Logo description by James Fabiano and Jason Wuthrich
Logo captures by wisp2007, EnormousRat, Eric S., Logophile and Ben Masters
Editions by Shadeed A. Kelly and Eric S.
Video captures courtesy of Tlogos, MachineryNoise, JimHawkwind03411, JohnnyL80, superpooper180, Eric S., mcydodge919, DrLove0378, ih8ContentID, and ShadowTheHedgehog157
Background: MTM Enterprises, Inc. was an independent production company established in 1969 by actress Mary Tyler Moore (hence the initials of the company) and her then-husband Grant Tinker. The company was formed as a result of an agreement with Moore and the CBS network to produce 24 episodes of a new sitcom, which would become The Mary Tyler Moore Show. In 1986, MTM acquired television distribution company Victory Television, Inc. and became "MTM Television Distribution". MTM was sold to TVS Entertainment (a subsidiary of now-defunct ITV franchise holder TVS) in 1987. In 1992 after TVS lost its ITV franchise to Meridian Broadcasting, it was then sold to International Family Entertainment, Inc., which in turn was sold to Fox Family Worldwide (now "ABC Family Worldwide") in 1997. MTM ceased operations the following year, and its library assets were folded into 20th Century Fox Television.
(September 19, 1970-May 19, 1998)
Nicknames: "The MTM Kitten", "The MTM Cat," "Mimsie the Cat" (and see "Unofficial Nicknames" for other cats used in the logo), "MEOW!"
Logo: Over the years, the logo has been tweaked colorwise and according to certain shows, but here's the basic concept: An "M" flies backward from off screen, then splits into two. In the space left between the two letters, two "T"'s come from the top and bottom of the screen and join to form one. This completes the initials of the company, and the letter "T" shrinks when a goldcircle appears over it. Under the letters are the words "ENTERPRISES, INC.", "ENTERPRISES", or "PRODUCTIONS, INC.". Sometimes the finished logo will read out "AN MTM ENTERPRISES (INC.) PRODUCTION" ("AN" appears over the first "M"). Back to the circle, it is ribbon-like and decorated with stars and the letters "MTM" on top. Inside is a live-action orange striped kitten who meows once, obviously as a parody of the MGM lion. All the text (except for the later versions) appears in the Peignot font used for the 1971 Viacom logo.
- The cat's name was "Mimsie", though nicknames such as "Dick Turpin" and "Dick Marino" have also been used in naming the cat.
- The logo (with just the cat meowing) made an appearance within the Family Guy S7 episode "420".
- On recent Me-TV promos of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, Ed Asner and Bob Newhart uttered the word "Meow!" on the MTM logo at the end of the promos from their respective shows.
- On "Love is All Around," the Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion episode of Hot in Cleveland, the end scene involves the camera panning out the windows until you see a vaguely familiar orange kitten sitting on one windowsill. The cat gives Mimsie's meow.
- Mimsie appears within the Shout! Factory logo in a commercial for the Rhoda DVDs.
Variants: First here are the little differences in the logo, along with dates in which they were used:
- September 19, 1970-March 2, 1974: One "M" is red-orange, the other is red, and the "T" is blue and is formed by the merging of a light blue "T" and a green one.
- September 18, 1971-1978: The M's are both red-orange, and the "T" is light blue.
- 1978-1982: Company now identified as "MTM Productions Inc.". The M's are now orange.
- 1982-1990: Company identified as "MTM Enterprises, Inc.". The M's are now red.
- September 17, 1990-1993: Same as above, but "ENTERPRISES, INC." is smaller than usual, and below it is a byline that says "A TVS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY". In early 1993, the byline was removed.
- 1992-1995, 1996-August 14, 1998: All letters are orange, the words "AN INTERNATIONAL FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY" appear with an orange line above it, after MTM was bought by the Family Channel.
- 1995-1996: 25th Anniversary logo; on a white background is a black "25," with a similarly colored MTM under that. The kitten appears in the rounded part of the "5". Likely only a print logo.
- A still version of this logo did turn up in the movies, notably the Orion Pictures release of Just Between Friends and possibly more. This is a still of the "Red/Blue Letters" version of the logo, and is shrunk to a considerably small size. No music, animation, or "meow" is present. Mimsie's head is turned away, pre-meowing.
- Another still version of this logo appeared at the beginning of a FamNET rerun of the season 8 Newhart episode "Don't Worry, Be Pregnant". The logo is the same as the later International version, except the letters "MTM" appear to be slightly smaller, the circle with Mimsie appears to be slightly larger and the logo just reads "MTM INTERNATIONAL".
- Fresno has the "M"s in red and the "T" light blue. Here it just reads "MTM PRODUCTIONS".
- The appearance of the circle varies amongst logos. The most common one kind of "iris-in's." In others, usually ones where there's special animation or a different cat, the circle just appears.
- Sometimes the letters don't animate, as seen in the Carlton, White Shadow, and "Abogast" variants. Everything is up there at once.
- On several S1 episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati on the Shout! Factory complete-series set, the logo cuts to the "M" splitting. The season 2 episode "Put Up or Shut Up" shortens the logo even further, starting off with the "M" already split in two.
- On the season 4 Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Hi There, Sports Fans", the logo fades out just as soon as the meow ends, especially unusual since the logo would usually cut to black.
Custom Variants: Now, one thing that the MTM logo was known for was that often, it would be custom made for whatever show it appeared at the end of. This means Mimsie's appearance would sometimes be different, usually involving her "wearing" a costume or saying something other than "meow". Here are those variants:
- The Duck Factory: Right at the end of the credits, before we cut to the logo, an off-screen voice states, "Where's the cat?", or "Here's the cat" and other phrases. The logo then proceeds as normal, but instead of meowing, Mimsie says, "Quack!".
- Graham Kerr: Mimsie wears a chef's hat.
- Hill Street Blues: Mimsie wears a policeman's cap.
- Lou Grant, Paris, Something for Joey, Just Between Friends, and Three for the Road (pilot): There is a still picture of the logo.
- Lou Grant (blooper reel): One variant features Mimsie chirping (much like the bird at the end of the opening credits), and another is a still shot of Edward Asner.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show: On the 2nd episode, "Today, I am a Ma'am", Mimsie's meow is higher-pitched and rather shrill. On episode 71, "Put on a Happy Face," the cat is replaced by the image of Miss Moore herself, saying "Th-th-th-that's all folks!", a line spoken by Mary Richards during that episode.
- The Bob Newhart Show: The season 1 Christmas episode "His Busiest Season" features a wreath in place of the MTM ribbon. On the season 4 episode "No Sale", footage of a cat from the episode named Abogast appears in the circle instead. He jumps down, disappearing from the circle's view, and as he does, you hear Mimsie's meow. On the season 5 Christmas episode "Making Up Is the Thing To Do," another Christmas wreath is used. On the season 3 episode "Big Brother is Watching," a loud lion's roar is heard in place of the usual meow-sound (which is funny considering the origins of the company and the logo...).
- Rhoda: On the season 1 episode "Guess What I Got You for the Holidays", it's the same as the later Bob Newhart Christmas variant.
- The New WKRP in Cincinnati: Dubbed with Les Nessman exclaiming "Ooh!".
- Newhart: Each episode (except the pilot) featured Mimsie meowing... in Bob Newhart's voice. The episode "No Room at the Inn" features a Christmas wreath similar to the one shown on Newhart's prior sitcom and Rhoda. On the season 5 episode "Dick the Kid", Bob's meow sounds duller. On the final episode, "The Last Newhart", the cat yells "QUIET!" (the two Darryls' first and only word).
- Remington Steele: Mimsie wears a Sherlock Holmes deerstalker cap and meerschaum pipe. As she begins to meow, the pipe drops out of her mouth and falls in front of "PRODUCTIONS" or "ENTERPRISES, INC.".
- St. Elsewhere: Mimsie is wearing a scrub suit and a surgical mask, which is animated to look like a mouth is moving underneath when she meows. On the final episode, "The Last One", she (possibly portrayed by another cat) is hooked on life support on a hospital bed throughout the last credit roll. The credits run as usual over a picture of the MTM circle, with life support equipment attached on either side. You can hear the beeps of the heart monitor over the end theme, too. After the credits complete, the company name fades in and Mimsie flatlines and dies, with a long, high-pitched beep heard. This variation is especially rare, as reruns of the series finale plastered it over with the typical credits (As a sidenote, the actual cat, Mimsie, died in 1988, the same year St. Elsewhere ended).
- The Steve Allen Show: Mimsie (who also wears Allen's famous eyeglasses) lip-syncs Allen's "Schmock!".
- The White Shadow: Mimsie is replaced by a black and white cat bouncing a basketball. There is a shorter version with the company name already there and the cat footage looped (and thus the cat is continually bouncing the ball). The other (seen only at the end of the series pilot) has the letters animating as usual and at the end, the ball falls off-screen and the cat appears to be looking down at it. Some prints of the pilot have the looped version, however.
- Xuxa: Another dub job; instead of "meow", Mimsie says "ciao".
- A Little Sex: The MTM logo forms as usual... but Mimsie is a cartoon! She is also more to the side of the circle, which now has a black background. She meows as always, and then another cat enters the circle! The two felines rub against each other and start purring.
- Carlton Your Doorman: Carlton's cat Ringo is seen in the MTM logo instead of Mimsie. The circle seems to have been redrawn to be more "animation" like. Carlton says off-screen, "C'mon, 'Meow!'". When Ringo doesn't meow, Carlton mutters "D**n cat...".
- Bay City Blues: An animated Mimsie wears a baseball cap and baseball glove in her right paw; she catches a baseball and meows.
- Vampire: The MTM text is all in dark red, and Mimsie is nowhere to be seen.
- The Mary Tyler Moore Show 20th Anniversary: At the end, Mimsie says "Bye!" (in Mary Tyler Moore's voice).
- Einsenhower and Lutz: The "meow" is sung in the style of the closing credits music.
- The Bob Newhart 19th Anniversary Special: Bob Newhart himself says "Meow!" much like he does on the main Newhart variant.
- The Trials of Rosie O'Neill: The logo appears in a still shot against a brown background with gold lettering.
- The Betty White Show: On one unknown part of the two-part episode "We're Not Divorced", the "meow" is not heard.
- The Texas Wheelers: A full-screen scene has a black-and-white kitten looking from around a corner where there is a water pipe and meows (though not the same as Mimsie's meow). The company's name appears over the scene in the same font as the closing credits.
- Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers: At least the final episode is said to involve the MTM circle turning upside down. Awaiting confirmation/denial/description.
- The Texas Wheelers (series finale, though this could either be "The Rebel", the last aired episode, or the final produced episode): There is a "mystery" variant yet to be seen...A story, featured in a Chicago Tribune article in 1985, recalled that "In the final episode...an animated version of the kitten staggered from behind a wagon wheel and dropped dead". There may be a standard "Cowboy" logo too, but neither has been proven.
- WKRP in Cincinnati: The season 2 episode "Jennifer Falls in Love" uses a different meow track.
- In the Lion's Den: TBA
Unofficial Nicknames: for the non-Mimsie MTM cats...
- "Shadow" - White Shadow.
- "Shadow Jr." - The Texas Wheelers (as it looks like a younger version of the WS cat, you see).
- "Abogast" - from the Bob Newhart "No Sale" variant.
- "Smokey" - Mimsie's companion from the A Little Sex variant.
FX/SFX: The "M" zooming out and morphing into 2 M's, and the "T" dropping. The rest is shown above.
Music/Sounds: None really, except the end theme of the show and the meow.
- Starting in 1996, a 4-note jingle was added before the "meow". On the game show Shopping Spree, Burton Richardson announces "In association with MTM Enterprises, Inc." on the logo while the theme is playing and Mimsie meowing.
- On the Shout! Factory DVD print of the season 4 Hill Street Blues episode "Grace Under Pressure", the 20th Television fanfare plays over the logo, cutting off the end of the closing theme and the meow.
- On the Shout! Factory DVD print of the season 5 Bob Newhart Show episode "Et Tu, Carol", the end theme and meow are warped.
- On the season 1 Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Second-Story Story", the meow is half a second off-sync.
Availability: Fairly common. It can be seen on WKRP in Cincinnati in local syndication, St. Elsewhere and Hill Street Blues on H&I and on NuVO TV and The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show on Me-TV, as MTM (and other production companies now under the News Corp. library) is now followed by 20th Television. (Though it's followed by both the Viacom "V of Doom" and the 20th Television logo on some episodes of Bob Newhart on Me-TV, and on the last two seasons' DVD releases via Shout! Factory, perhaps due to Viacom once having distribution rights.) The only factors are the rarity of widespread reruns of MTM shows, and 20th Century Fox's sparse releasing of DVDs from the company's library (and sub-licensing of certain series to Shout!). On Hulu, the logo is intact. The St. Elsewhere finale variation is especially rare, as it was shown on NBC and nowhere else to our knowledge. VHS copies and reruns just use the regular credit sequence and logo (with the exception of the ALN print, which has the normal credits and only the 20th Television logo). You can see it on the Paley Center's copy, however, as is also the case with the Carlton variation, another particular rarity. The logo with the later byline makes infrequent appearances at the end of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman on UP. Texas Wheelers episodes are also available in Paley, awaiting more logo information.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The silence, the "meow", the fading out of the music, and the kitten coming out of nowhere might catch some people by surprise. Plus, there's the factor of not knowing what Mimsie will look or sound like per program. The St. Elsewhere finale variation may be extremely upsetting, as might the Texas Wheelers finale variation, if the description is accurate. Ringo appearing in the Carlton variant might be surprising and a bit disturbing due to his grumpy expression. Other than that, it's mostly a cute logo.
THIS ARTICLE HAS BEEN DEDICATED TO: Mary Tyler Moore and her cat Mimsie.
We will remember them forever, deep-down in our hearts and we will never forget them.