What's the deal with opening credit narration....

…in old TV shows?? Why did they feel it necessary to have a narrator read the opening credits out loud?? You’d think that’d be happening NOW, what with the ADA and everything…

The Honeymooners
Leave It To Beaver
Dick Van Dyke Show
Andy Griffith Show
My Three Sons

and I’m probably forgetting countless others…all had narrated opening credits, at least in their earlier seasons…what’s up with that??

WAG: People were still used to radio, and radio shows would necessarily have had an announcer read off the credits. So it was a transitional kind of thing.

It also announced the end of the commercial. People might not be paying attention to it, so telling them the show was beginning got them to notice (and tell their family it was starting).

It was also part and parcel of Quinn Martin as well (The Streets of San Francisco, The Fugitive, Barnaby Jones, Dan August, etc.)

It would be a nice feature to add to porn.

Doesn’t Burn Notice do this? Person of Interest?

As long as people are speculating…
In the entertainment industry, everything hinges on agreements. There are union agreements and there are actors’ individual contracts. The placement, order, and presentation of credits are all spelled out in contracts. A big star may not agree to do a movie unless they get top billing. A director may demand that his name appear before a producer and the assistant director’s union contract may demand that the assistant director’s name appear wherever the director’s name appears.

The agreements of the time (which could have been a carry over from the days of radio) may have required the top stars’ names to be read at the beginning of the show.

I don’t know what the agreements of the time said, so I can’t give a factual answer.

By the way, ever wonder why ads (print ads and television commercials) for movies sometimes contain 500 names in small print and other times don’t even mention the name(s) of the star(s)? That’s because of various triggering clauses in contracts. If you mention the star’s name, the director’s contract requires you to mention the director’s name, then the assistant director’s union contract requires you to mention the assistant director, and so on down the food chain.

I think ScatterFrog is referring to shows that actually say the name of the cast out loud. Not just shows with opening narration. Although I have noticed that the whole “Explain the premise of the show” opening narration is definitely making a comeback. Most of the USA Network shows do it, Alcatraz did it, Leverage, etc.

It’s coming. Phase One starts in a bit more than a week.

I notice that on most of my TV show DVD’s, if you switch to spanish, they generally have a narrator say the title of the show (translated to spanish) when it appears on screen. This doesn’t happen in most other alternate language tracks, like french.

Dynasty #1 is an excellent example. I put the language on Spanish, and sure enough, I heard the narrator say that title: Dinastia.