Almost none of the original ideas for the MTV network IDs were mine. In fact, the idea of having animated IDs wasn’t even mine, it was my boss Bob Pittman. One day in late 1980 he was in my office saying he thought we should do network identifications that would be the equivalent of radio jingles but with animation. “You could have an animated cow and someone could come in and chop his head off. When the blood comes spurting out it could spit out the logo!” From cows to becoming the President of AOL Time Warner.
So anyway, like I said most of the ideas for MTV IDs didn’t come from me. Except one.
I’d found out from my mentor, Dale Pon, that NASA gave any American free access to its film and photo archive (you can still get everything a NASA’s website) and I thought all of us at this music-channel-to-be were so arrogant and conceited as to how we thought we were going to change the world, MTV should take the most famous television event in history, modify it, and use it to identify ourselves every thirty minutes (that’s 17,520 times a year, if you’re counting). After rejected most famous TV moments as depressing and usually American-centric (like the Lee Harvey Oswald assassination) I suggested the original Apollo moonwalk as the only TV event I could think of that had ever been broadcast live around the world (I was sitting in Sofia, Bulgaria that day when I saw thousands of people scrambling to find a rare TV set to watch).
From there, my creative partner Alan Goodman and I settled on Buzzco Associates (nee Perpetual Motion Pictures) a quality commercial house in New York run by Buzz Potamkin as the best, willing producers to execute my idea. Buzz assigned it to producer David Sameth and director Candy Kugel. We married the footage with the now-famous Elias/Peterson Associates knock off of The Kinks “You Really Got Me” in an all night video editing session, and we were off to the moon.
Buzzco went on to produce a number of MTV IDs, and the even more famous “I Want My MTV” commercials, and continue to be a vital part of the New York indie animation scene.