They may appear on screen only for a few seconds, but production-company logos (think ”Goodnight, Mr. Walters” at the end of Taxi) can add character to even the blandest of credit sequences. Here’s a look at some of this season’s eye-catching offerings:
Company: Lottery Hill Entertainment (Spin City, ABC)
Image: A childlike drawing of a barn. Executive producer/star Michael J. Fox provides the audio track: ”Moo.”
Meaning: Fox named the company after his Vermont farm. ”The story goes that [the original owner] won the Louisiana State Lottery, and that’s what he bought the farm with,” says Fox. The actor calls his voice-over ”a tweak” at show cocreator Gary David Goldberg’s own logo (which stars Goldberg’s dog). ”I’ve been listening to Gary say ‘Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog,’ for most of my adult life,” jokes Fox. ”If I’d had more time, I would’ve said, ‘Good cow.”’
Company: Big Phone Productions (Something So Right, NBC)
Image: Two men (executive producers Judd Pillot and John Peaslee) standing on a huge telephone are shaken when it rings.
Meaning: ”Our casting director always referred to executive producers as ‘the big phones,”’ says Peaslee. The phone is a prop in Universal’s lot from the ’60s TV series Land of the Giants. To avoid paying a location fee, the duo snuck onto the lot and took photos surreptitiously. Jokes Pillot, ”We thought a really big phone would call us and get us in trouble.”
Company: Weest, Inc. (Life’s Work, ABC)
Image: The words Weest, Inc. Production Logo Here in white type on a black screen, accompanied by a broadcast tone.
Meaning: After ABC nixed two of executive producer Warren Bell’s ideas — his wife answering the phone ”Hello, Weest, Inc.” (say it fast), and a picture of a skunk along with the sound of spraying — Bell decided to tease the network by using an unfinished logo. But ”engineers all over the country were panicking,” thinking the tape wasn’t completed, says Bell. ABC asked for a change — requesting a blue screen with applause as the sound effect. Still, Bell had the last laugh: ”I secretly told my producer to make the applause sound as much like static as possible.”
Company: Where’s Lunch Productions (Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS)
Image: A place mat bearing the company’s name is covered up by a different plate of food each week.
Meaning: ”The most important thing when I’m writing and stuck in a room all day is ‘Where’s lunch?’ On my first show I must have gained 30 pounds,” says show creator Philip Rosenthal. ”We’re hoping people will stay to the end of the show just to see what lunch is.”