Ruby-Spears Productions

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Ruby-Spears Productions was an American animation studio founded by Scooby-Doo creators and former Hanna-Barbera employees Joseph Ruby, Jr. and Kenneth Spears in 1977 as a subsidiary of Filmways. However, they did not use a logo until September 1978 when the first show from the studio, Fangface, premiered. In 1981, Taft Broadcasting Co. acquired Ruby-Spears, which became a sister company to Hanna-Barbera and broke in 1992. It formed a short-lived partnership with Ashi Productions in 1994, but the studio shut-down two years later. Today, a majority of Ruby-Spears' library is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery (thru Turner Entertainment Co.), except Rambo: The Force of Freedom which is owned by StudioCanal (with Lionsgate handling home video rights), It's Punky Brewster which is owned by NBCUniversal Media, LLC (with Shout! Factory handling DVD rights), and Alvin and the Chipmunks which is owned by Bagdasarian Productions.



1st Logo (September 9, 1978-December 27, 1980)


Visuals: Over a sky blue background, there are the words "A RUBY-SPEARS PRODUCTION". There are 4 orange lines that emerge from left and right of the screen. The initials, a robust "RS" (set in the Mecanorma Jackson typeface), slide upward from the stacked lines. Then it reads "A COMPANY OF", cutting to the next logo, that of Filmways, their former owner.

Variants:

  • On some TV specials, the lower text "A RUBY-SPEARS PRODUCTION" doesn't appear.
  • Another variant with a red background replacing the original blue exists.
  • Some newer prints may freeze the logo right before "A COMPANY OF", in order for removal of the Filmways logo.
  • On The Horse That Played Centerfield and The Trouble with Miss Switch, there is an in-credit notice that generally reads "Produced by Ruby-Spears Productions, Inc., a company of Filmways, for American Broadcasting Companies, Inc."

Technique: Traditional animation.

Audio: The end of the show's closing theme, usually segueing into the Filmways Television "Trail" logo theme.

Availability:

  • It was seen on the first season of Thundarr The Barbarian and Fangface on Boomerang until these shows were taken off the schedule.
  • It appears on said shows' DVD releases; however, the Warner Archive release of the former has the 1994 Hanna-Barbera "Action All Stars" logo plastered over this logo instead.
  • The version without the company name appears on the 1980 3-part ABC Weekend Special Scruffy.

2nd Logo (September 12, 1981-December 4, 1993)


Visuals: Two gold bars fly from the left and right of the black screen, join together, zoom back, and reveal a stylized "RS" that shines gold and white at different times (at one point it shines so brightly that it even obscures the company name). When the logo stops, the words "RUBY-SPEARS ENTERPRISES" appears under in an italic, futuristic, blocky font.

Variants:

  • 1981-1982: The logo fades-out to make room for the company text reading "A DIVISION OF THE TAFT ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY".
  • 1982-1988: The latter text is seen below the logo "flashing" into place, after the logo flashes. Also, the logo itself has less of a shining effect than of that in the 1981 version. An earlier variant has the byline merely fading in, in a smaller font. Yet another early variant has the Taft byline fade in at the same time as the company name.
  • 1988: After Taft restructured into Great American Broadcasting and Taft bylines began to be removed, the "shining" part of the 1981 variation would sometimes be played in slow motion over the regular-speed music to keep the second screen from appearing. This was seen on reprints of Thundarr the Barbarian. On some prints of Goldie Gold and Action Jack, the logo simply fades out during the shining before the logo fades out to the Taft byline.
  • 1988-1992: The 1982 version is now bylineless.
  • On Police Academy: The Animated Series, the bylineless 1982 variant is used, but "IN ASSOCIATION WITH" appears under the name. This would be followed by the 1984 WBTV logo.
  • A still variation exists, which appears on season 1 of It's Punky Brewster and Piggsburg Pigs.
  • On some programs like Miss Switch to the Rescue, and Bad Cat, there is an in-credit notice that generally reads "Produced by Ruby-Spears Enterprises, Inc., a division of the Taft Entertainment Company."
  • A short variant also exists, which starts in the middle of the logo shining and the name below it simply reads "RUBY-SPEARS". This was seen on the CBS Schoolbreak Special "The Day They Came to Arrest the Book".

Technique: Camera-controlled animation, possibly combined with Oxberry.

Audio: A "whoosh" accompanied by a dramatic synthesized sound effect that has a kind of "shining" effect.

Audio Variant: On some shows, it uses the closing theme of the show.

Availability:

  • It was seen on the second season of Thundarr The Barbarian, Centurions, and Dink the Little Dinosaur when these shows were shown on Boomerang.
  • Currently appears on said shows' DVD releases.
  • This is also kept intact on It's Punky Brewster on the DVD prints.
  • It was also seen years ago on BKN's reruns of Rambo: The Force of Freedom, followed by the 1986 Carolco Television logo; this is also retained on DVD.
  • It also appeared on the 1980s Alvin and the Chipmunks when it was last seen on Cartoon Network around 2002 (it also appeared on the 1988 episodes produced by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson for Ruby-Spears).
  • The Thundarr The Barbarian episode "Last Train to Doomsday", and the Ruby-Spears' Superman series both use the 1988 variant.
  • It also does not appear on DVD prints of Q*bert and syndication prints of Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr. from Saturday Supercade, respectively, which plaster this logo with the 1980 MCA TV logo instead.
  • The original 1981 version of this logo also appears at the end of a 16mm print of Bunnicula, the Vampire Rabbit, which is then followed by the 1981 Worldvision Enterprises logo.
  • The 1982 version of this logo also appears at the end of Cabbage Patch Kids First Christmas, Mister T and Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos, respectively, and is also retained on the 2011 DVD releases of these latter two shows from Warner Archive Collection.
  • The 1982 version of this logo also appeared at the end of a late 1980s print of Mister T, which is then followed by the 1988 Worldvision Enterprises logo.

3rd Logo (September 10, 1995-October 26, 1996)


Visuals: Over an eclipse, there is a big flash of light, revealing the company name "RUBY-SPEARS PRODUCTIONS" opposite another company by the name of "ASHI PRODUCTION CO., LTD.". Both of these names are set in the Revue typeface.

Technique: CGI effects.

Audio: A generic fanfare, accompanied by an almost-"whoosh" sound. The fanfare is very likely a piece of library music.

Availability:

  • It only appeared on Skysurfer Strike Force which is long gone.
  • The logo does not appear on Mega Man (1994) despite their co-production with Capcom and The Summit Media Group.
Ruby-Spears Productions
Hanna-Barbera
Turner Entertainment Co.