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Above the title credits for a TV show

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Above the title credits for a TV show

Old 01-21-23, 01:09 AM
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Above the title credits for a TV show

Just watched the opening credits for the TV series TAXI, and I was struck how Judd Hirsch gets above the title billing.



Anybody think of any other examples?
Old 01-21-23, 07:43 AM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Why are you surprised? He's the main character. He's the foundation. The normal, has his shit together guy, surround by wacky characters. He represents the viewer. Viewers relate to him because he recognizes the craziness same as the viewer.
Also, he's the only real cab driver on the show. It's his profession. Everybody else is just doing it until they get the job they really want.

Could just as easily been called The Judd Hirsch Show. No different than Andy Griffith Show. Normal guy surrounded by wacky townspeople.
Old 01-21-23, 08:58 AM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Jackie Gleason - The Honeymooners
Patrick McGoohan - The Prisoner
Old 01-21-23, 11:58 AM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Just watched the opening credits for the TV series TAXI, and I was struck how Judd Hirsch gets above the title billing.



Anybody think of any other examples?
It would have sounded funny if they put the "TAXI" logo first and then followed it up with "Judd Hirsch in". That could only work if they put the "TAXI" logo on second.
Old 01-21-23, 12:08 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by rw2516
Why are you surprised? He's the main character. He's the foundation. The normal, has his shit together guy, surround by wacky characters. He represents the viewer. Viewers relate to him because he recognizes the craziness same as the viewer.
Also, he's the only real cab driver on the show. It's his profession. Everybody else is just doing it until they get the job they really want.

Could just as easily been called The Judd Hirsch Show. No different than Andy Griffith Show. Normal guy surrounded by wacky townspeople.
Spoiler:
I can't believe I have to explain this to someone.


Ummm . . . It's super unusual for TV shows to do that, in general.

With your example of The Andy Griffith Show, before starring in his TV show, Andy Griffith was a famous comedian, a Tony-nominated Broadway actor, and a movie star.

Judd Hirsch was not very famous in 1978. I would go so far as to say he was not particularly famous at all in 1978. In fact, he's never been particularly famous . . . ever.

As for your case that Hirsch deserves it because his character is the center of the show, have you ever watched Cheers, Parks & Rec, Veep, Frasier?

Last edited by Count Dooku; 01-21-23 at 12:18 PM.
Old 01-21-23, 12:15 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by movieguru
It would have sounded funny if they put the "TAXI" logo first and then followed it up with "Judd Hirsch in". That could only work if they put the "TAXI" logo on second.
Only if you watch the credits with the assumption that you are watching a progression through linear time. Maybe the NYC of TAXI is the same NYC of Night Court, where the rules of how time works are significantly different than the rules of time in the viewers' world.
Old 01-21-23, 02:03 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Sela Ward and Billy Campbell got top billing before the title card on Once and Again. This show aired around 1999 on ABC. These things are usually negotiated contractually. But it’s rare nowadays.

Old 01-21-23, 02:26 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by movieguru
It would have sounded funny if they put the "TAXI" logo first and then followed it up with "Judd Hirsch in". That could only work if they put the "TAXI" logo on second.
It would have worked if they had put Marilu Hennerís name immediately following Hirschís.
Old 01-22-23, 07:00 AM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by Count Dooku
Spoiler:
I can't believe I have to explain this to someone.



Ummm . . . It's super unusual for TV shows to do that, in general.

With your example of The Andy Griffith Show, before starring in his TV show, Andy Griffith was a famous comedian, a Tony-nominated Broadway actor, and a movie star.

Judd Hirsch was not very famous in 1978. I would go so far as to say he was not particularly famous at all in 1978. In fact, he's never been particularly famous . . . ever.

As for your case that Hirsch deserves it because his character is the center of the show, have you ever watched Cheers, Parks & Rec, Veep, Frasier?
Whether Hirsch deserved it, I don't know. Don't care. That's the reason he got it though. He did star in his own detective show the previous season. He had enough clout to negotiate for it and get it. Taxi is not an ensemble cast show. Hirsch was the star because he played straight man to the wacky supporting characters. There's was nothing funny about his character. He represented the viewer, everything was as crazy to him as it was to the audience. Andy Griffith was the same way. He wasn't funny, it was a normal guy trying to navigate his way through the nuttiness everybody else created. Bob Newhart is another. He was the straight man. What made him funny is his reactions to the crazy people. Gary Sandy was the straight man on WKRP. His character wasn't funny. He wasn't above the title but he got top billing. In that particular style of sitcom, straight man surrounded by oddballs, the straight man is the star.
Cheers was a different style of sitcom. Everybody was a little bit off. No central character that was a voice of reason The inmates were running the asylum.

Another example
James Garner in Rockford Files
Old 01-22-23, 02:11 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by rw2516
Whether Hirsch deserved it, I don't know. Don't care. That's the reason he got it though. He did star in his own detective show the previous season. He had enough clout to negotiate for it and get it. Taxi is not an ensemble cast show. Hirsch was the star because he played straight man to the wacky supporting characters. There's was nothing funny about his character. He represented the viewer, everything was as crazy to him as it was to the audience. Andy Griffith was the same way. He wasn't funny, it was a normal guy trying to navigate his way through the nuttiness everybody else created. Bob Newhart is another. He was the straight man. What made him funny is his reactions to the crazy people. Gary Sandy was the straight man on WKRP. His character wasn't funny. He wasn't above the title but he got top billing. In that particular style of sitcom, straight man surrounded by oddballs, the straight man is the star.
Cheers was a different style of sitcom. Everybody was a little bit off. No central character that was a voice of reason The inmates were running the asylum.

Another example
James Garner in Rockford Files
You reasoning is lousy, and you don't know what you are talking about.

Taxi is 100% absolutely an ensemble show. The episodes continuously rotate as to which member of the ensemble is the protagonist or focus of that week's situation.
The Alex character is the leader of the ensemble, as you correctly note for the reasons you note. He is the veteran driver, the voice of reason that helps the others sort out their weekly problems. But there is no fucking way in hell that Taxi was Alex Reiger's show to the extent that The Bob Newhart Show was Bob Hartley's show or The Mary Tyler Moore Show was Mary Richards' show. Alex barely exists as a character apart from his relationships to the other drivers. Does he have an interior life? The show barely explores his personal life.

Gary Sandy and WKRP is an excellent example. Ostensibly, Sandy is the star of the show. He and Gordon Jump are the only cast members listed on the opening credits. It's his character's arrival that sets the premise of the show in motion. But when the show came back from Xmas break in 1979, it had definitely turned into a pure ensemble show. Andy rarely drove the plots of episodes, in fact he barely figured into many.

Now, you want to claim that Ted Danson and Shelly Long were not the stars of Cheers more than Judd Hirsch was the star of Taxi? That is flat out crazy. Cheers had a great cast that worked as a terrific ensemble, but those early years were the Sam and Diane show. Everything always kept coming back to focus on their relationship.
And if Judd Hirsch could somehow negotiate to make it: "Judd Hirsch in Taxi," don't you think Danson could have demanded it become "Ted Danson in Cheers" at the start of season 6?

You say you don't know and don't care how Hirsch got his billing. Griffith and Newhart were huge stars already prior to their eponymous TV series. So yeah, I think it is worth wondering how Hirsch, with his one season of Delvechio behind him, managed it. But your argument that it would be normal to bill him that way because Alex "played straight man to the wacky supporting characters . . . represented the viewer" is pure nonsense. Is there another example of this ever in TV history?
Old 02-19-23, 11:25 AM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Originally Posted by rw2516
Whether Hirsch deserved it, I don't know. Don't care. That's the reason he got it though. He did star in his own detective show the previous season. He had enough clout to negotiate for it and get it. Taxi is not an ensemble cast show. Hirsch was the star because he played straight man to the wacky supporting characters. There's was nothing funny about his character. He represented the viewer, everything was as crazy to him as it was to the audience.
Lo and behold, CBS Sunday Morning just did a story on Hirsch today.
Hirsch said that he wasn't interested in the show, but the show wanted him
so Hirsch said he'll do it if they put his name first before the title...(4:30 below)


Last edited by etching; 02-19-23 at 11:46 AM.
Old 02-19-23, 08:16 PM
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Re: Above the title credits for a TV show

Nice to know a forum member is a producer on CBS Sunday Morning!

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