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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Credits where credit is due: a new poll

Posted by: Jambo / 1:07 AM

It's been way way too long since 3WN posted a new (and meaningless) poll over in the left hand column of this very page. Well inspiration has come from Salon.com which just posted an article contemplating the best opening TV credits. They of course hit most of the biggies: Mission Impossible, M*A*S*H, Miami Vice (a show I have never seen by the way), All in the Family and Mary Tyler Moore.

I have also always been partial to WKRP ("The senator, while claiming he was not intoxicated, could not explain his nudity.") and the beautifully melancholy Bob Newhart with it's kiss of redemption at the end. And of course I still get geeky chills as soon as I hear William Shatner say, "Space, the final frontier."

Some credits are classics just because of the music. There's still something cool and funky about the Sanford and Son music and the opening bass notes for Barney Miller. And do I even have to mention the Rockford files? But if I had to pick just one I'd have to go with this:

One of the coolest instrumentals ever (TV or otherwise), a ton of quick cuts from an alternatingly exotic and urban local, the Hawaiian girl flipping her hair on the beach and later looking you right in the eye, the long zoom in on Jack Lord and then the reverse angle as he turns into the camera, the shells being jammed into the gun, all ending with the flashing blue light. Best. Credits. Ever. (And Kam Fong as Chinn Ho!)

No doubt it's a product of my age that none of these are more recent than the 1970s. I'm sure things you watch as a kid have a greater impact than what you see later. Surely 3WN readers can expand on this list. As always the best dozen or so will be posted for voting in a week or so. Then Hawaii Five-0 will win in a walk and that will be that.

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11 Comments:

Yeah, 5-0 was pretty good.

I have a handful of TV show DVDs, and it kind of surprised me when I found myself not ever skipping the opening credits for MTM and Bob Newhart, even if I was watching more than one episode.

I always liked the Rockford Files opening -- the answering machine, the great Mike Post theme song, all of those still photos.

Very few of your readers will know this one, but the Captain 11 opening ("Captain 11! Today's man! One man in each century is given the power to control time...") was a memorable opening for a bad local kiddie show.

By Blogger Joseph, at 12:23 PM  

I always really liked the opening to "Miami Vice." Good music, and especially the 2 in the bikinis.

By Anonymous therealrepublican, at 5:45 PM  

I remember Capt. 11 quite well, tho by the time I moved to SD I was a bit past the demographic he was aimed at. I had been a fan of Capt. 20 out in Washington DC where I lived as a grade schooler. His silver suit was way cooler than the blue one Capt. 11 had.

The last time I actually gave any thought to the man was a few years back when I read "Tomcat in Love" by Tim O'Brien. O'Brien is most famous for his Vietnam novels "Going After Cacciato" and "The Things They Carried" and Tomcat is a bit of a departure since it is a very funny comic novel. One of the highlights of the story is when Tomcat fills in for the local cartoon host, Capt. 17 I think it is, and figures the kids on the show lack discipline and tries to turn the place into a bootcamp before being removed by the producer. O'Brien is from southern Minnesota and the parallels to Capt. 11 were so strong that I assumed at some point in his life he must seen a few episodes spilling into his town on Sioux Falls television. I've been unable to confirm this as I fear the Venn diagram of people who have seen both the show and the book might very well be two tangental circles.

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:52 AM  

TRR, I felt sure you would weigh in with a vote for All in the Family and that classic duet.

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:53 AM  

it's time for animaniacs and we're zany to the max...
Or the twilight zone... that music gets into your head and everyone knows it.... Shows these days really miss the art of introduction... Grey's Anatomy is a huge hit and cut its intro when it followed Desperate Housewives because it needed the time for more show or really more advertising even though the theme song was on every radio in the country, however unfortunate. I like intros, My Name is Earl has a good one, but I fastforward when I record them, because I only need to hear it once and then it wastes my time. I miss the old Wheel of Fortune days when the studio was filled with thousands of dollars worth of valuable merchandise that the solver could shop for. The old People's Court with Judge Wapner sticks in my head, too.
And Pinky and the Brain was great, too.

By Anonymous mrs. bahaha, at 11:28 PM  

"And once you buy a prize it's yours to keep."

By Blogger Jambo, at 1:27 AM  

My LaSalle purrs like a kitten.

By Anonymous therealrepublican, at 7:55 AM  

How about The A Team? Explosions, car crashes, funny costumes, gun play... it had it all, even before the show started! Also, in the category of Best Opening Credits No One Has Ever Seen: Firefly. It's a perfect setup for the show you're about to watch, and that last shot is so pretty!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GITLGjHJ2sc

By Anonymous Mrs. Hammer, at 7:50 AM  

I had a few people email me with suggestions:

"But don't forget The Simpsons. How many other shows were you upset if you missed the opening. What Bart writes on the chalk board, and the couch scene are sometime among the funnier "one liners" of the show.

More from my Generation:

A-Team
Cosby Show
Baywatch: love Pam and Yasmine running scenes"

And someone even older than I am mentioned the Adams Family which I should have thought of myself. Is there anyone who DOESN'T know that song?

By Blogger Jambo, at 12:26 AM  

re: Addams family

There's a chance I'll be shaving my head to be Fester for Halloween.

Anyway, I second the nomination for The Twilight Zone.

I didn't watch The Drew Carey Show much, but it had a good opening.

The Odd Couple and The Beverly Hillbillies, mostly for the songs.

The Andy Griffith Show. Andy and Opie going fishing -- very sweet.

The Prisoner -- "I am not a number. I am a free man!"

By Blogger Joseph, at 9:27 AM  

I too vote for Baywatch. I don't remember the music but...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:11 PM  

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