MCA TV (first known as "MCA TV, Ltd." and later "MCA Television Enterprises"; commonly known as "MCA Television") was the television production/distribution company of Revue Studios that was founded in 1951, several years before parent MCA's purchase of the U.S. branch of Decca Records, (now "Universal Music Group"), in 1959 and Universal-International Pictures in 1962. For more than four decades, it was one of the most active producers and distributors of television programming. MCA TV's other television divisions included Universal Television (formerly "Revue Studios") and MCA Television Entertainment (also known as "MTE"). From 1965-December 1973, MCA TV became an in-name-only unit for Universal Television until January 1974, and even then films distributed by MCA TV used the standard Universal film logo until at least 1982. MCA TV also had a global distribution arm called "MCA TV International". In December 1996, MCA was reincorporated as Universal Studios and as a result, MCA TV was renamed as "Universal Television Enterprises" and MCA TV International was renamed to "Universal Worldwide Television".
1st Logo (1951-1955)
Nickname: "MCA Filmreel"
Logo: On a dark background (shot on the Revue camera), we a reel of film with a black rectangle in front of it. The words "DISTRIBUTED BY" in a Futura font, appear atop the reel. Inside the rectangle are the words:
"MCA TV" appears in a variation of a Futura font, while Ltd. which appears underneath, is in a fancy cursive font. Underneath the reel, the words "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" in the same font as "DISTRIBUTED BY", are shown contoured (if that's the right word), taking up half the reel's shape.
Variant: An in-credit variant can be seen on the short-lived series The Man Behind the Badge.
FX/SFX: Fading-in and out or the scrolling of the credits.
Music/Sounds: None or the closing theme of the show, or the end of the Revue theme.
Availability: Near extinction.
- The Abbott and Costello Show, for many years, which was the last remaining source of this logo, has gone through syndicator changes over the years. Episodes now end with either Alan Enterprises (pre-1983 prints) or (DFS) Program Exchange logos (current licensee of TCA Television Corp., the copyright holders) plastering over this logo and the DVD releases completely cut out the credits.
- This logo is intact on some public domain prints of the Dragnet episode "The Big Crime" (September 9, 1954).
- The version with the Revue "Turning Camera" logo is intact on TV Guide Presents...Great Westerns: The Adventures of Kit Carson on DVD.
Editor's Note: The film reel looks sort of hand drawn.
2nd Logo (1953-1957)
Nicknames: "MCA Filmreel II", "The Sunburst Filmreel"
Logo: Virtually the same alignment as before, except that the reel doesn't take up as much picture space, is placed on a sunburst background, the text "DISTRIBUTED BY" is in a different font, "MCA", "TV" and "LTD." (the latter now shown in block letters) are in a variation of the same 3-dimensional font as the then-current Revue logo, "TV" and "LTD." are smaller than "MCA", and "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" doesn't take up as much reel space.
- There is a variant that doesn't feature "EXCLUSIVE REPRESENTATIVES" below the filmreel.
- This logo was also seen alongside the Revue logo at the end of programs. The text "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" is seen arched above the film reel.
- On Tales of Wells Fargo, the logo is superimposed into the background and the company name is in 2D.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the show.
Music/Sounds Variant: There was a variant that featured a television version of Republic Pictures' 1930s theme from a 1950s television reissue print of The Big Show.
Availability: Extremely rare.
- This was last seen at the end of The Adventures of Kit Carson on Encore Westerns, as well as first-season episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents last aired on RTV, the pilot of Leave it to Beaver, and early episodes of The Millionaire, alongside the Don Fedderson Productions logo. (MCA was Fedderson's agent (the latter three titles were in-credit)).
- It also appears at the beginning and end of Bells of San Angelo on Starz Encore Westerns.
Editor's Note: The version with the sunburst background firmly sets this logo as a 1950s period piece.
3rd Logo (1956-1965)
Nicknames: "The Arrowhead", "MCA Arrowhead"
Logo: On a dark screen, a trio of trilons turn to reveal an arrowhead which has the letters "mca" in a lower-case font inside, set against a satiny background. After a second or two, the letter "a" appears on top of the "mca", while "tv", underneath, and the word "release", under the arrowhead, fade-in. The trilons then turn a different direction, and the screen is dark once again.
- A long version exists.
- Closing: Also shown as an in-credit logo at the end of Revue shows alongside the Revue logo from 1956 to 1961, as well as black & white episodes of My Three Sons made prior to 1965. However, on the Revue/MCA cards in 1958, "Exclusive Representatives" became "exclusive distributor", such as the early episodes of Leave It to Beaver.
FX/SFX: The turning walls. None for the in-credit variant.
- A fanfare that starts with drumbeats similar to the first notes of 20th Century-Fox's famed jingle, then goes to a 3-note ominous sounding horn sounder (sounding like an evacuation alarm).
- Sometimes, the opening theme of the show/movie is used.
- For the superimposed variant, it used only the closing theme of the show.
- It appears on old MCA Home Video releases of pre-1950 Paramount movies; these are too easy to spot due to the MCA TV prints that were 16mm rather than the original Paramount 35mm master negatives and are therefore lower in picture quality. This company switch is due to Paramount selling their entire pre-1950 film library to MCA.
- The in-credit logo that's shared with the Revue logo is uncommon. However, it can be seen on Leave It to Beaver on Me-TV and DVD and Alfred Hitchcock Presents on Antenna TV.
- The animated version was retained on Remember the Night with the opening theme and Broken Lullaby with the theme on TCM. The long version appeared on the 1942 film, Hatter's Castle on TCM.
Editor's Note: It's not known why "a" was used in the animated logo instead of "an", but MCA may have been referring MCA TV by its full name, despite the lack of dots following each letter.
4th Logo (August 16, 1982-1991)
Nicknames: "MCA Globe", "Globe of Doom", "Still Zooming Globe"
Logo: Similar to the 1971-1991 logos of Universal Television, except the company name is replaced by:
- On some of MCA's first-run shows (examples include Bionic Six, Puttin' On the Hits, and Pictionary), the logo was preceded with a card (similar to an "In Association With" screen) with the show's title, copyright notice, the MCA union bug, and a copyright warning. This card was in-credit on The Best Little Special in Texas.
- On the first two seasons of The Munsters Today, the MCA logo would have a copyright stamp from Arthur Co. & Associates below the globe.
- This logo would appear in different colors. The letters would appear in either yellow, neon yellow, gold, athletic gold, or orange and the globe as either blue or green, though all this may be attributed to film deterioration.
- The name would sometimes fade in.
- This exists as both a filmed and a videotaped version.
- One version of the logo has the picture "flipping away" when the music finishes.
- On The Morton Downey, Jr. Show, the logo would iris in from the QMI Television logo.
FX/SFX: Originally, the entire text fades in. Most of the time, it's completely still.
Music/Sounds: It's the long version of the Revue Studios theme, excluding the xylophone note intro in some cases. However, the bass has been enhanced. Rearranged by James Horner.
Music/Sounds Variants: Some shows would have a shorter version of this theme:
- 1984-1991: Shows like Kate and Allie and Gimme A Break! would have the last ten notes of the theme.
- 1987-1991: Shows like Out of this World would have the logo theme start off with various ways.
- On The Munsters Today, the series used the last 11 notes (the second half) from the MCA TV theme.
- On My Secret Identity, the music theme of the series would play over this logo.
- There is also a silent version.
- On shows with the aforementioned copyright card, the theme played over both the card and the MCA logo. On Pictionary, an announcer says "...and is distributed by MCA!".
- The New Lassie uses an abridged 1981 Universal Television theme, the same as on Charles in Charge starting with season 2 at the time.
- On most episodes of the '80s version of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the low tone 1982 Universal Television theme is used.
- It appeared on Bionic Six, Puttin' On the Hits (the only source of the "flipping away" variant we know of), and reruns of Gimme a Break! and Kate and Allie in the '80s.
- This can still be seen on the Canadian complete series DVD (from VEI: Visual Entertainment Inc.) and Antenna TV reruns of Gimme a Break!, 1986-1990 reruns of Kate and Allie, and Amen on Get TV.
- It was also seen on shows like The Munsters Today, Out of This World, My Secret Identity, The New Lassie, and the 1982 TV special The Best Little Special in Texas (the first known appearance of the logo).
- The filmed version appeared on worldwide prints of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong, Jr. (both were originally from Saturday Supercade), The New Dragnet, and The New Adam-12.
- The logo was also spotted on some reruns of the series Parenthood (1990-1991) on the now-defunct Trio network.
Editor's Note: On the still variant, the flipping effect and the freeze-frame of the logo looks really low-budget.
5th Logo (November 1987-June 1988)
Nicknames: "MCA Globe II", "Globe of Doom II", "Still Zooming Globe II"
Logo: Like Universal Television's 1971-1991 logo, we see a still of the then-current Universal “Zooming Globe”, but the logo now reads, in the same font as the MCA byline on that logo:
FX/SFX: Just the entire text fading in.
Music/Sounds: The 1982 and late 1986 Universal Television themes.
Availability: Extremely rare.
- It was seen on the short-lived 1988 ABC series Probe, the two Desperado TV movies: The Return of Desperado and Desperado: Avalanche at Devil's Ridge, and the 1988 TV movie Longarm.
- The logo was last seen on the Desperado TV movies on Encore Westerns.
Editor's Note: This seemed more like a rushed job the way the name is set up.
6th Logo (October 10, 1990-April 6, 1991)
Nicknames: "MCA Globe III", "Globe of Doom III", "CGI Globe", "CGI MCA Globe", "Still CGI Globe"
Logo: On a space background, we see a 3D Earth model, similar to the contemporary MTE logo. In front of it is the following in a gold color:
Music/Sounds: The 1987 Universal Television low pitched theme.
- It was seen on Shades of L.A., but was last seen on a Sleuth airing of said show back in 2006.
- It was also seen on some early episodes of Roggin's Heroes in local syndication.
Editor's Note: The globe looks like a cheap CGI model. This is possibly a prototype of the next logo. It is also surprising seeing such a unique logo.
7th Logo (1991-1994)
Nicknames: "MCA Globe IV", "90s Globe", "90s MCA Globe"
Logo: We see the rotating globe against the starfield background from the 1990-1997 Universal Pictures logo (this time, the globe and the background are in a purple tint). The company name "MCA TV" (which is now in the font used on MCA Records and MCA/Universal Home Video) slides in from the top of the screen, zooming out, and makes a stop in front of the globe. The words "EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR" in a Univers Black Extended font, fade in below the MCA name. There is also a shine effect afterwards.
FX/SFX: The slide-in of the name, the shining of the name and the globe rotating.
- 1991-1993: Universal Television's late 1986 standard tone logo theme.
- 1991-1994: Universal Television's 1991 logo theme. Used in tandem with the late 1986 theme until 1993.
- Sometimes, the ending theme of the show plays over it.
- It's currently seen on the last season of Amen on Get TV with the late 1986 Uni TV theme, as well as fall 1991-1993 episodes of Roggin's Heroes.
- The version with the 1991 Uni TV theme originally appeared on early Action Pack TV movies. It also appeared on Exosquad and Monster Force, which is intact on the DVD releases of said shows.
- At least two unsold game show pilots/pitch reels Pindemonium (with Ken Ober) and Hollywood Teasers (from Merrill Heatter Productions) have shown up on YouTube with this logo at the end; for the latter, a black screen with an MCA TV copyright date of 1993 shows up after the logo.
- The UK DVD release of Knight Rider 2010 (1994) from Fabulous Films retains this logo at the end.
Editor's Note: None.
8th Logo (1994-December 1996)
Nicknames: "MCA Globe V", "CGI Globe II", "CGI MCA Globe II", "90s Globe II", "90s MCA Globe II"
Logo: Same as the 1991 Universal Television logo, except this time, the words "MCA TV" (in the previous logo's typeface) appear from behind the rotating globe and make a stop in front of it. The words "EXCLUSIVE DISTRIBUTOR" fades in under "MCA TV", along with the registered trademark "®" symbol next to it.
Variant: There is a prototype variant of the logo where the starfield background is stretched out more vertically.
FX/SFX: The CGI of the rotating globe and the name.
Music/Sounds: Universal Television's 1991 logo theme or the end-title theme from any show.
- It can be seen on both Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess on DVD.
- The early variant was seen on Vanishing Son and Vanishing Son III.
- This also surprisingly plastered the 5th logo above on the season 4 DVDs of Katie and Allie.
Editor's Note: None.
Final Note: After MCA was rebranded as Universal Studios, the MCA TV logo was replaced with the bylineless Universal logo in January 1997.