Monday, November 10, 2008

Drat, Drat and Double Drat

It's ninety years since the end of World War One and Dick Dastardly is long dead. The pigeon was a brave American so how come Dick was English? Did he have Hun blood? We need to be told.

The opening credits are brilliant. The glorious music, based on Tiger Rag, and the hilarious visuals. Just how much did Dick's government spend in pursuit of that pigeon? They tried to nab him, grab him, jab him, even "tab" him, all to no avail. They didn't, however, try to stab the little sod. And the pigeon always got through enemy lines.

These opening credits are the best thing about the show. Same with Wacky Races. Same with James Bond films. Same with Doctor Who. They whet your appetite for something good which never arrives.

The opposite is true of The Office, Early Doors and The Sopranos. Shit opening credits and shit music are prologues to excellence. Even fast forwarding through Tony Soprano's interminable journey home has wasted hours of my life. But at least I don't have to listen to that bleeding song.

"Woke up this morning, got myself a gun..."

Oh, do fuck off.

It's rare that the whole thing works in tv drama, where the starter and the main course complement each other. I, Claudius did it. John Adams does it. For films you can't beat Hitchcock and for comedy series' you'll never surpass Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads? Perfection.


  1. I think that you're on to something..except I loved the opening credits for ROME.

    Dat Soprano jingle shudda bin..

    "Woke up dis mornin'
    got yourself some gum,
    mama always said you'd be
    A Juicy Fruit Son

    bunch of freakin' pussy Mama's boys.

  2. Top Cat is my favourite opening sequence although Top Cat himself (I don't get to call him "TC") can fuck off.

  3. Yes! I lurrvved the music to Rome. Bongy chiming things might have something to do with it because I like the theme to Futurama as well.

    Hitchcock is a great example. High on my list of best opening design/music is North By Northwest. Fab.
    And Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads is quite simply perfect telly.
    Hurray for us all etc.

  4. I love this opening theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm.

  5. *replays Geoff's video clip to hear Muttley's snigger*

  6. Mr C - I am so ashamed that the British input into the Sopranos is by the awful Alabama 3. At least we gave some good actors to The Wire.

    Billy - Top Cat or Boss Cat, I never thought he was Top or Boss. It happened with so many cartoons - you got all excited by the song and the visuals then the story was really mundane.

    Arabella - Having Bernard Hermann scores didn't harm Hitchcock films.

    MJ - Yes. Perfect from the start of the programme to the end. Larry learned a lot from Seinfeld and its incredibly annoying slap bass. Muttley did have a good laugh. My dad's was pretty similar.

  7. I'm one of those annoying people who staggers in late treading on everyone's feet and saying 'oops sorry'.
    However, I do remember that during the early sixties (?) the opening credits rose to the standard of an art form.

  8. The Bond films were a staple of my Saturday morning film-going. The loud music and the graphics got me all tingly. Then the film started and I wanted to go home and play football. Or go to the arts cinema down the road and watch the opening credits of the latest Godard.

    *Muttley laugh*

  9. Top Cat had a story!??

    Spot on with WHTTLL - "Oh what happened to me, whatever happened to you...?" the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up even thinking about it!

  10. I just hope they don't do a new series. I'd be in bits.

  11. Didn't Saul Bass do a lot of the Hitchcock credits?

    The one that's vexing me at the moment is Star Trek: Voyager, on every night at 8pm on Virgin, and I've already fast-forwarded through three seasons. They spent two million dollars on it, but it's so stupidly boring. Not that the show's much better.

  12. Saul Bass was brilliant. He did those great Otto Preminger movies, too.

  13. Romo had the Sweeney credits on her blog recently, they were good

  14. Yes. With one of those tunes where you sing the title to the music.

  15. The Saint with Roger Moore was very simple. Much like the star.

  16. WHTTLL is, Revolver and Saturday night and Sunday Morning and Meat is Murder aside, probably the finest outpouring of the Northern working class culture ever.

    There, I've said it.


    Porridge has a pretty stonking opening too, mind.

    "What, with these feet? .... Who'd 'ave me??"



    p.s. wrod crecifivisection: exicker

    Klaus Voorman?

  17. Murph - The Persuaders theme tune was fantastic. And Roger had Bond, too. Did he choose the music?

    Bob - "You'll get your money!"

  18. Now just hold on, I said hold on a cotton pickin' minute there boy! Alabama 3's 'Exile on Cold Harbour Lane' is probably the funniest album I own and it's the album from which was plucked the Soprano's intro theme. That record is one of the best albums of the last decade. You need to give it a listen in its proper setting. Why if I wants my conciousness expanding I goes to my local tabernakle and I sing!

  19. Funny, Col? If I want funny I listen to Dan Hill!