Vintage Television

Vintage TV: S from Hell and V of Doom

So what the heck is a closing logo? And why did they once frighten children so?

Closing logos, those three-second bits at the end of shows that tell you who made or distributes them, have been with us as long as there’s been commercial television. Their humble and unobtrusive beginnings changed in the 1960s and 1970s. A few remained kind and gentle, especially those for children’s programming. But imagine the effect on a poor youngster, all calm after the credits finished rolling and the theme music faded, to hear one of these bombastic fanfares or maybe a man striking something with a sledgehammer! Legions of children across the United States and Canada were sent clutching after their teddy bears in terror.

Two closing logos stand apart, having frightened more children than all the rest combined – the S from Hell and the V of Doom. The S from Hell is the Screen Gems closing logo, which followed Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Monkees, and The Partridge Family, all of which were popular with children back in the day.

The V of Doom is the Viacom closing logo. Viacom started out as a lowly program syndicator but now owns half of what you watch on TV. This logo followed tons of shows, including The Andy Griffith Show and I Love Lucy.

If you think I’m being over the top about these logos’ scariness, check out what other people have to say about them! Many survivors of closing-logo fright have found each other on the Internet and relieve their latent pain by sharing their traumatic experiences in forums and uploading mashups and spoofs to YouTube.

Fortunately for children everywhere, closing logos began to tone themselves down in the 1980s, led by a barking dog carrying a frisbee. Today they have become parodies of themselves, and children now look forward to them. Change for the good of America’s youngsters, if you ask me!

Last updated on 24 December 2019 by Jim Grey

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6 thoughts on “Vintage TV: S from Hell and V of Doom

  1. Dani says:

    I do not recall ever giving the closing logos a second thought. What distressed me was the testing of the Emergency Broadcasting System.

  2. Dani, the one that always drained the blood from my head was the Tornado Warning slide on Channel 16 in the 70s. Red background, white oval, big severe letters that said TORNADO WARNING. Aiieeee!!!

  3. Dani says:

    Oh and then there were the test cards that displayed when a station had signed off. I thought those so eerie. Like aliens had taken over or something. Probably a result of watching too many b-rated sci fi’s.

  4. Pingback: Vintage TV: S from Hell and V of Doom (via Down the Road) « The Glass

  5. TP says:

    When I was a kid and all the lights were out and my dad was asleep on the couch, the “Gracie Films” logo would come on after the Simpsons and the woman would go “Shhhhh.” This would scare the hell out of me. Not to mention, the closing logos were always much louder than the show.

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