Time-Life Television was a division of Time-Life Films (owned by Time, Inc., later independent from Time Warner (now "WarnerMedia"), and after acquired by and folded into Meredith Corporation), active throughout the 1970s. It was most notable as the U.S. distributor of the BBC's television output including Doctor Who and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Time-Life's deal with the BBC expired on April 30, 1981 (these rights were taken over by the upstart Lionheart Television). That August, Time-Life Films' assets were acquired by Columbia Pictures; this included TV distribution rights to the library, as well as rights to films already in production. However, Time Inc. retained the copyrights to the library, and it is now handled by HBO (with video rights usually going through HBO Home Entertainment in the U.S., with a few exceptions). A totally different company operating as Time-Life Television exists today as the production unit of Time-Life Video.
1st Logo (1972?-1977)
Logo: An in-credit logo which reads:
with "TIME LIFE" in a rectangle. This is displayed on a crimson red background.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme to the program.
- This was seen on PBS prints of BBC Television shows in the early to late 1970s, and was largely replaced with the next logo below.
- An in-credit variant appeared on The World Beyond Mud Monster.
Editor's Note: None.
2nd Logo (1977-1982)
Nicknames: "T-L", "Time-Life", "The Time-Life TV Set", "T-L TV Monitor from/of Hell/Doom", "When There's a Smile in Your Heart..."
Logo: On a black background, a white conjoined, slanted "TL" (with the L connected near the end of the T) zooms into place onto a television-like box with a red screen in the center, trailing itself as it goes (a la the 1978-81 Filmways logo). Once it reaches the screen, it quickly flashes and merges with the box forming the logo. On the bottom of the screen, the text "TIME LIFE TELEVISION" is seen underneath the logo completing its formation.
- For BBC-produced shows, the logo is the same, except the text "A BBC-TV PRODUCTION" is seen below the logo first, being faded out and the "Distributed by TIME LIFE TELEVISION" blurb, centered under the logo, takes its place and then fades out completely.
- Depending on the condition of the film source, the color may be slightly different. The most notable variation is brown.
- A still variant exists.
- There is another still variant with the text "A BBC-TV PRODUCTION IN ASSOCIATION WITH TIME LIFE DISTRIBUTION" below.
- Yet another still variant reads "A BBC-TV TIME LIFE TELEVISION CO-PRODUCTION." This exists in both still/silent and fully animated versions, and appeared on the BBC Shakespeare plays in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
- A still variant of the movie logo was seen on some shows.
- An in-credit version of the logo can be seen in the French version of the TV movie The Bunker.
- A version exists where the text reads "A TIME LIFE TELEVISION RELEASE". This was seen on reruns of The Real McCoys in the 1970s and is currently only known to exist in black and white.
FX/SFX: The "TL" trailing onto the empty shell of the logo and "flashing" into place. Standard Scanimate effects.
Music/Sounds: A shrill Moog synthesizer sounder (extended on the BBC variant), which sounds like "You Can Fly" from Disney's Peter Pan (hence the last nickname). The still variant uses a short version of the jingle. Sometimes, it is silent.
Availability: Very rare.
- This was prevalent throughout the '70s on BBC programs shown in the U.S. and Canada, but replaced with the various Lionheart Television or BBC Worldwide logos over the years (Monty Python's Flying Circus switched distributors completely, with logos for Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd. and Devillier-Donegan Enterprises replacing the Time-Life ID).
- Surprisingly, it can still be found on certain Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who from the '70s, whose 1972-78 vintage prints are still in use today.
- Check early home video recordings of BBC programs aired on PBS (e.g. Doctor Who, the BBC Shakespeare plays, etc.).
Editor's Note: This logo is very notable for its loud, high pitched synthesized tune and dated scanimation. These factors contributed to its infamy in the logo community.