Turner Classic Movies Television Rating Bumpers

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Background: When the TV parental guidelines were introduced in 1997, Turner Classic Movies initially partook in the standard practice of placing them in the top-left corner of the screen during the first few seconds of a program. Starting in 2001, TCM began airing special rating bumpers prior to the start of a program, similar to premium movie channels like HBO and Showtime.

1st bumper (early 2001-2006)

Bumper: On a shot of a grayscaled cityscape, a white TCM logo is seen on the bottom-right of the screen; on the left is an apartment building with moving silhouettes of people visible in the windows. The scene then cuts to a view of a subway train passing by across the top of the screen, and below is a vertical line with a horizontal line emerging from it pointing eastward. To the left of the vertical line is a rating ("TV-G", "TV-PG", "TV-14" or "TV-MA"). The space above the horizontal line is either nothing or the phrase "Parental Discretion Is Advised" (if applicable); below it is up to three of these descriptors.

  • "Closed Captioned"
  • "DVS"
  • "Letterbox"

Technique: The people in the windows and the subway passing by, live-action.

Music/Sounds: No music; atmospheric sounds are heard throughout.

Availability: Seen on TCM from 2001 to 2006. Check your old recordings.

2nd bumper (2006-2009)

Bumper: On a black background, we a close-up of an apartment building exterior, with a light-gray/pink tint, situated diagonally on the left side of the screen, slowly zooming in. Near the bottom-right of the screen are intersecting vertical and horizontal lines. Within the "boxes" is text the same color as the building; in the top-left are the letters "TV", in the bottom-left is the rating ("G", "PG", "14" or "MA"); in the top-right is either nothing or the phrase "Parental Discretion Is Advised" (if applicable); and in the bottom-right are up to three descriptors:

  • "DVS"

Variants: There are two different variations of this bumper, each with a different color (either blue or yellow) and building design.

Technique: The building slowly zooming in, likely live-action.

Music/Sounds: A grunge-like theme consisting of three repeating notes played on an electric guitar; a wind-like sound is also heard throughout.

Music/Sound Variants: The blue version has a slightly different arrangement that includes a soft piano tune. The yellow version has a similar grunge-like theme played on an acoustic guitar.

Availability: Seen on TCM from 2006 to 2009. Check your old recordings.

3rd bumper (2009-2013)

Bumper: On a light-yellow/blue-green gradient background, various classic film titles and clips, with varying degrees of focus, descend from the top to the bottom of the screen. A dark green TCM logo zooms out and settles near the top-left of the screen, followed closely by intersecting horizontal and vertical red lines and dark green text, both of which settle in the middle; the rating goes above the horizontal line, and one of various indicators goes below it:

Technique: CGI animation.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 2nd bumper.

Availability: Seen on TCM from 2009 to 2013.

4th bumper (2013-September 1, 2021)

Bumper: On one of several different colored backgrounds (details below), a rectangular outline (either black or white) is seen in the center of the screen, and the text "TURNER CLASSIC MOVIES" drops down and places itself in the center. The rectangle and text then move down offscreen, and the rating and other program descriptors "rise" in the center of the screen. Finally, they move down offscreen, and the TCM logo enters from the top before settling in the center.

Descriptors: The second portion of the bumper features symbols in small rectangles, along with corresponding text, relating to the program.

  • A TV screen: The rating ("TV-G", "TV-PG", "TV-14" or "TV-MA").
  • "DVS": Descriptive Video Service
  • "CC": Closed Captioned

Color Variants: There are several different variants with different background and colors.

  • Blue & White
  • Pink & White
  • Red-Orange & White
  • Light Yellow & Black
  • Beige & White

Technique: The text and shapes moving downward, plus the rating symbols "rising" from invisible lines. 2D animation.

Music/Sounds: One of these three themes:

  • A dreamy tune played on a marimba with bells.
  • A casual piano/percussion theme.
  • A relaxing, yet majestic-sounding theme played on a piano.

Availability: Currently seen before most programs on TCM. The red-orange variant with piano theme is normally played before more well-known movies in the TCM catalog.

5th bumper (September 1, 2021-present)


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