VCI (Video Communications, Inc.), also known as United Home Video briefly in the 1980's, is an American home video company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, founded in 1976 by Bill Blair (1930-2006). It was an offshoot of Blair's 16mm distribution company United Films.
United Home Video
1st (known) Logo (1984-1989)
Nickname: "The Pentagon"
Logo: After a small blue FBI warning screen with a red border and white text zooms out against a starry space background, the stars begin slowly zooming forth. A blue, multi-lined pentagon with a five-pointed star emerges from a star in the top right and zooms toward the middle left of the screen. The text
in white emerges from behind the pentagon and moves in a circular path to the right of it. "PRESENTS," also in white, fades in below the text.
FX/SFX: The stars, the pentagon, and the text. This is all likely Scanimate.
Music/Sounds: A "whoosh" when the copyright screen zooms out, followed by a deep synth bass sounder.
Availability: Extremely rare. Seen on old tapes from the era, such as Crypt of the Living Dead and Dark Star. Later reprints of these tapes plaster this logo with the VCI logo of the period.
Editor's Note: None.
Video Communications, Inc./VCI Entertainment
1st Logo (Opening) (1979-1984)
Nicknames: "Command Performance", "Elvis Eagle"
Logo: On a black background, a giant red “V” zooms in quickly, stopping on the left side of the screen. A giant red “C” zooms in and positions itself just above the “V” from the right side. A giant “i” zooms in and positions itself from the same side of the “V” as the “C”, but from below the “V” and “C”. While the “i” zooms in, three yellow lines are drawn around the letters, looking like television screens, all clumped together. Then, the “TVs” are filled in with a school bus yellow color and the borders disappear. The letters also change from red to black, then, three stars blink on each of the letters. Next, we go to what looks like the eagle you might find on Elvis’ jumpsuit, with pink chasing lights above it (the middle section is curved down, however) over a cerulean blue background. A pink light zooms out to form the word “COMMAND” in the Broadway font, then, another pink light zooms out below “COMMAND” to reveal the word “PERFORMANCE” in the same font. Then the entire logo fades out, except for the lights, which fade out seconds later.
FX/SFX: Filmed animation, possibly done with cels.
Music/Sounds: A catchy big-band tune, excerpted from the JW music library track "The Aggressors" by Ray Davies (no relation to the Kinks' lead singer). On tapes released in association with Media Home Entertainment, such as Dark Star, the logo is silent.
Availability: Extremely rare. This was at the beginning of most VCI tapes of the period. However, some early releases (including Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None) may not have this logo.
Editor's Note: This logo seems quite disjointed. What does "COMMAND PERFORMANCE" even mean, anyway?
2nd Logo (Closing) (1979-1984)
Logo: Against a black background, a small yellowish TV tube moves in from the right of the screen and stops at the left. It then splits into three screens in a "V" formation tilted 90 degrees to the right. Then, the words
fade in to the right, and the tubes fill with red, green, and blue from top to bottom simultaneously. This is then followed by one of several trailer reels, before the finished product is shown again.
FX/SFX: Once again, filmed animation, probably cel animation.
Music/Sounds: A bombastic brass fanfare, sourced from the KPM library track "Fanfare (1)" composed by Neil Richardson and released on the 1970 album Scenesetters, Fanfares, and Punctuations (catalog number KPM 1057).
Availability: Extremely rare. This was found at the end of VCI tapes. As above, early releases (including Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None) may not have this logo.
Editor's Note: Much more coherent and to the point than the logo above.
3rd Logo (1989-1997)
Nickname: "Neon Lines"
Logo: On a black background, we see two sets of purple neon lines sweep around with a dust-trailing effect, merging together to make one set of neon lines. Afterwards, a flash forms "VCI" in a lined font (a la IBM), while the rest of the lines disappear. "VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS, INC." fades in underneath.
FX/SFX: 2D computer animation. Definitely a product of its time.
Music/Sounds: Synth chimes over a loud whoosh, then a sustained bass note when the logo flashes, followed by some more chimes. On some releases, it's silent.
Availability: More common than the previous logos. Has plastered over tapes previously released under the United Home Video name in their original UHV packaging, and vice versa. This has also been the case with Artisan Home Entertainment and Columbia-Tristar Home Video.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (1989-1997)
Nickname: "The Times New Roman Pink VCI"
Logo: On a black background, we see the letters "VCI" in a Times New Roman font. Under it is a line and under is "VIDEO COMMUNICATIONS INC.". They are arranged somewhat like this:
FX/SFX: None; this is a still logo.
Music/Sounds: Same as before.
Availability: Seen on tapes of History of the 20th Century.
Editor's Note: No footage of this logo currently circulates.
4th Logo (1997-2000)
Logo: On a stretch of moving water against a black background, a three-dimensional metallic yellow triangle embedded with three upside-down trapezoids rises as the camera pans up towards the rising logo, which sets in place.
Trivia: Many earlier VCI titles have a print version of this on the tape sleeve. However, they use previous logos on the actual tape.
FX/SFX: Computer animation: the water texture, the logo.
Music/Sounds: A bombastic stock fanfare.
Availability: Seen on re-releases of earlier titles such as "To Build a Fire" and newer releases such as "Red Salute".
Editor's Note: A surprise discovery. A partial copy was discovered in 2015 and the full version was found in 2019.
5th Logo (2000-2001)
Nickname: "The Big Bang"
Logo: On a dark background, presumably a city, we see the VCI logo from the previous logo form, then a light moves towards the logo, making it brighter, the light still moving is on the right, the logo is slowly backing away, then we fade out.
FX/SFX: The light moving.
Music/Sounds: Silence, followed by thunder.
6th Logo (2001-????)
Nicknames: "Theater", "Celebrating Classic Movies"
Logo: We fade in to see a cinema in a city, the text: NOW SHOWING, is on a marquee, the text on the bottom of the marquee depends on what movie is playing, we go inside the cinema, where we see a fancy lobby, with a picture on the top of the stairs, we go to a room, where there is an empty theater, with lights off, the camera zooms into a seat to point at where the screen is, the screen shines, ripples, and summons the VCI logo, which flies around the theater, and then shines, then we see a shining background, with the text: “Celebrating Classic Movies” in a fancy font, the VCI logo sets on top of the text, and after a few seconds, the URL fades in on a black background.
FX/SFX: The VCI logo shining. Decent CGI for it's time.
Music/Sounds: A dramatic drumbeat for the first half, followed by mystical music when the VCI logo appears.
Availability: Common, normally found on VCI's DVDs at the time.
Editor’s Note: None.