Compiled by James Fabiano, Kris Starring and Zach Harden

(since the late 1980s)

Logo: On a black background is a row of what looks like five rainbow doors, each one positioned at an angle. Above the doors are the words "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" and on them, "HBO (in the familiar logo) DOWNTOWN PRODUCTIONS." All the words are in white.

Later Variation: A CGI version of this logo features a more realistic rendering of the doors, which close shut in this variant. Also, only the words HBO Downtown Productions remain.

FX: Not much, there is a little movement

Music: None

Availability: Seen at the end of Comedy Central era episodes of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" and currently on Politically Incorrect on ABC

Scare Factor: Low

HBO Feature Presentation
1st Open

Nickname: "HBO in Space"

Logo: We start with a somewhat busy city intersection (horns honking, etc.) at twilight. The music starts, and the camera "flies" forward down the street, eventually panning up to reveal the source of the light -- a star (positioned near the top center of the screen) that gets brighter and brighter, and eventually explodes, leaving behind a shiny silver CGI monolith. The monolith moves down and across the screen and rotates clockwise, revealing itself as the HBO logo, then turns around one more time as the camera zooms in on the side of the O. The side of the O disappears in a flash of light, revealing a stream of colored rays streaking counter-clockwise around a silver axis, and one of: * "HBO FEATURE PRESENTATION" * "HBO FAMILY SHOWCASE" (the music would get softer and play an uplifting theme just after the O disappears in this case; I also think the animation was slightly different, but I don't remember the difference) * "HBO SPECIAL PRESENTATION" appears, one word atop the other, in a heavy, 3D steely-gray font. The words then disappeared and the animation would fade to black with more flashes from the surrounding rays.


  • A short version of the logo that starts before the "big bang" is shown most often.
  • Three different endings depending on what the special is. They include "HBO Saturday Night Movie", "HBO Special" and "On Location"
  • Different music at the end of this, mostly a happy tune for family-friendly programs.
  • Updated version is in the works, start date unknown.

FX: The city cars, wind, and the light sounds in the end. The CGI used for the HBO logo is very hi-tech (for the time)

Music: A dramatic theme (that in the long version, starts with a whoosh and a piano/string chord and gets progressively more tense) leading into a very loud, upbeat, almost disco-style horn-driven overture, then ending with synth sweeps (representing the rays "inside" the O). Composed by Ferdinand J. Smith, who was also responsible for the ABC Star Tunnel's score (not Frank Gari, as the SuperSite posits), and co-wrote the CBS "Projector" ident's score.

Availability: Before movies shown on HBO.

Scare Factor: Low, mostly at the start and finish of it.

2nd Open

Nickname: "Non-Primetime HBO", "Neon 80's Geometric HBO"

Logo: We zoom down a group of CGI squares (only the bottom is seen) glowing various neon colors. Then, the lasers light up a group of small circles glowing rainbow colors, then zoom out to reveal a light-purple HBO logo with "Movie" written in script in a raspberry-like color with the rainbow circles on a black background behind it.

FX: The pan-down from the CGI squares, the lasers lighting the circle, the zoom out to the HBO Movie logo.

Cheesy Factor: None at all, this is very professional late-80's animation in addition to those neon rainbow colors.

Music: A loud synth guitar fanfare, and calms down into what sounds like the beginning of a Depeche Mode song.

Availability: Extinct, last seen on HBO in the mid-90's. Check those old tapes for the logo!

Scare Factor: Median. The glowing is not as bad as the "HBO Feature Presentation"'s flashing, but that loud synth-guitar music can get to you.

3rd Open

Nicknames: "The Road", "HBO 2000"

Logo: We see a busy street corner with a theater whose marquee reads "HBO FEATURE PRESENTATION." We zoom into the theater, pass the box office and into a bright light. We end up zooming down a road in a residential neighborhood with cars driving about. The camera goes through a bridge superstructure shaped like an H. We end up zooming down a rural highway, passing farms and such. After we hit some fog, we are on a mountain road, and we head down a B shaped tunnel. We end up on a desert road at the other end, and we zoom into a truck with an O shaped, cylindrical tank, taking us through another transition. We end up on a suburban neighborhood street, zooming through a midtown section, and into a skyscraper-filled downtown. Passing through the buildings, we see some spotlights coming from the city's harbor. The camera pans and takes us into an aerial view above the clouds, and we see the harbor spotlights are outlining the HBO logo. The 3D letters "FEATURE" go into place over the HBO logo, and a flash below that brings forth the word "PRESENTATION" on a black rectangle.

FX: Breathtaking CGI! A nice computer generated opener inspired by HBO's original stop-motion effort.

Cheesy Factor: None

Music: A reorchestrated version of the 1983 fanfare.

Availability: Current, can be seen before any movie on HBO.

Scare Factor: None whatsoever. This is a great opening filled with spectacular computer graphics. A suitable successor to the original HBO opener.

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