(Television History and Trivia)
THE HOLOGLOBE PRESS
Victor Edward Swanson,
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- - - T.H.A.T., Edition No. 16 - - -
While you are watching a television show, you will at some point see a bunch of words like "producer," "costume supervisor," and "CFI" show up on the screen--such words are part of either the "opening credits" or "closing credits." When I think of television series of the past that had good opening-credits sequences, I often think of series that were associated with Quinn Martin. For example, in the 1970s, television series that were produced by Quinn Martin Productions had opening-credits sequences that made it easy to understand who the main stars of the series were and what they looked like and who the main guest stars were and what they looked like for each episode, and that was possible because an episode of a show opened with an announcer saying the name an actor while the image of actor was shown on the screen, as in this rough example: "The Streets of San Francisco. (pause) A Quinn Martin Production. (pause) Starring Karl Malden. (pause) Also starring Michael Douglas...." When the credits were delivered in such a manner, viewers were able to associate the names of performers with the faces of performers, and, by the way, that was good for performers, especially those who wished viewers to remember them for "Q" surveys. Today, it can be hard to tie a name to a face in television series, since often the opening credits of series do not link names to faces. Worse yet, it can be hard to read the closing credits of television shows, and one reason for that is the closing credits are put across the screen very quickly, and another reason is small typeface is often used. This year, of the broadcast networks, ABC-TV and The WB Network have been doing the worst job of showing closing credits, and I base that statement on my experience of using a videotape recorder to help me learn who did what and being unable to determine what some words were.
Here is an announcement or a piece of editorial comment for the performer unions and trade unions associated with television production: Press The WB Network and ABC-TV to make the lettering for the closing credits at least five-percent larger so that people can read them.
Yes, I do read the credits of television shows, though not all the credits, since the credits are either small or pass by too fast. Since the mid-1990s or so, I have watched the credits for shows associated with "Chuck Lorre Productions," and I have noticed the special credit material that has been put on the screen by "Chuck Lorre Productions" for the "Chuck Lorre Productions"-credit part for some shows. Let me explain what I mean by "'Chuck Lorre Productions'-credit part." At the end of shows, the companies that produced the shows are listed , and, for instance, when a show is ending, what a person might see is "Warner Bros. Television" or "Telepictures Productions" or "Touchstone Television" or "Spelling Television," and what is normal today is several production company logos will be shown at the end of a show because more than one production company was usually involved in the production of the show. Besides showing "Chuck Lorre Productions" on the screen for the episodes of Dharma & Greg, Chuck Lorre put a bunch of material on the screen for people to read, if they could, and the material was usually displayed under "Chuck Lorre Productions."
Chuck Lorre Productions produced the television series entitled Dharma & Greg, or, actually, these production companies were credited as taking part in producing the series (at some point): Chuck Lorre Productions, 4 to 6 Foot Productions, 20th Century Fox Television, and More-Medavoy Productions. The series was shown in prime time on ABC-TV from the 1997-1998 season through the 2001-2002 season. Here is what was presented at the end of the episode of Dharma & Greg that I call the "Blonde Tornado" episode, in which Dharma appeared as a superhero--cape and all:
Chuck Lorre Productions #98
The sun rises, the sun sets
The seasons change
It's raining somewhere
Spiders make webs
Fish eat each other
Babies are born
Stars are born
People and stars get old
then stop getting old
All this happens in war
day after day after day
At no time am I consulted
I happened to catch an episode of Dharma & Greg in which Dharma was entrusted with an heirloom--a ring. I did not get a clear recording of the closing credits, but I was able to determine what was presented during the "Chuck Lorre Productions"-credit part, and it dealt with, in a way, the first episode of the series. Here is what Chuck Lorre offered viewers in the closing credits for the episode about the ring:
Chuck Lorre Productions #102
In an early draft of the very first episode of Dharma & Greg, Dharma's last name was Lowenstein; Greg had an angry and neurotic sister named Penny; Greg's father was romantically involved with a beautiful Swedish au pair named Gjerta; Greg's mother was a lush; Dharma's best friend was named Veronica; Dharma and Greg never go to a baseball game or Reno for pie but they go to the local coffee shop where they deal with a sarcastic waitress named Connie who has every laugh in the scene; Dharma nobly offers Greg an annulment; Dharma's dad tries to convince some policemen that the pot on his property is not his (and if it was it would be legal since he has glaucoma); and finally Greg arrives to refuse the annulment and save Mr. Lowenstein. I bring this up as a way of reminding myself that I get deeply attached to things I write (in this case co-write) and become fiercely resistant to change even thought I know from experience that every thing that I've ever done got better with each successive draft. Taken a step further perhaps this obsessive drive to protect an early draft is a microcosmic view of the struggle to resist evolution on a macro scale. Perhaps the struggle to resist is an essential part of the process. Perhaps the human race is merely an early draft, a minor blip in an inexorable and endless process of cosmic re-writes. But I digress. Gjerta? Whoa, what were we thinking?
The amount of writing that makes up the "#102" block is the amount that was often presented at the end of an episode of Dharma & Greg. If you had five seconds in which to read it, could you read it all? The only way I could read it all was to get a recording of it.
In the first episode of Dharma & Greg, Dharma and Greg met as children and later as adults, and Dharma and Greg got married soon after meeting as adults. In the first episode, there was no beautiful Swedish au pair [Oh, well]. I was able to get the statements presented at the end of the first episode of Dharma & Greg by making a recording of the closing credits of the episode, and now I report those statements to you:
ProductionsThank you for viewing "Dharma & Greg" and freeze-framing on my vanity card. I'd like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my personal beliefs. I believe that everyone thinks that they can write. This is not true. It is true, however, that everyone can direct. I believe that the laws of karma do not apply to show business, where good things happen to bad people on a fairly regular basis. I believe that what doesn't kill us makes us better. I believe that the obsessive worship of movie, TV and sports figures is less likely to produce spiritual gain than praying to Thee. I believe that Larry was a vastly underrated Stooge, without whom Moe and Curly would not conform to the comedy law of three (thanks, Lee). I believe my kids are secretly proud of me. I believe that you if can't find anything nice to say about people whom you've helped to make wildly successful and then they stabbed you in the back, then don't say anything at all. I believe I have a great dog, maybe the greatest dog in the whole wide world, yes, he is! I believe that beer is a gateway drug that leads, inevitably, to vodka and somebody oughta do something about it. I believe that when ABC reads this I'm going to be in biiiig trouble. I believe that Tina Turner's "River Deep, Mountain High", is the greatest rock song ever recorded. Once again, thanks for watching "Dharma & Greg". Please be sure to tune in again to this vanity card for more of my personal beliefs.
I must add special thoughts. I do not present the three blocks of material from Chuck Lorre to violate copyright law; I present the three blocks of material "for the record" and for those who have never been able to read the material. And I can report that the pie in the first episode of Dharma & Greg was blueberry pie.
By the way, I really did use a videotape recorder to obtain the three blocks of vanity material from Chuck Lorre, and I did that to really say that I got the material by recording the closing credits of the three episodes of Dharma & Greg, and my process to get the material also involved reading the text of the "Chuck Lorre Productions" block into a cassette recorder, listening to the cassette (in bursts), and typing the material into a computer (and into this report). After I obtained the third block of material, I decided to go to the Web site for Chuck Lorre Productions, which I expected I would find. Chuck Lorre lists the text for all the vanity cards for Dharma & Greg at his Web site, www.chucklorre.com. If you wish to see the text for all the vanity cards go to the Web site.
Let me now run down some "credits" or really answers to questions posed in the previous edition of T.H.A.T. Dale Robertson played Ben Calhoun in the television series entitled The Iron Horse, which was shown on ABC-TV in the 1966-1967 season and the 1967-1968 season. In the series entitled Wagon Train, Frank McGrath played Charlie Wooster. Blair Brown played Jessica in the TV-movie called The Oregon Trail, which was the pilot for the series entitled The Oregon Trail. In Movin' On, Claude Akins played Sonny (Sonny Pruitt), and Frank Converse played Will (Will Chandler). In the episode of Route 66 that was about Gabe Johnson, it was Jack Lord who played Gabe Johnson, and, incidentally, this episode belonged with the original series entitled Route 66, which was shown on CBS-TV from the 1960-1961 season through the 1963-1964 season. Another series entitled Route 66 was shown on NBC-TV during the 1992-1993 season, and, in this series, it was James Wilder who played Nick Lewis, who was Buz Murdock's son, and it was Dan Cortese who played Arthur Clark.
Now, I must go back in time and bring up a subject that I worked with in T.H.A.T. #14 and T.H.A.T. #15, and the subject is Doctor Who (the new series), and I return to the subject to pass along trivia to the guys and gals of Canada and England who like the program. On May 24, 2005, CBC-TV (of Canada) showed, for the first time, the episode of Doctor Who entitled "Father's Day," and CBC-TV had actress Camille Coduri listed as playing "Jackie Taylor" and had Shaun Dingwall listed as playing "Peter Taylor." In this series, Jackie is Rose's mother, and Peter is Rose's father., and, in this episode, The Doctor and Rose go back in time to the day that Jackie and Peter are supposed to get married, and they discover little baby Rose is attending the proposed wedding. In the series, Rose's full name is "Rose Tyler." Do you see the fun problem with the credits for "Father's Day," and part of the fun belongs with CBC-TV, and part of the fun problem belongs with BBC Wales? (You should see two problems.)
As you should see, this edition of T.H.A.T. has a theme, and the theme is credits, and since the theme is credits, the trivia questions put in this edition of T.H.A.T. will be about credits. I wonder how many people watch the credits for shows. It seems to me people are more likely to see the credits of really popular shows than not-so popular shows. Desperate Housewives is a really popular show this season. What production companies are credited with putting together Desperate Housewives this season? That should be an easy question to answer, since the show is still being shown on television and you can still watch the end to one of the episodes. Another series that was shown this season was called The Will. The Will did not have much of a season. Despite that, I ask--What companies were involved in producing The Will? During the 1998-1999 season, CBS-TV aired a series entitled Thanks. You probably do not know much about the series, and that is why I ask you--What companies were involved in putting that series together? My files show, for instance, that the electronic lab used to put Thanks together was Laser Pacific Media and that the post-production-sound work was handled by Larson Sound Center.
Remember: You should not expect all the questions posed in any edition of T.H.A.T. to be easy to answer.
copyright c. 2005
Date published: July 10, 2005
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