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the "scary" wgbh boston station ident

WGBH Boston television channel 2, one of the best TV channels ever, had what many New Englanders consider to be a "scary" station ident. The entire reason they think it's scary is not because of the visual but because of that oh-so awesome (said sincerely) early 1970s analog synthesizer.

The second one is what I remember most, as it's from the very-late 1970s when I was a very little kid.

While other kids found this to be a scary sound, I thought it was absolutely 100% cool. That sound combined with the even-more-awesome animated "neon" WGBH logo - which they still use to this day - just completes the whole package.

To me, this ident said "POWER!" I totally believe this was made to send a message to the big guys over at NBC, CBS and ABC, that being, "We may not have the eye or the peacock, but we can look just as good with just letters." And yeah, it does.

I love the old WGBH ident. Totally do. It is the most distinctive ident ever made in the history of television. If you saw the logo from half-a-mile away, you'd recognize it. If you heard the sound from a half-a-mile away, you'd recognize it. That sound combined with that logo is a crazy-good combination. Totally works.

On a final note, the '02 version (last one seen in the video above) I got a real kick out of because on the redesign they said, "Hey, the animation totally looked like a neon sign back in the 70s, so let's show as a power-up of neon tubes and zoom back to show it as if it were a true neon sign!", so that's exactly what they did. Unbelievably cool looking. I can guarantee there were cheers around the office when the final draft of that ident was shown internally for the first time, because who wouldn't think that was totally frickin' cool?

Here's a better version of the '02 ident. Just. Plain. Eff'ing. Cool.

Published 2011 Aug 3

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