Prepare thyself! By the end of this article, you will not only remember Hi-Tops Video, logos IN SPACE will be burned into your conscious memory!
All The Production Logos
If you grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, you’re familiar with the “mainstream” production company/distributor logos. Think Universal, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros. You’ll also likely remember some of the not-so-mainstream “budget” production company/distributor logos. For this argument, think Key Video, 1980s aerobic/exercise videos, and (shudder) Vestron.
The commonality that most of these bigger groups (and moreso the budget groups) is their family-friendly/children’s sublabels.
Focusing On Sublabels…
The 1980s brought about quite a few sublabels of larger companies – Playhouse Video (20th Century Fox), Children’s Video Library (Vestron Home Video), and this all-too-memorable logo…
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That jingle, the lacing up shoe. This is a logo that ’80s kids could easily identify. This was Hi-Tops Video, and it was a company that released (almost) everything kid-friendly.
“Almost” was because they had stiff competition from those other distributors…and not all of them were splashy and high-quality.
Hi-Tops Video was a sublabel of Media Home Entertainment, itself a division of Heron Communications, and their childrens’ distribution and production arm. The company actively released thirty-five different productions as a distributor, and ten as a production company between 1986 and 1992.
Their releases ranged from toy tie-in cartoons of the time (The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, Captain Power, Lady Lovelylocks, and even two Barbie specials), and television shows (Long Ago and Far Away, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse), to imports, a guide to home safety for children, and a “profile video” about actor Chris Young.
Which I can’t find video proof of, folks. But I found the home safety video!
Hi-Tops and Logos…IN SPACE!
In order to know Hi-Tops Video and how it started, we have to go back a few years…eight years, to be exact.
Media Home Entertainment was founded in 1978 by Charles Band, with three sublabels – The Nostalgia Merchant (very old or classic films), Fox Hills Video (special interest and obscure B-movies), and the aforementioned Hi-Tops Video. After a rocky start due to ABKCO Records suing Media for releasing The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park concert, and then for their releasing of Beatles material, Media became one of the largest independent video distributors in the United States.
If you ask me, I think there was more cause to sue them for this ugly logo…
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…and blatant (though intentional) misuse of proper spelling!
But they redeemed themselves…IN SPACE!
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And then they changed their music…IN SPACE!
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Though they associated with Cannon.
Hi-Tops Video Releases
Hi-Tops Video released the majority of the earliest Peanuts specials as part of “Snoopy’s Home Video Library.” When I worked in the video store, we had the Hi-Tops prints of A Charlie Brown Christmas and It’s The Easter Beagle, Charlie Brown. The store even had It’s Flashbeagle, Charlie Brown (with She’s A Good Skate, Charlie Brown on the same tape), but released by Media Home Entertainment. Imagine that surprise when I rented the video! I had never seen the Media logo prior to that!
While most of their product were imports and programs based on established series and toylines, Little Schoolhouse was an original release (as were the aforementioned home safety video and profile on actor Chris Young).
Behold, original material!!!!
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The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin In the Land of Hi-Top Video!
And I didn’t even know this – The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin releases were designed to be compatible with Teddy Ruxpin himself. They also dug out that man-sized Teddy Ruxpin suit to ensure that live-action Teddy Ruxpin never quite went away. His purpose? Ppening and closing segments on the videocassettes…
Behold, EXHIBIT A!
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Of course, I’m still shuddering over Come Dream With Me Tonight (the video, not the song itself!).
It’s all fun, games, and lacing up your sneakers, until your company goes under, taking you with them.
Such was the case with…
The Great Unlacing: The End of Hi-Tops Video
As fate would (unfortunately) have it, the early 1990s meant the end of an era in children’s home video distribution and production. In 1990, Media began downsizing its staff and selling its assets in the wake of Gerald Ronson’s (part of the family that established Heron International) in the Guinness share-trading fraud in Great Britain.
Media ceased operations in 1993, with Hi-Tops Video inactive the previous year (though Wikipedia cites that they were active until 1996). The Peanuts specials were acquired by Paramount in 1994, with Warner Bros. acquiring them in 2008. Most of their catalog is effectively out of print, but alas, You Tube is an amazing treasure trove for the Hi-Tops Video library.
So um, wow. Not short, sweet, and too the point, but still quite the composition in words and visuals. I, for one, love this logo – always have. Hi-Tops Video is a part of the childhood experience of video renting in the 1980s. I smile when I see this logo show up, even moreso if I see a Hi-Tops videocassette somewhere. The catchy jingle, shoe lacing up and bouncing into the background? All the makings of the 1980s nostalgic childhood experience, my friends.
So how about one more for the road?
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Hi-Tops Builds Muscle in KidVid Wars – Billboard (Vol. 98, No. 40 – October 4, 1986 – Home Video, page 17)
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords) and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
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