Home > Uncategorized > “Best” Opening Credit Sequences, Part 3: The Masses Speak

“Best” Opening Credit Sequences, Part 3: The Masses Speak

July 26th, 2013 | Jonathan Gray


But wait: there’s more!!

When I posted a link to the first installment of this mini-series on Facebook, I got a whole bunch of recommendations and votes from friends. Partly to honor those suggestions (especially since there are a bunch I hadn’t seen), partly to record the list for future use, I thought I’d put some here. The masses speak (wherein “the masses” = my friends on Facebook. That’s how Marx defined them too, right?). Even more may, in theory, come later.

One friend recommended Frank’s Place, saying “those sepia stills are gorgeous”:

I struggled to find Burn Notice‘s on YouTube, which a friend noted as silly but worthy of mention. They certainly give a lot of plot setup. Here’s a filmed-off-the-TV version:

Another wondered where Magnum PI and Hart to Hart were. Here:

Though I personally want to know where this Forrest Gump pregenitor came from, for earworm value alone, there’s also Mr. Belvedere:

With plenty of gimmicks, not all shown in this version, there’s Police Squad!:

And while we’re going old school, there’s also The Garry Shandling Show:

The friend who recommended that also noted that long before Bart Simpson was writing different lines each week, there were the answering machine messages in the opening of The Rockford Files:

and he nominated Barney Miller for its song:

For some good Canadian content, with a skippy backstory, we have The Littlest Hobo (this song is never really far from being at the forefront of my head, as an aside. Wayne Gretzky once said, in response to a question about whether he knew what was in linemate Jari Kurri’s head, since the two were scoring so many goals together, that he did: endless Happy Days reruns. If you ever wanna know what’s in mine, there’s a really good chance it’s this song):

Speaking of good songs, the same friend who recommended the above also nominated Get a Life, which got REM into an opening sequence, so it deserves credit there alone:

and he and another friend nominated It Takes a Thief:

and he also noted that The Cosby Show could do some fun things at times:

Another friend was apparently running down school staircases to Starsky and Hutch‘s theme while growing up:

Another noted “anything that MTM did in the 70s, but that’s not a single embed, so I’ll move on to another friend who turned me on to the very spacy Manimal opening (close enough to MTM, right???):

and he nominated Darkroom (which I can’t find) and Tales of the Gold Monkey:

Roseanne got several nods and fans, as did Roseann’s laugh in particular, so here’s Season 7:

Cheers did too (though it always makes me think of Flaming Moe’s from The Simpsons now):

And Xena Warrior Princess, though it’s hard to get on YouTube (just Google it to see a bunch of fan versions if you’re interested). Available on YouTube, but seemingly not embeddable, is Daria‘s opening credits, of whom one friend wrote that she knew she’d be friends with Daria as soon as she saw her intentionally miss that volleyball.

It’s a very American gathering, so I apologize for that. For a small respite, there’s The Prisoner:

And though I did explicitly say I was avoiding HBO, but some folk didn’t listen to the rules. So here, by popular demand, are Veep (which one friend says is “my absolute favorite–the quick joke, the backstory and the vibe of the show all in one shot, and the music follows perfectly”):

and Game of Thrones:

and The Sopranos. Personally, as already said before, I like GoT‘s a lot and it grew on me even more over time, but it isn’t The All and End All that some make it out to be. But the one HBO sequence that really does belong in any fair Best Of list is The Sopranos‘, since it manages to capture a lot about Tony without even showing us that much of him, and it frames the thematic interests and setting well too. And it’s a great song. For a great fuller-length analysis and appreciation of this sequence, I recommend David Johansson’s “Homeward Bound: Those Sopranos Titles Come Heavy,” in David Lavery’s Reading The Sopranos: Hit TV from HBO.

Finally, it’s not for an actual show, but this is pretty awesome too.

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  1. Emilee Mathews
    August 27th, 2013 at 16:44 | #1

    Hi Professor Gray,

    I’m a film studies librarian at University of California Irvine. I stumbled across your blog looking for career resources for film studies grads, and I just wanted to suggest another opening sequence should you still be thinking about this:

    The Adventures of Pete and Pete

    Thanks for your time,
    Emilee Mathews
    Research Librarian for Visual Arts
    UC Irvine

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