The Wolper Organization
The Wolper Organization was founded in 1958 by documentary film producer David L. Wolper. In 1964, his company was acquired by Metromedia, but would later break apart from the company in 1967. In 1968, the Wolper library up to that time was sold to Official Films, who was later acquired by International Creative Exchange. The same year, the Wolper Productions company would later become Metromedia Producers Corporation. The company was relaunched in 1969 with distribution through Warner Bros. Television for its television shows and feature films (which were released theatrically through United Artists, and in the case of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Paramount). In 1976, The Wolper Organization was then acquired by Warner Communications for $1.5 million. The Wolper Organization is currently a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery company and is currently run by Mark L. Wolper, the son of David L. Wolper.
1st Logo (1961-1990)
Nicknames: "Hypnotizer W", "The Hypnotic W", "Swirly Hypnotizer"
Logo: On a black background, a swirl draws itself towards the upper left of the screen, repeating 5 times. Then a diagonal slit cuts down near the center of the swirl, and a "W" in a thick typeface is drawn in on the other end. The text "A OLPER PRODUCTION" fades in next to the "W" after the logo finishes.
- Some programs have just the "Hypnotizer" centered in the middle of the screen, along with a smoother framerate.
- Another version of the animated logo has the text blacked out and replaced with a Metromedia byline.
- A still version has a smaller "Hypnotizer" with "A DAVID L. WOLPER PRODUCTION" below it. On the bottom of the screen, "RELEASED THRU UNITED ARTISTS" can be seen in the same font.
- There's a distributor variant that features the text "DISTRIBUTED BY WOLPER TELEVISION SALES", either being still or animated (the text appears when the logo finishes). This version may appear in gold as well.
- There is an in-credit variant generally used to close documentary specials, feature films, and TV movies, as well as a non-animated, superimposed variant for shows, such as Chico and the Man and Welcome Back, Kotter.
- The color of the in-credit variant may change, depending of the color of the scrolling credits, for example, on Chico and the Man, the Wolper logo was shown in white, #FFD900, and lime colors.
- On some older International Creative Exchange prints, a copyright notice for them is chyroned in below.
- From around 1964 to 1967, in-credit text variants had the byline "A Division of Metromedia" or "A Metromedia Company".
- Starting in 1977, the superimposed version has the byline "A Warner Communications Company" under the name. It would sometimes use the Warner corporate font for the byline, depending on the case.
- Several series and TV movies would just use an in-credit text "A David L. Wolper Production" or "Wolper Productions" with or without a byline.
- A version of the later animated version had the text in a more futuristic-looking font that clashes with the swirl, and the words "a" and "production" are in lowercase.
FX/SFX: The swirl and "W" drawing, and the text "A OLPER PRODUCTION" fading in at the end. None for the still shots and in-credit text. For the in-credit logos, it would scroll alongside the rest of the credits.
Music/Sounds: A dreamy celesta tune followed by a flourish as the text fades in. For the superimposed variant, it used the closing theme of the show or TV movie.
- The earlier animated variant is rare and can be seen on specials like The Making of the President '60.
- The animated logo was thought to be long gone outside of various programs on the Internet Archive, but has recently reemerged on Amazon Prime Video's print of Hollywood, The Fabulous Era.
- The superimposed version remains on Chico and the Man and Welcome Back, Kotter on DVD releases.
- The in-credit notices were seen on shows such as Laurel and Hardy, Roots and its sequel, Roots: The Next Generation, all three North and South TV movies, and The Thorn Birds, among others.
Legacy: The early version has some quite smooth animation for the time period, but sadly, the later version suffers a downgrade with the choppier animation.
2nd Logo (1990-2016)
Nicknames: "Hypnotizer W II", "The Hypnotic W II", "Swirly Hypnotizer II", "Bronze Shining Hypnotizer", "Bronze Hypnotic W"
Logo: On a grainy background, the Hypnotizer "W" as seen in the 1st logo is shown in gold and "gold" next to it with "gold" next to the "gold". The logo "shines".
- From 2001 onward, the logo and text is gold and is on a black background.
- Sometimes, the logo doesn't shine.
- A superimposed in-credit variant exists.
- Sometimes, a IAW notice is seen below the logo.
FX/SFX: A shining wipe effect.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show or movie or a generic theme on NBC (starting in 1994) or ABC (starting in 1998).
Availability: Common. It's seen on Snow Wonder, The Thornbirds: The Missing Years, post-2005 episodes of Penn and Teller: B.S. on Showtime and Netflix, and the mini-series Heaven & Hell: North and South: Book III, among others.
3rd Logo (May 30, 2016- )
Nicknames: "Hypnotizer W III", "The Hypnotic W III", "Swirly Hypnotizer III", "Paintstroke Spiral"
Logo: On a white background, a orange, brush-stroke swirl with an clean cut down the middle is seen, leading to a blue "blue" connected to it. "blue" is seen next and under it in the same font.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show.
Availability: Current. It's seen on the 2016 remake of Roots.