Sunday, March 09, 2014

Let's Get Going

TV shows are free (or were in the days of broadcasting) so they have to figure out how to grab viewers before they change the channel.  Certain ritual openings can help.

I've been thinking about this because MeTV has been showing The Saint.  It's not the greatest show, but I love how it starts. In fact, I like to catch the first five minutes and then change the channel. (When the show first aired in the 60s, they had no idea some day they'd have to compete against a couple hundred other shows.)

Each show starts in a new location where we meet up with suave adventurer Simon Templar, aka, The Saint.  Played by Roger Moore, he does a short, generally humorous monologue directly to the camera, after which the action resumes and some character recognizes the famous Saint.  We cut to a shot of Moore and an animated halo appears above his head, accompanied by a musical motif, which leads us directly to the credits (which keep the halo), while the motif turns into the show's theme.

A few years later, That Girl did something similar. Each episode's opening had someone refer to Marlo Thomas's Ann Marie as "that girl" (often pointing at her), we'd get a freeze frame on Marlo with the title on screen, and the theme would start.


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