A lot of dramas and action shows open with a scene before going into the credit sequence. What was the first sitcom to do this?
It dates back to at least the 1970s. Welcome Back, Kotter always began with Mr. Kotter telling a story about his family before going into the opening credits.
I’m not 100% sure, but I saw “Get Smart” on cable tv yesterday and it had a joke before the credits. That show was on in the mid-sixties. “Cheers” in the mid-80’s revived this pre-credit joke technique.
The pilot of MAS*H had a joke before it’s opening credits. It premiered in early 1972.
Didn’t George Burns do a monologue at the start of Burns and Allen shows?
The device is called a “teaser.”
It’s been going on since radio days - listen to some old “Dragnet” radio serials…granted, it’s not a joke, but the premise of the story is summed up before the credits.
Very effective way to make the viewers/listeners stay for your show.
Where does The Odd Couple fit in to the timeline? That seems older than the others mentioned.
Get Smart started in 1965, so it’s the front runner.
As far as a “teaser”, Kate and Allie is the only show I have ever seen that had a bit of cryptic, sentimental prose during the opening credits.