(Redirected from WGBH)
WGBH (an abbreviation of Western Great Blue Hill), known on air as simply GBH, is a PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts and owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation. The station launched on May 2, 1955, and introduced an animated on-screen logo in 1971. It is also one of the biggest PBS affiliates, producing much of the national content for the network, and thus is also one of their 2 flagship stations. In 2020, the station rebranded into GBH. The name is currently used on the air, and the rebrand will soon affect other technology.
1st Logo (1955-1956?)
Nickname: "The Sticks"
Logo: The logo consists of the following text on the lower center position of the screen:
Various lines of various sizes and angles can be seen in the background. Names of cities that received the station can be seen on the left center of the screen.
Music/Sounds: Unknown, but it may have an announcer.
Availability: Extinct. The only known remains of this logo comes from a Logopedia page, and is likely used as a station ID.
Editor's Note: This is the first known identity produced by WGBH. It has quite a unique design for its time too.
2nd Logo (1956-1971)
Nickname: "The Family", "The Wigwam", "The Angry Wigwam"
Logo: The logo consists of an "X" connected to a triangle on the bottom and a vertical line throughout the center. Circles are on both the left and right side of the symbol. Next to the symbol is the number "2" with "WGBH-TV Cambridge/Boston" underneath.
Variant: For television productions, the following is seen with the symbol next to the word "TV":
FX/SFX: Unknown for the station ID. The production variant is an in credit logo which sometimes wipes in from top to bottom.
Music: Unknown for the station ID. The in credit variant uses the ending audio to the program it follows.
Availability: The station ID is extinct and only survives via a photo on Logopedia. The in credit variant is very rare but is preserved on any surviving programming from the time period.
Editor's Note: The symbol is actually an ancient Aztec symbol for "family." The triangle and vertical line represent a woman, the vertical line and top two portions of the "X" represent a man, and the circles represent children. The symbol is still in use as the logo for "WGBH Alumni."
3rd Logo (1969-1971)
Nicknames: "Early WGBH"
Logo: We see an in-credit disclaimer reading:
FX/SFX: None, unless you count the fades.
Music/Sounds: Currently unknown as the narrator reads over the airing of the program but, most likely the ending theme of the program.
Availability: Ultra rare. This was spotted on the 1st episode of The Nader Report, currently available for viewing on WGBH's open vault.
Editor's Note: None.
4th Logo (June 27, 1971-September 1977)
Nicknames: "Zooming WGBH", "Zooming Letters"
Logo: Against a blue background, the letters "WGBH" in yellow in a generic Helvetica font quickly zoom back, away from the viewer to the vanishing point, and disappearing when the text is very small. Then the word "Boston", also in yellow, also appears out of nowhere and then zooms forward really fast, taking up the whole screen and creating a yellow background. And finally, the word "Presents" zooms forward at a fast pace, in blue.
- On some prints of this logo, due to either film deterioration or film quality, the blue colors are instead sea green.
- The very first season of NOVA has this logo with the words all in green, zooming out, and scanimated as part of the show's intro.
- On many early episodes of NOVA, the background is beige at first, and turns brown after "Boston" zooms in; the words "WGBH" and "Boston" are brown while "Presents" is in beige and it would zoom forward as always, transitioning to the opening cinematic.
- On The French Chef, the logo is chroma-keyed over a slanted flag of France (which has the colors flipped around, making it look more like a Netherlands flag or the 1792 First French Republic flag) against a blue background, animation and all. Also, when the "Boston" text gets close to the screen, it inverts to being a cutout in a yellow square to get the proper effect.
- Some episodes of the aforementioned series would have an extremely rare variant of the logo instead of the previous variant that is usually used, where the background is black and the letters are in cyan.
- On the Bicentennial edition of Evening at Pops, there is a black background with yellow confetti. The first two words are white and when "Boston" zooms in and takes the full screen, the background is white, and "Presents" is black.
- A brighter version of the blue version is featured on several episodes of The Advocates. The version has a bright blue/yellow-orange background. Some episodes also feature the logo with a bright teal/cyan background.
- Another variant from The Advocates has the word "WGBH" in yellow on a burgundy background. This is the earliest known version of it.
FX/SFX: The zooming of the words; simple animation.
Music/Sounds: Eerie, choppy, UFO-like computer blips ascend and descend several times. A rising Moog violin stinger starts playing over the blips, until the stringer settles on a high note. Composed by Gershon Kingsley, who is otherwise most famous for the hit song "Popcorn".
- The jingle's speed may vary; it can play slower or faster than usual.
Availability: Extremely rare in the wild, as programming from this era are usually no longer rerun. You might find this logo on older WGBH programming, assuming it isn't plastered with a later logo. You might find this on old tapes of The French Chef, 1972's Zoom, Evening at Pops, The Victory Garden, Masterpiece Theatre, and/or NOVA episodes from the era. The French Chef variant also showed up when WGBH-2 in Boston, MA had a marathon of old episodes of The French Chef on Christmas Day, 2011. Despite its rarity, the logo can easily be found online on several episodes of The Advocates on the WGBH Open Vault.
Editor's Note: The logo became notorious for its high-contrast colors, fast "V of Doom"-style zoom-ins, and eerie synth music.
5th Logo (March 3, 1974-Late 2020?)
Logo: Superimposed on the end credits of the show, we see the WGBH logo, which consists of the text "WGBH" in a bold font, with the outlines being extended out from the front and back, creating a shadow effect. "Boston" is typically under it, with the colors for both being different at times. Typically, there's also a copyright for WGBH Educational Foundation.
FX/SFX: Typically none.
Music/Sounds: None or the closing theme of the show.
Availability: Common. Its first appearance was at the end credits of the series premiere of NOVA. It would appear at the end of WGBH programming until 1993, when the 5th logo was moved to the end. Curious George, Downton Abbey, and select episodes of Masterpiece are the shows that still have this logo, until the GBH rebrand. It also appeared at the end of The Captioned ABC News starting sometime between June 1980 and October 1981, and presumably continuing until that program's discontinuation sometime in 1982.
Editor's Note: None.
6th Logo (January 5, 1977-2009)
Nicknames: "The Neon Sign", "The Flash", "WGBH Outline"
Logo: Here are the main variants of this logo:
- Version I: On a black background, two orange lines of "electricity" form two orange 2D "shadows", one on top and one on bottom. Then the lines form an orange outline of "WGBH" in between the "shadows". The lines stop and an orange flash starts behind the outline. The flash clears out "WGBH" as "Boston Presents" appears in an orange Helvetica font. The "Boston Presents" logo was a bumper used at the beginning of the show.
- Version II: Similar to the other logo, but usually with the "WGBH" logo already formed as it fades in, then the flash occurs and the word "BOSTON" appears spaced out below the logo in an orange Art Deco font.
Trivia: The company's slogan until 1982 was "Public Television. It's better than ever".
Variants: There are many variants in terms of the music and the announcer:
- 1977-1987: The full version of the music, with the complete animation and "WGBH" ending, and no announcer.
- 1986-1993: Same as the previous variant, but shortened to when WGBH begins to flash.
- 1993-2009: A different short version with the logo already formed, the "WGBH" ending omitted, and the music shortened. An announcer may or may not be heard.
- 2002-2009: A digitally enhanced version of the logo with sped-up animation and no announcer. This version can be seen on episodes of Frontline. Another version has the logo zooming in a bit while the animation is being drawn, which can be seen on episodes of NOVA, and was also used as a station ID. Another version had the PBS logo appearing in its place and shining with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH Boston.". A superimposed variant of the animation can be seen on episodes of Masterpiece Theater.
- Sometimes, the closing theme of the show will play over this logo. This can be seen on pre-2009 episodes of Arthur and Between the Lions.
- 1993-2009: A version can occasionally be spotted in which the "glowing" animation is played, but no text appears. This can be seen on most pre-2005 episodes of Arthur.
- 1999-2009: Another version exists where the "glowing" animation is delayed for half a second and the "glow" is slightly slowed down. This was only seen on episodes of Arthur.
- On later episodes of Arthur, the byline "WGBH is a trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation" (and sometimes a URL) is shown below written in the Arthur font.
- 1995-1999, 2007-2008: A variant of the 1993 version. When the text appears, the word "BOSTON" in red appears until the flash dies out. It's seen on Postcards from Buster and Peep and the Big Wide World.
- Another local version used in the 1980s begins with a blue flash, followed by an orange "2" written in the same style as the WGBH logo zooming up. This variant was always played when the station signed on in the morning, and played in reverse when it signed off at night. No music or sounds play here.
- On Evening with Pops, the 1986 logo is superimposed into the intro.
- On Out Of Money, the ending is replaced with "in association with" along with the logo for Money (the magazine) in orange.
- The 1993 version of the logo was superimposed of The American Experience.
- There is a version where the logo forms in warp speed. However, during the flash, the logo turns into the PBS logo. This is seen on some episodes of Mystery.
- A filmed variant exists, which makes it clear that "Boston" simply fades in.
- A variant exists where "Boston Presents" transitions to the text "IN ASSOCIATION WITH MONEY MAGAZINE." "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" is above "MONEY" in the same font as "Presents" as is "MAGAZINE" which is below. "Money" is in its corporate font. The text glows for a couple of seconds until fading out.
FX/SFX: The lines of electricity, and the flash.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 4th logo. There have been 2 versions, a long version and a short version. The entire 7-second jingle is used as the long version, and is in much better sound quality and plays at the correct speed. The short version features only the rising synth chord (but we still hear the UFO noise, but only abridged), and is much more common nowadays. Sometimes, an announcer will say "A production/presentation of WGBH Boston." or "(show's name) is a production/presentation of WGBH Boston."
- The Mystery version has the full music along with a male announcer saying "Mystery is a production of WGBH. Produced in Boston, shared with the world."
- A version has been seen with abridged animation, no voice-over, and slightly lower-pitched music on Design Squad.
- Two versions can be heard whether it's long or short; one is the original pitch, while the other is slightly higher pitched. The 1986 version has the former, while the 1993 version has the latter. The 1977 version has either.
- Sometimes the 1993 or 2002 logos have an announcer saying "(Show's name) is a production/presentation of WGBH Boston." or simply "A production/presentation of WGBH Boston". From 1998 to 2002, on Mystery and Masterpiece Theatre, the announcer has a British accent. On the 1999 revival of Zoom, a kid from the show voices over, with the short music. Starting in 2002, there would be no announcer and it would just have the music. One variant has a creepy voice-over say "Mystery is a presentation of WGBH Boston."
- In the "Money Magazine" variant, the logo has a slight reverb.
Availability: Very common. Likely the most readily available PBS logo around.
- The first version made its debut on the NOVA episode "Hitler's Secret Weapon", and can be seen in its various versions on many PBS shows, such as NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Masterpiece Theatre, The Victory Garden, and Arthur, among others.
- The filmed variant can be found on 16mm dupes of WGBH programming distributed by Time Life Multimedia for classroom usage.
- The 1993 version with the short music and no announcer has been sighted on early episodes of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman.
- The "Boston Presents" version can be found on video and may also show up on WGBH shows produced from 1982-1993 if your station has older prints.
- The original unabridged version can be seen on videocassettes and DVDs of their 1979 miniseries The Scarlet Letter, all of which also preserve the 1971 PBS logo, and also appears on earlier prints of Cathedral and in full near the start of the 2019 documentary This Old House 40th Anniversary.
- The 1986 version is retained on the Turner Home Entertainment VHS of the Ken Burns film Thomas Hart Benton. Current prints of Arthur plaster it with the 12th logo.
- The "Money Magazine" variant is extinct as it only appeared on On The Money.
- The original 1977 logo and shortened 1986 variant can be seen on episodes of This Old House uploaded to their official YouTube channel.
Editor's Note: Like the 1971 logo, this logo is notorious for its dark colors, eerie animation, and the creepy synth music; however, it is a favorite of many due to its usage on classic shows.
7th Logo (September 1977-January 1982)
Nickname: "The 2"
Logo: We see a large number "2" (in the style of the WGBH logo) in a different situation. Next to the "2" is the name of the show coming up next.
Variants: There are many variants depending on the show:
- About the House: The "2" is made of wood.
- The Ascent of Man: The white "2" is tilting on a black background.
- The Way It Was: The "2" is wearing a football uniform with the number "2" on it.
Music/Sounds: An announcer saying "(show's name) is coming up on WGBH-2".
Availability: Near extinction. Can be found on old WGBH programming from that time.
Editor's Note: None.
8th Logo (1979?-1982?)
Nicknames: "The 2 II", "Shiny 2", "Silver 2"
Logo: On a black background, we see a silver outline of the "2" from the previous logo, with a flash of light on its top. To the left of the "2" is "WGBH TV" and to the right of it is "BOSTON". After a couple seconds, the logo fades to the 6th logo.
FX/SFX: The logo fading in, then to the 6th logo.
Music/Sounds: A female announcer says "This is Channel 2, WGBH-TV Boston."
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a station ID.
Editor's Note: None.
9th Logo (1983?-1989)
Note: The logo can be seen at 0:04.
Nicknames: "The 2 III", "2 City" "Cheesy 2"
Logo: Over a shot of the Boston skyline at night, a white colored "2" (with the extrusions filled and the "2" being a cutout) zooms back to the center of the screen. To the left of the "2" is the text "WGBH TV" and to the right of the "2" is the word "BOSTON." The "2" flashes similar to the 3rd logo, turning the background black, the "2" white, and the outline orange.
Variant: On Christmas, a Christmas ID would replace it.
FX/SFX: The logo zooming out. The logo flashing. The logo and background changing.
Music/Sounds: A mellow synth theme with a synthesized whoosh as the logo zooms out. There is a "ping" as the logo flashes and a drumbeat afterwards. Throughout the logo, an announcer (William Pierce) says "This is viewer supported television from Boston. WGBH TV."
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a station ID. Appeared before programs on WGBH.
Editor's Note: None.
10th Logo (1986?-1989?)
Nicknames: "The 2 IV", "Golden 2", "WGBH in Space"
Logo: We fade into what appears to be space. The background is entirely black with the exception of a dark blue glowing semicircle that represents Earth. The "2" from the previous logo zooms out, but it's in a shade of gold rather than orange. As it stops zooming back, pinkish red, green, and blue comets come in from the top left of the screen and go through the cut-out "2" as they streak off to the right. "W G B H T V B O S T O N" appears below in a gray-white generic font. The animation loops a few more times before the logo ends.
FX/SFX: The "2" zooming out. The comets streaking through the logo and to the right of the screen. The text appearing below.
Music/Sounds: An excerpt of "Shadowdance" by "Shadowfax."
Availability: Extinct. Appeared on Return of the Art Maker, which is long gone from TV and never made an official home media release. Also most likely used as a station ID at the time.
Editor's Note: None.
11th Logo (1989-Early 1990s)
Nicknames: "The 2 V", "CGI 2", "Gold 2"
Logo: On a black background, the "2" from the previous logos in gold and in 3D zooms and tilts back until it disappears.
FX/SFX: CGI animation.
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a sign off ID (and possibly a sign on ID).
Editor's Note: None.
12th Logo (1990-Early 1990's?)
Nicknames: "The 2 VI", "Glass 2"
Logo: On an Orange sky Background, We see the 2 from the previous 5 logos, made out of glass, tilt and zoom out, ending in the centre of the screen. the words "WGBH" and "TV" Appear at the top of the 2, while "BOSTON" is on the bottom. These words fade in when the 2 is in place. the 2 shines afterwards
FX/SFX: The 2 zooming out, The text fading in, The 2 shining.
Music/Sounds: an 8-note trumpet theme, with a string holding a "C" note throughout. at the end, we hear a 3 note tinkle from a vibraphone.
Availability: Unknown, but it's most likely extinct.
Editor's Note: A pretty nice logo for the 1990s, but the other "2" logos could be considered better.
13th Logo (September 30, 1991-October 4, 1996)
Nicknames: "WQED/WGBH Earth Globe"
Logo: We see a small Earth globe against a starry sky quickly rotate around counterclockwise, and the words "WQED" (in yellow-orange) with "PITTSBURGH" (in white) below slowly rotate around clockwise, followed by "WGBH" (again, in yellow-orange) with "BOSTON" (in white) below.
FX/SFX: The rotating globe and letters.
- September 30, 1991-December 25, 1992: The first part of the theme of the show as Lynne Thigpen says "Today's caper is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
- September 27, 1993-October 4, 1996: The end theme of the show with Lynne Thigpen saying "This program is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
Availability: Extinct on TV. Only seen on episodes of Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. Various episodes of the show have been posted to YouTube, though, so it shouldn't be hard to find it there.
Editor's Note: None.
14th Logo (1999?-Early 2000s)
Nicknames: "Greek "WGBH"", "Temple of ""WGBH2""
Logo: On a rendered platform featuring Greek Temple-like columns, monitors of at least six WGBH programs are present, as the camera moves forward until the Boston skyline can be seen in the background. As it does, a blue circle appears with the words "GBH 2" carved in it, with "2" in the same font as the previous 5 logos. Underneath the circle is "WGBH Boston" also in blue.
FX/SFX: The camera and CG animation.
Music/Sounds: A tribal kind of song with an announcer saying "You're watching the best television on television, Boston's PBS station: WGBH 2."
Availability: Extinct. This station ID lasted about 1-2 years.
Editor's Note: Very nice CGI for the time.
15th Logo (January 22, 2001-November 24, 2013?)
Nicknames: "The Neon Sign II", "WGBH Outline II", "The Flash II", "The Neon Tubes"
Logo: A brief flash shows us uncolored pipes. Suddenly, gold beams fly through them, as the camera pans around, following it. The camera then pans and zooms outward, revealing the now-completed WGBH logo in a neon format as it flashes brightly like the 1977 logo. The logo goes dim as a neon number "2" [the channel number] lights up in a bluish-white color for about 3 seconds and goes out.
- Also seen with affiliate stations in a black typeface on the bottom of the logo.
- A short version exists beginning where the screen zooms out to show the logo lighting up.
- Another shorter version cuts off the first two seconds of the logo.
FX/SFX: Very nice CGI for the early 2000s, done by Paul Sanni; a WGBH Creative Services editor, and Elias Mallette; TV director for Creative Services. They also did work for the previous ID.
Music/Sounds: A slightly extended version of the infamous WGBH synth theme. When the WGBH logo flashes, Jim Birdsall, who has done work for CNBC and NBC stations KING and KGW in Seattle and Portland, says "WGBH Boston". Finally, a humming sound is heard when the "2" appears.
Availability: Extinct. Was only seen as a local station ID.
Editor's Note: None.
16th Logo (2008-Late 2020?)
Nicknames: "The Neon Sign III", "WGBH Outline III", "The Flash III"
Logo: It's an updated variant of the 6th logo. The drawing and lighting effects are smoother and more refined, with stars surrounding the logo, like in space, when it flashes. The flash is also brighter than usual, and the WGBH logo zooms in while it's drawn, and dims out when the logo is done.
- There is a variant that is tinted blue. This was seen on their local productions, such as Greater Boston.
- An in-credit version of the logo has been spotted on Antiques Roadshow, which simply shows the orange WGBH logo at the bottom of the screen.
- An extended variant exists where the logo stays on screen after the flash disappears and shines before fading out.
FX/SFX: The drawing and lighting effects, as well as the usual flash.
Music/Sounds: The short version of the 4th logo theme.
Music/Sounds Variant: On Greater Boston, a male announcer (with the opening theme playing over his announcement) says, "This is a production of WGBH 2 Boston".
Availability: Common. Seen on episodes of WGBH programming before the rebrand to GBH, such as NOVA, Frontline, and American Experience, among others. Also seen on post-2008 prints of Arthur, plastering the 1993 logo. The unabridged logo is not as common, it can be seen on Mind of a Chef and occasionally on feature-length specials. The blue variant was seen on earlier episodes of Greater Boston, and is extinct in broadcast, as episodes after words started use the standard variant.
Editor's Note: It's a good redux of the 6th logo and it has been slightly tamed.
17th Logo (November 25, 2013-Late 2020?)
Nicknames: "The Neon Sign IV", "WGBH Outline IV", "The Flash IV"
Logo: On a black background, orange neon lights start to trace out the inner part of the WGBH logo, with the top coming first, followed by the bottom part, the 2 holes on the "B", and finally the part that makes part of the "G". The light then draws out the full outline as another line starts to draw the "shadow" part. When the inner outline is complete, the rest of the logo flickers on and flashes in the style of the 6th logo, revealing "WGBH-TV BOSTON" on the bottom. The logo then glows a la the "2" in the 15th logo, then shortens out in a similar matter.
Trivia: This logo was created by Paul Sanni (sound and video editing) and Elias Mallette (animation), both of which also did work for the 15th ID. You can read more about the making here.
FX/SFX: The tracing of the inner parts, the drawing of the logo, as well as the usual flash. Pretty cool animation.
Music/Sounds: An ominous hum is heard first, followed by a series of snippets of the infamous theme when the neon traces the logo, but the computer blips are now terribly out of tune. The logo then plays the full theme with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH 2, Boston.", followed with the same humming sound from the 15th ID.
Availability: No longer current. Like the 15th logo, only used as a station ID. However, the logo can be seen on GBH's YouTube channel. This is also the last logo from the company before the rebrand.
Editor's Note: Nice blend of the 15th and 16th/6th logos! It's a shame this logo only appears as a station ID.
(August 31, 2020-)
Nicknames: "The Spotlight", "The Flash V"
Logo: On a black background, we see lights shining on the new GBH logo (in the same style as the older logo, but with geometric typography and the "Red Hat" font), illuminating the edges in a way similar to how the old logos formed up. As this happens, a spotlight turns on behind it, illuminating "GBH". Both lights die down to reveal the final product - a shining purple GBH logo.
FX/SFX: The lights both in front of and behind the logo. The logo was designed by Minelli Inc.
Music/Sounds: The short version of the 4th WGBH logo's theme.
Availability: Brand new. The logo animation was unveiled on August 31, 2020, and started to have an official use a day later. It debuted nationally one week later, on the Frontline episode "Growing Up Poor in America".
Editor's Note: A great evolution of the branding for the digital age of public broadcasting. However, the animation is simple compared to the previous logos, though this will possibly be used as a placeholder.