Variant: An in-credit version was seen at the end of Revue shows alongside the Revue logo from 1956 to 1961, as well as black & white episodes of My Three Sons made prior to 1965. However, on the Revue/MCA cards in 1958, "Exclusive Representatives" became "exclusive distributor".

Technique: The turning walls are possibly live-action. None for the in-credit variant.

Music/Sounds:

  • A fanfare that starts with drumbeats similar to the first notes of 20th Century Fox's famed jingle, then goes to a 3-note ominous sounding horn sounder (sounding like an evacuation alarm).

Music/Sounds Variants:

  • Sometimes, the opening theme of the show/movie is used.
  • For the superimposed variant, it used only the closing theme of the show.

Availability: Rare.

  • It appears on old MCA Home Video releases of pre-1950 Paramount movies; they are pretty easy to spot as they used 16mm MCA TV prints rather than the original Paramount 35mm master negatives, which are therefore lower in picture quality. This company switch is due to Paramount selling their entire pre-1950 film library to MCA.
  • The in-credit logo that's shared with the Revue logo is uncommon. However, it can be seen on Leave It to Beaver on Me-TV and DVD and Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Antenna TV.
  • The animated version was retained on Remember the Night with the opening theme and Broken Lullaby with the theme on TCM. The long version appeared on the 1942 film Hatter's Castle on TCM.

4th Logo (December 24, 1980-1992)

Logo: Similar to the 1971-1991 Universal Television logo, except the company name is replaced by:

MCA

® TV


EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR

Variants:

  • On some of MCA's first-run shows (examples include Bionic Six, Puttin' On the Hits, and Pictionary), the logo was preceded by a card (similar to an "In Association With" screen) with the show's title, copyright notice, the MCA union bug, and a copyright warning. This card appeared in-credit on The Best Little Special in Texas.
  • On the first two seasons of The Munsters Today, the MCA logo would have a copyright stamp from Arthur Co. & Associates below the globe.
  • This logo would appear in different colors. The letters would appear in either yellow, neon yellow, gold, athletic gold, or orange, and the globe as either blue or green, though all this may be attributed to film deterioration.
  • The name would sometimes fade in.
  • This exists as both a filmed and a videotaped version.
  • One version of the logo has the picture "flipping away" when the music finishes.
  • On The Morton Downey, Jr. Show, the logo would iris in from the QMI Television logo.

Technique: Normally, fading effects. Most of the time, it's completely still.

Music/Sounds: The long version of the 1960 Revue Studios theme, excluding the xylophone note intro.

Music/Sounds Variants: Some shows would have a shorter version of this theme:

  • 1984-1991: Shows like Kate and Allie and Gimme A Break! would have the last ten notes of the theme.
  • 1987-1991: Shows like Out of this World would have the theme start off in various ways.
  • On The Munsters Today, the series used the last 11 notes (the second half) from the MCA TV theme.
  • On My Secret Identity, the music theme of the series would play over this logo.
  • There is also a silent version.
  • On shows with the aforementioned copyright card, the theme played over both the card and the MCA logo. On Pictionary, an announcer says "...and is distributed by MCA!".
  • The New Lassie uses an abridged 1981 Universal Television theme, the same one heard on Charles in Charge starting with season 2 at the time.
  • On most episodes of the 1980s version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the low tone 1982 Universal Television theme is used.

Availability: Uncommon.

  • It appeared on Bionic Six, FTV, Puttin' On the Hits (the only source of the "flipping away" variant known to exist), and reruns of Gimme a Break! and Kate and Allie in the '80s.
  • This can still be seen on the Canadian complete series DVD (from VEI: Visual Entertainment Inc.) and Antenna TV reruns of Gimme a Break!, 1986-1990 reruns of Kate and Allie, and Amen on getTV.
  • It was also seen on shows like The Munsters Today, Out of This World, My Secret Identity, The New Lassie, the 1982 TV special The Best Little Special in Texas, and The Toni Tennille Show (the first known appearance of the logo).
  • The filmed version appeared on worldwide prints of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong, Jr. (both were originally from Saturday Supercade), The New Dragnet, and The New Adam-12.
  • The logo was also spotted on some reruns of the series Parenthood on the now-defunct Trio network.

5th Logo (November 1987-June 1988)

Logo: Like Universal Television's 1971-1991 logo, we see a still of the then-current Universal “Zooming Globe”, but the logo now reads, in the same font as the MCA byline on that logo:

FROMMCA TELEVISION

Technique: Fading effects.

Music/Sounds: The 1982 and late 1986 Universal Television themes.

Availability: Extremely rare.

  • It was seen on the 1988 ABC series Probe, the two Desperado TV movies: The Return of Desperado and Desperado: Avalanche at Devil's Ridge, and the 1988 TV movie Longarm.
  • The logo was last seen on the Desperado TV movies on Encore Westerns.

6th Logo (October 10, 1990-April 6, 1991)

Logo: On a space background, we see a 3D Earth model, taken from the contemporary MTE logo. In front of it is the following in a gold color:

MCA

® TV


EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR

Technique: None.

Music/Sounds: The late 1986 Universal Television low pitched theme.

Availability: Extinct.

  • It appeared on Shades of L.A. (a first-run syndication series), but the show last aired on NBCUniversal's now-defunct Sleuth cable network in 2006. This did not appear on every episode, as some feature the 4th logo instead.
  • It was also seen on some early episodes of Roggin's Heroes in local syndication.

7th Logo (November 1990-November 1994)

Logo: We see the rotating globe against the starfield background from the 1990-1997 Universal Pictures logo (this time, the globe and the background are in a purple tint). The company name "MCA TV" (which is now in the font used on the MCA Records and MCA/Universal Home Video logos) slides in from the top of the screen, zooming out, and makes a stop in front of the globe. The words "EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR" in a Univers Black Extended font, fade in below the MCA name. There is also a shine effect afterward.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds:

  • 1991-1993: Universal Television's late 1986 standard tone logo theme.
  • 1991-1994: Universal Television's 1991 logo theme. Used in tandem with the late 1986 theme until 1993.

Music/Sounds Variant: Sometimes, the ending theme of the show plays over it.

Availability: Uncommon.

  • It debuted on season 5 of Amen, while it ended in November 1994 with Exosquad.
  • It is currently seen on the last season of Amen on getTV with the late 1986 Universal Television theme, as well as fall 1991-1993 episodes of Roggin's Heroes.
  • The version with the 1991 Universal Television theme originally appeared on early Action Pack TV movies. It also appeared on Exosquad and Monster Force, which is intact on the DVD releases of said shows.
  • At least two unsold game show pilots/pitch reels Pindemonium (with Ken Ober) and Hollywood Teasers (from Merrill Heatter Productions) have shown up on YouTube with this logo at the end; for the latter, a black screen with an MCA TV copyright date of 1993 shows up after the logo.
  • The UK DVD release of Knight Rider 2010 (1994) from Fabulous Films retains this logo at the end.

8th Logo (1994-December 1996)

Logo: Same as the 1991 Universal Television logo, except this time, the words "MCA TV" (in the previous logo's typeface) appear from behind the rotating globe and make a stop in front of it. The words "EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR" fades in under "MCA TV", along with the registered trademark "®" symbol next to it.

Variant: There is a prototype variant of the logo where the starfield background is stretched out more vertically.

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: Universal Television's 1991 logo theme or the end-title theme from any show.

Availability: Uncommon.

  • It can be seen on both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess on DVD.
  • The early variant was seen on Vanishing Son and Vanishing Son III.
  • This also plastered the 5th logo above on the season 4 DVDs of Kate and Allie.

Final Note: After MCA was rebranded as Universal Studios, the MCA TV and Multimedia Entertainment logos were replaced with the bylineless Universal logo between January and May 1997.

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