Logo descriptions by AsdfTheRevival, StephenCezar15, Clownninja78 and others
Logo captures courtesy of MSTS1, StephenCezar15 and others
Video courtesy of Tlogos, danf62465, NantoVision2, superpooper180, JohnnyL80, WheelWatcher12345, DudeThatLogo, and youngleader610 (Mr.Logo)
Editions by Hoa, MrThorax281, KirbyGuy2001 and StephenCezar15
Background: WGBH is a PBS affiliate located in Boston, Massachusetts and was first aired on May 2, 1955 (though they never had a logo until 1972). The network is owned by the WGBH Educational Foundation.
(January 3, 1972-September 1977)
Nicknames: "Zooming WGBH", "WGBH of Doom", "Zooming Letters (of Doom)"
Logo: Against a blue background, the letters "WGBH" in yellow in a generic Helvetica font quickly zoom back, away from the viewer to the vanishing point, and disappearing when the text is very small. Then the word "Boston," also in yellow, also appears out of nowhere and then zooms forward really fast, taking up the whole screen and creating a yellow background. And finally, the word "Presents" zooms forward at a fast pace, in blue.
- On some prints of this logo, due to either film deterioration or film quality, the blue colors are instead dark green.
- A black & white version first appeared on March 3, 1974. In this one, "WGBH" and "Boston" are both black, and "Presents" is white. This can be seen on the first two seasons of NOVA.
- The very first season of NOVA has this logo with the words all in green, zooming out, and Scanimated as part of the show's intro.
- On many early episodes of NOVA, the background is beige at first, and the brown sky at the dawn after "Boston" zoomed in, the words "WGBH" and "Boston" are brown while "Presents" is in beige and it would zoom forward as always, transitioning to the opening cinematic.
- On The French Chef, the logo is superimposed over a slanted flag of France against a blue BG, animation and all.
- On season 3 of NOVA, everything that is supposed to be green in the logo is blue.
- There was a variant seen on programs imported to Japan with Japanese text and a flash similar to that seen in the KBYU "Diamond Flash" logo. There is no music.
- On the Bicentennial edition of Evening at Pops, there is a black background with yellow confetti. The first two words are white and when "Boston" zooms in and takes the full screen, the background is white, and "Presents" is black.
- A brighter version of the blue version is featured on several episodes of The Advocates. The version has a bright blue/yellow-orange background. Some episodes also feature the logo with a bright teal/cyan background.
- Another variant from The Advocates has the yellow "WGBH" text on a burgundy background. This is the earliest known version of it.
FX/SFX/Cheesy Factor: The zooming of the words; simple animation. Additionally, The French Chef variant with the transition from Boston to Presents looks awkward: the Boston moves upward to not fill the screen in this one, and as "Presents" stops zooming in, it's off centered, and the flag looks more like a crooked flag of The Netherlands instead of France. The confetti on the Evening at Popsvariant makes the logo look really ugly. And the unmusical "music" is a recipe for disaster.
Music/Sounds: Composed by Gershon Kingsley, we hear eerie, choppy, UFO-like computer blips that ascend and descend several times, followed by a rising Moog violin stinger.
- The jingle is often sometimes played at a slower speed.
- Sometimes, the B&W version of this logo has a higher pitch.
- A low tone variant exists.
Availability: Extremely rare, as programming from this era is usually no longer rerun. Tape-trading is the only way to see it, or you could find this logo on older WGBH programming, assuming it isn't plastered with a later logo. You might find this on old tapes of The French Chef, Zoom, Evening at Pops, The Victory Garden and Nova episodes from the era. The French Chef variant also showed up when WGBH-2 in Boston, MA had a marathon of old episodes of The French Chef on Christmas day, 2011. Tape-Trading is also another you can find this logo. The DVD release of ZOOM: Back to the 70s has this logo and the 1971 PBS logo.
Scare Factor: Depending on the variant:
- Original Version: High to nightmare. The high-contrast colors, extreme "V of Doom"-style zoom-ins, and that eerie synth music would have been sure to unnerve many people. Especially for those who aren't used to it.
- High-Pitched/Black and White Variant: Nightmare, due to the logo being colorless. Also, the music being higher pitched makes it sound even more creepy than it already was.
- Silent version: Medium to high, now that the creepy theme is gone, the zoom-ins are still here.
(March 3, 1974-Present)
Logo: On a blue background, we see the letters "WGBH" in a bold green font, with the outline of the letters extruding from the front and back, forming a 3D shadow effect from the front and back of the letters. The words "BOSTON" appears underneath also in green.
Music and sounds: None or the show's end theme
Availability: Common, It was first seen on NOVA's series premiere, Shows that have this logo are any WGBH show made before 1993, exceptions are Downton Abbey, Curious George, and some Masterpiece Theater shows are some post 1993 shows that have this logo.
(January 5, 1977-)
Logo: Here are the main variants of this logo:
- Version I: On a black background, two orange lines of "electricity" form two, orange, 2D "shadows", one on top and one on bottom. Then the lines form an orange outline of "WGBH" in between the "shadows". The lines stop, and an orange flash starts behind the outline. The flash clears out "WGBH" as "Boston Presents" appears in an orange Helvetica font. The "Boston Presents" logo was a bumper used at the beginning of the show.
- Version II: Similar to the other logo, but usually with the "WGBH" logo already formed as it fades in, and then the flash occurs and the word "BOSTON" appears, spaced-out, below the logo in an orange Art Deco font.
Trivia: Their slogan up to 1982 was "Public Television. It's better than ever."
Variants: There are many variants in terms of the music and the announcer:
- 1977-1986: The full version of the music,with the complete animation and "Boston Presents" ending, and no announcer.
- 1986-1993: Same as above, but shortened to when "WGBH" begins to flash.
- 1993-2009: The short version of the music, with the logo already formed and no announcer.
- 1993-2009: Same as above, but with an announcer.
- 2001-2009: The short version of the music with no announcer, and the complete (sped-up) animation, and no announcer, but the logo itself has been digitally enhanced. This version was first be seen on episodes of Frontline and eventually showed up on other WGBH programming in subsequent years. A later version has the logo zooming in a bit while the animation is being drawn, which can be seen on episodes of NOVA and Frontline, and was also used as a station ID. Another version had the PBS logo appearing in its place and shining with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH Boston.". A superimposed variant of the animation can be seen on episodes of Masterpiece Theater.
- 2008-present: Same as above, except the lighting and drawing effects are smoother and more refined, with stars surrounding the logo (like in space) when it flashes, the flash is brighter than usual, and no text appears underneath the logo. This can be seen on newer WGBH programming. A version that is tinted blue can be seen on local programming such as Greater Boston.
- Sometimes, the closing theme of the show will play over this logo. This can be seen on pre-2009 episodes of Arthur and Between the Lions.
- 1993-2009: A version can occasionally be spotted in which the "glowing" animation is played, but no text appears. This can be seen on most pre-2005 episodes of Arthur.
- On later episodes of Arthur, the byline "WGBH is a trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation" (and sometimes a URL) is shown below written in the Arthur font.
- Another local version used in the 1980s begins with a blue flash, followed by an orange "2" written in the same style as the WGBH logo zooming up. This variant was always played when the station signed on in the morning, and played in reverse when it signed off at night. No music or sounds play here.
- On Evening with Pops, the 1986 logo was superimposed into the intro.
- The 1993 version of the logo was superimposed of The American Experience.
- There is a version where the logo forms in warp speed. However, during the flash, the logo turns into the PBS logo. This is seen on some episodes of Mystery.
- On The End of the Rainbow, the logo is pink, possibly due to film deterioration.
SFX/FX: The lines of electricity, and the flash.
Cheesy Factor: The flash and light effects are typical of CGI in the Scanimate era of the '70s and early '80s. The enhanced variant slightly tones down the cheesiness, but the music is still evil-sounding and very dated—although the theme fits this logo a lot more than the 1st one.
Music and Sounds: Same as the 1st logo, which adds to the creepiness. There have been 2 versions, a long version and a short version. The entire 7-second jingle is used as the long version, and is in much better sound quality and plays at the correct speed. The short version features only the rising synth chord (but we still hear the UFO noise, but only abridged), and is much more common nowadays. Sometimes, an announcer will say "A production of WGBH Boston." or "(show's name) is a production/presentation of WGBH Boston."
- The Mystery version has the full music along with a male announcer saying "Mystery is a production of WGBH. Produced in Boston, shared with the world."
- A version has been seen with abridged animation, no voice-over, and slightly lower-pitched music on Design Squad.
- Two versions can be heard whether it's long or short; one is the original pitch, while the other is slightly higher pitch. The 1986 version has the former, while the 1993 version has the latter. The 1977 version has either.
- Sometimes the 1993 or 2001 logos have an announcer saying "(Show's name) is a production of WGBH Boston." or simply "A production of WGBH Boston". From 1998 to 2002, on Mystery and Masterpiece Theatre, the announcer has a British accent. On the 1999 revival of Zoom, a kid from the show voices over, with the short music. Starting in 2002, there would be no announcer and it would just have the music. One variant has a creepy voice-over say "Mystery is a presentation of WGBH Boston." On "High School Quiz Show" only, the 2008 logo has an announcer say "a production of WGBH".
- On Greater Boston, an announcer says "This is a production of WGBH 2 Boston" with the show's opening theme music.
- The End of the Rainbow variant had a warped version of the music, possibly due to film deterioration.
Availability: Very common, quite possibly the most common PBS logo you can find. The first version made its debut on the NOVA episode "Hitler's Secret Weapon", and can be seen in its various versions on many PBS shows, such as NOVA, Frontline, American Experience, Masterpiece Theatre, The Victory Garden, and Arthur, among others. The 1993 version with the short music and no announcer has been sighted on early episodes of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman. The "Boston Presents" version can be found on video and may also show up on WGBH shows produced from 1977-1993 if your station has older prints. The original unabridged version can be seen on videocassettes and DVDs of their 1979 miniseries The Scarlet Letter, all of which also preserve the 1971 PBS logo. Until 2017, more recent prints of Arthur plastered the 1993 version with the 2008 variant.
Scare Factor: High to nightmare for the early variant. Medium to high for the 1993, 2001, and 2008 variants. Low to medium for the non-text glowing, closing theme and the Zoom variants. This logo has scared many with its dark colors, eerie animation, and that creepy synth music from the first logo. It's less scary for people who are used to seeing it. This is also a favorite for those who don't find this logo scary.
(September 1977-January 1982)
Nickname: "The 2"
Logo: We see a large number 2, next to the 2 is the name of the show that's coming up next.
Music and Sounds: The announcer saying the name of the show that's next on WGBH 2
Scare Factor: None.
Nicknames: "The 2 II", "Shiny 2", "Silver 2"
Logo: On a black background, we see a silver outline of the "2" from before, with a flash of light on its top. To the left of the 2 is "WGBH TV" and to the right of it is "BOSTON". After a couple seconds, the logo fades to the 3rd logo.
FX/SFX: The logo fading in, then to the 3rd logo.
Music/Sounds: A female announcer says "This is Channel 2, WGBH-TV Boston."
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a station ID.
Scare Factor: None to high. The logo itself isn't scary, but with the black background, no audio except for the announcer (which is quite calm and can decrease the scare factor for some), and especially with it fading to the 3rd logo, it can creep out a few. Though it is lower for those used to the 3rd logo.
Nicknames: "2 City" "Cheesy 2"
Logo: Over a shot of the Boston skyline at night, a white colored "2" (with the extrusions filled and the "2" being a cutout) zooms back to the center of the screen. To the left of the "2" is the text "WGBH TV" and to the right of the "2" is the word "BOSTON." The "2" flashes similar to the 3rd logo turning the background black, the "2" white, and the outline orange.
FX/SFX: The logo zooming out. The logo flashing. The logo and background changing.
Cheesy Factor: The "2" is cheaply chyroned onto the background. You can clearly see holes in the "2" when it starts zooming back. Also, if you look closely, the logo awkwardly shifts down when it flashes.
Music/Sounds: A mellow synth theme with a synthesized whoosh as the logo zooms out. There is a "ping" as the logo flashes and a drumbeat afterwards. Throughout the logo, an announcer (William Pierce) says "This is viewer supported television from Boston. WGBH TV."
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a station ID. Appeared before programs on WGBH.
Scare Factor: Low to medium. The logo comes out of nowhere without warning and the flash could scare some. The scare factor could increase if the third logo follows it. As usual, the scare factor is lower for those who aren't scared or used to the third logo.
Logo: On a black background, a gold colored "2" (with the extrusions filled and the "2" being a cutout) zooms and tilts back until it disappears.
Mystery Variant: A reversed version might have been used as a sign on. We're not sure of this yet, as this needs validity.
FX/SFX: CGI animation.
Availability: Extinct. Was only used as a sign off ID (and possibly a sign on ID).
Scare Factor: Minimal. You may be surprised when you first see the "2", but it's otherwise harmless.
Logo: We see a small globe rotate and we see the words WQED (in yellow-orange) with "PITTSBURGH" (in white), the globe rotates then we see the words WGBH (again, in yellow-orange) with "BOSTON" (in white) below.
SFX/FX: The rotating globe and the letters.
Music and Sounds:
- September 30, 1991-December 25, 1992: The first part of the theme of the show as Lynne Thigpen says "Today's caper is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
- September 27, 1993-October 4, 1996: The end theme of the show with Lynne Thigpen saying "This program is presented by WQED Pittsburgh and WGBH Boston".
Availability: Ultra rare. Only seen on Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?. Various episodes of the show can be found on YouTube, but the show is hardly, if ever, reran these days. If not, you might see it on VHS.
Scare Factor: None, but it rises yet again with the next one.
(January 22, 2001-2013, April 21, 2014)
Logo: A brief flash shows us uncolored pipes. Suddenly, gold beams fly through them, as the camera pans around, following it. The camera then pans and zooms outward, revealing the now-completed WGBH logo in a neon format as it flashes bright like the 1977 logo. The logo goes dim as a neon number "2" [the channel number] lights up in a bluish-white color for about 3 seconds and goes out.
- Also seen with affiliate stations in a black typeface on the bottom of the logo.
- A short version exists.
SFX/FX: The flashing and the WGBH logo appearing and the 2 appearing.
Music and Sounds: A slightly extended version of the infamous WGBH synth theme. When the WGBH logo flashes, Jim Birdsall, who has done work for CNBC and NBC stations KING and KGW in Seattle and Portland, says "WGBH Boston". Finally, a humming sound is heard when the "2" appears.
Availability: Probably extinct. Was only seen as a local station ID. You would've had to go to Boston (or, more generally, the Greater Boston area) to see this logo in person. It only appeared at the end of Plum Landing.
Scare Factor: Medium to High. The infamous theme is still here, which combined with the intense announcer and darkness, along with the strange animation, will deal a good blow. However, this is a really cool logo, even to those who are scared of it.
(November 25, 2013-)
Nicknames: "The Neon Sign IV", "WGBH Outline IV", "Flash of Doom Redux", "Eerie Outline II", "The More Eerie Outline", "Flash of Final Judgment II", "Sleepless in Boston II"
Logo: On a black background, orange neon lights start to trace out the inner part of the WGBH logo, with the top coming first, followed by the bottom part, the 2 holes on the "B", and finally the part that makes part of the "G". The light then draws out the full outline as another line starts to draw the "shadow" part. When the inner outline is complete, the rest of the logo flickers on and flashes, revealing "WGBH-TV BOSTON" on the bottom. The logo then glows a la the "2" in logo 7 then shortens out in a similar matter.
Trivia: This logo was created by Paul Sanni (sound and video editing) and Elias Mallette (animation), both of which also did work for the 7th ID. You can read more about the making here.
FX/SFX: The tracing of the inner parts, the drawing of the logo, as well as the usual flash. Pretty cool animation.
Music/Sounds/Voice-over: An ominous hum is heard first, followed by a series of snippets of the infamous theme when the neon traces the logo, but computer blips are now terribly out of tune. The logo then plays the full theme with an announcer saying "You're watching WGBH 2, Boston.", followed with the same humming sound from the 7th logo.
Availability: Current. But like the 7th logo, only as a station ID. If you wish to see this, travel to Boston, or the Greater Boston area.
Scare Factor: High to nightmare. As the infamous tune is still here, which is also combined with the sounds in the beginning, strange animation, logo shorting out, darkness, and even the voice over will scare more than a few. But it's an amazing remake of the notorious logo to those who aren't scared of it.