Remember when every show ended with closing credits? If so, you probably have a good memory.
First off, I’d like you to watch something you probably haven’t seen in a long time: actual closing credits for a television program.
This particular program is from The Price Is Right, but it could have been any program I chose from several years back.
I’d really like you to watch this clip, starting about thirty seconds in as Bob Barker signs off. And I’d like for you to watch it in its entirety, after announcer Rod Roddy does his signoff. I’d like you to watch to the end of the clip.
I’ll tell you why in a moment. But first, give it a look:
You don’t see this kind of thing on television anymore. Nowadays, credits are reduced to a narrow strip on the screen while you’re bombarded with promos for the next program or some other program airing at a later time. Sometimes, those credits are squeezed down to make room for multiple promos.
If you watched that clip, you just spent 90 seconds watching one show end without being bombarded. Maybe, if you’re used to the relentless marketing, you felt a bit bored. Or maybe, just maybe, you were able to allow your mind to wander to something else while you were watching without having to be as engaged for that minute and a half.
For some shows, particularly movies, it’s nice to be able to see which actor portrayed a certain character. Good luck trying to find it in those squeezed credits.
Take a look at what the USA Network did to the credits of the film Elf a few years back:
How many names could you clearly read in that?
Netflix now does this, too. It used to be they’d play the credits of one program, then give you about 12 seconds to decide if you wanted to immediately watch the next episode or something else. But just recently, I’ve seen them start squeezing the credits of the episode you’re watching to the upper corner of the screen, then give you a countdown to the next episode. In most cases, the next episode starts before the credits are over, just cutting them off and moving on, because, you know, these days, we just can’t spare that time.
I know most people don’t care about the credits — with the exception of those actually listed in them or, perhaps, their friends and family. Once in a while, you might hope to jog your memory of a name of an actor or actress, or the performer of a song in a movie. Once in a blue moon, someone’s curious to know where scenes were filmed.
But wasn’t it a little bit nicer when we had that thirty seconds, or even a couple of minutes, to just sit and not have other messages thrown at us?