NOTE: This is a work in progress.
Background: PBS Kids is a programming block and serves as the brand for most of the children's programming aired by the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States, established as part of PBS' "Ready To Learn" Initiative. The block was launched as PTV on September 10, 1993 to repackage PBS' existing children's programming, which at the time included Barney & Friends and Sesame Street, among several other shows. The PTV brand was retired on September 5, 1999 and has been officially known as PBS Kids since September 6, 1999. The PBS Kids Channel was launched at the time time as the PBS Kids block and ran for six years and was largely funded by satellite TV provider DirecTV. The channel was shut down on September 26, 2005 and was replaced by PBS Kids Sprout, which was developed in partnership with Comcast Corporation (who later bought full control of the network via NBCUniversal). However, another PBS Kids Channel is expected to launch in late 2016.
(September 10, 1993-2002)
Nicknames: "P-Pals", "E/i", "PBS Cartoon P-Pals", "PBS P-Pals", "This is PBS Woo-Hoo-Hoo", "Cartoon PBS P-Head"
Logo: On a white background, we see some crudely drawn P-heads (the first of which is named Pernell P-Pal), with Pernell wearing a red cap and an earring, singing "This is! P-B-SSSSSS!" while dancing. Near the end, Pernell ad-libs "Woo-hoo-hooooo!" a la Michael Jackson as his cap flies off. Then, the text "PBS" in its corporate font appears in black as the cap drops back on his head, and a red P-shaped dog (whose name is P-Pet) runs across the screen, barks, then walks away.
Trivia: The logo was designed and animated by Gene Mackles, who also created the P-Pals characters for the PBS Kids programming from the era. Pernell is also brown wearing a green, yellow polka dotted hat in other P-Pals material.
- There is a variation where the dog gives the P-head a blue balloon with the text "e/i" (pronounced, ee-eye, and short for "Educational and Informative") on it in the Comic Sans font, which was added in 1996, just after the 6th PBS ident debuted.
- Sometimes, the logo fades out after the P-Pet barks.
- There is a variation where the camera quickly goes through a doorway on a black background and the three color-changing P-heads are seen against the white background, with confetti falling from the top, and all three P-heads yell "Surprise!" and cheer with loud party horns heard in the background. This was a very short-lived version and was usually played in-between shows as a promo.
- There is a long version of the "Surprise!" variant which first takes place on a black background. Then the door opens and one of the P-pals peeks in. Then it peeks out and the door closes. Then the P-Pet (from the standard version), walks through the screen and into the door. Then another P-Pal peeks in from the above and peeks out. Then the door opens and we proceed into the animation above.
- There is another variant of the long version where some kids say "The P-Pals are coming!" 8 times, then they say "Who are the P-pals?" right before the door opens, then after the door opens and the P-Pals yell surprise they shout "The P-Pals are coming!" one last time, and then one of the kids says "Watch for them!"
FX/SFX: The P-heads dancing, the cap flying off, "PBS" fading in.
Cheesy Factor: The early '90s animation is quite tacky and seems very limited.
Music/Sounds: A techno-pop tune with drums and a bass. The "Surprise!" variation just has loud party horns and cheering. The long version of that has giggling and a door creaking until going in the sounds mentioned before.
Availability: Rare; it has a slim chance of appearing on PBS Kids shows from 1993-1999 if your local PBS station is airing them, but your best bets are PBS Home Video releases from the late '90s including Theodore Tugboat and Teletubbies tapes from 1998-1999 before the logo ended (Not sure if the DVD versions of the latter contain this logo or the 2nd logo). It's also on some of the VHS releases of Zoom (1999 version) as well, including "Party with Zoom" and "The Making of ZOOM" (the episode where the kids danced to the Spice Girls backstage). The original version of this logo is also preserved on some PolyGram Video releases of Wishbone episodes, including "Salty Dog", though it's missing on "The Prince and the Pooch", "The Slobbery Hound", and "Twisted Tail". The "Surprise!" variants are extinct, with the short variant in particular very short-lived. However, it was used on UNC-TV until late 2001. The logo made its first appearance on the Bill Nye the Science Guy episode "Flight". Warner Home Video releases of Teletubbies from the time have this logo. The 1993 variant appeared on Twitch.tv's print of prints of various Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episodes from the era, as well as Episode #1643 from 1991 and the 1996 E/I variant appeared on Twitch.tv prints of many episodes that were created between 1997 and 1999. The last known appearance of this logo on television was in 2005 on ETPTV after an episode of Square One TV Math Talk. This logo was used on WIPR-TV well into 2002.
- Normal Versions: Low; the crude drawing style, the loud jingle and the way the P-heads dance looks ugly. Nevertheless, this logo is well-liked by people who grew up in the '90s. But it's also one of the most annoying logos ever, thanks to the music, which is very catchy to the point of getting stuck in your head and never wanting to leave.
- "Surprise!" Variants: Medium. The sudden appearance, fast zoom in and music along with the same things from the normal version may spook more than a few.
(September 27, 1993-October 7, 1994)
Logo: Over footage of kids in red and blue uniforms swinging jumpropes around, the P-head zooms in, facing left as it did until 1984. Then a stylized T, looking like three red dots across with three red dots below, zooms in in a similar fashion, followed by a green square with a cutout V.
FX/SFX: The live-action footage, and the computer-generated animation.
Music/Sounds/Voiceovers: A catchy drum beat, with an announcer calling out each letter as they appear.
Availability: Extinct. Only seen on later reruns of Square One TV.
Scare Factor: Low. Those used to seeing the 1989 PBS logo or the P-Pals may be surprised to see this one.
(September 6, 1999-October 7, 2013)
Nicknames: "Dot and Dash", "PBS Kids Girl", "PBS Kids Boy", Doink! PBS Kids!"
Logo: On a green background, either a boy (called Dash) or a girl (called Dot) will appear running up to the screen or thinking something. The background turns into thin yellow, cyan and shocking pink (for Dot) or thick shocking pink (for Dash) stripes, then a green bubble appears in the center. The girl's face or the boy's face will appear in the bubble and a thought cloud that reads "PBS" appears above the kid's head. Then a child will sing "Doink! PBS Kids!" A URL address for PBS Kids appears at the bottom left of the screen. There are 2 versions
Version 1: On a green background, a girl with a red, long sleeved shirt and shoes, is running across the street, pointing her finger, until she reaches to the center of the screen. The girl's name is Dot. Dot turns to the right side, and checks to see of anybody is here. Then, she turns to the left side, smiling with an excited expression on her face. Then, the background becomes a circle, and a thought bubble forms the letters PBS. Dot is completely in the circle, Cyan blue, yellow, and thin pink stripes appear in the background. Sometimes the URL appears on the lower left hand of the screen.
Version 2: On a green background, we see a person's eye open and close, uncomfortably close to the screen, Then, the camera zooms out, and we see a boy with a white, short sleeved shirt. The boy's name is Dash. Dash wonders what he is thinking about, and he scratches his head five times. Then, an idea pops in Dash's head, and Dash smiles quite excitedly, and says "Doink," Then, the background becomes a circle, and a thought bubble forms the letters PBS. Dash is comfortably in the circle, The background has thicker pink stripes on it, Sometimes, the URL appears below.
Trivia: This logo was designed by Richard McGuire (an artist that creates PBS Kids-style characters for the magazine The New Yorker, although he has created PBS Kids-style characters long before this logo was introduced) and animated at Lee Hunt Associates.
- On September 6, 1999 six new idents for PBS Kids were introduced. For the first few weeks, they were used in tandem with the first logo. Eventually, they replaced the first logo. However, some PBS stations used the previous logo until 2002 and on older programming.
- There is a variation of this logo used for international prints of PBS Kids shows. In this variant, the background is black, the entire logo is removed except for the word "PBS" and the words "PRODUCED IN ASSOCIATION WITH" appear above the words "PBS". This variant appears instead of the funding credits and the end of international prints of most PBS Kids shows. The start of the international prints of PBS Kids shows cut out the funding credits entirely, meaning that go straight into the respective show's intro.
- On VHS and DVD releases of PBS Kids shows, the word "kidsvideo" appears below the logo. The logo cuts to black, but sometimes the logo fades out on some releases. On Teletubbies and Boohbah DVDs, the logo freezes after it's finished. The Dot logo freezes to the Paramount DVD Warning (at the end of Boohbah DVDs, it wasn't shown at the end of Teletubbies DVDs) and the Dash logo freezes to the DVD menu (after the warning, at the beginning of Boohbah and Teletubbies DVDs).
FX/SFX: The bubble appearing, the kid appearing, the thought cloud forming.
Music/Sounds: A catchy, quiet, a-cappella choir tune sung by a specific gender of kids, depending on each variant; the Dot variation has a chorus of young girls, and the Dash version is sung by boys. At the end of both (and other variants) idents, they all end up eventually singing "Doink! PBS Kids!". None or the closing theme of the respective show for the International "Produced In Association With" variant.
Music/Sound Variants: There are variants with bongo drums beating, children whispering, or a kid giggling
Some PBS Kids VHS releases like Caillou the Explorer, Caillou At His Best, Caillou Goodbye Winter Hello Springtime, Boohbah Comfy Armchair, Teletubbies Blue Sky, some Caillou DVDs, PBS Kids VHS and DVD releases by Paramount (except Boohbah and Teletubbies DVDs), and the 2013 DVD of Arthur Stands Up to Bullying, use the PBS Kidsvideo Dash logo with the Dot audio. This is most likely because the Dash logo plastered the Dot logo on releases, or because of an audio error. In this variant, the Dash logo fades out
Availability: Common. While no longer in use, it is still seen on older pre-2013 prints of children's programming on PBS. Also, this logo plastered the 1993 logo on some prints of PBS Kids programs. The "kidsvideo" variant can be seen on VHS and DVD releases like Caillou, Theodore Tugboat, Zoboomafoo and Teletubbies tapes. A few episodes of the teen program In the Mix also ended with this logo. Don't expect this to appear on international prints of PBS Kids programs, as it is replaced along with the funding credits by the International variant. Strangely, said variant can be found on Clifford the Big Red Dog tapes from Lions Gate. Surprisingly, VHS releases like Baby Animals, Caillou's Furry Friends, Cyberchase Totally Rad, and the 2005 VHS of Boohbah Big Windows use no PBS Kids Dash logo at the beginning or end. The Dot variant was seen on Dragon Tales, Jay Jay The Jet Plane, and some Clifford The Big Red Dog episodes aired on PBS, and the Dash variant can also be seen on some Dragon Tales and Clifford The Big Red Dog episodes aired on PBS as well. The Dot variant was spotted on Dragon Tales DVDs and VHS Tapes, as well as some Jay Jay the Jet Plane DVDs and VHS Tapes. The Dot variant was also seen on 2002 reprints of Arthur DVDs that were originally released on VHS in 2001, such as Arthur Goes to the Doctor, However, most DVD and VHS releases of Arthur take this logo away, and replace it with the 4th logo.
Scare Factor: None. However, some people could get excited, surprised, or scared by the characters and the music. This logo isn't as good as the 1st logo, but it is still a great logo.
(September 6, 1999-August 31, 2008)
Nicknames: "The PBS Kids Bubble"
Logo: We see the PBS Kids logo from before (most often Dash) placed against a background that differs on the variant. Often times, Dash is replaced by a character from a PBS Kids show (mostly the kids from Zoom), or a kid depending on the variant.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: A combination of live-action, animation, and chroma-key technology.
Music/Sounds: Depends on the variant.
Availability: Extinct. Check your old tapes.
Scare Factor: Depends on the variant, it can range from none to medium.
(September 4, 2000-October 7, 2013)
Nicknames: "Transform", "Dot and Dash II", "PBS Kids Girl II", "PBS Kids Boy II", "Doink! PBS Kids II", "Dot Transform," "Dash Transform."
Logo: The 1st ident of the set is Dot, the girl, who is at first a tiger, then an octopus, and finally an astronaut. Something that suspiciously sounds like "Doy is heard instead of Doink." and the circular PBS Kids logo is shown. There are stars in this background. The 2nd one is Dash, the boy, who is at first a caveman, then a scuba diver, and finally a robot. He grabs the letters PBS, and the circular PBS Kids logo is shown. There is no "Doink, or similar sound in this ident. Blue bubbles are shaking on a pale, spring bud background. Also, like the 2nd logo at the lower left hand of the screen, the URL address for PBS Kids will appear like before.
Variants: On international prints of PBS Kids shows, as well as the series George Shrinks, Seven Little Monsters, The Berenstain Bears (the 2003 version) and Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse, there is a variation in which the logo is a still picture of the Astronaut part of this logo. However the logo is slightly off-center and Dash in his robot form is replaced with the words "Produced In Association With" and the PBS Circle P-Head logo below.
Trivia: This logo was animated at Lee Hunt Associates.
FX/SFX: Background changing colors.
Music/Sounds: Some kids softly scatting the music from the 1999 logo at first accompanied by a synthesizer, then a weird bubbling-up-like rocket ship sound effect and then the kids singing "PBS Kids!" in a higher tone than the previous one. There are special sound effects when the character does something. None or the respective show's closing theme for the International variant. Sometimes, the audio from another PBS Kids logo is heard.
Availability: Same as the 2nd logo. Seen on all children's programming from 2000 to 2013 on PBS. However, international prints of PBS Kids programs cut this logo and funding credits and replace them with the International variant. Said variant was preserved on Qubo airings of Marvin the Tap-Dancing Horse, and likely on DVD and VHS prints of 2003's The Berenstain Bears. It also appears, for some reason, on most Sony Wonder DVDs of Arthur, like Arthur's Eyes, and Arthur's Teacher Trouble. Shows like re runs of some episodes of Clifford The Big Red Dog, Clifford's Puppy Days, and Sesame Street also ended with this logo,This logo was also seen on Arthur episodes until October 11, 2004, when it was replaced with the PBS Kids Go logo.
Scare Factor: None, though some may find this logo rather annoying.
Nicknames: "Dot and Dash III", "PBS Kids Girl III", "PBS Kids Boy III", "Doink! PBS Kids III"
Logo: The 1st ident of the set is Dash, the boy, who is seen ice-skating. Suddenly he feels the ground shake and he stops. Then, the camera pans out to reveal that he is in a snow globe, which is held by Dot, with completely different powder blue colored skin, who giggles, "Doink!" Snowflakes are seen during the circular PBS Kids logo. The 2nd one shows Dash looking in his fish bowl to find himself as an orange fish. After a second, he gets swallowed by Dot as a green fish and the circular PBS Kids logo is shown. There are bubbles in this background.
Trivia: This logo was animated at Primal Screen.
FX/SFX: Dash ice-skating, the zoom out, the snowflakes on the snow globe bumper. Dash looking in his fish bowl, the bubbles, the fish on the fish bumper.
Music/Sounds: A whimsical 6-note vibraphone tune for the snow variant and no music for the fish variant. The fish variant has some bubbling sounds followed by a boy scatting the 1999 jingle circle-lipped, as if to imitate a fish. Both end with what you hear above.
Availability: Seen on 2002-2008 prints of PBS Kids programming. Like before, the second ident appears on a few Arthur DVDs by Sony Wonder (such as Arthur's Tooth).
Scare Factor: Same as 4th logo.
(November 25, 2005)
Nicknames: "Sports", "Dot and Dash IV", "PBS Kids Girl IV", "PBS Kids Boy IV", "Doink! PBS Kids IV"
Logo: We first see a soccer ball being kicked to our left by Dash, wearing a blue and black uniform. Then the soccer ball turns into a tennis ball, which Dot, wearing a white and pink tennis uniform, hits it with a tennis racket. The ball turns into a baseball, which Dash, now in a blue uniform and helmet, hits it with a bat. The ball then flies past a scoreboard with the circular PBS Kids logo on it and out of the stadium.
FX/SFX: The animation.
Music/Sounds: Same as the 2nd logo's Dot variant. At the end, we hear a crowd cheering.
Availability: Extinct. This was shown during the Big Big Friend Day special which aired on PBS Kids in 2005.
Scare Factor: Same as the 2nd logo.
Nicknames: "Wrapping Paper", "Dot and Dash V", "PBS Kids Girl V", PBS Kids Boy V", "Doink! PBS Kids V"
Logo: We see Dot and Dash walking through what appears to be a factory. Then, we see a roll of polka-dotted wrapping paper, which the two roll up by its end. With it, the circular PBS Kids logo flies in.
FX/SFX: Same as before.
Music/Sounds: Same as before with no other sound effects.
Availability: Same as before. Like the previous logo, this was shown during the Big Big Friend Day special.
Scare Factor: Same as before.
(November 25, 2005)
Nicknames: "Sand Castles", "Dot and Dash VI", "PBS Kids Girl VI", "PBS Kids Boy VI", "Doink! PBS Kids VI"
Logo: On a bright sunny background in a beach-like setting, we see Dash in a bathing suit and sandals. To the right of him is a sandcastle that he built. He tries to show it off to Dot but then he is surprised as the camera zooms out to reveal Dot's sand structure, which is a sphinx with her head on it. She dusts off her hands as Dash looks in awe at her structure. Then we fade to the circular PBS Kids logo.
FX/SFX: Same as the last 2 logos.
Cheesy Factor: The fading to the PBS Kids logo is kind of random and looks like it was added at the last minute.
Music/Sounds: Same as before.
Availability: Same as the last 2 logos.
Scare Factor: Same as the last 2 logos.
(January 16, 2006; 2015)
Nicknames: "The Switcher", "The Button", "The Doink! Button" "Dot and Dash VII", "PBS Kids Girl VII", "PBS Kids Boy VII", "Doink! PBS Kids VII"
Logo: We start out by seeing two halves of the screen separated by a black line with what appears to be a button in its center. Dash is on the left side of the screen, while Dot is on the right. Dot is shown as a shadow. She then presses the button, turning Dash into a shadow of a chicken, then Dash presses the button, turning Dot into an umbrella. Then the two keep pressing the button, transforming Dash into a flower, a bear, and an arrow, as well as transforming Dot into a hammer and a rabbit. Then the two keep pressing the button rapidly back and forth until they both turn into shadows of things (Dash is a ball while Dot is a fly). When this happens, the screen is no longer separated, the shadows are on a yellow background, and the circular PBS Kids logo is at the top of the screen and is smaller than usual. We then fade out.
FX/SFX: Same as the last 3 logos.
Music/Sounds: As the button is pressed, we hear "Doink!" noises. When the button is pressed rapidly, the "Doink!" noise is also rapidly heard until we hear a laser-like noise which brings us to Dot and Dash both turning into shadows of things. We then hear the 4 notes of the PBS Kids jingle being played by a bubbly synth, followed by the "PBS Kids!" part of the jingle, which is scatted by synchronized "Doink!" noises.
Availability: Extinct. This is a rare ID which was shown on Martin Luther King Day of 2006 (January 16, 2006). Recently appeared during a 2015 PBS Kids broadcast on the WFWA station.
Scare Factor: Same as the last 3 logos.
(September 4, 2006-April 1, 2015)
Nicknames: "Logo of Boredom", "Logo that like an in-credit logo"
Logo: We see the words "THIS PROGRAM WAS PARTIALLY FUNDED BY" with PBS Kids (with Kids above, not in the logo) logo above.
Cheesy Factor: It's just too simple.
Music Sounds: The closing theme of show.
Availability: Only seen on Curious George.
Scare Factor: None.
(September 1, 2008-October 7, 2013)
Nicknames: "Dot and Dash IV", "PBS Kids Girl IV", "PBS Kids Boy IV", "Doink! PBS Kids IV"
Logo: The logo shows Dot and Dash doing a certain activity, before the PBS Kids circular logo is shown.
Variants: Here are some of the variations of the activities included:
- Rock climbing
- There are also two rare Valentine's Day variants used in 2009. Dash's version has him blowing up a pink balloon and Dot's version has her receiving Valentine's cards in the mailbox. Both versions end with the PBS Kids circle logo on a hot magenta/cerise-textured BG while hearts are cascading in the BG.
Trivia: This logo was designed and animated at Primal Screen, who also did the previous logo.
FX/SFX: A mix of 2-D and cut-out animation.
Music/Sounds: The 2nd ident's jingle once again, but without the kids chanting at the end. Often a single kid simply says "PBS Kids." The musical instruments these variants are played with vary depending on the activity, exactly like the 9th PBS Ident. The VD variants however have totally different music, ending with a group of kids yelling "Happy Valentine's Day!", then a single kid says "From PBS Kids."
- Sandbox has a bassoon, vibraphone, synth-organ and a tuba.
- Daffodil has a vibraphone and tuba.
- Fireflies has a synth-bassoon.
- Camera has a slit drum and marimba.
- Fireworks has a hang, timpani, snare drum and bass violin.
- Carrots has a synth-organ.
- Sheep has a banjo.
- Balloon has a mandobass and percussion.
- Dash's Valentine's Day variant has a jazzy bass violin pizzicato tune with drums beating. Dot's VD variant has a South American-style folk dance tune with conga drums, piano and acoustic guitar.
Availability: Currently used on 2008-2013 prints PBS Kids programming. This logo first aired on Sid The Science Kid.
Scare Factor: Same as 4th logo.
(October 7, 2013- )
Nicknames: "Dot, Dee, and Del", ""PBS Kids Boy V", "Doink! PBS Kids V"
Logo: In the same purpose as the 6th logo, the logo shows Dot, Dee, and Del doing a certain activity, before the PBS Kids circular logo is shown. Also, Dash's PBS Kids logo is seen on every variation, meaning that the Dot version is retired.
Variants: Here are some of the variations of the activities included:
- Forest Run
- Ping Pong
- Power of 10
- Band Parade
- And more!
Trivia: This logo was designed and animated at Primal Screen, who also did the previous two logos.
FX/SFX: 2D flat animation that is quite similar to the 2nd logo.
Music/Sounds: The music from the 2nd logo is used again, but without the kids chanting or the kid saying "PBS Kids" at the end. Like the previous logo, the musical instruments these variants are played with vary depending on the activity, exactly like the 9th PBS Ident. Also, the 2nd logo's theme can be heard in different pitches.
Availability: Currently used on PBS Kids programming. First aired on Peg+Cat.
Scare Factor: Absolutely none. These idents are too cute and humorous to be considered scary.