I’ve had a hard time lately deciding what to write about next. I thought about reviewing a couple of movies, since I haven’t done that in a while. But I didn’t really feel like doing a full-fledged review of either of the movies I had in mind.

Then I came across an old Disney Channel clip yesterday, and I realized that both movies had something in common: we had recorded them off the Disney Channel back in the late 80s/early 90s. So I figured, why not just write about my memories of the Disney Channel?

There will be a second half to this post, coming immediately after I post this one. I just wanted to split it up since I’ve written almost 1200 words on the subject. I’ll give you fair warning: this first half will be focusing on the geeky stuff like station IDs and bumpers and junk, so if you’d rather skip this part and read the next one, my feelings will not be hurt: I’ll even give you the link.

The Disney Channel launched in the spring of 1983. So it’s been around almost as long as I have. Some of you may not know that for several years, it was a premium channel, like HBO, so you had to pay extra for it (I believe it was $9.99 a month or something like that). It also only broadcasted for 18 hours a day until 1986. And of course, that means they had a sign-off animation. And of course, that means I’m going to show it to you.

Here’s a clip of some bumpers and promos and whatnot. These things are super nostalgic for me, since some of my earliest memories of cable TV are of the Disney Channel. If you ask me, they’re some of the most fun and creative bumpers ever. I remember seeing that underwater one where Mickey draws the station’s logo in the fog on the window, and I used to try to do that and wondered why I could never get it right. I was a naive kid.

This next clip is one example of the kinds of things they used to air.

I’m assuming this one is probably from around 1992, though the graphic itself was used long before then. And that music sent the memories flooding back to me. Imagine if all music on TV was calm and laid-back like that nowadays. Maybe people would be able to chill out for five seconds.

One of the things that irritates me the most about the Disney Channel of today is the way they interrupt their shows to show…promos. For their other shows. (Shameless, relentless self-promotion has really ruined a lot of networks these days, but that’s another topic.) Not to mention that Disney Channel’s identity and on-air look is really ADD and irritating and appeals to nobody over the age of 13. It’s a far cry from the creative bumpers and soothing music of the past.

Edited to add an amusing postscript:

Because I’m a big dork, I was looking around at some more old Disney Channel videos, and found this. It’s the logo circa 1997, when the network changed gears. They stopped using it around 2003. Note that the commenters are calling it “old” and reminiscing about it as I do the first logo. So my guess is that the majority of users on Youtube are like 14 fucking years old. (That would explain some of the ridiculously stupid comments you see on there.) Anyway, when I see not-so-old things being called “old”, it makes me want to laugh and punch some 14-year-old in the face. Preferably at the same time. No, I don’t hate teenagers at all.