Metromedia Producers Corporation
Metromedia Producers Corporation (MPC) was established from Wolper Productions in 1968 after David L. Wolper broke apart from Metromedia (Wolper Productions was later relaunched in 1970). On March 6, 1986, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (later "21st Century Fox" and now owned by The Walt Disney Company, the current parent company of 20th Century Fox) acquired MPC and with it, the television stations owned by Metromedia for $3.5 billion. MPC was folded into 20th Century Fox Television, Metromedia Square (which was not included in the sale, instead being leased to Fox/News Corp) became "Fox Television Center", and the former Metromedia owned television stations were incorporated as the Fox Television Stations in April. These programs are now distributed worldwide by 20th Television. With the exception for The Merv Griffin Show, which MPC handled co-production and distribution from 1972 to 1983, which was later transferred to King World Productions (now "CBS Television Distribution") and Columbia Pictures Television (now "Sony Pictures Television") in 1986.
1st Logo (1969-1974)
Nicknames: "MPC (of Doom)", "Puzzle Pieces from Hell"
Logo: On a teal, purple, blue, green or black background, the yellow, white, or orange words "METROMEDIA PRODUCERS CORPORATION" zoom up to the right. The letters "M", "P", and "C" fly from underneath in a flipping manner to the left, binding together to form the logo with "M" on top, "P" to the right, and "C" on the bottom.
- There is an opening variant with the word "PRESENTS" would flip up under the logo.
- An in-credit variant can be found on the game show Pay Cards!.
- A very rare in-credit version also had the letters split. It may appear in either orange or white.
FX/SFX: The words zooming, the letters flying, flipping, and binding.
Music/Sounds: A very loud and dramatic five-note fanfare. In some cases, it used only the closing theme of the show or it's silent.
- There were two music variations for this, one with an extended version of the familiar theme (seen, for example, at the beginning of the 1971 TV movie The People), and on Tales of the Crypt, the logo uses a fanfare composed by Elmer Bernstein, which is actually the closing fanfare from David L. Wolper's documentary Four Days in November (1964).
- Sometimes, a generic theme was used. One example is the 1979 PTV theme heard instead on early-to-mid-1970s prints of That Girl, presumably because of an editing mistake.
Availability: Extremely rare. Shows that used to have this logo are not seen much on video or in syndication.
- The logo survives on a few Alpha Video DVD prints of Dusty's Trail, DVD releases of Go Ask Alice, and on FX Movie Channel's prints of Honor Thy Father and It's Good to Be Alive.
- The opening variant is rare, and was originally seen on movies, such as Tales from the Crypt and Chosen Survivors.
Editor's Note: The flipping and binding effects in the logo were progressive being from the '60s, which would later become typical animated effects from the '70s onwards.
2nd Logo (1973-1980)
Nickname: "MPC II"
Logo: Against a dark blue background, an orange outline of the MPC logo zooms out to the left with a trail effect. Then the words "METROMEDIA", "PRODUCERS", and "CORPORATION" fade in one by one, each filling in the letters corresponding to each word.
- The color can vary from yellow and white, to orange.
- Sometimes, this logo appear on the ending credits and sometimes with "In association with" or "Distributed by" above it.
- A closing variant of this logo appears on a light blue background with "Distributed by" above the logo.
- On the 1980 miniseries Wild Times, it's just the words "Metromedia Producers Corporation" in a generic yellow font on a blue background. This is seen at the beginning of the first episode, and after the prologue on the second episode. In-credit text (with Rattlesnake Productions) is shown at the end.
FX/SFX: The filling of the logo and the letters appearing. In other cases, none or the scrolling of the credits.
Music/Sounds: A string melody ending with a pizzicato note, closing theme of the show or TV movie, or silent. On some episodes of The Merv Griffin Show, it's music playing from any jazz musician.
Music/Sounds Variant: On The Merv Griffin Show, an announcer (Arthur Teacher/Chet Gould) says "The Merv (Griffin) Show is a Merv Griffin Production, in association with Metromedia Producers Corporation. This program was recorded.".
Availability: Extremely rare.
- The in-credit logos would remain intact on certain television films like Terror on the 40th Floor, the nightly syndicated The Merv Griffin Show, and game shows like The Cross-Wits.
- Recently, the in-credit version has been sighted on Where Have All the People Gone? and Terror on the 40th Floor on FX Movie Channel.
- It may also show up on other Metromedia TV movies from this era when FXMC airs them.
- The distribution variant popped up on a 1980 episode of Charlie's Angels on Cozi TV and on most fourth-season episodes of the same show on MeTV, followed by the Sony Pictures Television logo.
- The Wild Times variant is seen on Encore Westerns airings of the miniseries.
Editor's Note: It features arguably more primitive animation than the previous logo, which is disappointing.
3rd Logo (1981-June 15, 1984)
Nickname: "Wiping Lines"
Logo: On a blue background, we see four yellow lines wiping, the one of the top and the second of the middle wipes from right to left, and the second and fourth line wipes from left to right, all in order. Then, the letters "DISTRIBUTED BY" appears on the top, under the first line, "METROMEDIA" (in a larger font with connected "ME"s) appears, between the second and the third line, "PRODUCERS" appears, and between the third and forth line, "CORPORATION" appears.
- There is a variant that has ""PRODUCED BY"" above the text.
- An in-credit variant can be seen on the game show Super Pay Cards! and the talk show Thicke of the Night.
FX/SFX: The lines wiping.
- In most cases, none or the end theme.
- The music variant has a synth crescendo when the lines wipe, and a loud boom sound effect when the words appear as the synth fades out.
Availability: Extremely rare.
- The logo only appeared on a few TV movies from the era, and syndie prints of most Spelling (including the S-G ones) shows and TV movies during the time frame. One example was the pilot episode of Dynasty, which hasn't been seen in years.
- The variant was music was spotted on the TV special Santa's Magic Toy Bag, which was intact on a 1990 Nickelodeon airing.
Editor's Note: It's a very simple '80s animated logo, not much beyond that.
4th Logo (1982-1987)
Nickname: "The Rainbow-M Ribbon"
Logo: On a black background, a rainbow-colored ribbon wipes in onscreen and folds into a cursive "M". The ribbon flashes to reveal the texts "'Produced By" or "Distributed By" superimposed above the logo and "METROMEDIA PRODUCERS" below with a line separating in between the names, with it in the same font as before (complete with the connected "ME"s).
- There is a variant that has "VIDEO PRODUCTIONS, INC." below the word "METROMEDIA" with a line on top, in between, and below.
- On the season 3 episodes of Small Wonder including "Whodunit?", the text below the logo says "MPC VIDEO PRODUCTIONS, INC.", with a trademark symbol over it. While the remaining seasons 3 and 4 has "MPC VIDEO PRODUCTIONS, INC." instead.
FX/SFX: The ribbon wiping and twisting into the "M". As the logo twists it changes its color. It shines on the edges once the logo formed.
Music/Sounds: A majestic string fanfare, which is actually the piece "Raiders of Fortune" by the Network Music Ensemble. Sometimes, it's silent or has the end theme from the show.
Availability: Extremely rare, bordering on near extinction. The programs on which this logo appeared haven't been seen in years.
- The Metromedia Video Productions version appeared on the first and second seasons of Small Wonder (but was plastered with the 1981 TCFTV logo on repeats from 1986 on), but it's currently on Shout! Factory's DVD on the remainder episodes and on Antenna TV's airings in early 2015.
- Some episodes of the DVD releases contains the 1992 20th Television logo while Antenna TV's prints had the current 20th TV logo follow this logo.
- The Metromedia Producers version is intact on FX Movie Channel's print of Hitler's S.S.: Portrait in Evil whenever aired, but blacked out on DVD prints of the said movie; and some syndie episodes of Movin' On on Retro TV.
- The MPC Video Productions and later, MVP Video Productions variants are preserved on airings of third and fourth (and final) seasons of the aforementioned show on Antenna TV.
Editor's Note: The logo presents some simple, but effective animation with a splendid fanfare. However, there's an odd error as it is facing the southwest when the M is forming, but after the flash, it changes to face the northeast. Regardless, this remains a favorite to many.