Okay, so it isn’t a milestone anniversary year for HOME BOX OFFICE, but I felt the need to not let the date November 08 go by without a salute to the network we love. It began broadcasting back in 1972 and as this writer’s first post on HBOWatch indicates I was lucky enough to get the premium channel in my household in those early days. Regarding those formative years Wikipedia states –
In the summer of 1971, while on a family vacation in France, Charles Dolan came up with the concept for a cable-originated television service called “The Green Channel“. Dolan later presented his idea to Time-Life management; though satellite distribution seemed only a distant possibility at the time, he persuaded Time-Life to back him. In a meeting involving Dolan and some Time-Life executives that were working on the project, other names were discussed for the new service. They ultimately settled on calling it “Home Box Office“, although the name was originally intended as a working title in order to meet deadlines to publish research brochures for the new service, believing that management would come up with a different name for the service at a later date.
Here are some of the movies HBO aired back then:
This website also gives us a detailed look at the company. One passage of note says:
Pay-TV customers, those buying additional cable services such as HBO, grew from 50,000 in 1974 to about l.5 million in 1978. HBO won greater latitude in pursuing customers in 1977 when a federal ruling lifted restrictions on the choice of movies and sports available on pay-TV. HBO quickly became one of the primary engines driving the growth of the cable industry. Cable systems operators hooked up thousands of people for basic services who were primarily interested in getting HBO.
And what an exciting variety of programming there has been ever since. We all have our favorites no matter when we subscribed to HBO. Are you up for a sampling? How about its first original movie called THE TERRY FOX STORY from 1983? How about the comedy of NOT NECESSARILY THE NEWS from that same year which included a look at Sniglets? What, you never heard of sniglets?
There are many shows we can reflect on through the years, but I want to avoid the big obvious ones. I’d rather mention shows like PHILIP MARLOWE, PRIVATE EYE starring Powers Boothe or TODD MCFARLANE’S SPAWN (pictured). There is also DREAM ON, THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW, LUCKY LOUIE, IN TREATMENT and JOHN FROM CINCINNATI. There is also DREAM ON, THE CHRIS ROCK SHOW, LUCKY LOUIE, IN TREATMENT and JOHN FROM CINCINNATI. We can add BORED TO DEATH, DA ALI G SHOW, ON THE RECORD WITH BOB COSTAS and DEF COMEDY JAM. Man, it is a shame that most of these classic shows aren’t available on HBOGO.
Okay, I could go on and on, but the point is HBO has been around for 42 years now and has provided a ton of programming that changed the way we watch TV. It started with Wimbledon coverage and comedy specials. Today it packs a punch with dramatic shows, limited series, miniseries, documentaries and more. It doesn’t stop there with content like WESTWORLD, THE MIGHTY EIGHTH and SHOW ME A HERO in HBO’s future.
If you didn’t know it HBO was not always a twenty-four hour channel. It only ran for 9 hours signing off at midnight each night and just like HBO back then this post should sign off as well. So, with one last exclamation of HAPPY BIRTHDAY HBO we sign off the same way HBO did back in the day.