NBC Movie Intros

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Background

Previously, movies on television were usually low-cost B films or older films that the major studios or producers no longer found suitable for theatrical presentation. Movie audiences had grown to expect films to be shown in widescreen and in color, so older black-and-white Academy ratio films had lost much of their value to the theatres. By the late-1950s, with the exception of some of Walt Disney's films and The Wizard of Oz (1939), these older films had become standard fare for independent stations and the non-prime time schedules of the network affiliates. A short-lived black-and-white ABC-TV series entitled Famous Film Festival had premiered in 1956, but had shown British films made in the 1940s. They were shown in a ninety-minute time slot, which meant that the films had to either be severely edited or shown in two parts. NBC Saturday Night at the Movies was the first network movie anthology series to run two hours (and occasionally longer), so that the films could be shown in one evening. For their 1961 television season, NBC obtained the rights to broadcast 31 post-1950 movie titles from 20th Century Fox, although only 30 were actually telecast that season. One film, The Seven Year Itch, was held off by the network until the start of the 1963 season. On September 23, 1961, Saturday Night at the Movies premiered with the 1953 film How to Marry a Millionaire, presented "In Living Color". Many of these films, having been made in Cinemascope, a Fox specialty from 1953 to 1967, had to be severely panned-and-scanned for fullscreen television viewing (which was the only kind of television aspect ratio in existence then). That initial deal with Fox ended up lasting two seasons, with a total of 61 films. And when the studio found greener pastures over at rival ABC, the network found studios such as [[Metro-goldwyn-Mayer Pictures|MGM]] and Paramount eager to provide content. Because commercial breaks were shorter until the late 1960s, films running less than two hours sometimes ended before the close of the program. The remaining time was filled up with theatrical trailers of upcoming films scheduled to be shown on the series in the future. By about 1968, this was no longer necessary, as commercial breaks had become longer. The three major commercial networks did not show worn-out 16mm prints of films as was then the usual practice on local TV stations. The films aired on the network movie anthology series (as well as annually-telecast specials such as The Wizard of Oz) were 35mm prints invariably in excellent condition. With the advent of cable television, VHS, and DVD, the idea of always showing films - even very old ones - in pristine, remastered condition on television has become the norm, but aside from films shown on the three major networks, this was simply not done prior to the 1980s. NBC broadcast Saturday Night at the Movies until October 28, 1978. Some of the other movie series on television were also cancelled by the end of the decade. However, some continued well into the 1980s and even beyond.


1st Open (1961-1972)

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: TBA.


2nd Open (1971-1972)

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct, as there are no existing video recordings. However, the original film elements had survived.

Editor's Note: TBA.


3rd Open (1972-1977)

Logo: On a black background, we see the text "NBC SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES" in red, moving to the right (the right side is inclined to the left one, making it look like a neon sign on a structure). After the footage of the film is shown, the same clip plays, but eventually stops and the same text (but in blue and in a different font) zooms to the screen.

FX/SFX: The letters moving and zooming. Simple animation.

Music/Sounds: A majestic theme.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: None.


4th Open (1977-1978)

Logo: We see the NBC "N" logo from the time, which then shines and zooms to the screen, forming a moving, rectangular, rainbow colored background. It fades to black and the words "NBC" zoom to the right side of the screen, leaving a red trail, "Saturday" zooms to the left side and leaves a green trail, "Night" zooms to the right and leaves a blue trail, "at the" zooms to the left and leaves a red trail, and finally "Movies" zooms to the right and leaves a green trail, then the "N" from before zooms to the screen while gradually disappearing. Once the movie clip is shown, we see the same rainbow pattern playing, finally being followed by the "N" from before and "NBC Saturday Night at the Movies" in yellow zooming in.

Variants: Another version has the title "NBC Late Night Movie".

FX/SFX: Simple but better animation.

Music/Sounds: A majestic theme.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: None.


5th Open (1978-1979)

Nicknames: "The Neon NBC Sign"

Logo: One of the NBC idents of the time plays, but when the "N" shines, we zoom to the corner. It abruptly cuts to some words in 3D metallic models turning while zooming out; "BIG EVENTS" in purple, "NBC THEATRE" in green, and "MOVIE NIGHTS" in pink, which is followed by two neon-like filmstrips moving and placing to form two blue neon-signs, which zoom out as the words "NBC WEDNESDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES" in pink zoom in, and everything shines.

FX/SFX: Better animation this time.

Music/Sounds: A majestic theme.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: None.


6th Open (1979-1980)

Nickname: TBA.

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: TBA.


7th Open (1980-1981)

Nicknames: TBA.

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: TBA.


8th Open (1981-1985)

Nicknames: "NBC Peacock Film Roll".

Logo: On a criss-cross diamond BG, with strange orange ovals passing by, a film roll projects a countdown (5-4-3-2-1), then zooms away, curling and forming the NBC 11-feathered peacock logo, and then joins the N logo with a flash, giving the peacock its colors. The NBC logo zooms up and the words "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES", in gold, slide in below, glow, and shine.

Variants: There were several variants of the logo depending of the time of broadcast, including "NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES" (in green), and "NBC MOVIE OF THE WEEK" (in red).

FX/SFX: Very well done computer graphics at the time.

Music/Sounds: The NBC chimes accompanied by the promotional campaign music of the time.

Music/Sounds Variant: TBA.

Availability: Extinct, as it only survives on video recordings.

Editor's Note: None.


9th Open (1979-1984)

Nicknames: TBA.

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct; it only survives on video recordings of the time from local NBC stations.

Editor's Note: TBA.


10th Open (1984-1987)

Nicknames: "Cylinder Marquee"

Logo: This opening takes place on a black screen. We start between two fields of NBC logos: golden '70s trapezoidal Ns on the bottom, and silver 11-feathered peacocks on the top (the trapezoidal Ns are on a purple floor with light purple lines passing along it). The 11-feathered peacocks come down to meet the trapezoidal Ns, creating a field of Proud Ns. What then appears to be a tidal-wave-like strip of blue with white lights on the end then comes in from off-screen. This strip slowly covers up the field of Proud Ns. After the Proud Ns are covered up, a brown filmstrip with sprockets and golden stars comes in from the left at an angle. There isn't just one filmstrip, however: as this strip zooms out, it is revealed that there are 3 more like it. The stars move away from the filmstrips and fade out, and then 3 pairs of pink neon lights come in from the left and proceed to the other side (all this is done as the marquee slowly rights itself). When the lights get to the other side, the title comes in from off-screen as the sprockets on the filmstrips fade out. The completed marquee then turns around to the center of the screen, and then two orbiting rows of white lights follow the title around (these lights bracket the title above and below); when the marquee reaches its final position (the orbiting lights by this time have made it to the other side), the title uncouples itself from the lights, and it is revealed that the marquee is somewhat cylindrical in shape.

Trivia: These intros were loaned out to international stations around the world (e.g. Australia's Channel 7) with some obvious modifications.

Variant: Depending of the film, the title is different:

  • "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES"
  • "NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES"
  • "NBC MINI-SERIES"

FX/SFX: 3D animation.

Music/Sounds: "Let's All Be There" by Rob Mounsey, accompanied by the NBC chimes.

Availability: Extinct; survives on video recordings. This intro was seen on the April 6, 1985 telecast of Saturday Night Live for a fake promo for the non-existant miniseries A.D. 13.

Editor's Note: None.


11th Open (1987-1991)

Nicknames: "Star Trail", "Wrapping Filmstrips"

Logo: Over a black field of patterned white stars, we see a large star-shaped vertical trail zooming up toward the screen. Surrounding the star-shaped trail are chrome blue filmstrips traveling in unison. Once the trail and filmstrips make their way to the very top, a cluster of small white stars explode and fill the background. Once this happens, the filmstrips change colors; first into a hue of magenta, blue, and green; then back to chrome blue (with cloud-like reflections on them). Six additional filmstrips (gold on back, silver on front) travel one-by-one horizontally and wrap around the vertical star trail. As the horizontal filmstrips finish wrapping around, an extreme closeup of a glossy CGI rendition of the current peacock logo rises up and opens its "plumage" of six multicolored feathers. The title rises up below the peacock, also in extreme closeup until it backs away to a comfortable distance and reveals everything in its entirety.

Trivia: This is another intro that was loaned out to stations around the world (e.g. Australia's Channel 7) with slight ID modifications.

Variants: The title varied depending of the presented film:

  • "NBC SUNDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES"
  • "NBC MOVIE OF THE WEEK"
  • "NBC MINI-SERIES"
  • "NBC MONDAY NIGHT AT THE MOVIES"

FX/SFX: Nice CGI animation!

Music/Sounds: An abridged version of "Come Home to NBC" by Russ Mitchell Landau and Michael Kessler.

Availability: Preserved on videotape recordings of the time. But the original elements had survived.

Editor's Note: None.


12th Open (1991-1995)

Nicknames: "NBC Flash"

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: Very nice animation (like before).

Music/Sounds: A majestic fanfare.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: None.


13th Open (1995-2002)

Nicknames: "The NBC Sign"

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct.

Editor's Note: TBA.


14th Open (1995-1999)

Nicknames: "NBC Peacock"

Nicknames: "The NBC Sign"

Logo: TBA.

Variants: TBA.

FX/SFX: TBA.

Music/Sounds: TBA.

Availability: Extinct. This logo was used only for NBC original made-for-TV movies.

Editor's Note: TBA.

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