Animated Openings

Animated Openings

Nostalgia reigned supreme this Friday night as Hot Pink Heather and I queued up Loverboy from Netflix Instant Watch, a movie I saw on HBO sometime early in my high school years. I was suprised to rediscover that Loverboy started with an extended animated scene in which the credits were revealed in “cute” little ways (one named formed out of the car exhaust, etc). As I watched these credits, I realized that many movies in the ’80s had cartoon credits like this. Such credits weren’t unique to the ’80s, of course (I think the first movie that had them was It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World). But there were enough movies in the ’80s with such openings that it could be considered a trend. Here’s a few examples:

John Carpenter has said that white credits on a black background is a sure sign of a low budget feature (I think he says this on The Thing commentary track), and that makes a lot of sense. I don’t know that animated credits are the sign of a big budget feature, and considering how bad some of them are, I’m not sure they even are a wise chose. But they were a choice that many movie makers made back then, and that some still make today.


Doug is a child of the 80s who was raised in Ohio and is now living the life of oblivion in the bay area of California.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. Better off dead had acartoon intro and one crazy summer too i think

  2. plcary beat me to it- Better Off Dead has great opening animation. Plus, it is an all around great film too.

  3. The Pink Panther became famous for its animated credits.

  4. Private Eyes with Tim Conway and Don Knotts has a great animated opening much like the Pink Panther series.

  5. Abbott and Costello Meets Frankenstein has an animated opening from 1948.

  6. Grease is the first one I thought of:

    Here’s another one that popped into my head:

    And here’s one that’s not really that old, but does have a retro feel to it:

    Here’s a classic from the late 1980s. See if you can recognize the artist who did this one.

    And finally, a discussion of animated credits wouldn’t be complete without at least one Monty Python entry:

  7. The Private Eyes animated opening is great. Good call on that one, Dustin.

    Christmas Vacation has an animated opening as do City Slickers and City Slickers II: The Legend of Curly’s Gold (both are the 90s though).

  8. Great finds, guys and gals. Knew you would fill in what I missed. And I guess I was wrong in my initial assessment that movies which started in this way were bad. I think there is some correlation, though. In the Loverboy/Mannequin/Don’t Tell Mom case, the animations aren’t really funny and don’t fit the film, while in the Better Off Dead case and some of the older cases, they do. I still see the Loverboy opening as pretty bad, but the Grease and Better Off Dead openings are pretty good. So I guess we can’t make a blanket statement about the goodness/badness of a movie by such an opening.

  9. @robohara I do believe the Beach boys is the answer to your query. I think that Grease was the first animated opening I saw…could have been one of the Pink Panther films though. Memory is too fuzzy in that circuit. ;)

  10. I’m guessing the artist on Troop Beverly Hills is whoever did Ren & Stimpy. Pure guess, but it looks like similar art.

  11. Doug, no it was the Beach Boys who sang the title song…give me a second to grab the soundtrack here…yeah, it’s the Beach Boys. Hm? Oh! You mean who was the animation artist?

    Ahem. Yes. Yes, agree with you. That would be John Kricfalusi.

    Let’s see…where did I leave that time machine at? ;)

  12. The relatively recent Catch Me If You Can had a fun animated intro, if I remember correctly. It was designed to be as retro as the movie.

    And those Pink Panther movie credits were quite fun. I caught a few on the big screen (Return & Strikes Again) and they were a big hit and a great way to get the comedy ball rolling.
    It helped that these movies were usually preceded by a Pink Panther cartoon.

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