What a fun thing it was. Once upon a time it was pretty common for live-action TV shows to have animated openings. Some of them were more like filmed still drawings or graphics, while others were fully animated. Even as a kid, I thought cartoons were the greatest thing on Earth, and would watch almost anything that had drawings that moved. Naturally those animated titles would capture my attention. Sometimes the titles were put on lousy shows, but no matter. I’d just watch the opening, and when it was over I’d find something else to do.
There were way too many of these things to catalogue, so let’s not try. Instead we will present just a small sampling…
Beat the Clock
Beat the Clock survived in different permutations for many, many years. This animated opening was originally done about 1952, but the version here is from a few years later and features an extra bit of animation at the end.
Peter Loves Mary
Titles produced by Playhouse Pictures in 1960. Robert Cannon directs and animates.
This one of the shows were I would actually watch the whole half hour. What a cool opening! Maynard G. Krebbs was my role model. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?
The Smothers Brothers Show
Before the Smothers Brothers had their CBS variety show, they starred in this typical 60’s type gimmicky sit-com. Animation from Format Films, 1965.
What’s My Line?
Animated title for the well know game show, circa 1965. What’s My Line had a number of different openings during it’s lengthy run. This particular piece of animation was used for several years, and the music was replaced a few times. Beloved announcer and personality Johnny Olson speaks.
Format Films had a long association with actor-turned-producer Sheldon Leonard, and did a number of animated titles for his shows. The most famous of these may have been I-Spy. The title for this 1967 sit-com was one of the less famous ones.
My World and Welcome to It
DePatie-Freleng produced the animation for this short lived series in 1969. The title was done by Art Davis. I was a fan of James Thurber from a tender age, so when this show was announced, I was pretty happy. Unfortunately it really wasn’t any too good. The bits of animation from DFE that would appear within the show were what kept me tuning in.