Pet PeevesTV & Showbiz

Who Was That Guy?

So you’re watching a television show or a movie and you see an actor whose name escapes you.

In the old days, you could always catch the name in the credits. These days, you’ll need eagle-eye vision and a magnifying glass. Probably a DVR, too. And a little luck.

That’s because the credits — if they exist at all these days — are usually retyped in a nearly-microscoping typeface and shoved to the side for a stream of promos. Or they’re sped up so fast that you’ll never have a chance to read them.

The other night, I noticed, while watching a rerun of The Andy Griffith Show on TV Land, that during the last scene of the show, that episode’s credits appeared on the lower third of the picture. All of a sudden, when that scene faded to black, the opening titles to the next episode began immediately.

There’s something to be said about going seamlessly right into another show without having to sit through another commercial break.

But I still miss credits. And the theme songs that used to accompany them.

Sometimes, the themes are much better than the series ever was. The theme to The Andy Griffith Show, which wasn’t better than the show, is one of those tunes that almost everyone immediately recognizes.

Then there are themes like Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, St. Elsewhere, and M*A*S*H that take you back to they heyday of prime time television when you could always find something worth watching despite having only a fraction of the stations we all now have to choose from.

You don’t hear these themes much anymore. Unless you go to iTunes and buy them.

And even then, you might still miss the name of the actor who played the little fat mayor.

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3 Comments

  1. This drives me up the wall. Of course, four or five minutes of credits, including the guy who brought the director coffee, also drives me up the wall. Give me the names of the actors, the director, maybe the cinematographer if the movie is particularly well shot, and the name of that damned song that was playing when the girl rollerskated into the coffee shop.

    I also hate when they cut up an old TV show to fit their new commercial spot requirements. For instance, they’ll go right into the credits and an opening scene from the show (a teaser), then abruptly cut out of it for the commercial break.

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  2. I actually have a major problem with this. If I see an actor and can’t place his/her name, I have to look it up or it bugs me for the remainder of the show or movie.

    The worst is when an actor crosses your mind for some reason even when you’re not watching, and you can’t even remember where you’ve seen them, and your search is conducted with almost no clues. This also happens with names of movies, names of songs, bands, you name it.

    Yeah, I know. It’s an OCD thing. 🙁

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  3. Thankfully, there’s IMDb where credits fail. Admittedly, it’s not always complete or accurate, but it’s certainly convenient! “Who’s that guy?!” is probably one of my favorite questions after watching a TV show or movie.

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 29 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.