Okay, readers. It’s time for the nerdiest post yet (but certainly not the nerdiest I’ll ever write). Can you handle it?!

As you all know, HBO is probably the biggest cable network ever. However, this post isn’t really about HBO. Rather, it’s about its bumpers, on-air graphics and movie intros, a few of which I’ll be showing you thanks to all those other retro lovers out there on Youtube.

Home Box Office signed on for the first time in 1972. Can you believe it’s been around that long? Neither can I. I thought it started a few years later, like many other networks. Anyway, check out this rare ID. It’s from the 70s, back when the “O” in “HBO” still overlapped the “B”. That damn O sure was an attention whore. I dig those rainbow stripes though. Very old-school.

Check it out on RetroJunk!

Another common misconception is that HBO was always a 24/7 network, but it actually didn’t start that until December 1981, nine years after its inception.

What that means is that at one point in time, HBO had a sign-off sequence! This blew my mind when I first found out about it on the internet. Not because it’s a stellar example of animation (it’s not), but because the idea of a pay channel signing off at night is really bizarre. Also, it seems like something of a rip-off, especially when you consider that HBO cost around 12 bucks a month back then, which, in 2007 money, translates to roughly 3000 dollars. Oh well.

Check out the video anyway!

Alright, you want to see something really dated? Check this next video out. Apparently this clip was recorded in late 1980, but the 70s aesthetic was still going strong. This thing is funktastic. Also, is it just me or does that little theme for the movie intro bear some resemblance to the Star Trek theme music? Listen for it when the words “HBO Feature Movie” come on the screen.

Bow chikka bow-now.

Oh, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

Here’s the cream of the crop. The crown jewel. The mother of all the HBO logos, graphics, and intros. If you were alive in the 80s at all, chances are you remember seeing this thing at least once. My parents didn’t even subscribe to HBO and I managed to see it. I don’t remember when. I don’t remember where. But I saw this thing once at some point during my childhood and I never forgot it. I remember wishing that I could see it again, but I don’t think I ever did until I found it on RetroJunk at the beginning of my big retro craze. Needless to say, this just added more fuel to the fire.

Anyway, here it is: the glorious HBO Feature Presentation movie intro, aka “HBO in space”.

Click or die.

If you don’t think that was one of the most awesome things you’ve ever seen, then you can just get the hell out of here right now.

Not only is it fucking epic, it also features one of the most exquisitely crafted models I’ve ever seen. That’s right, it ain’t CGI, kids. That thing was built in 1982 by hand with blood, sweat, and tears. Or…maybe just hammer, nails, and paint. Even the flying HBO logo that almost crashes through the screen at the end is a model.

Anyway, it’s visually impressive even today, but the music is what really makes it amazing. Every time I hear it, I get chills. And then I feel like watching something huge like Poltergeist, Star Wars, or Raiders of the Lost Ark.

There also happens to be a really cool behind-the-scenes look at the making of this thing, which you can look at here if you like that nerdy kind of thing (which I do!).

Also, HBO might have taken themselves very seriously when they made that, but they also had a sense of humor: they made more than one parody of this intro for April Fool’s Day. Here’s one of them. Go look at it, dammit! Or the giant HBO logo will come for you in your sleep.

I have more clips, but I think I’ll end this one here. I don’t want to scare away the last two people that are reading this thing. Plus, it’s late and I’m hungry. I promise the next post won’t be quite as nerdy as this. If you appreciated this post in any way, please leave me a damn comment and tell me so I don’t have to strangle myself with an old VHS tape.

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