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 CGI effects that hold up very well today.
Music/Sounds: A gong leading into a catchy synth theme with bells and drums.
Availability: Can be seen on old Where's Waldo/Wally? tapes from the era.
Scare Factor: None.
3rd 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.
- A still version of this is seen on VHS releases.
- An in-credit variant was seen on Archibald the Koala.
FX/SFX: The globe spinning.
Music/Sounds: None. In other cases, the end theme of the show would be used.
Availability: It's available on Kipper, 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 the Disney Channel in the early 2000s in the United States. It was also seen on the first three seasons of Bob the Builder in the UK. It doesn't expect to appear on The Phoenix & the Carpet, since it & the BBC co-produced the said TV movie.
Scare Factor: None.
4th Logo (1997-2007)
Nickname: "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 the 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.
Variant: On Anthony Ant, it is shortened to show the already-formed logo with the spinning globe
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.
Availability: The long version is available on most VHS and DVDs by HiT Entertainment only in the UK. The short version was used only on the television series Anthony Ant. Surprisingly, this appeared on most Thomas & Friends releases in the UK beyond 2003.
Scare Factor: Minimal to low. The animation and the music may have caused a couple of spooks there.
5th 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 4th 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 4th logo instead)
- Christmas Children's Favourites
- A still version of the logo exists.
- Like with the last logo, "PLC" can be seen next to "ENTERTAINMENT".
- On Barney's Christmas Star, the globe is bigger.
- On at least the complete first & second season DVD's 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". The next logo can be seen here, too.
- On the 2003 Series of Fireman Sam and seasons 5-6 of Pingu, the logo appears in the end credits.
- On 2003-2006 episodes of Thomas and Friends (at least in the UK)the logo is seen on a cloudy background. Copyright info is below.
FX/SFX: The globe spinning, and the glow surrounding the globe.
Music/Sounds: The ending theme of the show.
Availability: Very common. Seen on HiT shows from the period including Barney & Friends from the 2002-2007 seasons, Bob the Builder and Thomas the Tank Engine. This can also been seen on Oswald.
Scare Factor: None.
Nicknames: "HiT Block", "Jumping Blocks", "Bouncy Blocks", "Annoying Blocks", "Blocks of Boredom", "Globeless HiT Logo", "Cute Blocks", "Where'd 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 long version with "HiT entertainment" already seen below the blocks at the beginning, then fading out and the two blocks appearing.
- There is a short version which only shows the ending part after the blocks walk away. It can be seen on post-2008 episodes of Fireman Sam and Thomas & Friends.
- Another even shorter variant shows two spare blocks jump into the screen, making the existing one jump around too, then the two leave.
- 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.
- 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 Fast Play).
- Plum Landing, Little People and the Bob the Builder reboot have a copyright notice on the bottom of the Hit Entertainment text.
Music/Sounds: An upbeat flute tune, or the end theme of the show.
Availability: Current and very common like the last logo. Seen on shows such as Fireman Sam, Barney & Friends from 2007-09 seasons, Bob the Builder and Thomas & Friends. The still logo began to plaster the Big Feats! Entertainment logo on PBS Kids' Wishbone repeats. The long version most commonly appears on the UK DVDs. Plum Landing, Fraggle Rock and Shaun the Sheep DVDs also contain it. The third variant can be found on several shows such as Plum Landing and Mike the Knight.
Scare Factor: None at all. It's a cute logo, but may be annoying for people who are fans of the older logos.