Friday, December 29, 2006

Jake and the Fatman intro
Doris Day Show
Davy Crocket
Jigsaw John
Gene Barry is Amos Burke - Secret Agent

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Deadwood
Police Squad
Gemini Man

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Galactica 1980 tv intro
The Facts of Life (season three)

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Protectors - End Credits (Avenues and Alleyways)
Speed Racer

Monday, December 04, 2006

Paper Chase
Peticoat Junction
Coronet Blue - intro

A shorter version of this rockin tune.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Bob Newhart show
The Name of the Game

This is one of my favorite themes...

Friday, December 01, 2006

Daktari
The Rifleman
Mr. Ed
Champion the Wonder Horse
The High Chaparral
Rawhide 1 & 2
Peticoat Junction
In Search Of - Jack The Ripper

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Banacek

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Land's End
Hunter revival (2003)
Hunter Season 7

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Perry Mason
The Sandbaggers
The Waltons
Batman
Superboy
The Untouchables - TV Series - Closing Theme 1959

Monday, November 27, 2006

James Bond Jr
Simon & Simon
V
Korg 70, 000 BC

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Lou Grant

Friday, November 24, 2006

Hill Street Blues
Miami Vice
Riptide

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Department S
Adam 12

Saturday, November 18, 2006

S.W.A.T.
Dennis The Menace
Donna Reed Show
Starman TV series
The Bold Ones
Bananasplits ( The Banana Splits Adventure Hour )

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

My Three Sons
Coronet Blue
The Time Tunnel
Odd Couple

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Please Don't Eat the Daisies
FLAMINGO ROAD
the colbys (Long Version)
Dynasty
That's my Mama
Logan's Run
Matt Houston

Friday, November 10, 2006

Jason Of Star Command opening
star lost
Ark II Opening Credits & Bumper
Secrets Of Isis opening

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Falcon Crest - Season 5 Opening Credits
falcon crest

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Night Gallery Opening Titles
One Day at a Time (season two)
Baby, I'm Back Theme

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dragnet 2003

I love this main title sequence and Mike Post's emergized reworking of the classic DRAGNET theme. It's a shame the show itself was so dull.
The Courtship of Eddie's Father
Peter Gunn
Baywatch Season 2
Baywatch Season 1

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gilligan's Island - The Pilot

This is the main title from the scrapped, original pilot which had a slightly different cast and a VERY different theme song!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Brimstone
The Amazing Spiderman
Love American Style (and Happy Days pilot)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Wire and the Art of the Main Title Sequence

Andrew Dignan analyzes in minute detail the main sequence of THE WIRE, which changes every season.

The Wire's opening credits are not an ordinary credits sequence, but a series of four short films that distill each season's themes, goals, and motifs.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Gimme A Break
SERPICO - 1976 TV Series

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Superman
Stingray(1964)
Dallas
Stingray
Space Precinct
The Immortal (1970)
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 3rd Season Opening
Man From U.N.C.L.E. Season 1 Opening

Monday, October 16, 2006

Mary Tyler Moore theme
RHODA
The Flying Nun
Bewitched

Wild Wild West

This had a terrific theme by Richard Markowitz.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The HighWayMan

I have a shameful confession...I actually wrote one of the episodes of this terrible show.


The Misadventures of Sheriff Lobo

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Bionic Woman
The Incredible Hulk
Wonder Woman
BJ Mckay and the Bear
Booker
manimal
Voyagers!
Beverly Hillbillies
Miami Vice
A-Team
Greatest American Hero
The Wizard
The Flash intro
Lucan
The Fall Guy intro
Remington Steele
f-troop

Why I Love Main Titles

Main Titles create an emotional link between the viewer and the show. But for a writer, they are so much more. Here is an excerpt from SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING, the book I wrote with William Rabkin. The excerpt will be followed by three examples, along with text from the book.

Main titles are created to introduce the audience to the show they are about to see. But for the writer, there is much more information to be gleaned. It is a chance to read the mind of the executive producer. How does he perceive the show? How does he perceive the characters?

How does he perceives the tone? What kinds of stories does he want to tell? Most main title sequences will answer all those questions and more.

There are basically three different kinds of main title sequences: Format sequences, that actually tell you in narration and in writing what the show is about; Mood sequences that convey the type of feeling and tone they are going for; and Character sequences, which delineate who the characters are and how they interact. Many main titles are combinations of these three sequences.

Since TV changes so fast, we’ve chosen some examples from some established series you probably know very well and, if not, can easily find in reruns...

CSI -- Example #1 from Successful Television Writing

CSI Season 3 Intro

The title alone should tell you a lot. But beyond that, the brilliant main title sequence does an exceptional job selling the mood and format of the series.

Part of the brilliance of the main title sequence is that it goes against everything we’ve been taught about what is dramatic (not coincidentally, much like the show itself). While other main titles are full of slickly edited explosions, car chases, amazing stunts, and scenes of conflict, this one features shots of evidence being collected and analyzed.

How exciting can looking at a piece of lint under a microscope be? Very exciting, judging by the way these shots are cut into the main title, which also tells you something about how the producers approach story. The forensics are the story.
We see quick shots of crime scene tape, finger prints, broken glass, drops of blood, a strand of hair, a bullet moving through water, a guy setting his equipment case down beside a body. Here, the mundane is edited like a martial arts sequence.

The producers could have included shot of cops kicking down doors, buildings exploding, moments which have happened during the course of the series. But those action-packed shots aren’t in the main title. Why? Because while those were exciting moments in the show, they aren’t what the series is about. It’s a show about forensics.

Look at the way the characters are introduced as compared to, say, the main titles of any other show. No attempt is made to reveal character, to tell us who they are as people, or even to make them look particularly heroic or attractive. Each character is introduced peering at some tiny piece of evidence under a microscope or between a pair of tweezers, squinting at some computer print-out, crouching over a corpse, or aiming a flashlight into a dark corner. Because, like Law & Order, this isn’t a show about the characters. It’s a show about forensics.

The series also takes place in Las Vegas, but with the exception of two quick night shots of the city, you don’t see the typical glittering footage you’d expect of the Strip, showgirls dancing, and roulette wheels spinning. Why? Because this isn’t a show about Las Vegas. It’s a show about forensics.

And if the visuals didn’t pound home the point hard enough, let’s consider the theme song, The Who’s “Who Are You?” The cost of using that song every week is probably larger than the national debt of several third world countries, so it’s obviously important to producers. The fact that it’s a classic, and catchy, song by a legendary rock group doesn’t hurt. It sticks in your head. In fact, it was probably there long before CSI came along. That alone would probably be worth the hefty price tag. But what really makes this song worth every penny is the simple lyric: Who are you? Who? Who? I Really Want To Know. That lyric is repeated again and again over the visuals, combining with them to send you a message you’d have to be deaf and blind not to get.

It’s a show about forensics.

The producers don’t care about car chases, or explosions, or gun-fights. They don’t care about romance, sex, and witty repartee. They aren’t particularly interested in moving, character drama either. They care about cool forensics and intricate mysteries.

You’ll notice that just about every scene in the main title was either shot at night, or in a darkened room, which should also tell you something about the mood. This is not a bright and cheery show. In fact, just about the only light you see is coming from flashlights. What are they saying? That the stories, and the characters, move in the shadows.

The title of the show is Crime Scene Investigation. The visuals are only about evidence collection and analysis. The song asks over and over again Who are you?
Someone who has never seen a single episode of CSI, someone who doesn’t even speak or read English, could watch the main titles and tell you what the show is about and what the center of each story is.

This is a perfect main title, and about as clear an indication as you could ever get into how the producers see their own show.

Walker: Example #2 from Successful Television Writing

Walker Texas Ranger TV Intro

This is a Character and Format sequence. This main title features Chuck Norris, the star of the show, singing a song against a backdrop of big action sequences. The song goes like this:
In the eyes of a Ranger
the unsuspecting stranger
had better know the truth of wrong from right,
because the eyes of the Ranger are upon you.
Any wrong you do he’s gonna see
When you’re in Texas look behind you
because that’s where the Ranger’s gonna be.


Without even seeing the main title sequence, without even reading a script, you know that this guy is a Texas Ranger and he is the center of every story. He’s a man of action.

And as if the lyrics aren’t big enough clues, Walker himself sings the title song and his face is in almost every single shot.

So you know that Walker, just like Hunter, is the center of every story. You also know that action and physical violence are a major part of the show. And you know that he’s always going to be one step ahead of the bad guys.

We have only watched a few episodes of Walker, for a cross-over episode we did on Martial Law, but we can tell you that from just watching the title sequence and listening to that horrible song, he never makes a mistake. He is the nicest guy on earth, the best fighter on earth, and the best cop. He’s almost super-human.
Criminals are either good or bad. There is no in between. And Walker, like Santa Claus, omnisciently knows which is which.

Chuck is the star, the executive producer and he sings the song. What more do you need to know about what a Walker story should be?

X Files Example #3 from Successful Television Writing

X-Files intro

This is a mood and format sequence. The main title sequence remained unchanged until David Duchovny left, and that alone should tell you something about how important it is to the producers in stating what the show is about (and the fact that show tanked after Duchovny left should tell you how much more important characters are to viewers than the stories).

First of all you know right away that the format is science fiction, horror and fantasy. You know that the show is scary. That means your stories also better have a scare in them.

You can also tell from the main title sequence that the style and tone – and the feelings they evoke -- are very, very important, more so than the minutiae of the story. That main title is all about creating a feeling in you before the show even begins.

You also know right away that this is a show about two FBI agents that investigate paranormal activity. The title sequence tells you in big print exactly what they investigate and suggests that it involves conspiracies about which the government denies all knowledge.

The music is creepy and distant. You know it’s not a show that is going to be fun and games. There is not a lot of humor and high jinks. It’s about government conspiracies and the supernatural.

So you know the tone your story has to have. You know the two of them have to be at the center of it. You know that there had better be some scares in it. You never have to watch an episode of the X Files to know all of that -- you just have to watch the main title.

Welcome to Main Title Heaven

For the most part, I'm staying in the background and letting these great (and memorably awful) main title sequences speak for themselves.

Some housekeeping. To date, there are about 90 main title YouTube links on the blog. The blog was taking forever to load, so I am only showing four posts per day, but you can access everything by clicking on the archive links in the column to the right.

Have fun!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Starsky and Hutch Tv Show Intro 1st Season

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Harry O

one of the greatest PI shows ever. The theme and main title sequence were tweaked several times during the show's short, two-year run.

.
Fantastic Journey intro with narration
The Rookies

This features a kick-ass Elmer Bernstein theme.

Whistlers Main Title

Temp main titles for an unsold spin-off from DIAGNOSIS MURDER.
Shazam intro
Helltown intro
Star Trek Animated Tv Cartoon Intro
The Wiseguy Tv Show Intro
Nanny and the Professor TV show intro
Kojak (70's) Tv Show Intro
Police Woman Tv Show Intro
Emergency!
Original Emergency! Opening Theme
Firehouse (1973) - OPENING

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Spenser for hire intro

I will always have a soft spot for this show...it was my first produced teleplay. I ended up writing three episodes.
Search main titles

I thought this show was so cool when I was a kid...
Magnum titles

Another version of the Magnum main titles.
Magnum P.I. opening

The revised main titles with the classic, Mike Post theme.
Magnum p.i. original titles

The original Magnum titles with the original, awful theme.
Simon and Simon intro
Banacek - Opening Titles
Harry O (Season 1) - Opening Titles
The Streets of San Francisco
The invisible man (1975) Tv show intro

This was later revamped and became GEMINI MAN.
Love and Curses intro
Martial Law intro year 2
Missing 2 intro
The Lazarus Man

Monday, October 09, 2006

Gemini Man Intro

Gemini Man (1976) Sci-Fi Tv show intro
The Fantastic Journey TV intro (1977)

UFO

Flipper - Opening Titles
T.J. Hooker (1986) - Season 5 OPENING
T.J. Hooker (1982) - Season 1 OPENING
Emergency +4 (1973) - OPENING
Robocop: The TV Series (1994) - OPENING
Baa Baa Black Sheep - Intro

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Raven
Renegade Tv Show Intro
The Avengers (1968) Tv Show Intro
The Avengers TV intro (1965)
Branded

Vegas

Return of the Saint Tv Show Intro
Man In A Suitcase opening titles
Mannix
Strike Force (1981) - OPENING
The Ghost Busters (1975) - OPENING
Voyage to the bottom of the sea intro
Dragnet (2003) open

Friday, October 06, 2006

Battlestar Galactica Intro
Battlestar Galactica
I Dream of Jeannie

Beauty and the Beast

Bill Bixby - The Magician
land of the giants
Knight Rider
The Master - Opening Titles
Diagnosis Murder Intro (Season 6)

I was an executive producer of this show and this was my favorite version of both the main title sequence and the theme.


SeaQuest 2032

I was a supervising producer on this series -- and as much as I liked this main title sequence, and the new theme by Russ Landau, I prefered John Debney's Emmy-winning original score. The executive producer commissioned a new theme, and tweaked the title of the series (from SeaQuest DSV to SeaQuest 2032) to signify how much the show had changed from previous seasons


James At 15 (1977) - OPENING
The Protectors Opening titles
Tales Of The Unexpected Intro
One Day at a Time (season two)
Hello Larry theme (season one)
WKRP in Cincinnati theme
Ironside opening
Ironside HQ opening
Mary Tyler Moore theme
Room 222 intro
Route 66 Open
THE SAINT Original titles
The Persuaders Title Intro
Missing Main Title

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Baretta
The Professionals Tv Show Intro
Space 1999 Sci Fi Tv Intro (1975) 1srt Season
Lost in Space Tv Show 3rd Season Intro
The Saint Tv Show Intro
Mannix
Man Fron U.N.C.L.E.
Thunderbirds Tv Show Intro
It Takes A Thief Season 3 Credits
It Takes A Thief Season 2 Credits
It Takes A Thief Season 1 Credits

Man From Atlantis

Cannon

She Wolf of London main title

I was a supervising producer and principal writer on this series. It was a lot of fun, but as much as I love the main title theme, the sequence itself is a disaster. It looks like a time travel show.