HiT Entertainment is a British-American children's television company established in 1983 originally as the international distribution arm of Jim Henson Productions called "Henson International Television" (later reincorporated as "HiT Communications plc."). However, following the death of Jim Henson in 1990, the business was sold to several members of the company's management, led by Peter Orton, and reincorporated to its current name to prevent any future confusion between the two companies. Today, HiT Entertainment is owned by Fisher-Price, a subsidiary of Mattel, Inc.
1st Logo (1983-1989)
Logo: Same as the Henson Associates in credit logo only the "ha!" text is replaced with "hit!" and the lower text is replaced with "HENSON INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION" sandwiched between two lines. Copyright information is Henson International Television listed below.
FX/SFX: Same as the Henson Associates in credit logo.
Music/Sounds: The closing theme of the program.
Availability: Seen on international prints of The Muppet Show.
Scare Factor: Same as the Henson Associates logo.
2nd Logo (1989-1996)
Logo: On a gray marble-like background, a silver disc rotates into place. Then four blue lasers strike it from different directions. Then, the camera pans to an aerial view as the word "HiT", in a tall silver font, zooms out from the center from an angle, then rotates to face the viewers. As it does so, the four lasers rotate clockwise and "COMMUNICATIONS PLC" types itself in in blue.
FX/SFX: The disc, the lasers, and the word "HiT" coming into place, which are solid CGI effects.
Music/Sounds: An eerie gong sound leading into a catchy synth theme with bells.
Music/Sounds Variant: A silent version exists.
Availability: Can be seen on old Where's Waldo/Wally?: The Animated Series tapes from the era. It can also be spotted on the English dub of D'Ocon Films' TV series, Basket Fever, and the cartoon Captain Zed and the Zee Zone, among others.
Scare Factor: Minimal. This logo is a huge favorite, thanks to the music.
3rd Logo (1994?)
Logo: On a black background, the bluish-grey letters of "HiT" fly outwards to the center to form a result similar to the previous logo, but with thinner letters and no dot. Below it all is "Distributed by HIT Entertainment PLC." in white, sometimes replaced with a black bar and the text changed to match the country's language.
FX/SFX: The letters appearing. Nothing much.
Availability: Extinct. This was possibly a prototype logo, and so far, it has only been known to appear on some international prints of Season 1 episodes of ReBoot.
Scare Factor: None.
4th Logo (1996-2001)
Nicknames: "HiT Globe", "'90s HiT Globe"
Logo: On a shady gray background, we see the word "HiT" in the same font as before in blue, with "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" written vertically next to the T in white. A hole is cut out in between the letters above the I, which contains a spinning globe. Under that reads "www.hitentertainment.com" and "DISTRIBUTED WORLDWIDE BY HIT ENTERTAINMENT PLC". There is a spotlight from the top left of the screen, casting a shadow of the logo on the floor.
- There is a version where the URL and byline swap places.
- A still version of this is seen on VHS releases.
- An in-credit variant was seen on Archibald the Koala.
- On some prints of Basket Fever, the background is replaced with that of a background of the world with "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" in black instead of white and the below text is omitted.
FX/SFX: The globe spinning. Fine CGI for it's time and it has aged pretty well.
Music/Sounds: None. In other cases, the end theme of the show would be used.
Availability: It's seen on Brambly Hedge, Kipper, Archibald the Koala, Ted Sieger's Wildlife, Sheeep, and GoodTimes VHS releases of The Wind in the Willows and The Willows in Winter. Pablo, the Little Red Fox also had this logo, especially when it was shown on Playhouse Disney in the early 2000s in America. It was also used for at least seasons 1-3 of Bob the Builder in the UK. Also spotted on later prints of Basket Fever. Despite being a co-production with the BBC, don't expect this to pop up on the TV movie The Phoenix & the Carpet.
Scare Factor: None.
5th Logo (1997-2008)
Nickname: "HiT Globe II", "'90s HiT Globe II", "Spinning HiT", "The Fireworks", "Psychedelic Ribbons"
Logo: On a striped-blue background we see a yellow/orange gradient ribbon flying from the right edge of the screen. Then the ribbon makes its way to form the spring (or tunnel) and an explosion occurs. After that we see more colorful ribbons but smaller and some fireworks. Later, the camera moves into the center of tunnel, then the tunnel disappears and from its place comes the globe which is zooming into hole in the HiT logo in light blue, which fades in the same time as the globe comes. As it does so, the globe spins. The word "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" is written vertically next to the "T" in white, just like the 2nd logo.
- There is a short version which shows only the last part of logo.
- There is also a middle-length version, which starts in the middle of the logo.
- An enhanced variant of the logo is found on DVDs throughout 2003 (with the exception of Thomas & Friends DVDs) - on this, fire can be seen when the explosion occurs, and the white text "ENTERTAINMENT PLC" is replaced with "ENTERTAINMENT", and the globe spins a little faster than normal. The music and sounds remain unchanged.
FX/SFX: The globe, fireworks, the ribbon, and the small ribbons. CGI animation.
Music/Sounds: For the long version at the beginning is a big whoosh, then a variety of cartoon sound effects are heard whilst the items come out of the ribbon tunnel, then a grand fanfare.
Music/Sounds Trivia: The composer is David Lowe, who is best known for producing and arranging the theme tune to BBC News from 1999.
Availability: The long version is available on most VHS and DVDs by HiT Entertainment, but only in the UK. The short version was used only on the television series Anthony Ant, while the middle-length version is seen on Bob the Builder kiddie rides with video screens from Jolly Roger. Inexplicably, later 2Entertain-distributed Thomas & Friends DVDs continued to use this logo until their distribution rights expired in 2008, despite the 6th logo being used all over the packaging. The reissues of those releases from HiT themselves plastered that and 2Entertain's logo with the 6th logo.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The explosion, slightly jarring appearance, and audio cacophony might have caused a few scares, but this logo is very well done and is a favorite of many.
6th Logo (2001-2006)
Nicknames: "HiT Globe II", "2000s HiT Globe", "Cheesy Glow" "The Calm After the Hype"
Logo: On a blue background, we see the HiT logo (as seen in the previous logo) from before, but less shiny, and with "ENTERTAINMENT" replacing "ENTERTAINMENT PLC". A glow of light surrounds the globe. Sometimes, a copyright notice appears below.
Trivia: Although it debuted in the US in 2001, this logo did not appear on UK VHS & DVD releases until January 2004, kicking off with the following releases:
- The "Classic Collection" range (earlier VHS prints from December 2003 carry the previous logo instead)
- The DVD releases of the first 2 Angelina Ballerina titles (The Gift & Rose Fairy Princess)
- Superstar Children's Favourites (earlier VHS prints carry the previous logo instead)
- Christmas Children's Favourites
- A still version of the logo exists.
- Like with the first logo, "PLC" can be seen next to "ENTERTAINMENT".
- On Barney's Christmas Star, the globe is bigger.
- On the DVD's of at least the first two seasons of Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends (restored format only, the remastered versions use the Britt Allcroft logo), we see a white background. On the top half it says "A Britt Allcroft Company Production" with the company's logo in between the words "Britt" and "Allcroft" and on the bottom half we see the HIT Entertainment logo. In between them is the word "For". Under all that is a copyright notice that says "(C) 1984-2003 Gullane (Thomas) Limited. All rights reserved".
- On the 2003 Series of Fireman Sam and seasons 5-6 of Pingu, the logo appears in the end credits.
- On 2004-06 episodes of Thomas and Friends (at least in the UK) the logo is seen on a cloudy background. Copyright info is below.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The glow surrounding the globe, which is cheesy-looking.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show or silence.
Availability: Seen on HiT shows from the period including Barney & Friends from the 2002-2007 seasons, Bob the Builder, Angelina Ballerina, Rubbadubbers, 2003-2006 episodes of Thomas and Friends, and Oswald. It was also seen in the VeggieTales: The Ultimate Silly Song Countdown 2001 VHS. It also appears on the remastered versions of episodes from seasons 1-4 of Pingu, while seasons 5-6 use an in-credit version. Also seen on the 2003 series of Fireman Sam and the remastered versions of the original Fireman Sam alongside the Bumper Films logo. One of the last releases to use this logo was the 2007 DVD of Fireman Sam: Norman's Tricky Day.
Scare Factor: None.
Nicknames: "HiT Block", "Jumping Blocks", "Dancing Blocks", "Bouncy Blocks", "Annoying Blocks", "Blocks of Boredom", "Globeless HiT Logo", "Cute Blocks", "Where Did The Globe Go?"
Logo: On a white background, we see a CGI block with "H" white on red, "i" blue on yellow, and "T" white on blue, with "HiT entertainment" below it. Then, all of a sudden, two more of the same blocks come out from behind the main block, and they all jump around as the name fades out. The blocks stack to reveal the "HiT" name before the two blocks (left and right) disappear. As it leaves only one block, the block looks around before becoming still, and "HiT entertainment" fades in below.
- There is a short version which only shows the ending part after the blocks walk away.
- An alternate short variant shows the HiT block at a farther away angle. Then, the two other blocks come in and jump before exiting, as the middle one bounces closer to the screen. The music on here is lower-pitched than normal, or different than normal.
- Another alternate short variant shows the blocks chasing each other around, before they bump into each other and we zoom into the main block dazed for a moment.
- Yet another alternative short variant shows the blocks jumping before the middle one rolls closer to the screen. The music is also lower-pitched on here, too.
- A very short variant exists where the block just drops down.
- There exists a still version, as well, with a plain white background. It was seen on games and some shows on Sprout.
- On many DVD releases of HiT Entertainment shows, such as Lionsgate releases of the CGI Thomas and Friends, the still variant is shown with two blue buttons below it, one reading "Auto Play" and the other reading "Main Menu" (à la Disney's FastPlay).
- Little People and the first season of the Bob the Builder reboot have a copyright notice on the bottom of the Hit Entertainment text.
FX/SFX: The blocks in motion.
Music/Sounds: An upbeat flute/horn tune, or the end theme of the show. The Auto Play variant has a male announcer saying "For your convenience, this DVD has been enhanced with HiT Entertainment's Auto Play. Your program and a selection of bonus features will begin automatically! To bypass Auto Play, select the "Main Menu" button on your remote at anytime! Your feature presentation will begin in a moment; enjoy!".
Availability: Common. Seen on shows such as Fireman Sam, Barney & Friends from the 2007-09 seasons, Bob the Builder, and Thomas & Friends. The still logo began to plaster the Big Feats! Entertainment logo on reruns of Wishbone on PBS Kids. The long version most commonly appears on the UK DVDs, Fraggle Rock and Shaun the Sheep DVDs, along with Wallace & Gromit in Three Amazing Adventures. This version is also present on the Frances compilation Bedtime for Frances DVD & Book collection. The third variant can be found on several shows such as Mike the Knight. The very short variant can be seen on 2008 episodes of Fireman Sam.
Scare Factor: None at all. It's a cute logo, but may be annoying for people who are fans of the older logos.
Final Note: Starting in 2017, HiT Entertainment programming now has Mattel Creations' logo instead of the HiT logo.