I think most people that are interested in television idents can think of a few that used to make them quite scared as a child. I can certainly name a few that freaked me out.
But I reckon if I grew up in Boston it would have been a lot worse.
I like early electronic and experimental music, so I can handle all manner of noise. But everything about this jingle is jarring. The visuals, too, aren’t particularly calming, looking a bit like an electric heater going out of control.
Put simply, what was going through their minds?
It can’t have annoyed the good people of Boston too much because the same ident has basically survived until this day, tweaked just a bit. Here are all the iterations, if you can handle it.
A friend once showed me a video that uses the WGBH jingle for maximum creepy effect. The video is called The Wyoming Incident. Be warned: this is genuinely quite creepy, so don’t watch this at night. It is a mock broadcast signal intrusion (which I have written about on my previous blog).
The idea of this video is that a news broadcast is interrupted by a pirate, who replaces it with something more disturbing. This has happened in real life. In Chicago, a broadcast was replaced by a man dressed as Max Headroom being spanked with a fly swatter. Here in the UK, a Southern Television news broadcast was interrupted by someone pretending to be an alien calling for nuclear disarmament.
The Wyoming Incident is not real, but it uses the WGBH slowed down and reversed for maximum creepy effect. Apparently the music was chosen because the original ident was known to be scary to some people.