Remember gathering up popcorn and a blanket, racing to the living room, and jockeying for position with your sister in front of the TV? Remember Fraggle Rock, and the excitement you felt in anticipation of a new episode? Remember the HBO programming-intro at the time, the one where the camera soared through a meticulously-detailed miniature cityscape, seemingly endless, into a suburb, the country, and beyond into the twilight? Remember the camera darting upwards into space, finding a mysterious silver HBO-logo, as intriguing as the city you just toured? Remember the logo filling the TV frame, swirling and sparking, the music rising to a crescendo, until finally exploding in a celebration of light and sound that basically said, “get your little eyes ready to be entertained?”
Below is a fascinating HBO mini-documentary from 1982, on the creation of the “HBO Starship” station identification, behind the scenes at Liberty Studios, NYC. It took Liberty Studios’s craftsmen 3 months to create HBO City, and the now-famous “Starship” intro, almost entirely with “old school” filmmaking techniques. Using no CGI at all, the entire sequence was created with stop-motion animation and in-camera optical effects. The finished spot is shown at the end of the film.