For every Hi-Tops and Children’s Video Library, there’s a Clubhouse Pictures, Atlantic/Kushner-Locke, Maltese Companies, Playhouse Video, and Southern Star Productions. Never heard of these children’s home video companies? By the time you’ve finished this article, you will have!
Previously, on Retroist…
We’ve covered the short life and history of Hi-Tops Video, as well as the shorter life of Children’s Video Library. We watched their logos, found out where you’ve seen them, and taken a trip down memory lane with some “coming attractions.” We laughed, we cried, we all remembered Rainbow Brite.
It was beautiful!
We knew these children’s home video companies. They graced many a VHS box, their releases were numerous, and their releases were memorable programs and movies. Plus, how could we ever forget a shoe lacing up before it jumps to the background, or a bunch of balloons flying toward us as the Irish Jig plays?
But, for these well-knowns, what about the little-knowns?
Children’s Home Video Companies: The Little-Knowns
My friends, not all nostalgia is beautiful or well-remembered. Take, for instance, children’s home video companies that are not as well known.
Not everything is Hi-Tops and its lacing shoe, or Children’s Video Library and its balloon-bouncing Irish Jig.
In fact, there existed…
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I’m surprised by this one. Clubhouse Pictures was a sublabel/children’s home video company imprint of Atlantic Entertainment Group. Atlantic released children’s movies – Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (aka A Weird Animated Star Wars Ripoff), The Smurfs and the Magic Flute, He-Man and She-Ra: Secret of the Sword, and Here Come the Littles.
Hey, I never said they put out good children’s movies!
But Atlantic figured on why leaving well enough alone, when they could have a children’s division? Enter Clubhouse Pictures, whose releases included television shows (the animated Teen Wolf Saturday morning cartoon), Heathcliff: The Movie, The Adventures of the American Rabbit, and Go-Bots: Battle of the Rock Lords. Again, not the greatest output. The sublabel only lasted from 1985 until 1987, with its parent company ending operations in 1989 amidst financial troubles.
Of the rare bunch, I love this logo. The animation is very 80s, there’s no music to detract from the “simple, but cute and effective,” and now very nostalgic nature of it. And who doesn’t love the sound of kids laughing?
Related to Clubhouse Video (and its parent company, Atlantic Entertainment Group/Atlantic Releasing) was another sublabel, Atlantic/Kushner-Locke.
The Kushner-Locke Company existed as an independent film and television production company, handling children’s fare such as The Spiral Zone, the animated Teen Wolf TV series in its second season, The Brave Little Toaster movies, Pound Puppies: Legend of Big Paw, and Nutcracker: The Motion Picture.
Founded in 1983, this company was independent of Atlantic, but combined with them for several films, and outliving them before meeting their end via bankruptcy in 2001.
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I actually like this logo, despite the flashing. I think it is the music not hitting me over the head that helps too.
And since some of these companies seemingly were connected, there was another related company called The Maltese Companies
The Maltese Companies
Founded in 1986, The Maltese Companies stayed afloat until 1990. I actually remember this logo from my days of watching Maple Town. This logo was also seen on The Spiral Zone. It also appeared on movies during the late 1980s (notably the 1988 TV-movie remake of The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial). Of the logos I’ve named so far, this one is probably among the rarest, though it does get some stiff competition from Clubhouse Pictures in the “rare” department.
And it has nice logo music.
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Pretty bird. :-)
Oh, and this is the version used in The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial:
I like the animation on this one.
Playhouse Video was actually part of 20th Century Fox’s CBS/Fox Home video, used from 1985 until 1991 to release children’s and family movies. They’re the only one on this list to be a sublabel of a higher profile (read: not independent film) company.
Playhouse Video releases included the Planet of the Apes movies from 1968-1973, Shirley Temple’s films, The Muppets, Mr. Rogers, and Dr. Seuss specials by DePatie-Freleng Enterprise. And for us Whovians out there, Playhouse Video also released the earliest Doctor Who videos.
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That’s pretty cool too!
I have enough of a memory to remember all of the logos in this article, but this one in particular is one I fondly remember from those aforementioned Dr. Seuss and Shirley Temple movies, as we carried those movies in our “catalog” section at the video store (movies split by genre that are over one year old).
I particularly like the colors and even the music is none to shabby. It has a pretty standard 80s sound.
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And finally, a production company that was actually the foreign counterpart of a well-known animation company in the United States…
Southern Star Productions/Hanna-Barbera Australia
Why ease you in? This logo is a “seeing is believing” sort.
In Australia, Southern Star Productions (now Endemol Australia, so yes, in some way it still exists) was Hanna-Barbera’s Australian division (called Hanna-Barbera Pty. Australia), established as such in 1972, with the Hamlyn Group acquiring 50% of Hanna-Barbera Australia in 1974. In 1984, Hanna-Barbera Australia established a Los Angeles division, bringing them to the United States as Southern Star Productions.
Programs produced by this company were animated in Hanna-Barbera’s Sydney, Australia studios, carrying the name Southern Star Productions/Hanna-Barbera Australia. In the United States, their programs included the animated Teen Wolf Saturday morning cartoon, Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, The Berenstain Bears Show, Peter Pan and the Pirates (totally remember this!), Mad Scientist, and CBS Storybreak.
In 1988, the company’s Australia animation facilities were sold after Taft-Hardie’s buyout, and Southern Star Productions/Hanna-Barbera Australia operated until 1991, and sold to Turner Broadcasting System.
As for their logo, well, let’s just say Hanna-Barbera’s Australian cousin is a little freaky…
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Yikes, freakin’ lightning!
Also, this version, without The Berenstain Bears Show music (Upload via LogicSmash, I’m having trouble embedding the video).
Children’s Home Video Companies: The Little-Knowns Become the Now-Knowns
You know, I’d like to think that every logo is well-known by the nostalgic sort that remember them best, no matter how rare. Before doing the research for these logos, they were all ones I was familiar with from some passing point in my life. That is, with the exception of Southern Star Productions/Hanna-Barbera Australia, that one managed to slip the deep recesses of my mind until a decade ago, when I spotted it on YouTube. Yeah, I didn’t like it. Still don’t.
It’s like the Screen Gems of the children’s world…with lightning!
She can be found at allisonveneziowrites.com.You can follow her blog on Facebook (facebook.com/allisonswrittenwords), Instagram @allisonswrittenwords, and on Twitter @AllisonGeeksOut.
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