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Subject: Re: Opening titles


Author:
Mark The Shark
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Date Posted: 20:34:50 01/20/03 Mon
In reply to: Steve 's message, "Opening titles" on 16:41:59 01/17/02 Thu

>Hello. I've often wondered exactly how those cartoon
>shows split into different segments were presented in
>terms of titles.

Taking the New Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape
>Show as an example of segmented shows, can anyone tell
>me if the following "running order" is correct:
>Tom And Jerry Show main title
>Tom And Jerry episode, starting with an episode title
>caption and finishing with an end caption.
>Commercial
>Grape Ape Show main title
>Grape Ape episode, with episode title caption and end
>caption.
>Commercial
>Tom and Jerry episode, with title and end captions
>only - no main title
>Commercial
>Grape Ape episode, with title and end captions only.
>Commercial
>Tom and Jerry episode, with title and end captions.
>Closing titles, listing credits for both Tom And Jerry
>and Grape Ape.
>
>Is this correct, or were the Tom and Jerry main titles
>shown at the start of each Tom and Jerry segment and
>likewise for Grape Ape?
>Have I put all the commercial breaks in the right
>places, or were there also breaks immediately after
>the main titles and immediately before the closing
>titles?
>What was used as the closing music? Was it that fast
>banjo tune which was used on several Hanna-Barbera
>shows in the late seventies?
>I know this is a lot of quesstions, but I would really
>appreciate it if someone could answer them for me.
>Thanks.

This reply is going to be a long one...and I apologize in advance both for its hefty length and completely trivial nature of the information I'm about to share with you. You could completely skip this message and your life would be no worse for it. In fact, you'd spend your time a lot more constructively if you'd just turn your computer off, go outside, go to church, do some volunteer work or go out with a girl. In fact, I'd be spending my own time more constructively doing any of those things instead of sitting here typing this. But here we go.

Still with me?

Short answer: No, the above is not correct.

Regarding the format of the show as originally aired in the United States, I can answer some of your questions from my own memory of watching the show in the 1970s on ABC-TV, but probably not all of them (for instance, exactly which segments were featured in which order and where the commercial breaks were, etc). But let's give it a shot. (Actually, I think most Saturday morning cartoons of the time did have a commercial break immediately after the opening of the show, but before the first cartoon started and again after the last cartoon ended, and usually between each of the cartoons. But that's just my own memory off the top of my head. And in the long run, it really isn't important.)

The opening of "The Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape Show" used the same song that was heard at the beginning of the 1975 Tom & Jerry cartoons when they were later shown in syndication (in the US): "Have a laugh, have a smile," etc. But originally, there were some slight differences in the lyrics...the voices would sing "It's the Tom & Jerry Grape Ape Show" instead of "It's the Tom And Jerry Show," etc. When Mumbly was added to the mix, a spoken voice would say, "And Mumbly, too!" I don't know if the revised syndicated version of the opening/closing was produced later, or was made concurrently with the original opening to be saved for later use in the event the Tom & Jerry cartoons might eventually be aired separately. But I am inclined to believe the latter. The T&J/GA show's closing theme music was an instrumental version of the opening theme (the same recording included at the end of some of the individual 1975 T&J cartoons when they were later syndicated). I think the closing was very similar to how it later looked in syndication, but some of the still images on each individual title card might have featured the Grape Ape instead of Tom & Jerry. But I really don't remember...I haven't seen it in 25 years.

The individual cartoons themselves never had opening or closing titles on them. The Grape Ape segments likewise had no individual on-screen titles when originally shown on "The Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape Show." So the actual names of the cartoon episodes were never seen on screen. But when the Grape Ape character was spun off onto his own show, he got his own theme song (completely different from the Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape theme song). The Great Grape Ape aired on his own as a separate show on Sunday mornings after being dropped from the Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show (which was then retitled The Tom & Jerry/Mumbly Show). At that time, it was standard practice for both ABC and CBS to rerun some older cartoon shows on Sunday mornings which had previously been shown (in first-run) on Saturday mornings a year or two earlier. To the best of my recollection, there were still no individual opening or closing titles on the Grape Ape cartoon segments themselves (I believe two cartoons were used in each half-hour show), but the Grape Ape show now had its own opening and closing (I don't know if it was newly produced or if it had been created in 1975 for some hypothetical future use in the event the two shows were split, but I'm guessing the latter). Was the Grape Ape show's official title actually "The Great Grape Ape?" I'm not certain. Anyway, the half-hour Grape Ape show was repeated in the 1980s on USA Cartoon Express in the same 30-minute format as it had been shown Sunday mornings on ABC.

It is interesting that MGM (which owned the Tom & Jerry characters) apparently owned the 1975 Tom & Jerry cartoon segments outright (and syndicated them alongside the classic theatrical Tom & Jerry cartoons after the show ended). The syndicated Tom & Jerry package first showed up in Chicago in September 1978. (If you really want "too much information," it was on September 4, 1978...I want to slap myself for knowing that!) In fact, another studio (Filmation) did another made-for-TV Tom & Jerry series in the early 1980s (their series also included cartoons featuring Droopy and Barney Bear, both contemporary stars of MGM cartoons alongside Tom & Jerry in the 1940s and 1950s). After the Filmation series (which aired on CBS) ended, those cartoons also were added to the existing syndicated Tom & Jerry package.

Channel 32 (WFLD-TV) in Chicago used to run all the various Tom & Jerry cartoons (theatrical, 1975 Hanna-Barbera TV T&Js and later adding the 1980 Filmation TV T&Js, Droopys and Barney Bears) together in one half-hour or hour show, depending on how they scheduled it at the time. When the station first started airing them, the theatrical Tom & Jerry cartoons (Hanna-Barbera, Gene Dietch and Chuck Jones) had their full original theatrical titles. The 1975 TV T&Js usually had no opening or closing titles at all, but occasionally one would have the full opening theme song and/or full closing credits at the end. Channel 32 created their own customized Tom & Jerry show opening, consisting of cartoon clips (from the classic theatrical Tom & Jerry cartoons) with the "Tom & Jerry" name and their own logo superimposed over it. Years later, I learned that this opening was an edited version of an actual original "Tom & Jerry" opening from when the original theatrical cartoons aired on CBS-TV in the 1960s! But around 1980, the station began cutting off all opening and closing titles from practically all their theatrical cartoons and they also stopped running the old "Tom & Jerry" CBS opening.

Grape Ape and Mumbly belonged to Hanna-Barbera. So it was not possible for the "Tom & Jerry/Grape Ape" show to be distributed in its original format, until Hanna-Barbera's library was bought by Turner Entertainment.

Just an aside...thinking about the Grape Ape being aired as a separate series, with its own individual opening and closing created specifically for the later reruns...Hanna-Barbera did the exact same thing with "Dynomutt," which originally aired as part of "The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour." The Dynomutt cartoons also ended up on USA Cartoon Express in the 1980s (with a separate Dynomutt opening, which I don't think was included when the show originally aired). But I remember seeing Scooby Doo's face next to Dynomutt's in the closing credits of the USA reruns. Scooby Doo and Dynomutt did occasionally appear together on the show, and I'm not certain about this, but I believe it was Dynomutt who occasionally guest-starred in Scooby's cartoons that year. I've never been a huge Scooby fan, but I'm going to guess those cartoons were later syndicated as part of the Scooby Doo series.

I know, it's trivial and probably too much information, but then, what is this site here for? :)

MARK THE SHARK
Webmaster
http://www.thebananasplits.com

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