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Television Credits

Watching "The Dick Van Dyke Show", I was wondering about the opening credits -- "Starring Dick Van Dyke, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam, Larry Matthews and Mary Tyler Moore" -- and wondered why Rose Marie came before Morey Amsterdam. Was it because of some sort of professional courtesy? What about other shows and their credits -- are there any unusual ones?

by Anonymousreply 6604/07/2013

Probably because Rose Marie was the bigger name at the time. She goes waaay back. If you look at early Las Vegas photos, there will like one or two casinos but there's Rose Marie's name up on the sign. She knew all the mobsters by their first names. She was perfect on that show.

by Anonymousreply 103/31/2013

Not that this is exactly what you're talking about but I believe Cheers was the first show that had to come up with a way to bill two stars at the same time, without either of them getting top billing. The solution was to have Shelley's name in the upper right hand corner and Ted's in the lower left hand corner.

by Anonymousreply 203/31/2013

Rose Marie was a star from the time she was a little girl in the early talkies.

She was the female Jackie Coogan to a degree.

She had her own radio show as a child and was featured in many Hollywood shorts along side big stars.

SHe was a popular child star.

by Anonymousreply 303/31/2013

Also, another interesting billing issue with Shelley. When she filmed Outrageous Fortune with Bette Midler, they were both promised Top Billing. Neither of them was willing to give it up so once again, the Studio had to come up with a way to give them both top billing. They divided up the posters and gave Shelley top billing west of the Mississippi and Bette got it east of.

They did this even with the VHS and Laserdisc versions of the movie came out.

For some reason, when the DVD came out, they decided to just give it to Shelley, which doesn't really make any sense considering where she is now.

by Anonymousreply 403/31/2013

r2, check out Laverne and Shirley.

by Anonymousreply 503/31/2013


Thanks for that. I just remember hearing about the Cheers thing when I was a kid. Now I'm wondering what other shows did this.

by Anonymousreply 603/31/2013

It's funny, but I always remember anyone who is billed: "and ......." at the end of the regular credits.

by Anonymousreply 703/31/2013


I feel the same way. I know whoever gets billed first is supposed to be considered the star but the "and" always reads to me as the person getting the extra attention.

by Anonymousreply 803/31/2013


by Anonymousreply 903/31/2013

It's all contractual, placement, even size of name, in posters, and order on TV credits, etc. Often, when a star joins the cast later, and another star already has first place, they demand the "and" or "featuring" spot at the end. Remember Gilligan's Island, when "and the rest" was in place of Maryann and the Professor for the first season? That was because Tina Louise's contract had her in last place, and no stars were supposed to come after.

by Anonymousreply 1003/31/2013

TV Credits are negotiated before the pilot is shot. Film credits are negotiated before the actor's scenes are filmed.

by Anonymousreply 1103/31/2013

Let's not forget......


Deidre Hall as Dr. Marlena Evans

by Anonymousreply 1203/31/2013

For "Boeing Boeing" (1965) both Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis demanded top billing; the solution was to show their names in a circle rotating counter-clockwise:

by Anonymousreply 1303/31/2013

R7 R8, that's why the "and" or "with" billing is very desirable by stars. You usually see the more important/established stars with this credit, like Alec Baldwin who's always credited on 30 ROCK last as "and Alec Baldwin."

by Anonymousreply 1403/31/2013

R41, that can't be right. The OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE poster and VHS cover always had Midler on the left and Long on the right, but no Mississippi River dividing them. They were hanging from the Grand Canyon (I think).

by Anonymousreply 1503/31/2013


I'm hoping that was a joke.. but just in case it's not...

the Mississippi had nothing to do with the actual artwork itself.

by Anonymousreply 1703/31/2013

What about now when TV shows don't even have credits? I hate it because now I never know who plays who.

by Anonymousreply 1803/31/2013


by Anonymousreply 1903/31/2013


Not always though.

For instance, on the TV show, Charmed, Shannen Doherty was always billed first, as she was considered the star, and biggest name. Alyssa Milano was always given the "and" at the end of the credits.

When Shannen left, Alyssa took over the top billing spot and Holly Marie Combs then took the "and starring as" at the end.

by Anonymousreply 2003/31/2013

Rosie got higher billing because she had bigger balls than Maury. Although her little bow cleverly feminized her, made my grandma unaware she was a bull dyke. Kristen Stewart should try it.

by Anonymousreply 2103/31/2013

[quote]Another interesting tidbit was how several male actors of that era gentlemanly allowed their female co-stars to be listed above them in the credits, even if the male was the bigger star or had the bigger part in the film; for example, Frank Sinatra took second billing below Rita Hayworth for "Pal Joey" (1957). I have a hard time imagining a male star doing that today.[/quote]

This is not quite the same thing, but Faye Dunaway talked in her memoir LOOKING FOR GATSBY how Warren Beatty (an established star by then and also a producer of the film) was generous to allow her name alongside his and above the title for the promotion of BONNIE AND CLYDE (in the credits, too), so that the posters read "Warren Beatty Faye Dunaway" and underneath "BONNIE AND CLYDE." It was her second film (the other an ensemble film THE HAPPENING had not been released yet) and she'd felt it was an act of kindness on the part of Beatty and was forever grateful to him.

She also related how Sharon Stone, whom she befriended in the '90s, told her that Michael Douglas was not so kind on the set of BASIC INSTINCT. He refused to share stop billing with Stone even though her character was equally important to the plot, and so the posters simply read "Michael Douglas BASIC INSTINCT."

by Anonymousreply 2203/31/2013

[quote]What about now when TV shows don't even have credits? I hate it because now I never know who plays

They do the opening credits in the opening scene then go to commercial break with a shot of the title, or do the credits during the scene after the break.

by Anonymousreply 2303/31/2013

Is there a nickname for the last name in TV drama opening credits? Usually it's reserved for the oldest, most experienced, most respected member of the cast. I noticed it for the first time with Richard Dysart on LA LAW.

I call it the "EG slot," "EG" standing for "Eminence Grise," but I'll bet there's an official name.

Also, R2, I notice they do that "two names in opposite corners" thing on Bones, with Deschanel and Boreanaz.

by Anonymousreply 2403/31/2013

Professional courtesy??? LOL. Their agents probably battled it out.

In All the Presidents Men, Robert Redford got first billing in the ads, Dustin Hoffman got first billing in the film's titles. These things do not happen by accident.

by Anonymousreply 2503/31/2013


I don't blame Michael Douglas. He was the bigger name on that picture. Sharon Stone was a nobody when they filmed it.

by Anonymousreply 2603/31/2013

R26, Dunaway was also a nobody while filming BONNIE AND CLYDE and yet Beatty had the generosity to give Dunaway equal billing since the movie was about the two characters, not just Clyde. That was Dunaway's point. Well, at least Stone's image was featured on the posters.

by Anonymousreply 2703/31/2013


I'm not denying that it was kind of Beatty to allow Dunaway equal billing. But there's no reason for Stone to have expected it from Douglas. Would it have been kind of Douglas to do the same? Sure. Does it make him terrible or unkind of him not to have? Not really.

by Anonymousreply 2803/31/2013

I think this goes back as far as the historic Ford Anniversary show with Mary Martin and Ethel Merman--was that also solved with lower left/upper right approach?

by Anonymousreply 2903/31/2013

[quote]I know we're talking about TV credits, but I'm a movie buff, and the lower left/upper right was also used in the movies, such as "The Towering Inferno" (1974), where Steve McQueen was listed in the lower left and Paul Newman in the upper right.

I remember reading about the McQueen / Newman fight over top billing (I might have even been on DL). At the time of "The Towering Inferno", they were both big box-office draws and both obviously considered leading men.

by Anonymousreply 3003/31/2013

Why not lower right, upper left?

by Anonymousreply 3103/31/2013


Upper Left, Lower Right makes no sense.

The person on the left will then still appear to have top billing.

by Anonymousreply 3203/31/2013

It's upper right/lower left, n'est-ce pas?

by Anonymousreply 3303/31/2013

The lower left/upper right accomplishes the idea of "top billing" for either actor: when you read left to right, you see Steve McQueen's name first; when you read top to bottom, you see Paul Newman's name first.

Incidentally, Paul Newman once remarked about the billing battle with The Towering Inferno that it ultimately didn't matter, as people were really coming to see "that damn fire."

by Anonymousreply 3404/01/2013

How about "special guest star"

by Anonymousreply 3504/01/2013

But what if you read from right to left?

by Anonymousreply 3604/01/2013

R35 that one's weird. Joan Cusack is currenly being billed as "Special Guest Star" on SHAMELESS even though she's on practically every episode. What's more, she's been nominated twice now for the Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series Emmy. I think that's unfair to actual guest stars like, say, Louise Fletcher, who was in 4 episodes of SHAMELESS over the course of 2 seasons and was outstanding. Yet no nomination.

by Anonymousreply 3704/01/2013

[quote]It's upper right/lower left, n'est-ce pas?

Sounds about right.

by Anonymousreply 3804/01/2013

I demand double face in a box above the title.

by Anonymousreply 3904/01/2013

It took me two seasons to figure the names of the actors on "Murphy Brown" - no Google in those day. They just ran all the names through the opening scene but the names didn't match the action and people on the screen.

by Anonymousreply 4004/01/2013

[quote] Joan Cusack is currenly being billed as "Special Guest Star" on SHAMELESS even though she's on practically every episode.

Heather Locklear on Melrose Place was billed as a `Special Guest Star`throughout the shows run.

by Anonymousreply 4104/01/2013

I still always enjoy the final season of "Laverne & Shirley" which stars Penny Marshall only but the credits continue to reflect "Laverne & Shirley".

by Anonymousreply 4204/01/2013

Cause she wasn't one of the tribe.

by Anonymousreply 4304/01/2013

The ones I always find weird are from The Honeymooners, where the announcer starts with Gleason, then the name of the show, and then "with the stars ART CARNEY, AUDREY MEADOWS, and JOYCE RANDOLPH"

It always seems a little patronizing. 'Don't worry, you come after me, but I'll make him call you STARS!'

by Anonymousreply 4404/01/2013

I like "EG slot," R24.

by Anonymousreply 4504/01/2013

I'm not that well-versed on this topic, because I'm generally too busy to watch a lot of teevee, but I know I was the first credit listed back when my hit series was airing.

by Anonymousreply 4604/01/2013

I love to fill my rectum with old people's turds I fish from retirement home toilets!!!!!!!

by Anonymousreply 4804/01/2013

The term "special guest star" was created for Jonathan Harris' credit on "Lost in Space."

by Anonymousreply 4904/01/2013

DL fave, Julia Phillips, wrote about billing in "You Will Never Eat Lunch In This Town Again."

I don't remember what movie it was, but it had to be one of the first ones they produced.

While they bickered over the height of the lettering of the producer's names and got what they wanted, when they saw the finished credits roll by, they realized they had not talked about width. Their names were noticeably "thinner" than the other names and she made sure that never happened again.

by Anonymousreply 5004/01/2013

R49, Jonathan Harris was only expected to last for a few episodes, after which his character (Dr. Smith) would be killed. Howwever, Dr. Smith was so popular that the powers that be kept Mr. Harris on for the entire length of the show.

by Anonymousreply 5104/01/2013

Lots of examples of the "and starring" credit in the link below.

by Anonymousreply 5204/01/2013

THANK YOU SO MUCH, R52. I've been wondering about this for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

by Anonymousreply 5304/01/2013

[quote]I know we're talking about TV credits, but I'm a movie buff, and the lower left/upper right was also used in the movies, such as "The Towering Inferno" (1974), where Steve McQueen was listed in the lower left and Paul Newman in the upper right.

Actually it was McQueen who had an issue with the billing. Newman didn't care, even though he had more screen time. It's probably the strangest credits in movie poster history. They ended up having McQueen first then Newman but Newman's name is higher than Holden and Dunaway like a stair case. It looks awful for a great one sheet.

by Anonymousreply 5404/01/2013

You would think "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" was a one woman show based on the opening credits.

by Anonymousreply 5504/01/2013

Here's one that shows up in French movies:

"avec la participation de"

by Anonymousreply 5604/07/2013

Why does Estelle get the "and" credit? She was a nobody at that point. Betty should've gotten the "and" billing.

by Anonymousreply 5704/07/2013

r40 When thirtysomething aired in the late 80s, I never knew the names of any of the stars aside from Ken Olin because the on screen credit never matched up to the shots of the actors playing at that moment.

by Anonymousreply 5804/07/2013

Wasn't that aggravating, R58?

Over Melissa's picture, you read "Timothy Busfield as Elliot," and over Elliot and Nancy's, it said "Peter Horton as Gary."

How did that person not get fired?

by Anonymousreply 5904/07/2013

R57, I always saw The Golden Girls credits as a strict 1,2,3,4 billing. The "and" for Estelle was just a bone.

by Anonymousreply 6004/07/2013

R55, re-read the NAME of the show. Then post again.

by Anonymousreply 6104/07/2013

Well, r61, there's The Bob Newhart Show "also starring Suzanne Pleshette"....

by Anonymousreply 6204/07/2013

"The Brady Bunch" had "and Ann B. Davis as Alice" due her lengthy career in entertainment. She started doing stand up comedy in the 1950s before doing television.

by Anonymousreply 6304/07/2013

Ann B. Davis' claim to TV fame was playing Bob Cummings secretary, Shultzy in The 1950s Bob Cummings Show, which was later syndicated as Love That Bob. When Ann did commercials post-Brady Bunch, her character was called Schultzy, NOT Alice.

by Anonymousreply 6404/07/2013

R62, that's because Suzanne Pleshette was a movie star. Just about every actor on MTM was unknown with the exception of Gavin McLeod (McHales Navy).

by Anonymousreply 6504/07/2013

No matter how many times I see it, I always giggle at the RAISING HOPE opening credits......"AND INTRODUCING Cloris Leachman, as Maw-Maw."

I thought it was just going to be funny one-time joke, for the pilot.....but it's every episode!! And it ALWAYS makes me laugh.

by Anonymousreply 6604/07/2013
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