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Classic Tv Title Sequences


'Bart'

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I've always been a bit of a fan of TV title sequences. They're great for setting the tone of the program you're about to watch and a really good one lives on in the collective audience memory.

A good start is the 1975 Survivors title sequence, a show that recently had its own thread on HPC (and quite right too).

A creepy opening few seconds which shows how the plague began (the only clue we the audience ever get as to what caused it) leads into the global spread of the virus while Anthony Issac's splendid theme tolls the bell of doom for the human race.

The best title sequences are strong both visually and musically and Survivors is a good example of both working together.

Next we have the Tom Baker Doctor Who titles.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPSiGk9Ofbk

This is an amended and refined version of the titles used for Jon Pertwee's last season in the role. The arrangement of the theme is the one used throughout most of the 70s and is a little more "sedate" than the version used today.

These "slit scan" titles use the same technique as part of the Star Gate sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey and provided the inspiration for the Chris Eccleston/David Tennant sequence (although much speeded up)

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Something of a rarity is the early 70s children's series Ace of Wands. A wonderfully imaginative series about a magician and the strange characters he goes up against, the title sequence is pure early 70s psychedelia, backed by a great song by Andrew Bown.

The Tomorrow People is another children's TV series from the 1970s. The frankly surreal (and creepy) title sequence and Dudley Simpson's music added much needed gravitas to a series that often had more imagination than cash.

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During the 70s, especially during the long summer holidays, the BBC would show various European TV series dubbed into English in order to pad out the schedules. The Flashing Blade had such a good title sequence (and theme song) that I would tune in for that alone, and often not watch the rest of it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojJKWwghVcc

(Younger HPCer may know this series from the hilariously dubbed version seen on the Saturday morning show On the Waterfront [

]).

The Banana Splits wasn't perhaps the greatest title sequence visually but with a theme song like this, it doesn't need to be.

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Another series with a classic theme tune is Hawaii Five 0 although the visuals are brilliantly edited as well (my favorite bit is always that long zoom in on Jack Lord).

Staying stateside, The Six Million Dollar Man title sequence is another one that lives on in the memory of those who watched it. Am I the only one to have used the phrase "we have the technology" in adult life?

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Next up is the famous "light bulb" title sequence for the excellent Edward Woodward series Callan. This is one I can remember from my earliest childhood and sets the scene well for the gritty, down to earth spy series. The world Callan lives in makes Harry Palmer's look glamorous and the naked bulb swinging from a cracked ceiling is just perfect in this respect.

Next we have another early 70s series Budgie, starring Adam Faith. I was too young to watch it at the time but Channel 4 repeated this in the late 80s and I hugely enjoyed it when I finally got to see it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nCsYKzoPQfU

The original series title was going to be "The Loser" and this title sequence sums up the spirit of Ronald 'Budgie' Bird, always trying to win but always destined to fail in whatever harebrained scheme he came up with (e.g. accidentally stealing a van load of pornographic magazines from the police and then having to destroy the evidence. The wind blows the pages from the bonfire Budgie and his pal have made and they blow all over a field where a prison wardens versus prisoners rugby match is to be played imminently).

Anyway, that's enough from me, what are your favorite TV title sequences and why?

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Didn't really question why we were watching silent movies from the 30's (Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin etc) or classic American stuff from the 40's and 50's as late as the early 70's.

Yes, but that stuff was the best 5% of the 30s, 40s, 50s etc. output.

pity the current generation of kids who only know (95% dross) contemporary media.

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I get a shiver just watching some of those.

Cheers 'Bart'.

You have already taken the best ones but I will throw in White Horses, as with you and the Flashing Blade I rarely watched more than a few minutes of the badly dubbed black and white programme that followed.

Actually having just watched it, I won't. The memory plays tricks and it's not very good. There was less on the telly in those days.

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I get a shiver just watching some of those.

Cheers 'Bart'.

You have already taken the best ones but I will throw in White Horses, as with you and the Flashing Blade I rarely watched more than a few minutes of the badly dubbed black and white programme that followed.

Actually having just watched it, I won't. The memory plays tricks and it's not very good. There was less on the telly in those days.

White Horses and Champion the Wonder Horse seemed to be the ones missing so far

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The original Doctor Who titles due to the simple way they were produced,,,by feedback, pointing a black and white electronic camera at its own output, on a studio monitor, then superimposing the lettering.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKg9tuSbXmk

Somewhere from my "Hartnell" or "Troughton" era DVD's I have an extended title sequence "test."

My favourites are from the Peter Davidson period however for the "star bursts" and best remix of the original theme

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3EKUeIlkn8

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