Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Name Is Drew and I Was a Childhood Logophobe

Every now and then, I find out that something I’m vaguely aware of is a recognized phenomenon. Often, it’s the case that I’ve either never really put this thing into words and then find that someone else has. Or maybe I’ve thought about it but assumed that I’m the only one who gave it any consideration, only to find out that not only do people know about it but they’ve already given it a word. (This happened when I found out about phonesthemes, if you’ll remember.)

Today, I discovered a phenomenon informally known as logophobia: children’s irrational fear, hatred or dread of the production company logos that run at the end of TV shows. I too once feared these — not all of them, but just certain ones — to the point that I would actually leave the room when certain programs ended so I wouldn’t have to see or hear these five-second notices about who made the show. Why? I can’t really tell you. They’re not scary in and of themselves and I now have trouble remembering what about them bothered me so much. But now at least I know I’m not the only one. Today I stumbled upon a blog post featuring an eight-minute documentary called The S From Hell, which details various adults’ childhood fear of the Screen Gems logo.




I have to say that I don’t especially find the Screen Gems logo scary. Maybe a little grating, especially with those harsh colors and that jarring synth. And jarring synth seems to be a common element to a lot of the production logos that would have been on TV when I was a kid. However, whenever anyone seems to write about their own experiences with logophobia, it tends to spark discussions among other people about the particular ones they found scary. (Like, really: Check out this lengthy threat on MetaFilter about scary production logos.) I was happy to see that people found my three most dreaded logos noted here and there.

In order:



This one, which aired after the original run of The Brady Bunch and some of the syndicated reruns, is apparently nicknamed “The Closet Killer,” because it sounds like the soundtrack to a murderer jumping out of your closet and stabbing you to death.



Then there’s the Viacom logo, which aired at the end of practically everything. It’s nickname among logophobes is “The V of Doom.”



And finally there’s this one, which I associate with the end of Muppet Babies. I was terrified of that silver monster man who comes leaping out onto the “M” and the “P.” Today, I can see that it’s obviously a stylized Spider-Man and that Marvel Productions is a branch of Marvel Comics. (How Marvel came to produce Muppet Babies is another mystery for another time, I suppose.) But back in the day, I was sure this agile monster would bound off those letters, through the screen and eat me and my family. I can specifically remember nightmares about him. They’ve stopped, of course, and ol’ Spidey doesn’t bother me in the least today, though I have to admit I got a little choked up during the subway scene in Spider-Man 2. Probably unrelated.

So now I’m curious to know: Do any of you who read this blog remember being scared of or otherwise bothered by any production logos? Or am I the only person I know weird enough to belong to this little club?

(A note: And yes, technically speaking logophobia refers to an obsessive dread of words, so to refer to this particular fear as such in inaccurate. However, this seems to be what people are using when they talk about this, so I’ll stick with it.)

(Another note: In watching videos of various production logos, I came across one I’d never scene before, for the Mark VII Limited company, which produced shows like Dragnet and Adam-12. It looks like this:



Upon hearing it, I couldn’t figure out why it sounded so familiar, as I was certain I’d never seen it. Then, reading other logophobia-related posts, I found out why. Have you figured it out yet? If not, click here.)

TV, previously:Things creepy or horrifying, previously:

10 comments:

  1. I have vague memories of being scared of the DIC logo. Weird.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is maybe because it's a showing a kid being videotaped while alone is his room? I mean, that would have bothered eight-year-old me.

      Delete
  2. I don't know if it particularly scared me, but the Saban logo that came at the end of Power Rangers and right before Batman creeped me the fuck out.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdhoXuPYSpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because it's so joyous that it simply MUST be making something terrible?

      Delete
  3. Yeah, I didn't like the DIC logo, either. And the CBS eye, once I spotted it, gave me the willies (and still does a little at 32).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I get that. Nothing says creepy like "By the way, we're watching you too."

      Delete
  4. Not a logo, but the old NBC radio chimes give me the creeps. Listening to old episodes of Dragnet, I always have to stop the recording before the Chimes of Death at the end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The NBC logo is actually one that doesn't bother me. Maybe it's so many NBC memories, but it always makes me happy.

      Delete
  5. The V of Doom, with its accompanying theme, always gave me the feeling of being frozen in my tracks as an oncoming train closed in. I was as good as dead.

    Weird Al Yankovic claims to have designed his production tag with the intention of frightening people: [link]

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, Christ. When did Weird Al start producing TV shows?

      Delete