Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Nostalgia and HBO

So, don't ask me why, but I'm lying in bed last night and I caught the very tippy-tale ending of a childhood memory. It's the late 80's, I'm sitting and watching cable on the brown-striped sofa in our living room. HBO was king - all movies, all the time. None of this "made for tv" cable series stuff, no special "cable only" events. No commercials. You got cable because you were sick of commercials. The theory was you paid for the service, so they didn't need advertiser support. So HBO and it's lesser cousin, The Movie Channel, played movies - one right after another - often repeating the same movie like 100 times. I think I watched Ice Pirates 256 times in a 3 year period. (I think I saw the ending scene twice.) As a side note, don't do that to yourself. It leaves scars.

What my mind was trying to get full recall on, for a reason I can't explain at all, was that clip from HBO which was the equivalent of their "jingle", preceeding each movie, letting you know that you were one of the blessed in America who could watch movies on their tv. It started out in a typical American living room, panned out to the street, flew over the city and the country, then eventually launched into the stars where we found the HBO logo, flying like a magnificent saucer through space... All to some super-cool techno music that just screamed "This is the dawning of the digital age and we like syths!".

This short video jingle was cool enough that they actually did a short documentary about how it was made. In today's world of near-perfect digital animation, it seems riddiculous to be so proud of such a simple piece of film, but we're talking about something made over 20 years ago. It was all miniatures and hand-drawn effects. Cable was so uber cool, that they could spend a small fortune to make a mini-movie just to make cable customers feel special. It was that magical moment in special effects somewhere between Flash Gordon and Jar Jar Binks. Sometimes I miss the old days...

So, I found it on you-tube, and my mind is at rest at last. Enjoy.