WGBHThis is a featured page

Logo descriptions by AsdfTheRevival, StephenCezar15 and others
Logo captures courtesy of MSTS1, StephenCezar15 and others
Video courtesy of
Tlogos, danf62465, NantoVision2, superpooper180, JohnnyL80, WheelWatcher12345, DudeThatLogo, youngleader610 (Mr.Logo), and TrickyMario7654
Editions by Hoa, MrThorax281, KirbyGuy2001 and StephenCezar15

Background: WGBH is a PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts and was first aired on May 2, 1955 (though they never had a logo until 1972). The network is owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation.


1st Logo
(January 3, 1972-September 1977)

WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG Wiki
WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG Wiki
WGBH Boston - CLG Wiki
WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG Wiki
WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG Wiki
WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH Boston (1972) *French Chef*WGBH Boston (1972) *French Chef*

Nicknames
: "Zooming WGBH", "WGBH of Doom", "Zooming Letters (of Doom)"

Logo: Against a blue background, the letters "WGBH" in yellow in a generic Helvetica font quickly zoom back, away from the viewer to the vanishing
point. Then the word "Boston," also in yellow, zooms forward really fast, taking up the whole screen and creating a yellow background. And finally, the word "Presents" zooms forward at a fast pace, in blue.

Variants:
  • On some prints of this logo, due to eitherto film deterioration or film quality, the blue colors are instead dark green.
  • A black & white version first appeared on March 3, 1974. In this one, "WGBH" and "Boston" are both black, and "Presents" is white. This can be seen on very early episodes of NOVA.
  • On early episodes of NOVA, the background is beige at first, and the brown sky at the dawn after "Boston" zoomed in, the words "WGBH" and "Boston" are brown while "Presents" is in beige and it would zoom forward as always, transitioning to the opening cinematic.
  • On The French Chef, the logo is superimposed over a slanted flag of France against a blue BG, animation and all.

FX/SFX
: The zooming of the words.


Cheesy Factor: Simple animation. Additionally, The French Chef variant with the transition from ''Boston'' to ''Presents'' looks awkward: the ''Boston'' moves upward to not fill the screen in this one. And the unmusical "music" is even worse...

Music/Sounds: ...which consists of a eerie, choppy, UFO-like synth noise that ascends and descends several times, followed by a risi
ng Moog violin stinger.

Music/Sounds Variant: The jingle is often sometimes played at a slower speed. Sometimes, the B&W version of this logo has a higher pitch.

Availability: Extremely rare, as programming from this era are usually no longer rerun. Tape-trading is the only way to see it, or you could find this logo on older WGBH programming, assuming it isn't plastered with a later logo. You might find this on old tapes of The French Chef, 1972's Zoom, Evening at Pops, The Victory Garden and/or Nova episodes from the era. The French Chef variant also showed up when WGBH-2 in Boston, MA had a marathon of old episodes of The French Chef on Christmas Day, 2011.

Scare Factor: High to nightmare. The high-contrast colors, extreme "V of Doom"-style zoom-ins, and that eerie synth music would have been sure to unnerve many people. Especially for those who aren't used to it. The high-pitched variant raises the scare factor even higher, because it sounds even more creepy than it already was.


2nd Logo
(March 3, 1974-)
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Logo: Appearing in-credit, we see the letters "WGBH" in a bold font, with the outline of the letters extruding from the front and back, forming a 3D shadow effect from the front and back of the letters. The words BOSTON appears underneath.

Trivia: The logo was designed by Chermayeff & Geismar.

FX/SFX: Typically none.

Music/Sounds: None or the closing theme of the show.

Availability: Common. It's first appearance was at the end credits of the series premiere of NOVA. It would appear at the end of WGBH programming until 1993, when the 3rd logo was moved to the end. Curious George, Downtown Abbey, and select episodes of Masterpiece are the shows that still have this logo.

Scare Factor: None. It's far tamer compared to the next logo...




3rd Logo
(January 5, 1977-2009)

WGBH (1977)WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH 2 (1980s)WGBH Boston - CLG WikiWGBH Boston (1994)WGBH Boston (1996)WGBH Boston (2006)WGBH Boston (2005)WGBH Boston (2002)WGBH Boston (2008)

Nicknames: "The Neon Sign", "Flash of Doom", "WGBH Outline", "The Flash from Hell", "Flash of Final Judgement", "Nightmare on Beacon Street", "Sleepless in Boston"

Trivia: Their slogan up to 1982 was "Public Television. It's better than ever."

Logo: Here are the main variants of this logo:
  • Version I: On a black background, two orange lines of "electricity" form two, orange, 2D "shadows", one on top and one on bottom. Then the lines form an orange outline of "WGBH" in between the "shadows". The lines stop, and an orange flash starts behind the outline. The flash clears out "WGBH" as "Boston Presents" appears in an orange Helvetica font. The "Boston Presents" logo was a bumper used at the beginning of the show.
  • Version II: Similar to the other logo, but usually with the "WGBH" logo already formed as it fades in, and then the flash occurs and the word "BOSTON" appears below the logo in an orange Art Deco font.

Variants
: There are many variants in terms of the music and the announcer:
  • 1977-1986: The full version of the music, with the complete animation and "Boston Presents" ending, and no announcer.
  • 1986-1993: Same as above, but shortened to when "WGBH" begins to flash.
  • 1993-2009: The short version of the music, with the logo already formed and no announcer.
  • 1993-2009: Same as above, but with an announcer.
  • 2002-2009: The short version of the music with no announcer, and the complete (sped-up) animation, and no announcer, but the logo itself has been digitally enhanced. This version can be seen on episodes of Frontline. Another version has the logo zooming in a bit while the animation is being drawn, which can be seen on episodes of NOVA, and was also used as a station ID. Another version had the PBS logo appearing in its place and shining with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH Boston.". A superimposed variant of the animation can be seen on episodes of Masterpiece Theater.
  • 1998-2002: On Mystery! and Masterpiece Theatre, the announcer has a British accent.
  • 1999-2002: On the 1999 revival of Zoom, a kid from the show voices over, with the short music. Starting in 2002, there would be no announcer and it would just have the music.
  • 2002-2009: Same as the long 2002 variant, but with the announcer.
  • Sometimes, the closing theme of the show will play over this logo. This can be seen on pre-2009 episodes of Arthur and Between the Lions.
  • 1993-2009: A version can occasionally be spotted in which the "glowing" animation is played, but no text appears. This can be seen on most pre-2005 episodes of Arthur.
  • A version has been seen with abridged animation, no voice-over, and slightly lower-pitched music.
  • On later episodes of Arthur, the byline "WGBH is a trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation" in shown below written in the Arthur font.
  • An in-credit version of the logo has been spotted on Antiques Roadshow, which simply shows the orange WGBH logo at the bottom of the screen.
  • Another local version used in the 1980s begins with a blue flash, followed by an orange 2 written in the same style as the WGBH logo zooming up. No music or sounds play here.

FX/SFX
: The lines of
electricity, the flash.

Cheesy Factor: The flash and light effects are typical of CGI in the Scanimate era of the '70s and early '80s. The enhanced variant slightly tones down the cheesiness, but the music is still evil-sounding and very dated--although the theme fits this logo a lot more than the 1st one.

Music/Sounds: Same as the 1st logo (which adds to the creepiness). There have been 2 versions, a long version and a short version. The entire 7-second jingle is used as the long version, and is in much better sound quality and plays at the correct speed. The short version features only the rising synth chord, and is much more common nowadays. Sometimes, an announcer will say "A production of WGBH Boston." or "(show's name) is a production of WGBH Boston".

Availability: Very common, quite possibly the most common PBS logo you can find. The first version made its debut on the NOVA episode "Hitler's Secret Weapon", and can be seen in its various versions on many PBS shows, such as NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Masterpiece Theatre, The Victory Garden, and Arthur, among others. The 1993 version with the short music and no announcer has been sighted on early episodes of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. The "Boston Presents" version can be found on video and may also show up on WGBH shows produced from 1982-1993 if your station has older prints. The original unabridged version can be seen on videocassettes and DVDs of their 1979 miniseries The Scarlet Letter, all of which also preserve the 1971 PBS logo.

Scare Factor: High to nightmare for the early variant, medium to high for the 1993 & 2002 variants, and low to medium for the non-text glowing, closing theme and the Zoom variant. This logo has scared many with its dark colors, eerie animation, and that creepy synth music. It's less scary for people who are used to seeing it. This is also a favorite for those who don't find this logo scary.



4th Logo
(September 1977-January 1982)

Nicknames: "The 2"

Logo: We see a large number "2" in a different situation. Next to the "2", is the name of the show coming up next.

Variants: There are many variants depending on the show:
  • About the House: The "2" is made of wood.
  • The Ascent of Man: The white "2" is tilting on a black background.
  • The Way It Was: The "2" is wearing a football uniform with the number "2" on it.

FX/SFX
: None.

Music/Sounds: An announcer saying "(show's name) is coming up on WGBH-2".

Availability: Can be found on old WGBH programming from that time.

Scare Factor: None.




5th Logo
(September 30, 1991-December 22, 1995)
WGBH - CLG WikiWGBH - CLG Wiki

Logo
: We see a small Earth globe against a starry sky quickly rotate around counterclockwise, and the words "WQED" (in yellow) with "PITTSBURGH" (in white) below slowly rotate around clockwise, followed by "WGBH" (in yellow) with "BOSTON" (in white) below.

FX/SFX: The rotating globe and letters.

Music/Sounds:
  • September 30, 1991-December 25, 1992: The first part of the theme of the show as Lynne Thigpen says "Today's caper is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
  • September 27, 1993-October 4, 1996: The end theme of the show with Lynne Thigpen saying "This program is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".

Availability
: Only seen on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. Episodes of the show can be found on YouTube, but the show is hardly, if ever, reran these days.


Scare Factor: None.



6th Logo
(2001-)

Logo: A brief flash shows us uncolored pipes. Suddenly, gold beams fly through them, as the camera pans around, following it. The camera then pans and zooms outward, revealing the now-completed WGBH logo in a neon format as it flashes bright like the 1977 logo. The logo goes dim as a neon number "2" [the channel number] lights up in a bluish-white color for about 3 seconds and goes out.

Variant: Also seen with affiliate stations in a black typeface on the bottom of the logo.

FX/SFX: Very nice CGI for the early 2000s.

Music/Sounds: The famous synth WGBH theme. When the WGBH logo flashes, Jim Birdsall, who has done work for CNBC and NBC stations KING and KGW in Seattle and Portland, says "WGBH BOSTON!!". Finally, a humming sound is heard when the "2" appears.

Availability: Only seen as a local station ID. You'll have to go to Boston if you want to see this logo in person.

Scare Factor: Medium to high, considering the infamous theme and the fact that other than the neon, it's pitch black. The voiceover may also startle few. However, this is a really cool logo, even to those who are scared of the 1977 logo.



7th Logo
(2008-)

WGBH (2012)WGBH Boston (2014)


Nicknames: "The Neon Sign II", "WGBH Outline II", "Flash of Not as Much Doom"

Logo: It's an updated variant of 3rd logo. The drawing and lighting effects are smoother an more refined, with stars surrounding the logo, like in space, when it flashes. The flash is also brighter than usual, and the WGBH logo zooms in while it's drawn, and dims out when the logo is done.

Variant: There is a variant that is tinted blue. This can be seen on their local productions, such as Greater Boston.

FX/SFX: The drawing and lighting effects, as well as the usual flash.

Music/Sounds: The short version of the 1st logo theme. On Greater Boston, a male announcer (with the opening theme playing over his announcement) says, "This is a production of WGBH 2 Boston".

Availability: Seen on new episodes of WGBH programming, such as NOVA, Frontline, and American Experience, among others.

Scare Factor: Medium, as elements from the 3rd logo are still present, but the updated animation makes it tamer. It is refreshing to see a makeover of this famous (or infamous) logo. It also helps that the first part of the theme is cut off. The scare factor is slightly lower for the Greater Boston variant.



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