Classic TV: The 50s : Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Most of the 1950s TV shows had pretty basic openings: Often a drawing or a cartoon accompanied by the theme song (I Love Lucy, Jack Benny, The Honeymooners, Sgt. Bilko, Wagon Train, Maverick, Cheyenne, etc.); Or for sitcoms, the family leaving the house one by one to introduce each actor.

So, what show from the '50s did you think had a really cool opening? I don't mean just a cool theme song, but a creative visual to go along with it.

For me, I liked the opening to "The Adventures of Superman." Not only has the "faster than a speeding bullet" narration become famous, but when I was a kid, I was really impressed seeing Superman/Clark Kent standing in the whole outer space setting.

Anyway, any other openings that were your favorites?

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

At 4:30 pm Monday through Friday on CBS: a visual of the Cincinatti skyline in bright light and a diagonal darkness descended from the upper right corner of the screen so the city was in darkness as the lights came on, you'd hear Paul Taubman strike some suspenseful chords on the piano, and while the words appeared on the screen Harry Kramer would intone: The EDGE of Night.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Zorro

Re: Much like your Superman feeling, Highway Patrol stuck with me

I've seen some Highway Patrol re-runs on 'This' TV late at night this summer. Yeah, it seemed like the openings were adapted to that weel's episode, with a camera in a helicopter or plane speeding over the highway until it passed a Highway Patrol roadblock or something.


Zorro, I only vaguely remember the opening. The theme song sticks with me, but not the visual. I think Guy Williams cut a bunch of Z's across the screen, but I don't recall exactly.

Re: Much like your Superman feeling, Highway Patrol stuck with me

Certainly Zorro was great (as was the Mickey Mouse Club opening) but surely the coolest had to be Peter Gunn

Re: Much like your Superman feeling, Highway Patrol stuck with me

What made Peter Gunn cool? I remember the hit theme song, but not the opening.

Re: Much like your Superman feeling, Highway Patrol stuck with me

The Henry Mancini music was cool enough, but it was accompanied by sort of animated "absract" art (that's what we used to call it then, anyway) which, as far as I remember, finally resolved itself, out of fairly shapeless blobs, into the words "Peter Gunn"

It was cool, baby

Peter Gunn opening

Also, the visuals "pulsed" to the beat of the music. It was a great opening!

Re: Much like your Superman feeling, Highway Patrol stuck with me

I remember Highway Patrol started that whole "10-4" kick that people later used when they got on their CBs. That whole "ten code" business. Broderick Crawford sure came across as this no-nonsense tough highway bull.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

The original opening to "Naked City" was pretty creative -- using footage taken far overhead showing all of New York city and narrated by producer Herbert "Bert" Leonard.

"The Rifleman" had an attention-getting opening, but the closing theme music was better. "The Bob Cummings Show" also caught the viewer off guard, with a camera flash.

Try also "Mr. and Mrs. North," I thought that was fairly well done.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Speaking of openings becoming famous, "Dragnet" has to be the leader in iconic theme songs and openings.

Also, the opening showdowns in Gunsmoke and The Rifleman.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Did the '50s Dragnet open the same way it did in the '60s?

I remember the '60s series would open with Jack Webb's naarration "This is the city..." followed by a few facts about Los Angeles. Then Webb would wrap it up by saying "I work here. I'm a cop," and then the powerful theme music followed.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

well, the lone ranger was memorable

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

The opening of Law Of The Plainsman with Michael Ansara (IMO one of the best riders of that era) riding that while stallion across the screen is fabulous.

What???

Nobody's mentioned The Twilight Zone yet?

How To Marry A Millionaire would slightly different openings each week with a male voice-over mentioning different ways of becoming a millionaire followed by female who says, "There's another way...you can marry it".

The Millionaire began each week with the character of Michael Anthony (Marvin Miller) explaining that he is private secretary to billionaire John Beresford Tipton and it's job to give away checks for one million dollars to individuals.
Fade to opening scene of that week's episode in which Michael enters Tipton's presence (face never seen, foreshadowing Charlie of Angels fame) and asking "You sent for me, sir".


But throughout it all, my motto was "Dignity! Always dignity!".

Oh, and one more

Who can forget Loretta Young's entrances through the double doors?


But throughout it all, my motto was "Dignity! Always dignity!".

Loretta Young's entrance

She would swing open the double doors and make a dramatic entrance in a long evening gown, closing the doors behind her. I can't remember who did a satire of this (sounds like a Carol Burnett thing), only closing the doors on the train of her gown which is ripped off when she walks in. :-)

Re: Oh, and one more

Who can forget Loretta Young's entrances through the double doors?

LOL....When I was a kid; we always imitating that by walking throught a door and twirling. Worked best with a full skirt and a bunch of petticoats.



I had the chance to work with Michael Jackson who was as brilliant as they come.
Tommy Mottola

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Hmmm... I'm wondering if the Twilight Zone would be eligible. Although the series started in 1959, its iconic theme actually didn't come about until the 60's. The first season used that more moody piece.

It's as if all my fandoms have major anniversaries this year!

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

But the first season, with the moody music, had Rod Serling's narration, "There is a fifth dimension..."

Another great opening to a Henry Mancini theme was Mr. Lucky, a pair of animated dice tumbling down from an overhead shot and landing on a seven (I belive a six and a one).

But throughout it all, my motto was "Dignity! Always dignity!".

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Another favorite: Make Room for Daddy.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

The opening of "Rocky King, Detective", while simple, was pretty cool: Rocky walking down a highly-realistic & atmospheric hallway, lights a cigarette, and then talks off-camera.





We're not fighting! We're in complete agreement! We hate each other!

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

"Panic," was a 30 minute show that depicted people dealing with emergency situations. During the opening, a narrator would introduce the viewer to the characters, who were doing something very mundane ... driving down a road, eating a meal, etc.. Then he would say (something like): "In 60 seconds, Mr. and Mrs. Smith will face PANIC!" With the word "panic," a graphic of splintered glass would appear on the screen.

That opening had a lasting effect on me. But, for years, I couldn't find anyone who remembered the series. I began to think that I imagined it -- until I saw it listed/confirmed on IMDb.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Panic.....I had forgotten about that one but remember the title since you brought it up.



I had the chance to work with Michael Jackson who was as brilliant as they come.
Tommy Mottola

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

To associate yourself with a pedophile is,at best, doltish. His talent should have been "show cased" in prison.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

What will you do when the IMDB forums are closed? You will have to find another place to anonymously insult people.



Johnny Carson: "It's been so hot lately that Michael Jackson is wearing a seersucker glove."

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Look at you KrazeeforWacko fighting with people on other boards no wonder the boards are closing.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

I have to say that Rawhide, with the dynamic singing voice of unforgettable Frankie Laine, hit it out of the park every week for me.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

Verily I say unto thee...I liked the opening to "The Range Rider".

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?...

There is not a cooler opening in television history than Chuck Conners, walking down the middle of the street, shooting his rifle as Lucas McCain in the Rifleman.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?...

I have to say I can remember a group of us kids watching the Rifleman in a friend's basement and we thought the opening was pretty cool.

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?...

The Untouchables

Re: Coolest openings for '50s shows?

I always thought "the Fugitive" did a great job of using the shows opening to provide new, or infrequent, viewers enough backstory so that they could watch single episodes and not feel lost.
Top