Time-Life Television

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Background

Time-Life Television was a division of Time-Life Films (initially owned by Time, Inc., later independent from Time Warner (then "WarnerMedia", now "Warner Bros. Discovery"), and after acquired by and folded into Meredith Corporation), active throughout the 1970s. It was most notable as the U.S. distributor of the BBC's television output including Doctor Who and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Time-Life's deal with the BBC expired on April 30, 1981 (these rights were taken over by the upstart Lionheart Television). That August, Time-Life Films' assets were acquired by Columbia Pictures; this included TV distribution rights to the library, as well as rights to films already in production. Warner Bros. Discovery retained the copyrights to the library, and it is now handled by HBO (with video rights usually going through Warner Bros. Home Entertainment in the U.S., with a few exceptions). A totally different company operating as Time-Life Television exists today as the production unit of Time-Life Video.

1st Logo (January 25, 1972?-1978)


Visuals: In the show's end credits or on a crimson background is the following text:

A
TIME LIFE
TELEVISION

PRODUCTION

"TIME LIFE" is solid and inside a rectangle, while the word "TELEVISION" is outlined.

Technique: None. [possible misuse]

Audio: The closing theme of the program.

Availability:

  • This was seen on PBS prints of BBC Television shows in the early to late 1970s such as early American broadcasts of the Jon Pertwee era of Doctor Who and most episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus, and was largely replaced with the next logo.
  • An in-credit variant appeared on The World Beyond Mud Monster.

2nd Logo (September 22, 1978-1982)


Visuals: Same as the Time-Life Films logo, except the stacked text "TIME LIFE TELEVISION" fades in below the logo instead.

Variants:

  • For BBC-produced shows, the logo is the same, except the text "A BBC-TV PRODUCTION" is seen below the logo first, before fading out for the text "Distributed by TIME LIFE TELEVISION", centered under the logo, to take its place and fade out completely.
  • A still variant exists.
  • There is another still variant with the text "A BBC-TV PRODUCTION IN ASSOCIATION WITH TIME LIFE DISTRIBUTION" below.
  • Yet another still variant reads "A BBC-TV TIME LIFE TELEVISION CO-PRODUCTION." This exists in both still/silent and fully animated versions, and appeared on the BBC Shakespeare plays in the late 1970s/early 1980s.
  • A still variant of the movie logo was seen on some shows.
  • An in-credit version of the logo can be seen in the French version of the TV movie The Bunker.
  • A version exists where the text reads "A TIME LIFE TELEVISION RELEASE". This was seen on reruns of The Real McCoys in the 1970s and is currently only known to exist in black and white.

Technique: Scanimate.

Audio: A shrill Moog synthesizer sounder (extended on the BBC variant) performed by Leonard Rosenman. The still variant uses a short version of the jingle. Sometimes, it is silent.

Availability:

  • This was prevalent throughout the '70s on BBC programs shown in the U.S. and Canada, but replaced with the various Lionheart Television or BBC Worldwide logos over the years (Monty Python's Flying Circus, which used this logo in its last season, switched distributors completely, with logos for Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd. and Devillier-Donegan Enterprises replacing the Time-Life ID).
  • Surprisingly, it can still be found on certain Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker episodes of Doctor Who from the '70s, whose 1972-78 vintage prints are still in use today.
  • Check early home video recordings of BBC programs aired on PBS (e.g. Doctor Who, the BBC Shakespeare plays, etc.).
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