Remind you of anything?
Most cinephiles know Douglas Trumbull as the special effects guru behind such classic films as 2001, Blade Runner, and Close Encounters. What I did not know, until I stumbled upon the above clip on YouTube, was that he also did title designs for commercial television.
Looking at the clip above, I immediately thought of 2001's climax, and congratulated ABC on being trendy enough to incorporate the look into their programs as early as 1969 (when the "Movie of the Week" debuted). But in fact, as this page details, Trumbull himself had knocked on ABC's door, looking for work in America after several years abroad. Lending his style to the relatively new form of the "made-for-TV" movie (as opposed to airing theatrical films, or doing the stage/screen/TV hybrids of the Golden Age of TV such as Playhouse 90), Trumbull's graphics framed often the often-pedestrian narratives (note the comedown from his space-age color to the clips of the Brian Keith movie it announces) and made the whole thing feel shiny and modern.
The ABC "Movie of the Week" would really take off with "Duel," a 1971 film whose eerie anthropomorphisms, Hitchcockian pacing and stylish camerawork would immediately get studios asking about its young director, Steven Spielberg. Spielberg was not the only one headed for the big screen; the inventor of the "Movie of the Week," ABC head honcho Barry Diller, would soon become head of production at Paramount Pictures. While Trumbull brought a larger-than-life, big-screen style to television with his graphics, Diller would bring the budget-conscious, episodic mindset of mid-70s TV to Hollywood feature production-- along with his lieutenant, Michael Eisner, Diller would emphasize the "high concept" notion of narrative (or what Spielberg-- a far richer and more ambitious talent, but also one raised in the fields of TV--would call "an idea you can hold in your hand"). Under Robert Evans, Paramount had made the Godfather films, Chinatown, Paper Moon; under Diller, they would make Saturday Night Fever and Grease (both with ABC star John Travolta) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (another TV adaptation that reunited Diller with Trumbull). Harlan Ellison, in his withering review of the last film, would call it "Star Trek: The Motionless Picture," rightly suggesting how a slavish devotion to both the original TV concept and its rabid fan base collided with the temptation to go overboard on ponderous special effects, resulting in a monstrously uncinematic inertia.
That was a decade in the future, though-- the YouTube clip above retains its initial excitement, and suggests a world of visual possibility opened by Trumbull's blending of spaced-out light and late-60s commercial typography. To make a Brian Keith TV western seem like the hippest thing on the tube? That's truly going where no one has gone before.