The Making of the “HBO Starship” Intro

A 1982 mini-doc about how the impressive CG-less HBO intro was made. The entire spot is shown at the end of the film. Apparently it’s all stop-motion and old-school in-camera optical effects. (via)


  • Megan

    Thanks for posting this, I really enjoyed watching it! It’s amazing what they were capable of doing without CG.

  • http://jamessuhr.blogspot.com james suhr

    i totally remember this mini documentary and that opening! they used that thing for well into the 90′s–got their money’s worth. thanks for posting!

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Only a shame I missed out on HBO in the 80′s when this was used since it either wasn’t offered by my cable company or my folks couldn’t afford it (they liked Showtime/Movie Channel more).

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    I’ve watched this intro countless times when watching HBO back in the Bronx (and upon watching this, I realized that the FX were made right in my own backyard)! Ah, memories.

    This mini-documentary is quite fascinating! The miniature work never ceases to amaze me (I *love* miniature stuff). The non-computer optical effects look like they can easily be recreated on a computer, but even now, they still look top-notch!

    I also loved the song they used for the documentary (“Illusion”).

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    I can’t find it on YouTube, but I saw an online video of an outdoor event with a Jumbo TV screen. For some reason, the above-referenced HBO intro came on, and the crowd cheered wildly. Many in attendance raised their Bic lighters aloft as the cheezy anthem played.

  • http://www.stephenneary.blogspot.com stephen

    gonna have that “illusions” song stuck in my head for the rest of the weekend.

    thanks for posting. this rocks.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Of course then you get the April Fools’ variants too…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tobtm3SBbCI
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sV179YOKWz0

  • hooray for Kari!

    Fantastic! As a child I would get all excited when I’d see that zooming HBO logo and hear the accompanying burst of orchestration, signifying another free demo weekend of HBO cartoon specials! Many thanks for posting this.

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    All that painstakingly fiddly physical work to make something that looks like cheap CG!

  • Ryan

    That song in the mini-doc is called what? And who performs it? Thanks

  • http://portapuppets.does.it uncle wayne

    Wow! I (still) have a good dozen or so of these HBO specials (on VHS)….and have enjoyed this for years! I never knew it was all miniature!! Thank you! That is quite fascinating

  • http://www.scuzzbopper.blogspot.com Ken Priebe

    That is great! I actually remember seeing this special on TV when I was a kid. It was a pretty big deal back then and it’s still impressive today.

    The logo and musical theme brings back childhood memories of watching ‘Fraggle Rock’, ‘Braingames’ and movies in my basement.

  • Jorge Finkielman

    I vividly remember both the documentary and the intro since HBO used it for its Latin American channel up to 1999.

    At the time, at least in Argentina, HBO was no pay per view channel. Then, in 1999, they decided in their typical authoritarian fashion to go pay per view and banished from most cable operators for a few years. When they came back, they were no longer a popular channel since people are not willing to pay extra money for such content.

  • Gobo

    This is brilliant, but I find it very hard to believe that the famous ‘swooshing speed lines’ effect inside the O was done by just filming a stick with some fiber-optic cables taped to it. There’s got to be some hand-done animation there, too, right?

  • http://www.kellytoon.com Kelly Toon

    Amid and Jerry,

    This animated music video for the group Justice, features homages to various intros and logos from the eighties. Watch for the HBO sequence!

    DVNO

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=e_XzCR2MbrU

    another video by Justice which you might like showcases what t-shirts might look and move like in the future. Very stylish and I’d love to get a closer look at the artwork used.

    D.A.N.C.E

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=fo_QVq2lGMs

  • http://ryuuseipro.deviantart.com John Paul Cassidy

    Ryan, The song in the documentary is called “Illusions,” and it’s performed by Jonathan L. Segal. Hope that helps!

  • Brian D. Scott

    Man, this takes me back to when I first got cable and HBO exactly 25 years ago in NYC! I still have the first two movies I taped off HBO on tape – Star Wars and Star Trek II! This was only a couple of months before I graduated high school (guess how old I am!) and that opening is as fantastic now as it was then!

    It would be interesting to see this remade as CGI just to see how close they can make it look like the original.

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    The flying logo to end all flying logos.

    Ferdinand J. Smith… Margaret Thatcher called, she wants her hair back.

  • Grant Beaudette

    Wow! I was just thinking about this thing the other day. I used to see it all the time way back when.

  • Louie del Carmen

    Man that’s old school! I remember thinking how amazing this was and it worked as far as positioning an audience in believing they were about to watch something big.

    It’s funny how there aren’t any people in the streets though…. But I suppose it would have made it look a lot “faker” to add little army men standing around those model buildings.

  • http://www.commanderkitty.com Scotty A

    Suddenly, I’m in the mood to watch “The Goonies”

  • Corrado (Anthony)

    I remember quite fondly seeing this after Fraggle Rock ended when it used to air on HBO. I always used to think that they should do an elaborate setup with fraggle Rock leading up to the HBO Intro.

    This and “This is CBS” are the 2 favorite network intros/IDS of alltime. I really do miss the era of brilliant network ID’s.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    For me, I miss the logo used by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation from 1974 to 1986…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuwcREwKWnM

  • http://caseyflorig.com Casey

    Wow, that was great! I remember the HBO intro when I was a kid. Thx for posting!

  • http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/mjf7583 Michael F.

    1. Thanks for the video, that’s pretty cool. I do remember the opening very well, it’s cool that others do too.

    2. My favorite logos were those old Fox ones with that Will B. guy. I got a kick out of the pun at the time.

    3. That Justice video is one of the best videos I’ve seen in a while. It’s a shame you won’t see it on “M”TV.