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NET was a former major educational and public TV network, founded in early 1952 and incorporated in November of that year. Among their original affiliates were WNET New York, KCET Los Angeles, WGBH Boston, WQED Pittsburgh, KLRN San Antonio, KLRU Austin, WETA Washington D.C., Maryland Public Television, WTTW Chicago, and various others. Originating from The Educational Television and Radio Center from 1952-1959, and later The National Educational Television and Radio Center from 1959 to 1962, when the radio portion was dropped. It was succeeded by PBS in 1970.
(May 16, 1952-September 30, 1962)
Nickname: "The NET Circle"
Logo: Just a gray background with a white circle with "NET" in black lettering. FX/SFX: An announcer said "This is National Educational Television".
Cheesy Factor: Since NET in its early years was a limited service for distributing educational films produced by local stations nationally, and perhaps because of that there is not much in the way of design and production values, this was probably intended as a placeholder and not as an official NET logo.
Music/Sounds: None. Just the announcer.
Availability: The only known surviving film print to contain this logo is a 1955 episode of the WTTW Chicago series Discovery at the Brookfield Zoo, available for viewing on the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives website. Since the network was known as ETRC at the time, it is possible that this is a reprint with the NET logo tacked on.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, it may surprise some people, as well unnerving those who don't like old logos in the process.
(May 16, 1952-September 30, 1962)
Nickname: "NET Map of America"
Logo: This consists of the typewriter letters "NET", each in a segmented rounded square, on a white map of the U.S. inside a black circle on a white background, with what looks like an antenna on the map. "NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION" and "EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION AND RADIO CENTER" are shown above and below, respectively, in really small print.
Cheesy Factor: Most likely another placeholder.
Availability: Not sure if any old film prints at the Museum of Broadcast Communications have this logo, but it did show up three times on Because of You: 50 Years of Channel 9.
Scare Factor: None.
(May 16, 1952-September 30, 1962)
Nickname: "Another NET Map of America"
Logo: We see a close-up of the letters "N", "E", and "T", each in a black box, positioned along the coast of California on a gray background. The camerazooms away from the letters, revealing the whole map of America, with a white line along the West Coast and Northernmost states. The boxes shoot to the right, revealing "National", "Educational", and "Television". Then, the text fades into the words "EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION AND RADIO CENTER".
Variant: There is a still variant.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: Thankfully, there is effort in this logo. The animation, however, is very primitive, even for its time.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: Just an announcer saying "This is National Educational Television." The still variant uses a different announcer.
Availability: Much like the second logo, it is unknown if film prints at the Museum of Broadcast Communications have this logo, however it did show up once on the 50th anniversary special for KVIE in Sacramento. A still variant can be found on The Born Criminal. The animated variant appears on Channelizing Aggresion; The Impact of Personalities.
Scare Factor: Low to medium, for the animation could be a bit spooky.
(May 16, 1952-October 2, 1966)
Nicknames: "The Carpet", "The NET House", "The House on TV Static"
Logo: On a dark background with little white "stars" (kinda looks like carpet, but is actually supposed to represent TV static), we see the "Roof" logo in white (The words "NET" with the T connecting to a roof that hangs over the N and E, with an antenna sticking out of the roof). The style of this logo would be used later on.
Cheesy Factor: The background looks like they just aimed the camera at the floor!
- Until October 1962, an announcer (Edward R. Murrow) said "This is National Educational Television."
- An alternate version of the logo featured the announcer saying, "This is N-E-T, National Educational Television." This began in 1955 and outlived its predecessor, being used until 1966.
Availability: Extremely rare. One surviving source is a 1960 episode of the WTTW Chicago series Beginnings, available for viewing on the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives website.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The darkness and announcer might startle a few.
Nickname: "NET in a House"
Logo: On a grey background, we see a black house with the words "NET" inside. Unlike other logos which use the "Roof" logo, the "T" isn't connected to the roof.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: An announcer said "This is National Educational Television".
Availability: Extremely rare. The only known appearance is from That Free Men May Live: Martin Luther King, Jr., available for viewing on PBS.org.
Scare Factor: Same as above, but compared to the next two logos (especially the later one), it's nothing.
(October 3, 1966-February 18, 1968)
Nickname: "NET Globe-Like Birdcage", "Fire Cage of Doom", "The YouTube Dots and Fire", "When You Think Your Video Is Buffering" The NYET
Logo: On a black screen, several dots flash near the center of the screen (a la Screen Gems “Dancing Sticks” logo, or like YouTube dots while a video is charging), and then we see a circle being drawn in the counterclockwise direction. A line is drawn through the circle going downwards, which quickly vanishes. A small fire can be seen starting within the circle. Another line is drawn through the center of the circle from left to right. Two lines like that on a Worldvision-like globe are drawn. Another pair, closer to the circle are drawn, like that of the first lines, and then two horizontal lines above the first horizontal line. The camera zooms backwards and we see a thick line (the top of the T) being drawn under the ball of fire, which later connects to the ball of fire. A vertical line (the beginning of the N) is then formed. The T then finishes, and then the diagonal part of the N appears. Lastly, the E is formed. The fire continues blazing until we fade out.
FX/SFX: The dots, the live-action fire, and the lines being drawn.
Cheesy Factor: The animation is rough, especially when the letters are formed. The dots at the beginning of the logo look like a YouTube video buffering.Also The fire looks like a human dancing.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: Pinball-like dings to start, which turns into a bombastic but brief brass piece. Almost immediately afterward, an announcer can be heard saying "The following program is from N-E-T, the National Educational Television network." (opening) or "This is N-E-T, the National Educational Television network.". (closing)
Availability: Extremely rare. Can be seen on the 1965 program Changing the World: Southeast Asia, the Other War and the 1967 program Aphasia, the road back, both available for viewing on the Museum of Broadcast Communications Archives website. It has also been preserved on the VHS and DVD of Ten Blocks on the Camino Real.
Scare Factor: Minimal to high. Even though it is not as widely remembered as the 1968 logo and future PBS logos, this could be quite scary, as the music, spooky announcer, live-action fire, and animation could set off people. It escalated with the next logo. Medium to high if the audio is warped, as the distortion can cause more scares.
(February 19, 1968-October 4, 1970)
Top row: First five images are the regular variants, while the last two images are the "Mister Rogers" variants.
Nicknames: "The Roof", "The NET Logo", "Tri-Colored Roof Of Doom", "The NET House II"
Logo: First, the left section of the screen fills with red from the bottom, the middle section fills with yellow from the top, and the right section fills with blue from the bottom. One by one, each colored section flips to form the letters "NET" on a black background. Then either one of two things would happen:
- 1968-1969: The text "NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION" appears above the NET logo and morph into a line, which bends to form a gable roof with an aerial antenna on top, which is connected to the T. You can see 4th logo for see about the style of this logo.
- 1969-1970: A blue line is drawn above the letters, which bends to form the aforementioned gable roof with the aerial antenna on top (still connected to the T) from the 1968 variant.
- The 1968 version came in both black and white and color versions.
- Some shows, such as Black Journal, used opening and closing versions of this logo.
- On the first 3 seasons (1968-1970) of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, the NET logo was built into the apartment building that was part of the toy neighborhood in the show’s opening and closing (it was in black on B&W broadcasts to stand out better). This feature remained in reruns until 1989. A copyright notice to “National Educational Television and Radio Center” continued to be used on the show through 1971.
- A variant was reported to exist that featured the "antenna" on top of the "roof" rotating, sort of like a wind up toy.
- The closing variant in Black Journal has the animation for the logo (during the part when the right section of the screen fills up with blue) fade in a few seconds after the music begins.
- At the end of Black Journal, an alternative closing variant can be seen after the regular closing logo. It's just the text "NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TELEVISION" in gray stacked on top of each other on a black background. The end result is quite similar to the first PBS logo.
- There is a heavily warped and spliced variant due to film deterioration. It was found on a print of a documentary(?) called Right of Privacy.
FX/SFX: The flipping effects.
Cheesy Factor: The flipping effects are a very cheesy '60s and early '70s FX standard. The alternative closing logo is also very basic and could easily be mistaken for a placeholder logo, just like PBS's first logo.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: A low-tone violin-like synth fanfare edited from "Plenipoteniary" by Eric Siday, similar in style to his Screen Gems “S from Hell” and CBS “In Color” jingles, and an announcer saying his part below depending on the variant:
- 1968-1969: The announcer says “The following program is from N-E-T, the National Educational Television network.” (opening) or “This is N-E-T, the National Educational Television network.” (closing).
- 1969-1970: The announcer says “The following program is from N-E-T, the public television network.” (opening) or “This is N-E-T, the public television network.” (closing).
Availability: Extremely rare. The B&W 1968 logo made an appearance on the VHS release of Our Neighbor, Fred Rogers, but was cut from TV rebroadcasts of the documentary since 2003. It can be seen on several shows available for viewing at The Paley Center for Media, including the series premiere episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968 version, B&W), Black Journal (1968 version, color), and Sesame Street (1969 version, color). Though the videocassette release of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episode "Death of a Goldfish" plasters the standard version of the 1969 logo with the 1971 PBS logo, the show's in-credit variant remains. The 1969 opening and closing versions can also be seen on the Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2 DVD set on the test pilot episode. The 1968 closing version can be found on episodes 1-5 of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, available for download or burn-on-demand at Amazon.com. The 1968 alternative closing logo is quite rare, it can be seen on Black Journal (1968 version, color). The rotating antenna variant could possibly be fake.
Scare Factor: Medium to high. The creepy synth fanfare that makes you feel about the "S from Hell", the announcer, the dark background, and the poor audio and grainy film may be quite scary for those who aren't used to seeing it. High for the Right of Privacy variant, as the warped audio would definitely catch those that were expecting the normal logo off-guard.