HBO's '80s Opener Is Full Of Weird Secrets

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HBO has one of the most recognizable program openers on TV. You just have to hear that brief static and operatic voice to know you're tuned to the iconic cable channel. And, the sound is so much more than a branding tactic — it also lets you know you're about to indulge in some excellent programming that's just too good for regular old network television. But, it hasn't always been this way. Does anyone remember the version from the '80s?

In case you need a refresher (or an introduction), HBO used to open each program with a minute and a half of theatrical flair. It begins with a family preparing to watch an HBO show, then the cameras take us on a swooping journey over an intricate model city, and then into the sky, where the stars explode in dramatic bursts to announce the HBO logo. It was enough to get us all kinds of excited.

What's interesting about the '80s version is how much work went into it all — and all the hidden gems the artists put into the model city itself. Did you catch the bums on the street? How about the hookers they placed on corners? Though it's hard to notice them in the video, this suggestive material is the calling card of HBO. It reminds us that we're going to encounter the unexpected, and sometimes the inappropriate, programming we've come to expect from this ground-breaking channel. Check out the behind-the-scenes video of how it all went down, though be warned: It's going to put even your greatest DIY achievement into rather harsh perspective. (Gothamist)