MTM Enterprises, Inc. (also known as "MTM Productions, Inc.") was an independent production company established in 1969 by actress Mary Tyler Moore (hence the initials of the company) and her then-husband Grant Tinker. The company was formed as a result of an agreement with Moore and the CBS network to produce 22 episodes of a new sitcom, which would become The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In 1986, MTM launched "MTM Television Distribution". MTM titles had previously been distributed by Viacom Enterprises (now "CBS Television Distribution"), and then Victory Television. MTM was sold to TVS Entertainment (a subsidiary of now-defunct ITV franchise holder TVS) in 1987. In 1992 after TVS lost its ITV franchise to Meridian Broadcasting, it was then sold to International Family Entertainment, Inc., owners of The Family Channel, which in turn was sold and merged into Fox Family Worldwide (now "ABC Family Worldwide") in 1997. MTM ceased operations the following year, and its library assets were folded into 20th Century Fox Television, and are currently distributed by 20th Television.
(September 19, 1970-May 19, 1998)
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Nicknames: "The MTM Kitten", "The MTM Cat," "Mimsie the Cat", "MEOW!", "The Many Faces of Mimsie", "The MGM Spoof/Parody", "MGM Rip-Off"
Logo: Over the years, the logo has been tweaked color wise and according to certain shows, but here's the basic concept: An "M" flies backward from off screen, then splits into two. In the space left between the two letters, two "T"'s come from the top and bottom of the screen and join to form one. This completes the initials of the company, and the letter "T" shrinks when a gold circle appears over it. Under the letters are the words "ENTERPRISES, INC.", "ENTERPRISES", "PRODUCTIONS, INC.", or "PRODUCTIONS". Sometimes, the finished logo will read out "AN MTM ENTERPRISES (INC.) PRODUCTION" ("AN" appears over the first "M"). Back to the circle, it is ribbon-like and decorated with stars and the letters "MTM" on top. Inside is a live-action orange striped kitten who meows once, obviously as a parody of the MGM lion. All the text (except for the later versions) appears in the Peignot font used for the Viacom "Pinball" logo.
- The cat's name was "Mimsie", though nicknames such as "Dick Turpin" and "Dick Marino" have also been used in naming the cat. Mimsie was a rescue cat from an animal shelter.
- The logo (with just the cat meowing) made an appearance within the Family Guy S7 episode "420".
- On Me-TV promos of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, Ed Asner and Bob Newhart uttered the word "Meow!" on the MTM logo at the end of the promos from their respective shows.
- On "Love is All Around", the Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion episode of Hot in Cleveland, the end scene involves the camera panning out the windows until you see a vaguely familiar orange kitten sitting on one windowsill. The cat gives Mimsie's meow.
- Mimsie appears within the Shout! Factory logo in a commercial for the Rhoda DVD sets.
Variants: First here are the little differences in the logo, along with dates in which they were used:
- September 19, 1970-March 2, 1974: One "M" is red-orange, the other is red, and the "T" is blue and is formed by the merging of a light blue "T" and a green one.
- September 18, 1971-1978: The "M"s are both red-orange, and the "T" is light blue.
- 1978-1982: Company now identified as "MTM Productions Inc.". The "M"s are now orange.
- 1982-1990: Company identified as "MTM Enterprises, Inc.". The "M"s are now red.
- September 17, 1990-1993: Same as above, but "ENTERPRISES, INC." is smaller than usual, and below it is a byline that says "A TVS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY". In early 1993, the byline was removed.
- 1992-1998: All letters are orange, the words "AN INTERNATIONAL FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY" appear with an orange line above it, after MTM was bought by the Family Channel.
- 1995-1996: 25th Anniversary logo; on a white background is a black "25," with a similarly colored MTM under that. The kitten appears in the rounded part of the "5". This is likely only a print version.
- A still version of this logo did turn up in the movies, notably the Orion Pictures release of Just Between Friends and possibly more. This is a still of the "Red/Blue Letters" version of the logo, and is shrunk to a considerably small size. No music, animation, or "meow" is present. Mimsie's head is turned away, pre-meowing.
- Another still version of this logo appeared at the beginning of a FamilyNet (now The Cowboy Channel) rerun of the season 8 Newhart episode "Don't Worry, Be Pregnant," the logo is the same as the later International version, except the letters "MTM" appear to be slightly smaller, the circle with Mimsie appears to be slightly larger and the logo just reads "MTM INTERNATIONAL".
- Fresno has the "M"s in red and the "T" light blue. Here it just reads "MTM PRODUCTIONS".
- The appearance of the circle varies amongst logos. The most common one kind of "iris-in's." In others, usually ones where there's special animation or a different cat, the circle just appears.
- Sometimes the letters don't animate, as seen in the Carlton, White Shadow, and "Abogast" variants. Everything is up there at once.
- There exists a rare in-credit version shown on 92 Grosvenor Street/Behind Enemy Lines, which has a still picture of the circle below the copyright text, all on a black background.
Custom Variants: One thing that the MTM logo was known for was that it would often be custom made for whatever show it appeared at the end of. This means Mimsie's appearance would sometimes be different, usually involving her "wearing" a costume or saying something other than "meow". Here are those variants:
- The Duck Factory: Right at the end of the credits, before we cut to the logo, an off-screen voice that either states, "Where's the cat?", "Here's the cat.", or "Take it, cat!". The logo then proceeds as normal, but instead of meowing, Mimsie quacks like a duck.
- Graham Kerr: Mimsie wears a chef's hat.
- Hill Street Blues: Mimsie wears a policeman's cap.
- Paris, The Boy Who Drank Too Much and Something for Joey: When the logo appears, there is a still picture of Mimsie in the ribbon.
- Lou Grant: Same as the Paris and Something for Joey variants. Two other variants also exist on a blooper reel of the series. The first variant has Mimsie chirping (like the bird heard at the end of the Lou Grant intro) instead of meowing, while the second is a still image of the logo, but Mimsie is replaced with an image of the titular character of the series (played by Ed Asner).
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show: Same as usual, but on the 2nd episode, Mimsie's meow is different, it is more higher-pitched and rather shrill. On episode 71 "Put On a Happy Face," the cat is replaced by the image of Moore saying "Th-th-th-that's all folks!", a line spoken by Mary Richards during that episode.
- The Bob Newhart Show: The 1972 Christmas episode features a wreath in place of the MTM ribbon. On the season 4 episode "No Sale", footage of a cat from the episode named Abogast appears in the circle instead. He jumps down, disappearing from the circle's view, and as he does, you hear Mimsie's meow. On the season 5 Christmas episode "Making Up Is the Thing To Do", another Christmas wreath is also used. This was also used on the season 1 Rhoda episode "Guess What I Got You For the Holidays". On the season 3 episode of The Bob Newhart Show "Big Brother is Watching," a loud lion's roar is heard in place of the usual meow-sound (which is funny considering the origins of the company and the logo...).
- The New WKRP in Cincinnati: Dubbed with Les Nesman Jr. exclaiming "Ooh!".
- Newhart: Each episode (except the pilot) featured Mimsie meowing... in Bob Newhart's voice. On the season 1 episode "No Room At the Inn", a pink Christmas wreath (similar to the one used on The Bob Newhart Show, and Rhoda) is featured in place of the MTM ribbon. On the final episode, the cat yells "QUIET!" (the two Darryls' first and only word).
- Remington Steele: Mimsie wears a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap and meerschaum pipe. As she begins to meow, the pipe drops out of her mouth and falls in front of "ENTERPRISES, INC." or "PRODUCTIONS". Mid-1990s prints of the show added a small IFE byline reading "A DIVISION OF INTERNATIONAL FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT", with the logo slightly zoomed out to make room for it.
- St. Elsewhere: Mimsie is wearing a scrub suit and a surgical mask, which is animated to look like her mouth is moving underneath when she meows. At least two episodes feature a different meow soundtrack. On the final episode, she (possibly portrayed by another cat) is hooked on life support on a hospital bed throughout the last credit roll. The credits run as usual over a picture of the MTM circle, with life support equipment attached on either side. You can hear the beeps of the heart monitor over the end theme, too. After the credits complete, the company name fades in and Mimsie flatlines and dies, with a long, high-pitched beep heard. This variation is especially rare, as reruns of the series finale plastered it over with the typical credits (as a side note, the actual cat, Mimsie, died in 1988, the same year St. Elsewhere ended). According to Grant Tinker, it was not uncommon for MTM kill off Mimsie in their logo whenever a show got cancelled. (See also Texas Wheelers.)
- The Steve Allen Show: Mimsie (who also wears Allen's famous black rectangular-framed Ray-Ban eyeglasses) lip-syncs Allen's "Schmock!" instead of "meow!".
- The White Shadow: Mimsie is replaced by a black and white cat bouncing a basketball. There is a shorter version with the company name already there and the cat footage looped (and thus the cat is continually bouncing the ball). The other (seen only at the end of the series pilot) has the letters animating as usual and at the end, the ball falls off-screen and the cat appears to be looking down at it. Some prints of the pilot have the looped version, however.
- Xuxa: Another dub job; instead of "meow", Mimsie says "Tchau!" which is bye in Portuguese.
- A Little Sex: The MTM logo forms as usual... but Mimsie is a cartoon! She is also more to the side of the circle, which now has a black background. She meows as always, and then another cat enters the circle; the two felines rub against each other and start purring.
- Carlton Your Doorman: Carlton's cat Ringo is seen in the MTM logo instead of Mimsie. The circle seems to have been redrawn to be more "animation" like. Carlton says off-screen, "C'mon, 'Meow!'". When Ringo doesn't meow, Carlton mutters "Damn cat...".
- Bay City Blues: An animated Mimsie wears a baseball cap and baseball glove in her right paw; she catches a baseball and meows.
- Vampire: The MTM text is all in dark red, and Mimsie is nowhere to be seen. Due to this, the "T" is in its normal size.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show 20th Anniversary: At the end, Mimsie says "Bye!" (in Mary Tyler Moore's voice).
- Einsenhower and Lutz: The "meow" is sung in the style of the closing credits music, but in one episode such as "Bud's Buddy" a normal Mimsie's "Meow" was heard instead.
- The Bob Newhart 19th Anniversary Special: Bob Newhart himself says "Meow!" much like he does from Newhart.
- The Trials of Rosie O'Neill: The logo appears in a still shot with gold text against a brown background. On some episodes, the logo is smaller.
- The Betty White Show: On the episode "We're Not Really Divorced", the "meow" is not heard.
- Texas Wheelers: A full-screen scene has a black-and-white kitten looking from around a corner where there is a water pipe and meows (though not the same as Mimsie's meow). The company's name appears over the scene in the same font as the closing credits. Several animated variants that have been rumored to exist including:
- In a Chicago Tribune article in 1985, a series finale variant is described where "In the final episode...an animated version of the kitten staggered from behind a wagon wheel and dropped dead". *According to Jacob Dennis-Oehling (and several others) on YouTube, there was another version where Mimsie dressed as a cowboy shoots some guns in the circle. He also describes another version of the finale variant, in which Mimsie is instead shot to death. The Paley Center for Media's print of the finale doesn't have a logo however.
- Friends and Lovers: At least the final episode is said to involve the MTM circle turning upside down. Awaiting confirmation/denial/description.
- Just Between Friends: The logo is zoomed out and is a still image. Mimsie's head is turned away, pre-meowing had the logo animated as usual.
- MTM Christmas Gag Reel: Made for the MTM staff, this combo of the popular shows at the time feature two variants on the MTM logo. One near the beginning is the standard logo, only Mimsie says "Wooooooow!" (possibly taken from Julie Kavner's line as Brenda on Rhoda). Later, the wreathed version of the logo appears, except now Mimsie gives a female shriek.
- Television's Christmas Classics: A huge green wreath fades in around the MTM ribbon.
Unofficial Nicknames: for the non-Mimsie MTM cats...
- "Shadow" - White Shadow.
- "Shadow Jr." - Texas Wheelers (as it looks like a younger version of the WS cat).
- "Abogast" - "No Sale" variant of Bob Newhart Show.
- "Smokey" - Mimsie's companion from A Little Sex variant.
FX/SFX: The "M" zooming out and morphing into 2 M's, and the "T" dropping. The rest is shown above.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: None really, except the end theme of the show and Mimsie meowing. Starting in 1996, a 5-note jingle was added before the "meow". This was seen and heard on some shows such as the short-lived 1997 revival of It Takes Two with Dick Clark and the 1st season of the sitcom Sparks among shows.
- On one print of the second episode of the first season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Mimsie's meow is in a noticeably higher pitched sound.
- On the game shows Shopping Spree and the short-lived Wait Til' You Have Kids, Burton Richardson announces "In association with MTM Enterprises, Inc." on the logo while the theme is playing and Mimsie meowing.
- On the Shout! Factory DVD print of the Hill Street Blues season 4 episode "Grace Under Pressure" features the 20th Television jingle playing over the MTM logo (cutting off Mimsie's meow), with the 20th Television logo not seen at all.
- On the Shout! Factory DVD print of The Bob Newhart Show season 5 episode "Et, Tu, Carol", the last second of the show's end theme and the cat's meow are severely distorted. This may be due to a tape error.
- On some season 1 episodes of The Pretender, the music and Mimsie's meow are pitched lower, and the first half is heard underneath the NBC Studios logo.
Availability: Fairly common. It was once a plaster victim thanks to the 20th Television logo; but not anymore.
- It can be seen on WKRP in Cincinnati, St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Remington Steele, Newhart, and Rhoda, among other shows.
- The MTM logo is now followed by 20th Television (though it's followed by both the Viacom "V of Doom" and the 20th Television logo on some episodes of The Bob Newhart Show on Me-TV and the CBS Television Distribution logo on Evening Shade: The Complete First Season on DVD).
- On Hulu prints of MTM shows, the logo is usually intact. However, the St. Elsewhere finale variation is long gone from television, and is all but extinct there, as it was only shown on NBC and nowhere else to our knowledge. VHS copies and reruns of the show just use the regular credit sequence and logo (with the exception of a print seen on the then-ALN Network, which had the normal credits and only the 20th Television logo). The Hulu version of the series finale uses the typical version with the MTM logo at the end. You can see the original version on the Paley Center's copy, besides on the Internet.
- The Texas Wheelers finale variation is beyond rare, possibly mythical, and had also fallen into extinction since it was only seen on ABC. Paley has an episode described as "the last aired" but the tape cuts out before a logo can be seen. The credits are typical of the series, putting any further variants to be seen on Wheelers in doubt.
- The The Trials of Rosie O'Neill variant can be found on The Archive TV, Multicom's streaming service, where the show can be streamed.
- The Carlton variation can be found on the final season DVD set of Rhoda, as the cartoon is added as a bonus.
- The 1992 variant makes infrequent appearances at the end of some episodes of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on Up. Also seen on 1994-98 syndicated prints of Rescue 911, which can be seen on the Justice Network.
- Among the last shows to use this logo are the first season of The Pretender, along with Family Challenge, Sparks, and the short-lived sitcoms Bailey Kipper's P.O.V. and Good News. It is generally preserved on DVD and digital prints of the first series, but is plastered by the 20th Television logo on reruns.
- The gag reel can be seen only at the Paley Center.
- There are some examples of plastering still out there; notably, Hill Street Blues and The Pretender reruns on Heroes and Icons have many episodes ending in only 20th Television. A select number of St. Elsewhere episodes on Hulu end with 20th Century Fox Television only (one example even features the MTM soundtrack being kept at the end of the theme, despite plastering the logo). Some reruns of White Shadow are 20th only, though the MTM variant survives too.
Editor's Note: This is highly regarded among many for being a cute parody of the MGM logo, as well as featuring pretty good animation for the '70s, a neat design, multiple custom variations, and surprisingly really good video quality of Mimsie. However, the St. Elsewhere series finale logo is rather infamous for its depressing nature; the Texas Wheelers variant may be the same way if it exists or is discovered.