Friday, November 19, 2010

Best Opening Titles Ever

Been super busy with work, travel, PRETTY and various other things in my life. So please enjoy this repost from exactly one year ago today. Yeah, I know I've talked about how much the MARY TYLER MOORE show has influenced my life before, but watching season 5 of the series on DVD has made me once again appreciate the wonderful opening titles. I've decided to take an in depth look at the sequence, which is unparalleled in its greatness. More happens in this brief montage that in most episodes of other TV shows.It all starts off simply enough with a brilliant blue background, with MARY TYLER MOORE in Peignot Bold popping off in a delicious mustard.
Suddenly the field turns jet black and MARY TYLER MOORE turns to an avocado green with multicolored MTM clones popping out above and below.
The roll continues, soon the screen is filling with multi-colored MARY TYLER MOOREs.
Eleven stacked MARY TYLER MOOREs in a rainbow of colors!
Suddenly the color in the center MARY TYLER MOORE gives way to an image of Mary Tyler Moore!!!
Yup, it's Mary Richards alright. I think she sees me.
She does! Hi Mary!Fix your hair, Mare.
Hey Mary, don't jaywalk! Nice yellow pantsuit, though.
Oh Minneapolis, where it cold, almost all the time.
Oh wait, it's not cold anymore. In fact, the weather is delightful today! So delightful that series creators James L. Brooks and Allan Burns decide go go for a jog that day.
Back to work, Mary. Hey who's that boozy blond broad who works at WJM? I'd love to see her featured in an episode or two. I bet her name is Rosalie.
Time to wash the car in a football jersey!
Damn - meat is so expensive!
Wonder why nobody else is out shoe shopping at Mary Jane's today?
Awww, Mary bought a plant and now she's riding an escalator.
Now it's time to feed the ducks!
Nobody does a graceful turnaround like Mary.
Hey, who is that old dude you're eating with Mary??? Popular belief is that he's Mary's then-husband and MTM co-founder Grant Tinker. I recall Grant being taller and more handsome, this guy looks more like Merv Griffin to me.
Mary then joins a group of school children for a walk.
Wow - Mary is out on field covering a news story!
Now she's jaywalking again.
Ah, the office building that houses WJM, channel 12.
Mary then gives her boss Lou Grant a bear hug.
Next, co-worker Murray Slaughter gives Mary a slightly inappropriate hug.And finally news anchor Ted Baxter gets a polite hug.
Oops, but Mary crushed his fedora!
On the subject of hats, that's a pretty groovy one you've got there, Mary.
Hey, what are you doing in the middle of the street? 7th Street and Nicollet Mall is no place to stand during rush hour.
Hazel Frederick is watching you and she is not pleased.It all ends with the only credit listed. You're gonna make it after all! In May 2002, TV Land erected a statue of Mary Richards in that very spot. Hazel Frederick passed away ten years ago this month at the age of 91.


Mike Justice said...

You're fucking insane. This is amazing. I'm stoned off my ass and bored shitless and this post had me ro-ho-holling. I never read your blog because it always seems to be about, like, Thunderbirds and Wayland Flowers and Madame. But this post... Man, this post was TO DIE. Thanks.

Paul W. said...

Nice Job Doug.
I love the pants suit. Not too many people could make that work.
Did you notice that when the opening "MaryTylerMoore" goes clear to open the film sequence, the one that goes clear is GREEN? Precursor to the green screen maybe??
Love the tidbits, the joggers, and the lunch date.
Good Job!

Jim H. said...

Excellent. This is the later opening sequence. Did it come on for season 5, which you said you've just watched?

I love the white outfit she's wearing when Brooks and Burns go by. She could be the '70s Wonder Woman!

And what's the screencap software you use? It's great.

Danny S. said...

I've been to all those places!

Tim B. said...

Nice paean to one of my favorite shows. I got through grad school watching reruns on late-night TV. Had not noticed the creators were the joggers until you pointed it out. Thanks.

Doug said...

I use ScreenCaptureGUI - it's free! Yes this is from Season 5.

Mary said...

Brilliant deconstruction! You are the Jacques Derrida of Pop Culture, and I love it. xo

Anonymous said...

k, i'm stealing the enormously famous shot of mary tossing up her cap for my FB pic because of this....had to, thanks for the memories!

Vintage Disneyland Tickets said...

Sweet post Doug - this is my all time favorite sit-com opening scene & song. I collect 16mm films, have about 20 MTM episodes, I usually just queue it up and then watch the opening credits over & over....


Kevenn said...

The guy she's eating with - he looks near death, so he's probably Mary's date. She seemed to like the older men. LOL.

Rafael said...

My favorite is the grocery store "meat" scene when she's not sure if she's going to get it then kind of rolls her eyes and throws it in the cart. I also like the scene in the earlier opening (I think season 1 or 2) where she is beating the table with a chain and it looks like it was an outtake because she's laughing - Phyllis is in the shot as well.

Eric said...

omg Doug I just read the whole thing -- awesome.

Alonso said...

Rafael: I, too, am OBSESSED with the meat moment -- it's a tiny little gem of silent comedy.

Doug said...

The meat moment is brilliant. I believe MTM may be meat-free these days...

Kevin B said...

Around that same time I had the male version of that pants suit, with the short wait-length jacket. Mine was green plaid rather than the yellow plaid Mary sports. Need I say she wore hers far better than I wore mine?

Alonso said...

She may be all veggie now, but one of her greatest episodes was all about veal!

Doug said...

Veal Prince Orloff...hysterical

Ray said...

I believe in one of the extras on the Season One set they do say the guy eating with her is Grant Tinker.

Doug said...

Ah, i need to watch all those Season 1 extras again...from when Fox actually put some effort into putting the show on dvd. Season 5 doesn't even come with an episode list.

Mark said...


Anonymous said...

Fabulous post, Doug. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" features one of the all time greatest TV show opening sequences and you've dissected magnificently. Bravo!

Eduardo Guize said...

I thought Hawaii Five-O had the best opening credits ever but now I see I'm wrong!

Doug said...

Both MTM and Hawaii Five-O were directed by Reza Badiyi, so there is a strong connection between these two classics.

Jeff said...

Awesome post. Those stills were great! I wonder if Mare was technically jaywalking, since cars aren't allowed on Nicollet mall (only busses & police)?

Ookie said...

I love the shot in the first season credits of the Rhoda series (one of the MTM spin-offs) in which Rhoda imitates Mary by throwing her hat in the air .. but, of course, it falls to the ground and she feels stupid.

U.N. Owen said...

I'm writing this king after you posted this.

First; YES, the man eating with' Mare' IS Grant Tinker.

So much has happened done then, the saddest being 'our Mare' has passed away.

She made such an indelible mark in my life, as well (where I grew up, we got late night episodes shirk for about 3 years, and many people would come home from wherever they were typo watch, as well as it being the most popular slow amongst us night owls.

When the last episode (intriguingly) aired, this was before VCRs, so I made an audio tape of it (still have it)-including the final curtain call.

I can't listen to it without getting choked up.

One of my favourite memories is meeting her, and actually dancing with het and spending a free minutes talking with het, as well.

I am someone who has known a lot of work-known people, and none - not one (alright, just one; Walter Cronkite, when he was(literally) doing the CBS Evening News. I was a kid and my dad took me over to the studio, and that was awesome), has ever made my legs literally buckle under me.i mean, this wetl was 'or' Mary Richards. When we danced, everyone around us just smiled. It was truly a very, VERY special moment in my life.

I'm watching season 5 right now (i just finished the 4th), and I love how-even though Ms Moore has left us, she left us such a wonderful TV series for us to remember het by.

That's my personal feelings. Her show was one of the best-written, best produced series. It was lovingly crafted by such talented people; both in front of, and behind the camera.

This show, and Ms Moore are icons -

'love i is all around', and Ms Moore; you really did make it - a wonderful gift - which will last.

Thank you,

U'M. Owen